Paw Prints: Caring for your canine companion

Community Columnist

Other vaccines are recommended based on a dog’s lifestyle and are called “non-core” vaccines. These include leptospirosis, bordetella and Lyme. In our region, it is recommended that dogs get leptospirosis and Lyme vaccines yearly. Bordetella (kennel cough), is necessary yearly for dogs that go to a boarding kennel or groomer.

Spay or neuter your dog

Contrary to popular belief, it is not better to allow your female dog to go through a heat cycle or have a litter of puppies prior to being spayed. Most veterinarians will recommend your female dog be spayed around six months of age. If she goes into heat, even once, her chance of developing breast cancer later in life is greatly increased. Also, an intact dog has an increased risk developing a life-threatening uterine infection. If a male dog is not neutered he has an increased risk of developing prostate cancer. Spaying and neutering will eliminate behavioral problems in both sexes.

Microchip your dog and register the chip

The chip is the size of a grain of rice, placed between the shoulder blades. It is not a locater device. It simply serves as a way to identify your pet. The chip can reunite you with your dog in the event of a natural disaster, serve as proof or ownership if your dog is stolen, or possibly even prevent euthanasia in an emergency or shelter.

Provide monthly parasite preventative year-round

Dogs in our area should receive a monthly heartworm preventative to prevent heartworm disease and treat intestinal parasites. Prevention is crucial as heartworm disease is life-threatening.

Also, administer a monthly flea and tick preventative. These medications not only keep your dog free of disease, but they also prevent spread of parasites to humans.

Brush your dog’s teeth daily and schedule professional cleanings regularly

Dental disease can be found even in young dogs. If left untreated, bacterial infections in the mouth can spread to the heart, liver and kidneys. Keeping your dogs teeth healthy will prevent pain and potentially extend its lifespan.

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