As a pet owner, you want the best for your dog. You make sure they have food and water, take them on walks and play with them regularly. But what about their health? This guide will give you all the information you need to keep your dog or puppy healthy. Learn how to pick out a vet that’s right for your family and your dog, what vaccines to give your pet and how often. Don’t forget about nutrition, flea prevention and dental care!
Dog & Puppy Wellness 101:
1. Veterinary Exams
The first thing you want to do as a dog owner is find a good veterinarian. Your veterinarian will be the one to help you with any health or medical issues your dog may have, so it’s important to pick a good fit. Research vets in your area and make sure they take appointments before going for an exam – many times they can even give you advice over the phone if necessary.
Checkups and preventive care shouldn’t just be done while your dog is young; it should become part of an ongoing routine. Make an appointment with your vet once a year for wellness exams and booster shots to keep your pet healthy all year long.
2. Core Vaccines
Vaccinations are an important part of keeping your dog or puppy healthy, but it can be confusing which ones they need and when. You should start by asking the vet about core vaccines – these protect against potentially dangerous diseases that could cause serious illness if not treated right away.
The first set is typically given at six to eight weeks of age, with follow-ups every three to four weeks until the puppy is fully immunized at 16 weeks old. After the series is complete, they will need regular booster shots to stay protected.
If your dog doesn’t get these vaccines, they could become sick and require medical treatment. It’s much more humane to prevent illness by protecting them with the proper vaccinations.
3. Spay / Neuter
Spaying or neutering your dog is usually advised at 12 months of age, however there are exceptions for certain breeds and situations. If you’re not sure, talk to your vet about the best time for this procedure.
Neutering your dog will help to keep them safer and more content, but it may also have a positive influence on their behavior. Neutered dogs can be less aggressive and have fewer behavioral issues, so not only will your pet live longer, they will be safer and happier as well.
4. Nutrition / Exercise
Once you have a good vet picked out and your dog or puppy is vaccinated, the next step to keeping them healthy is providing proper nutrition. You can find high-quality food at most pet stores – make sure you read the ingredients to avoid things like corn, soy and wheat that many dogs are allergic to.
Healthy food and exercise go hand-in-hand for dogs; they should have regular meals every day as well as play time to help them stay active. If your dog is overweight or has trouble getting around, try cutting back on their portion sizes and offering more frequent walks. Just like humans, maintaining a healthy weight will help your dog live longer.
Ongoing Dog & Puppy Care
1. Non-Core Vaccines
Non-core vaccines include kennel cough and Lyme disease. These vaccinations aren’t required for every dog or puppy, but they can provide additional protection against serious illness if your pet is at risk of exposure.
Talk to your vet about whether non-core vaccines are necessary based on where you live, where your dog goes and any exposure they may have to other animals.
2. Dental Care
Dental care is an often overlooked aspect of dog and puppy wellness. Poor dental health can lead to a number of other problems, so it’s important for your pet to have regular visits with the vet or their groomer.
We provide a full dog teeth cleaning service at Berkshire Dogs Unleashed to ensure that your dogs’ teeth are clean. We highly recommend this service for any pet owner. Dog teeth cleaning can prevent dental disease and bad breath, as well as save you time and money in the long run.
Make sure to check out our article on 5 Tips to Improve Your Dog’s Dental Health!
3. Regular Grooming
All dogs need regular grooming to keep their coats clean, soft and free of mats. Dogs with long hair are especially susceptible to getting mats if they’re not groomed regularly. Regularly brushing your pet’s coat will help prevent tangles while also keeping them comfortable – just make sure you have the right tools for the job so it doesn’t hurt your dog or puppy.
Berkshire Dogs Unleashed is able to provide your dog with grooming services to help them look and feel their best. Our basic grooming package includes a double bath, blow dry, ear cleaning, pad shaving and nail trim. We also offer a Deluxe Groom package that includes a coat conditioner and a blueberry facial.
4. Screening, Testing & Prevention
Parasite Screening & De-worming
Just like with humans, there are parasites that can spread through your dog or puppy’s body and cause serious health problems. Preventing these is as easy as talking to the vet about which preventative treatments are best for your pet – just make sure they’re up-to-date on their core vaccines first.
Heartworm Testing & Prevention
Heartworms are transmitted through mosquito bites and can lead to serious illness in dogs. Every year, thousands of pets across the country die from heartworm disease that could have been prevented with simple tests and treatments. We recommend year-round heartworm prevention for any dog who spends time outdoors.
Flea prevention and treatment is another must for any pet owner. Even indoor pets can be at risk of exposure to fleas, ticks and other parasites that spread through the environment – meaning a large portion of your dog or puppy’s life will require preventative treatments. Talk to your vet about what they recommend based on where you live and where your dog goes.
Schedule an Appointment
Thank you for reading the Ultimate Dog & Puppy Wellness Guide from Berkshire Dogs Unleashed. We hope this guide helps you better understand how your pet’s wellness relates to their overall health while providing some helpful tips along the way.
Call us today at (413) 464-6384 to schedule a grooming appointment at our Lenox, MA location to help keep your dog healthy and happy.