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Health Checklist for a New Dog

If you recently adopted a new dog or are planning to adopt one, one of the most important things you can do is take your new family member to the vet for a checkup.  If your pet was previously a stray, you know nothing about him.  If you adopted him from a shelter, you hopefully have more information, but you cannot always rely on shelters to provide you with accurate information either.  

Taking your pet to the veterinarian allows you to get the rundown on his health and be aware of any short- or long-term health issues which could pose problems, receive treatment for any existing problems, and also get up to date with vaccinations.  This part isn’t a lot of fun, but after that you can get onto the checklist of basic dog supplies.  But let’s start with the healthy dog checklist:

·    Up-to-date vaccinations.  You’ll need to get your new pet’s vaccinations up to date.  Common vaccinations include shots for rabies, distemper, lyme disease, and other common ailments.  Vaccinating your dog can prevent future health problems and extend your new pet’s lifetime.  Your vet will help you decide on a future dog vaccination schedule.

·    Spaying/neutering.  Spaying or neutering your dog helps to combat pet overpopulation, and can also have health benefits for your pet.  Prostate problems and testicular cancer can be prevented by neutering.  Spaying your dog will help protect her from mammary cancer, ovarian and uterine tumors, and pyometra bacterial infection.

·    Heartworm disease.  Your new dog should be screened for this common infection and treated if necessary.  Preventative measures are simple and effective.  All you need to do is purchase a medication.  For dogs, injections are available.  There are also topical products and monthly and daily tablets which can be administered instead.

·    Screening for fecal parasites and deworming.  These are more common infections which need to be treated right away if they are present.

·    Flea and tick prevention.  Like heartworm disease, fleas and ticks are something you can protect your pet from with a simple topical application.  Some pet clothing is also designed to repel insects.  

Best Products for Dogs

While you are talking to the vet, you will be able to talk about the other dog supplies you need to purchase.  Many pet health problems can be prevented through a combination of healthy diet and good hygiene.  Here are some products you will need to purchase for your dog.  You may not directly associate these products with health, but taking good care of your dog in all respects can extend his lifetime and his health:

·    Oral health products.  Your dog needs specially formulated toothpaste and dental chews.  Your vet can give you pointers on brushing your new pet’s teeth effectively.  Now and again, you will want to schedule your dog for cleanings, just as you would yourself.

·    Grooming and bathing.  Dog grooming products include shampoo, clippers, shears, and more.

·    Healthy dog food brands and recipes.  What you feed your dog is one of the most important decisions you’ll make, since nutrition is essential for health and long life.

·    Exercise and obesity prevention.  The vet will also talk to you about exercise for obesity prevention, and keeping your dog safely contained while you are out on walks or while your dog is playing in your yard.  You will learn options for leashes, harnesses, and collars.  Keeping a dog properly contained prevents him from getting lost, engaging in fights with other dogs, or running out into the road.  A dog which is well contained and not allowed to roam around out of sight is far likelier to live a long, healthy life.  

·    Toys.  You’ll learn how to choose safe and healthy dog toys.  This includes chew toys to develop healthy gums as well as other toys to relieve stress and play with.  Toys are actually a requirement for your dog’s physical and emotional health.

That first veterinarian visit with your new dog will probably be expensive, but it’s also necessary to make sure your dog gets started with his new life with the right paw forward.  As a new pet owner, you will also receive indispensable advice from your vet about starter dog supplies.  You also will need to choose an insurance plan for your dog to provide ongoing protection for her health.  While our pets provide us with joy, we are responsible to ensure that they have healthy, enjoyable lives as well, starting right from day one.

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