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Preventive Health Care For Dogs

What Goes Into A Dog Health Preventive Care Regimen

At All Pets Animal Hospital & 24 Hour Emergency Care, we believe that a sound preventive health care regimen is the easiest and most effective way to keep your dog healthy and happy. Many canine diseases are easily preventable and most can be effectively treated and cured if detected early enough. However, if allowed to develop and progress unchecked, many diseases can quickly become difficult and expensive to treat, and in some cases incurable. Therefore, we strongly encourage every dog owner to take a proactive approach to preventive care.

Our comprehensive dog wellness programs typically consist of:

  • Education by our staff and various resources we can make available to you (ie doctors, techs, handouts and information available here on our website)
  • Things you can do at home to support weight loss, diet, dental care, etc.

Our goal is to partner with you to ensure optimal health for your dog. A healthy and happy canine companion will remain a loyal and loving member of your family for many years to come.

Featured Quote:

First and foremost is proper house training and husbandry.

Video Transcript:

Hello, I'm Dr Pat Choice from All Pets Animal Hospital in Katy, Texas. Today we want to talk about preventative care for puppies. Our client services team leader KJ will be asking questions and then I'll answer them for you. And after the video, if you have any other questions or concerns feel free to come by or call us or email us and we'd love to talk to you.


Question: What kind of preventative care does my new puppy need?


That's the best question to start with. There are many things we want to look at. First and foremost is proper house training and husbandry. We want to focus on crate training and potty training and we'll go into potty training in another video, but if you come by the clinic, I've got a little book and package of information I can give on crate training and potty training.


Proper nutrition is important. We want to feed a high quality puppy food, there's several on the market and they're all very good. One that I frequently recommend is Hill's Science Diet, Royal Canin Puppy, or Purina One Puppy. There are also a lot of other good brands. The other thing is proper chewing. We want to give them the right things to chew on, such as raw hides and Kong products. We want to avoid the puppy learning to chew on improper things like deer antlers, real bones, horse and cow hooves, they can actually fracture the teeth later on.


We don't want the puppy to learn to chew on cloth material because then later on there's this chart. Start to chew on socks and cloth material, get a blockage. Vaccinations are very important and there's several that we want to give. The most important is it the distemper and parvovirus vaccination starting at six to eight weeks of age. Proper parasite control is important. We want you to control intestinal worms, and particularly those contagious to people, such as hookworms and roundworms. There are other parasites that we'll check for with a stool check. Then we want to put the puppy on proper heartworm prevention. Heartworm is a major problem in the Texas Gulf Coast and many parts of the United States. It is a disease spread by mosquitoes. It's a devastating disease and damages the pulmonary arteries and it's just heartbreaking when a dog gets heartworm disease, so we want to start prevention from day one and in the Texas Gulf coast, keep the puppy on heartworm preventative year-round.


There's also an injection that we can give that lasts for six or 12 months that's very safe and effective too if people have trouble remembering to give the preventative every month. Flea and tick prevention is very important. Many people say, "Well, I don't have fleas so I don't need flea prevention." However, all it takes is one or two fleas to hop on your pet and then when eight weeks pass, you'll have a massive flea infestation in your house and home and in your yard and the yard, you may not have fleas in your house, but in the yard, stray animals are can go there and seed your yard down with fleas and then within a few months your pet will get fleas and you'd have a massive infestation. So putting your pet on flea and tick prevention is important.


Question: When should my puppy start vaccines and what will the booster schedule be like?


Puppies should start their first shots with Distemper, Hepatitis, Prevalence and Parvovirus, what's called the DA2P, or DHP Parvovirus vaccine at six to eight weeks of age and then had it boosted every two to three weeks for a total of four sets of DA2P Parvo vaccinations. The oral Bordetella, or "kennel cough vaccination" should be given around six to eight weeks or as soon as possible thereafter. Rabies vaccination is given as early as 12 weeks of age, is boosted in a year, then every one to three years depending on the type of rabies vaccine used.


