Paw Prints: Caring for your canine companion

Community Columnist

The week of Sept. 24 to 30 marks National Dog Week.

This time is intended to celebrate the special bond we share with dogs and to educate on proper dog care. Dogs provide us with companionship like no other animal. Sadly, we often see stories of neglect and abuse. This month’s column will touch on some basics of dog care.

Selection of your dog should not be taken lightly. It is very easy to fall in love with a breed based on appearance, but it is more important to fit the dog to your lifestyle. Matching a dog’s size, purpose, temperament, activity level and grooming needs to your lifestyle is the first step in creating a healthy life for your dog.

Taking good care of your dog goes beyond the basics of food, water and shelter. By practicing the following recommendations, you will be providing top notch care.

Take your dog to its yearly wellness exam

Dogs age much faster than we do, therefore a lot can change over the course of a year. The physical exam performed by a veterinarian detects any problems that may not be apparent even to the most astute pet owner. This is also a time to test for diseases and to discuss nutrition, behavior, medications and age related concerns.

The overall goal of the wellness exam is to prevent illness by detecting problems early on. Quality pet care can be costly, but preventing an illness instead of having it treated after the condition has advanced will save money and spares your pet any suffering.

Keep vaccinations up to date

“Core” vaccines are recommended for every dog. These include Distemper/Adenovirus/Parvo (DAP) and Rabies. Rabies is required by law in New York state. As puppies, the DAP vaccine must be given at appropriate intervals from six- to eight-weeks of age, until they are 16 weeks old. After the first yearly booster, dogs then need it every three years.

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