Annual ExamAdult dogs should receive an annual wellness exam from their veterinarian. For senior dogs, twice-yearly exams may be appropriate. During an annual exam, the veterinarian will check for changes in the dog’s health or body composition. The veterinarian will also answer any questions about dog health. Pet owners should consider routine blood work every 1 – 3 years to check for hidden signs of disease, especially in senior pets.
Heartworm TestEach year the veterinarian will order a heartworm test to ensure your dog’s heartworm disease status is negative. Heartworm disease is an easily preventable, yet all-too-common illness that significantly affects dog health. Even if your dog routinely takes heartworm preventatives, the veterinarian will still test your dog before writing a new prescription since the combination of existing heartworm infection, and heartworm preventatives can be lethal.
After your dog is verified heartworm negative, it is important to give your pet a heartworm preventative each month. Prevention is especially important for dogs living in the American south.
Stool SampleParasites are a common problem for pets and can make dogs (and humans) very ill. Therefore, dog owners should have their pet’s stool sampled yearly. Tapeworm, roundworm, hookworm, and other parasites are relatively easy to eliminate if caught in time.
Flea/Tick PreventionIf flea and tick prevention is not included with your heartworm preventative of choice, talk to your veterinarian about flea and tick prevention. Fleas are a common health problem among dogs and can cause tapeworm infections. Tick-borne illnesses, such as Lyme disease, have serious dog health consequences but are easily prevented.
VaccinationsPerhaps the easiest way to ensure good dog health is to follow the recommended annual vaccination schedule. Your dog should be vaccinated against rabies, leptospirosis, canine flu, parvovirus, distemper, and canine hepatitis.
Ultimately, the key to good dog health is a regular preventative routine. Dogs should receive an annual or biannual wellness exam which includes a heartworm test, stool sample, and vaccines. Throughout the year pet owners should remain diligent with monthly heartworm, flea, and tick prevention. Many canine health problems are easily preventable or treatable when caught in time.
This routine should also include proper dog lifestyle – dogs who are not getting the right amount of exercise and nutrition are more likely to have their health compromised. Get your dog’s health under control and buy the Buddy Pack.
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