There are other vaccines that are called non-core vaccines depending upon the puppy's risk of exposure. One important one in the Katy area is the leptospirosis vaccine. Leptospirosis is a bad bacterial disease spread by rodents and wild animals in their urine. Puppies can pick it up licking on the ground or drinking standing water, and it is also potentially contagious to people. The leptospirosis bacteria damages the liver and kidneys, and it's a very heartbreaking situation when puppies get it, or adult dogs get it, so we want to give the leptospirosis vaccine depending on the risk of exposure, which with most dogs in the Katy area is very high.


Lyme disease vaccination is to protect against a tick-borne bacterial disease called Lyme disease. Many of you may have heard of that. It's particularly common in the Northeast and mid Atlantic States, but it does occur in Texas and if your puppy's going to travel other areas where there are ticks and there is endemic Lyme disease, we definitely want to vaccinate your puppy against Lyme disease. That's especially important with hunting dogs.


Question: Can my puppy go outside or be around other dogs before vaccines are finished?


Thank you for asking that. That is a critical point. Remember we talked about Distemper and Parvoviruses being deadly viruses. This is why. Please follow this golden rule until your puppy has had four sets and Distemper, Parvo, vaccination, please, please, please keep that puppy in the house and backyard only. We have zero immunity until we've had those four sets of shots, so house and backyard only. Now other puppies or dogs that are current on the shots can come over to visit your puppy at your home. You can also take your puppy to a puppy class, such as Rover Oaks Pet Resort across the street where all of the dogs are properly immunized and the areas disinfected. This helps socialize your puppy to other people and animals during his period of socialization, which starts at six to eight weeks of age.


Question: What happens if I miss a vaccine, or my puppy misses a vaccine?


No problem. We just start up again. Let's say you get your first sock shot at six to eight weeks of age and then you forget you're coming in at 16 weeks, then we'll just start the series then and do three more shots, two to three weeks apart.


Question: Great, and are there any puppy vaccines that are required by law?


The only one required by law is the rabies vaccination.


Question: On another subject, when should I have my puppy spayed or neutered?


That's very important. Why spay or neuter? The spaying and neutering is done to prevent, obviously, unwanted reproduction. With male dogs it will help prevent roaming and aggression behaviors and also male dogs are prone to diseases of the prostate and testicles, so neutering will help prevent that. When to neuter a male dog depends on the breed. For your larger breeds, like Labrador retrievers and German shepherds, I personally think they get better orthopedic development if you wait until a year of age. Traditionally puppies will be neutered or castrated as early as eight weeks of age in a shelter, sometime around six months of age in most practices, and like I say with the larger breeds, we'll wait until about a year of age. For female dogs, typically we will spay the dog or remove the ovaries and uterus around six months of age. You can do it a little bit earlier.


Some shelters do as early as eight weeks just to be sure that surgery has been done, or you can do it up to a year of age. The reason to spay is to prevent, obviously unwanted reproduction, heat cycles, which involves bleeding and that happens every six to 12 months and will last for about a few weeks and then mammary or breast cancer, which is very common in dogs, in fact, more common in dogs than in humans, and then also infection to the uterus, which is a common emergency we see here since we provide 24 hour emergency care, we get female dogs come in that have not been spayed and they have an infected uterus.


Question: Do you recommend I get my puppy a microchip?


Yes. We're going to go over that in another video, but micro chipping is very important. It's safe. It doesn't hurt to put it in. It's about the size of a grain of rice and it provides a permanent identification. If a dog is lost and has a microchip, it has a 50% chance of returning home. If a cat is lost and as a microchip it has a 30% chance of returning home. If a pet has lost and has no microchip, it has less than a 5% chance of returning to its owner.

Your Dog's Annual Physical Exam

Taking an active role in a dog wellness program begins with visits to the veterinarian for periodic physical exams. The physical exam is a comprehensive assessment of your dog's health. Because your dog cannot talk, we rely on the owners to provide us with key information to help us to assess your dog's health. Our veterinarians will ask you specific questions and your answers will help guide the examination to assess overall health and reveal developing health issues that can easily go unnoticed. Based on age, health status and pre-existing conditions, some dogs require a physical exam annually, and others semi-annually (every six months). During the physical exam, your veterinarian will review various aspects of your dog's health, including:

After the physical exam, our veterinarian will discuss with you the findings and what, if anything, should be done to keep your dog in optimal health.

