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New dog? Check out these must-know tips

By on March 24, 2017
Boys with dog

With summer on the way, you might be thinking about getting yourself into shape, but your concern should not only be there; your animal’s health should be at the top of your list too. Here are a couple of things to always keep in mind.

First and foremost, you should always be feeding your dog the appropriate portions and ingredients needed for them to maintain weight and energy. These ingredients differ for puppies, adult dogs, and senior dogs so it’s important that you do your research and talk to your vet.

For pointers, check out this page by the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals here.

Just as you are taking care of your dog’s health on the inside, you also need to take care of their outside. Grooming your dog and making sure that his nails aren’t too long is essential. His coat does many important things for him, too, so bathing and brushing is something you should be doing frequently.

Make sure he has all his vaccinations to keep him healthy and going strong! Most vaccinations are needed more than once, so it’s important to talk to your vet and set up a schedule. Here’s a short list of some of those vaccinations:

  • Parvo vaccinations help prevent your dog from getting infected with canine parvovirus. Canine Parvovirus attacks the gastrointestinal tract and immune system and causes severe vomiting and diarrhea. Puppies should have three vaccinations between six-to-sixteen weeks old and then once again when they turn 16-weeks-old. Adults should have them every three years.
  • Canine distemper is a virus that can affect your dog’s brain, skin, eyes, intestines and lungs. Like Parvo, puppies should have three vaccinations between the ages of six-to-sixteen weeks old and then once every three years.
  • Rabies shots are required for licensing your dog in Omaha. The state of Nebraska requires a dog to get a rabies shot at 3-months-old, a booster shot one year later and then revaccinated every three years.

Medications are also important for giving your dog the happy life they deserve. As with vaccinations, it’s important to talk to your vet so that you can make sure you’re giving your dog what he needs and when he needs them. Here’s a couple of medications to consider:

  • Heartworm medication
  • Parasite prevention medications like flea and tick protectors.
  • Urinary tract infection medication

Other things to look out for:

  • “Kennel Cough” which is also known as Canine Infectious Respiratory Disease Complex (CIRDC). This infection is common when dogs are exposed to other dogs in shelters, boarding facilities and dog parks. Look out for coughing, sneezing and nasal/eye discharge. The Nebraska Humane Society says it usually resolves in 1-2 weeks, but in rare cases can cause pneumonia. For more information go here.
  • Dental Disease, or periodontal disease, is common in adult togs according the American Veterinary Dental College (AVDC). Like with humans, neglected teeth can lead to cavities and gum and tooth loss. ADVC recommends talking to your vet before trying any home oral hygiene regimens. For more information, you can go here.
  • Ear Infections are possible for all dogs, but more common for dogs with long ears, like basset hounds. The American Kennel Club says that there are three different kinds of ear infections- otitis externa, media and internal- that affect different areas. For more information, you can go here.

Taking care of your dog’s health and well-being will ensure that you have plenty of time to play fetch and take walks!

About Savannah Behrends

Savannah Behrends is Journalism student at the University of Nebraska-Omaha. She has two adorable bearded dragons and loves to take them outside on the swing. She has also had hamsters, birds, dogs and gecko's.

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