Owning a dog is one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have in their lifetime, but having a dog is much more than the occasional walk around the block or playing fetch in the yard. There are many other responsibilities that one must consider in order to be a good dog owner. Your dog’s health is a major concern to any good pet owner and in this article we will concentrate on some preventable threats to your pet.
As winter ends and spring starts, so do different types of threats to your dog. Obviously, as the weather starts getting nicer, your pet spends more time outdoors and is more susceptible to the these threats. It is important to be alert for ticks, mosquitoes and micro organisms that spread diseases that are harmful to your dog’s health. Ticks normally live in wooded areas or in tall brush and do not transmit bacteria through the air, but by biting the dog. Some other threats are summarized below:
Lyme disease- is a tick-borne bacterial disease and it can cause lameness, kidney damage and death.
Leptospirosis- this is the #1 cause of acute renal failure, “lepto” is a deadly bacterial disease that is spread by contact with urine from other pets, wildlife and livestock and can be transmitted from dogs to people.
Rabies- is a fatal viral disease transmitted by saliva most often through bite wounds and is a threat to both humans and animals.
Heartworm Disease- is a mosquito-borne disease that is preventable and attacks multiple organs and will cause death if untreated.
As a dog owner, there are many things you can do to minimize the risk to your pet. Brush your dog often and visually inspect your animal especially after an outing in the woods. Additionally, use tick and flea treatments and medications that your veterinarian recommends to kill these harmful pests. Furthermore, your veterinarian can suggest how to protect your pet from lyme disease through vaccination.
There is another important factor in taking care of your dog: twice-a-year wellness exams. You see, dogs age faster than we do and major health changes can occur in a short amount of time. Moreover, your dog is living longer, which increases the chance of potentially serious illnesses during their lifetime.
These wellness exams can help your veterinarian diagnose, treat or prevent problems before they become life threatening. Additionally, these exams allow the veterinarian to discuss nutrition, your dog’s behavior or other concerns you may have.
In return for all this attention, your dog will reciprocate with unconditional love, friendship and affection. Try to educate yourself to protect your dog from these and other harmful threats. If we were to think in terms of finances, what a wonderful return on your investment!