The Effect Of Proper Nutrition On Dog Wellness

Overall dog health and quality of life depend heavily on the amount and type of food consumed on a daily basis. Low quality dog food, and treats high in fat or sugar can negatively affect your canine companion physically, emotionally and mentally. This is why dogs of all ages and life stages can benefit from a sound nutrition program, including:

  • Puppies: Generally speaking, puppies may need increased frequency of feeding and more proteins and fats
  • Adult Dogs: Concern for weight management, breed specific and lifestyle specific nutrition choices
  • Senior Dogs: Many senior dogs have health concerns that may require specific nutritional choices

It is important to understand that the above bullet points are meant to demonstrate that the nutritional needs of dogs do change through different stages of life. However, it is also important to understand that the above bullet points are not meant to serve as the basis for the nutritional program for your dog. There are many factors that must be considered when creating a nutritional plan for a dog, including breed, age, health conditions and more. This is why you should discuss the nutritional needs of your dog with a veterinarian at your next appointment.

Other considerations when choosing a diet include:

  • The best canned or kibble diet for the breed, age and activity level
  • Items ok to add to your dog's food - i.e. some cooked veggies
  • Supplements - what you may be using and what our vets want you to consider using
  • Healthy dog snacks
  • What to avoid feeding your dog

Many clients are afraid or embarrassed to discuss what they feed their dog with a veterinarian. You should always be open and honest with your veterinarian about what you are actually feeding your dog. We are happy to discuss any supplements or treats you may be using and it will help us have a complete picture of your dog's health. This is a great topic for discussion that can allow us to partner with you and take a team approach to optimizing your dog's health. Some of your "people" food may even be a great addition to your dog's diet. However, let us help you to determine the type and amount that is best.

For more information on dog nutrition, visit the dog nutrition page.

Dog Dental Care

Your dog's oral health is key for maintaining overall health. Dental disease is generally gradual and dogs adjust to living with oral pain and will not show signs they are uncomfortable. It is difficult for owners to know when their dog has dental disease or oral pain. For this reason, an important part of the physical exam is an oral exam. During this part of the exam, we will look at the teeth, tongue and oral cavity. The unfortunate reality is that periodontal disease affects most dogs by age 4-5.

Some of the possible dental conditions which can affect your dog include:

  • Malocclusion
  • Tooth Loss/broken teeth
  • Mouth Sores and Ulcers
  • Gingivitis
  • Periodontal Disease

This is why periodic and thorough dental care is essential to your dog's overall health. A thorough oral cleaning is something you should trust to your veterinarian every 6-12 months, but brushing can be performed on your canine companion in the comfort of your home. You can also help facilitate good dog health by providing toys and treats formulated to help strengthen and/or clean your dog's teeth and gums.

For more information on dental care for dogs, visit the dog dental care page.

Protecting Your Dog From Fleas And Ticks

Fleas and ticks are a great nuisance to your dog and family. These pesky insects cause discomfort and can carry disease to your dog and possibly to your family. While these parasites are common, it is our goal that your pet never has to experiences the irritation fleas and ticks cause. We can work with you to set up a preventive plan to avoid infestation of your pet and your home. We will help to customize a plan for your dog based upon the dog's lifestyle, number and type of pets in the household. There are so many flea and tick products on the market. They are not all created equal and some are not effective and even dangerous. Our doctors and staff are very knowledgeable about these parasites and the best way to prevent them. Part of the annual physical exam is developing and managing the best flea and tick treatment plan for your dog.

For more information on flea and tick prevention for dogs, visit the dog flea and tick page.

What You Should Know About Dog Vaccinations

Vaccinations are a foundational and critically important part of the preventive care plan. The vaccinations we recommend will prevent diseases that, while not common, are still a serious threat to the health, longevity and quality of life of your dog. The only reason they are not common is because of the excellent vaccines we have to protect your dog and hopefully the rest of the dogs that your dog will come into contact with. When owners stop vaccinating, we see a resurgence of these very deadly diseases.

