All every pet owner wants is to give their furry friend the best life possible, and this means doing everything you can to keep your pet healthy and happy.
Preventative care is crucial for your dog’s well being and it should begin from the moment you decide to add a dog to your family.
We know how being a dog owner enriches your life, and it’s important to be proactive when it comes to your pet’s health.
From regular vet visits to vaccinations to things you can do at home, there are important steps you should take to ensure the long-term health of your dog.
There are many online resources where you can learn more about veterinary wellness for dogs.
Keep reading for our top tips on basic preventative care for dogs.
Why Is Preventative Medicine Important?
There’s nothing worse than finding out your dog has a health issue that could have been prevented.
Obtaining all of the knowledge necessary to ensure your pup has a long and healthy life is the first step in being the best pet owner you can be.
Taking these quick and simple steps can save you stress, pain, and money in the long run – but of course the most important thing is ensuring the health and happiness of your dog.
1. Know Your Breed
Knowing all there is to know about your dog’s breed is necessary for you to give them the best care possible.
It will also prepare you for any breed-specific illnesses or conditions that may arise at some point in your dog’s life.
For example, if you have a large deep-chested dog, issues such as bloat and volvulus are more common and can be managed by avoiding meals before exercise.
Flat-nosed dogs are more likely to develop heat stress, which is also manageable if you are aware it affects your dog.
Hip dysplasia is another condition affecting certain breeds of dogs.
Reading up on your dog’s breed and learning about how to best care for them is necessary when you are responsible for their health.
2. Keep Your Vaccinations Up To Date
Vaccinations are incredibly important in keeping your dog free from disease.
Puppies must be vaccinated at around 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks, then again at 14-16 weeks.
After your dog receives their third round of shots, vaccines are typically administered annually or every three years.
The vaccination schedule may vary depending on risk factors, and is up to the discretion of you and your veterinarian.
Disease outbreaks happen, even if certain diseases are not as common as they used to be, which is why it’s important for your pup to stay up-to-date on their shots.
Annual vaccinations for dogs are also a great time for your vet to check up on your dog’s overall health and well-being.
3. Brush Your Dog’s Teeth
Dogs need regular teeth cleanings, just like us humans!
Using a gentle brush with soft bristles and toothpaste formulated specially for pets, brushing your dog’s teeth daily can prevent periodontal (gum) disease.
Dental disease can lead to more serious problems such as infection, pain, and damage to their internal organs.
There are many risks involved with putting your dog under general anaesthesia, which is often necessary with dental surgery – so preventative care is extremely important when it comes to your dog’s teeth and gums.
Other ways to take care of your pet’s dental health are water additives, raw meaty bones, and dental diets – check in with your vet for more information.
4. Feed Them A Healthy, Balanced Diet
Diet is the foundation for good health, which is why you should be feeding your dog a well-balanced diet of high-quality food.
Your vet can recommend some healthy treats that are less processed and artificial than many other treats on the market. You can also look for foods that have the AAFCO label or foods approved by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA).
Home cooking your dog’s meals can be a great choice, but make sure you work with your vet to formulate a healthy diet plan.
Fatty or rich foods should be avoided, and cooked bones are unsafe – if you’re giving your dog bones, make sure they are raw.
Some bones are extremely hard, such as beef, pork, or lamb bones.
They can potentially cause a tooth fracture, so your dog should be eating the meat off of these kinds of bones rather than chewing on the bone itself.
Your dog’s diet should be healthy, high-quality, and full of the protein and nutrients necessary for optimal health.
5. Deal With Parasites And Fleas
Internal parasites and fleas can be immensely stressful for you, and potentially very harmful for your pet.
In terms of preventative care for parasite control, there are steps you can take to keep your dog worm-free.
Typically, worming should be started when your dog is 2 weeks of age and repeated every fortnight for 12 weeks.
After that, preventative treatment should maintain monthly for 6 months (or longer, for heartworm).
For intestinal worms, treatment should reduce to every 3 months.
Talk to us here at Bickford Park Animal Hospital to find out what sort of heartworm treatment is best for your dog.
Fleas, meanwhile, are incredibly pesky creatures, and they’re very difficult to eradicate once you have an infection.
Monthly flea treatments are recommended, even if you don’t see any obvious fleas.
Did you know that female fleas can lay 50 eggs per day? These eggs are tiny and can easily be brought into your home by accident.
Getting rid of a flea infestation is a lengthy process, but taking steps to prevent ever having an infestation in the first place is much easier.
6. Bring Them In For Routine Check-Ups
The best thing you can do for your dog is maintain an ongoing relationship with your veterinarian and take your pet for regular check-ups.
Your vet can inform you about breed specific concerns, vaccinations, healthy diet tips, and so much more.
When it comes to preventative care and building a strong, healthy foundation for your dog to grow, it’s key to keep your vet in the know on your dog’s well being.
Thorough examinations will give you peace of mind and allow you and your pet to enjoy life together without worry.
Your vet is also a great resource for any questions you may have about pet care, from general health to behavioural concerns.
Make sure you take your dog for a vet check-up every 6 months or so, even if there are no immediate or obvious issues.
Contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital
Preventative pet care will ensure your dog lives a long and happy life, with you giving them the best care possible.
If you have any questions or want to speak with an experienced veterinary team, contact Bickford Park Animal Hospital.
We offer a variety of veterinary services to help you ensure your dog’s health, for years to come.
The Toronto area has been our home since 2012, and we would love to get to know you and your dog.
At Bickford Park Animal Hospital, our passion and love for animals shows in the work we do.
Contact us Bickford Park Animal Hospital today.
Bickford Park Animal Hospital is a veterinary clinic in Toronto, located across from Christie Pits park, committed to the highest level of caring and treatment for cats and dogs.