Preventive Care Checklist for Dogs

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We love our dogs, and would do anything to keep them healthy. But those vet bills can be expensive! There are things we can do to keep our dogs at their peak (and out of our wallets!) This checklist is a great starting point for your dog's preventative health!

Regular Vet Checkups

It might seem to expensive to see the vet when your dog is perfectly healthy, but routine vet check-ups are the single most important way to prevent canine health problems. Not only will your vet do a thorough exam, but they'll also take the time to discuss the other preventative health measures on this checklist!

Spay and Neuter

Fixing your pet before sexual maturity can help prevent health problems such as uterine or testicular cancer. Younger dogs also recover faster from anesthesia, reducing the risk of complications due to surgery.

Vaccinations

Vaccines are usually divided into "core" and "non-core". Core vaccines are those such as distemper and rabies, and are generally given to all dogs over 8 weeks of age. Lyme disease is an example of a non-core vaccine , which may only be recommended to dogs in a given area. Your vet will be able to help you decide which vaccines and how often they should be given.

Parasite Prevention

Fleas, ticks, and heart worms are the three most common parasites your dog needs to be protected against. Topical applications applied to your dog's skin prevent flea and tick infestation, while most heart worm medicine is given in monthly oral doses. Discuss your options and schedules with your vet at your routine exam!

Grooming

Coat and skin health is your dog's first line of defense against infection. A regular routine of brushing, trimming, and bathing of your dog's outsides will help keep his insides healthy.

Oral Health

Yes, you should be brushing your dog's teeth ! Routine dental care at home will prevent bad breath, tooth decay, abscesses, and inflammation.

Nutrition

A balanced, high-quality diet is the basis for preventative health. Good nutrition will help boost your dog's immune system , give him energy for exercise, and keep his skin and teeth in top condition. A change in diet could even help with your dog's allergies!

Exercise

Just like people, dogs need exercise to keep them healthy. Don't just think walks; how about swimming, Frisbee, or agility? There's an activity out there for every dog and owner!

Additional Sources:
http://pets.webmd.com/dogs/guide/preventive-care
http://animals.howstuffworks.com/pets/medical-treatment-for-dogs-ga4.htm

Content by Ellen Vossekuil .