Generally, a vaccine protocol consists of a series of immunizations given to your dog as a puppy, boosters at one year and then periodically throughout its lifetime.

Although the rabies vaccine is the only vaccination currently required by law in most states, we strongly recommend making sure your canine companion is up to date on all of its core and non-core vaccinations. Your veterinarian can help determine a vaccination schedule as part of your dog health program based specifically on the lifestyle, geographic location and pre-existing medical conditions of your dog.

For more information on vaccinations, visit the Dog Vaccines Page.

Heartworm Prevention For Dogs

Heartworm is another very important core of the preventative healthcare for all dogs. Heartworm is a deadly but completely and easily preventable disease. Heartworms spread through dogs via bites from infected mosquitoes. Living in TX, mosquitoes are present throughout the spring, summer and early fall months and can even live inside during the winter. For this reason, we recommend prevention 12 months of the year.

There are a number of medications that are highly effective and commonly used across the veterinary industry. We will help you determine which product is the safest, most cost effective for you, and most effective for your dog.

For more information on heartworm prevention for dogs, visit the dog heartworm page.

Intestinal Parasites In Dogs

Canine intestinal parasites, commonly referred to as "worms", are one of the most common conditions seen in both young puppies and adult dogs. Dogs can contract worms by:

  • Ingesting eggs (most commonly stepping in feces and licking paws later)
  • Passed from the mother during gestation
  • Consuming an intermediate host like a flea or a small animal

Furthermore, some worms can infect human beings, making intestinal parasites a health issue for dogs and humans alike. Our veterinary team can prescribe a preventive program to help your dog remain parasite free, and implement a treatment program to fight off any existing infestation.

Puppy Care

One of the greatest joys in life is having a cuddly, cute puppy to have and hold, but it can also be stressful for people who are unsure of how to properly care for a puppy. It is important for you come to see us as soon as you get your puppy so we can set you on the right path as soon as possible both with preventive care and puppy training. Plan to spend at least one hour in your first visit. During this first visit we will give your puppy a complete physical exam, update all necessary vaccines, provide deworming medication and spend time educating you on your puppy's needs.

Our puppy health care services include:

  • Periodic Wellness Exams
  • Vaccinations
  • Puppy Nutrition
  • Behavior/Potty Training
  • Planning for Spaying and Neutering

For more information on puppy care, visit the puppy care page.

Senior Dog Care Screen

Having a senior dog can be relaxing and rewarding. Most senior dogs have settled into a gentle routine and require less exercise. We love senior dogs for their calm demeanor and the elderly wisdom they can bring to our lives. It is our goal to help your senior dog age gracefully and comfortably.

At All Pets Animal Hospital & 24 Hour Emergency Care, we understand that the experience of caring for older dogs can be a tremendously rewarding one that enhances and enriches the lives of dogs themselves, as well as their human caretakers. Therefore, we offer a full array of senior dog health care services, including:

  • Senior Dog Wellness Exams
  • Nutritional Consultation
  • Body Condition Evaluations
  • Dental Care
  • Pain assessments and pain management
  • Exercise/Activity Recommendations
  • Vaccinations

Pain Management

No dog should be allowed to suffer when their pain can be easily managed. Our pain management services can significantly improve the quality of life for many dogs who are experiencing pain associated with a wide variety of conditions. Our veterinarians will work with you and your dog to develop a unique pain management plan that best serves his or her individual needs. Our dog health pain management plans may include one or more of the following modalities:

  • Medication
  • Complementary Treatments
    • Acupuncture
    • Laser Therapy
    • Massage
  • Lifestyle Recommendations
    • Raised Food Bowls
    • Softer Bedding
    • More Exercise

Scheduling An Appointment To Develop A Preventive Care Regimen For Your Dog

Scheduling an appointment to develop a preventive care regimen for your dog is as easy as picking up the phone, or filling out the contact form on our website. Our staff is here to help make your trip to the vet as easy as possible for you, and enjoyable your canine companion!

Schedule A Veterinary Appointment For Your Dog Today!

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