Home > Dog Safety > Dog Health

Dog Health

By: Hsin-Yi Cohen BSc, MA, MSt - Updated: 14 Jan 2016 | comments*Discuss
 
Dog Health Dog Care Canine Vaccinations

Keeping your canine friend happy and healthy is one of the key responsibilities of a good dog owner. More so than any other pet, dogs require daily care and interaction and their well-being depends not only on physical maintenance but also on things like adequate and appropriate exercise, and regular training and socialisation.

Choosing a good veterinarian is a pre-requisite to good health care for your dog. Make sure that not only is the vet experienced in dealing with canine health problems but is also familiar with your particular breed of dog as many breeds will have specific health issues.

Choosing a dog from a responsible breeder is the first step to having a healthy pet. Do not buy a pet-store puppy on impulse - make sure you do your homework on temperament, exercise requirements, size, trainability, genetic diseases - and take your time to find a reputable breeder who will provide puppies from healthy, good-natured parents. Alternatively, you could adopt a dog that has been vetted by an animal shelter and passed for health and temperament.

The First Vet Visit

Ideally, this should happen before the puppy or new dog is taken home, although a visit within 48hrs of arrival is acceptable. The vet will give the dog a thorough examination and advise you on the best treatments for worms, fleas and other parasites, as well as any vaccinations needed. He will also check the eyes, ears and teeth for any problems and examine the internal organs, such as the heart and lungs.

Vaccinations

All puppies should start life with a suitable vaccination schedule, usually starting at 8 weeks and continuing until about 16 weeks, with further annual boosters thereafter. This will protect him from serious canine diseases such as distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis and parvovirus. Some vets will also vaccinate against Bordetella or "kennel cough', which is particularly important if your dog is to spend large amounts of time in kennels or in crowded conditions with lots of strange dogs (eg, show dogs).

Internal Parasites

Worming your dog regularly is important, particularly in young animals where a severe case of worms can cause anaemia and serious illness. There is also the human health aspect to consider, especially if children are involved. As with all things, prevention is better than cure and so it is advisable to follow a good worming plan throughout your pet's life, rather than wait until they become infested. In general, puppies are wormed every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks of age and then monthly until 6 months of age; thereafter, every 3 months for the rest of their lives. Again, your vet can advise as to the best worming products and methods.

Flea Prevention

Fleas can cause terrible discomfort to your dog - aside from the itching, they can cause anaemia and also a severe allergic skin reaction. They also carry the risk of tape-worm infection, which is dangerous to humans. Different products vary greatly in their effectiveness - most vets now recommend a "spot-on" treatment (squeezed from a vial onto the pet's skin, between the shoulder blades) as the best and safest way to control fleas, for 4 - 8 weeks after each application. There are also other products such as flea powders and shampoos or collars but these tend to have limited effectiveness.

Grooming

Grooming your dog regularly is an essential activity, even if you have a short-coated breed - not just to make your dog look good but also for coat and skin health. It also helps you bond with your dog and gives you a chance to examine him all over and check for any signs of external parasites or injury (eg, abscess). This is also a good time to check the nails and trim them if necessary.

Exercise

To be healthy, a dog must have regular exercise - both for cardiovascular function and muscle maintenance but also for its mental state. However, the level and type of exercise depends on the breed, natural activity level, age and any health issues. Many dogs, especially the more active and intelligent breeds, also require substantial training and mental stimulation, otherwise behavioural problems will result.

Diet

A varied, well-balanced diet is the key to good health. There are many contradicting opinions as to what to feed your dog - your best bet is to talk to those with knowledge and experience (vets, breeders, other owners), do your own research and try various diets until you find one which is suitable to your dog. Watch for over-feeding, as obesity is a common problem in the modern pet, and consider giving a raw bone occasionally for dental hygiene.

You might also like...
Share Your Story, Join the Discussion or Seek Advice..
Why not be the first to leave a comment for discussion, ask for advice or share your story...

If you'd like to ask a question one of our experts (workload permitting) or a helpful reader hopefully can help you... We also love comments and interesting stories

Title:
(never shown)
Firstname:
(never shown)
Surname:
(never shown)
Email:
(never shown)
Nickname:
(shown)
Comment:
Validate:
Enter word:
Topics
Latest Comments
  • SaferPets
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Cami - Your Question:I am rent a room and I am livibg with my landlady she got a dog.but for 3 months she is not coming home just sometimes to…
    13 November 2017
  • Cami
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    I am rent a room and i am livibg with my landlady she got a dog ..but for 3 months she is not coming home just sometimes to take some clothes…
    11 November 2017
  • saxonheidi
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Harleydog.. contact the police and don't take no for an answer...The other person did not have control of their dog and that is against the…
    5 November 2017
  • Harleydog
    Re: Dog Laws in the UK
    Morning my dog was attacked yesterday by a off leash dog, mine was on lead. Resulting in my dog needing stitches , were do I stand with the new…
    1 November 2017
  • Junet55
    Re: Introducing a Puppy to Other Dogs
    Hi I'm getting a new puppy, can she go into my boyfriend's house (he has an unvaccinated dog) if I don't allow physical…
    29 September 2017
  • Gill.
    Re: Safe Dog Breeds for Elderly People
    @Karen - dog rescue centres do re-home dogs with the elderly and a dog that needed minimum exercise would be required, or…
    26 September 2017
  • Karen
    Re: Safe Dog Breeds for Elderly People
    My mother in law is 86 and has just had to have her alsatian put to sleep after being her companion for 15 years she is…
    25 September 2017
  • Vetnurse90
    Re: Pet Injuries That Can be Treated at Home
    @Dionne - You can clean the wound with a non-stinging antiseptic diluted in warm water. Only if you notice changes…
    15 September 2017
  • Dionne
    Re: Pet Injuries That Can be Treated at Home
    Hi, my collie was on her walk and ran over some barbwire witch seems to have cut her around her nipple it was only…
    12 September 2017
  • MinesaPug
    Re: Treating Poisoning
    @Kbentley - I hope so. It would depend on how many one ate. At least they are in good hands and the vets are the right people to deal with this…
    8 September 2017
Further Reading...
Our Most Popular...
Add to my Yahoo!
Add to Google
Stumble this
Add to Twitter
Add To Facebook
RSS feed
You should seek independent professional advice before acting upon any information on the SaferPets website. Please read our Disclaimer.