Being a pet parent enriches your life in numerous ways. When your fur baby is at your side, you are guaranteed laughs, loyalty and love beyond measure. Of course, you want to do everything possible to prolong the quantity as well as the quality of the time you have with your pup. In addition to providing nutritious food and plenty of exercise, furnishing your pooch with a regular regimen of preventative medications is one of the most important steps you can take to demonstrate your commitment to being the best dog mom or dad you can be. But what are these medications, and what conditions do they treat?
Mark Your Calendar
Annual visits to the doctor are vital to monitor ongoing health conditions and spot emerging issues. This axiom is not only true for you as a human but is also equally relevant to your dog. Taking your pup to the vet should happen once per year at minimum and more often if there are ongoing medical concerns that need to be watched. During this session, the provider will also make sure that your fur baby has all the required shots they need in order to prevent potentially debilitating and even fatal conditions such as Lyme disease and rabies.
Care For their Choppers
Some people are under the misconception that dental care for dogs is excessive and unnecessary. In fact, many dogs have full-blown dental disease by the time they are four years old. If left untreated, tooth problems can rapidly escalate and result in gum disease, tooth loss, pain and bad breath that is off the charts. As it turns out, one of the most affordable and effective preventative medications you can buy for your pet is a toothbrush and toothpaste especially designed for dogs. Although your dog may be a reluctant participant at first, they will become accustomed to regular toothbrushing over time, particularly if you turn it into a fun and rewarding procedure that most likely involves their favorite treat. Augment your home ministrations with an occasional professional cleaning by your vet, and you can help your dog to keep their teeth for a lifetime.
Protect Against the Peskiest of Parasites
Dogs have suffered from the torturous itching of flea bites since the beginning of time. As well as causing annoyance and discomfort, fleas carry diseases that can sicken both pets and people. However, today’s medications mean that fleas don’t need to pose such a threat anymore. Flea preventatives come in topical drops, collars, sprays, powders, shampoos and oral treatments.
Topical drops are liquid anti-flea medications that are applied directly to the dog’s skin, usually between the shoulders and along the dog’s back down to the tail. The medication works when the chemicals it contains are absorbed into the dog’s sebaceous glands. After it is administered, the medication is transmitted throughout the pet’s skin. When a flea bites, its nervous system is paralyzed, rendering it unable to feed. Some topicals also prevent the growth of any eggs that have been laid. These medications generally last up to 30 days and are effective even after bathing.
By contrast, flea collars can last as long as eight months. Although they do well at preventing a flea infestation, they will not cure one that already exists. There are two types of collars. Repellant collars release a gas that prevents fleas from biting. Treatment collars have medication that, similar to topicals, is absorbed into the dog’s sebaceous glands and is distributed throughout their system.
Oral flea treatments are usually prescribed by your veterinarian according to your dog’s weight. Available in pill and chewable forms, they work by targeting either flea eggs or live insects. They are effective quickly, usually within 30 minutes.
Powders and sprays are applied directly to your dog’s fur and then rubbed in. They can often also be used on carpeting and upholstery to protect your home and family. Finally, flea shampoos are applied directly to your dog’s wet coat and are then thoroughly lathered and rinsed off. They kill any live fleas that are on your dog at the time.
Guard Against Ticks and Mosquitos
Heartworm disease is extremely serious, resulting in heart failure, lung disease, organ damage and even death. It is caused by a parasite called the Dirofilaria immitis worm that infests animals by means of a mosquito bite. Heartworm preventatives kill the initial stages of the parasite larvae that have infected the dog in the past 30 days. This fact helps to underscore the importance of consistency in administering your pet’s heartworm pills each month. If you are just starting to give a heartworm preventative, your pooch must first receive a heartworm test from your vet. This will detect the presence of adult parasites that will not be killed by the preventative. It is important to note that giving your dog heartworm preventative for the first time without testing can be dangerous and even deadly. This is because the preventative can cause instant death to the adult parasites that can lead to severe shock and even death in your pet.
There is a saying that many pet owners take better care of their furry companions than they do of themselves. Of course, one of the most important preventative measures you can take to guarantee your dog’s ongoing well-being is to maintain your own personal health. Augment that with regular visits to your trusted veterinarian, nutritious food, regular exercise and all the recommended medications, and you have done everything possible to enhance your fur baby’s life.