What information does my veterinarian need to know about my dog's lifestyle before providing preventative care recommendations?
There are a few lifestyle-specific vaccines. Your typical core vaccines are your distemper-parvo and rabies vaccines. Then there are social vaccines like Bordetella and Influenza. For pets that spend time outdoors, there's Lyme and Lepto. Lepto is a disease that is spread by deer urine, and Lyme is spread by ticks. Knowing what your activities are for yourself and your pets, helps us provide the best care. However, pets that are mostly inactive don't necessarily need all the extra vaccines.
Safety harnesses, seat belts, and crates are all good options for keeping your dog safe. You want to make sure that crates are secured, however. Many car insurance companies offer products to help determine what's best for your size pet in the car. It's also important to avoid distracted driving and keep your pet out of the front seat.
Ensure your house is pet-proofed, with things like cords kept out of reach and a good fence installed, especially if you live in a neighborhood or have roaming dogs in the area. If you treat or spray your yard, keep your pets off of it for a day or two. Inside, consider baby gates to prevent falls and keep windows closed to prevent escape attempts, especially if your dog suffers from separation anxiety or noise-triggered anxiety.
Recommendations will be based on your pet's lifestyle. We usually recommend heartworm prevention year-round since heartworms are spread by mosquitoes that can come in the house. Routine checks can help us detect issues like heart murmurs, weight changes, or dental issues. For older pets, we might recommend checking blood work every six to 12 months, depending on whether they are on chronic medication, to help us find things sooner rather than later.
Leashes are important for keeping your dog safe from other dogs, people, and vehicles. We do not recommend retractable leashes as they can cause neck damage and lacerations. Harnesses and gentle beaters work well for dogs that pull. The type of leash you choose will depend on your dog's behavior.
Many illnesses, such as distemper, parvo, influenza, rabies, Lepto, and Lyme can be easily prevented. Vaccines can also decrease the severity of diseases like kennel cough. So if your dog goes to a boarding or grooming facility and happens to get kennel cough, if they are vaccinated, they recover themselves without needing medications. Regular vaccinations can help your pet avoid severe illness or hospitalization.
The rabies vaccine is the only vaccination required by law. This is because rabies is a communicable disease that can be transmitted to humans.
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