Good preventive healthcare is an essential ingredient in making sure that your dog has a long, happy and healthy life. The practice of protecting your dog from diseases by vaccination, and from parasites such as worms and fleas should start during puppy hood and continue throughout his or her lifetime.

You should register your dog with your local vet as soon as possible. Your vet will be able to advise you on all aspects of canine health and help you develop a preventive health care programme for your pet. Regular health examinations, at least annually ensure that problems are picked up early as possible and treatment started. Should your dog show any signs of illness, ensure you seek early veterinary advice.

All dogs leaving Cheltenham Animal Shelter have been fully vaccinated, wormed and flea treated, neutered, microchipped and also 4 weeks free pet insurance.

Vaccination

All dogs should be routinely vaccinated against Distemper, Hepatitis, Leptospirosis, Parainfluenza and Parvovirus. In addition, dogs can be vaccinated against Kennel Cough. This vaccine is especially important for those dogs attending regular shows or going into boarding kennels.

Here are some points for you to consider:

  • Puppies receive some immunity form their mothers, however, this immunity fades rapidly from 6– 2 weeks of age. For this reason, a puppy should receive the initial vaccination form 8 weeks of age.
  • A primary course of vaccinations involves 2 injections, 2 weeks apart, giving your pet immunity for the first year of life.
  • Your puppy should be kept indoors for at least 1 week after its last injection, in order to avoid exposure to infection.
  • Immunity to infectious diseases will gradually fall, leaving your pet at risk. Regular annual booster vaccinations are vital to maintain your pet’s immunity.
  • Your vet will provide you with a record of vaccination, showing the dates that the next booster is due.
  • Prevention is particularly important since these diseases are often difficult to treat successfully and may result in recurrent long term illness or even the death.
  • All of these diseases share the same initial symptoms of depression, a loss of appetite and a high temperature, so if your dog is unwell, and especially if it has not been vaccinated, seek the advice of your vet immediately.

Worming

As a responsible dog owner, it is important for you to worm your dog regularly.

Here are some points for you to consider:

  • All dogs, no matter how well cared for, can get worms.
  • In puppies, worms can be passed from the mother before and after birth through the milk.
  • Pets pick up worms from other animals faeces in the soil, and from swallowing infected fleas whilst grooming.
  • It is not always easy to tell whether your pet has worms or not. With a very heavy infestation, there may be weight loss, vomiting diarrhoea, or a swollen abdomen.
  • Some worms have the potential to be transmitted to people, and in the case of the dog roundworm, the consequences can be serious especially in young children.
  • Puppies should be wormed form 2 weeks of age, every 2-3 weeks of age until they are 12 weeks of age, then every month until they are 6 months of age. Adult dogs should be wormed every 3 months for life.
  • We recommend Drontal – it is given in a single dose, either popped down the throat or mixed with your pet’s normal food.

Fleas

A dog will almost certainly suffer from a flea infestation at some point during his or her life.

  • Fleas can cause pets to be become restless and distressed. They can cause itching and inflammation, possibly leading to major skin problems.
  • They are responsible for the transmissions of tapeworms, therefore it is important to remember when treating your dog for fleas, to treat him for tapeworms too.
  • Fleas can bite us owners as well!
  • Dogs can pick up fleas from outside the home or from other animals.
  • More often than not, an owner will notice small specks of grit on the dog’s coat. To establish if this is flea dirt, brush the coat and allow the material to fall onto moist white tissue. Flea dirt will produce a red mark.
  • Effective flea treatment and control involves treating both the environment and the dog.
  • There are various products available, but we recommend Frontline because of its convenience and effectiveness.

Neutering

Unless a dog is neutered, he or she could be responsible for the birth of many unwanted puppies. There are already thousands of stray and abandoned dogs in the UK. Last year 6,710 dogs were put to sleep for want of a home. If owners were to have their dogs neutered, much of this unnecessary suffering could be avoided.

For females, neutering is called spaying, and for males it is called castration.

  • The average female dog comes on ‘heat’ twice yearly. This may last for one month and during this time there is a high risk of pregnancy.
  • As well as being messy and inconvenient, she will need to be kept apart from male dogs during this time.
  • Spaying is now a routine operation and involves a day at the veterinary practice. She will have recovered fully in approximately two weeks.
  • Female dogs are generally spayed about six months of age, but your pet can be spayed at any age.
  • A spayed bitch will not come into season again, and so will not become pregnant.
  • Spaying prevents womb infections, which very serious and can be life threatening. Also spayed bitches are far less likely to develop mammary or breast cancer.
  • After spaying dogs will not put on weight as long as they are fed sensibly and exercised regularly. You may find that your dog does not require as much food after the operation.
  • Uncastrated male dogs behaviour can alter greatly when a local bitch is in heat. They will escape at any opportunity and may cause or be involved in a road traffic accident, get into fights, or get lost and go missing, possibly forever.
  • Male dogs are usually castrated at about six months of age, but your pet can be neutered at any age.
  • Castrating your dog is a straightforward operation that involves day’s stay at the veterinary practice. Dogs usually make a complete recovery within two weeks.
  • As well as making your dog less likely to stray, dogs tend to be less aggressive and often more amenable to training.
  • Castrated dogs will not develop testicular cancer, and are far less likely to have prostate trouble or anal tumours.
  • Neutering your dog is not as expensive as you may think. It is certainly cheaper than the cost of an unplanned pregnancy and raising a litter of pups, or the vet’s bill following your dog’s road accident!

Please neuter your dog. Contrary to popular belief, a bitch does not need to have a litter of puppies.

Microchipping

If your pet strays, it may remain unidentified for days, weeks or even longer causing much distress to you, your family and your pet.
Microchipping is a simple and effective way to make sure that your pet can be easily identified should you become separated.

  • A small microchip about the size of a grain of rice is inserted under the loose skin on the back of your pet’s neck. This coded insert remains a permanent means of identifying your pet.
  • This provides your pet with a secure proof of identity, unlike collar tags that can get lost or be taken off!
  • Your pet is entered onto a national database. A hand held scanner at the nearest veterinary surgery or animal welfare establishment can easily read the chip and when your pet is found, and you will be reunited.
  • It is a sad fact that dog theft is on the rise. Most dog theft is opportunistic and your dog could quickly be on sold for hundreds of pounds.
  • Never leave your dog unattended outside a shop, or in your car (especially in the summer). Ensure you garden is secure and consider fitting a cow bell or similar to the gate so you can hear it being opened.

Pet Health Insurance

  • Each year, on average one pet in three will require veterinary treatment for illness or accident. As treatment becomes more complex and sophisticated, costs inevitably rise, and on many occasions may become a limiting factor.
  • We naturally think of traumatic surgical events-such as accidents involving broken bones as the main reason for pet insurance. However, in addition many medical conditions, such as deep seated skin or ear infections, arthritis and diabetes (to name but a few) can often be equally costly to treat in the longer term.
  • With pet insurance you have the peace of mind that should your much loved pet become ill, he or she can have the treatment they requirewithout you having to worry about the cost of treatment.

Dental Care

  • Our pets usually start life with a healthy mouth, however, without continuous home dental care, problems can easily result.
  • Accumulations of tartar on the teeth lead to reddened gums, bad breath, infection, dental pain and eventual tooth loss.
  • As well as this, bacteria can enter the bloodstream through the blood vessels located near the gums and teeth. Studies have shown that certain heart, liver and kidney diseases may be associated with these bacteria.
  • Unlike humans, even when your pet’s gums are infected they still continue to eat.
  • Regular check ups, feeding a dry food diet and a good cleaning regime will prevent tooth and gum problems.

 

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