Sunday, September 10, 2006

Is Your Dog Ready for Summer?

By Randy Jones and Brent Jones
Summer is almost here and if you haven't already done so, you should make sure your dog is ready for another season out of doors. Most pet owners spend a good deal of time outside during the Spring and Summer months, taking their pets along to share in the fun, but also exposing them to fleas, ticks, and other animals that can be carriers of rabies and other diseases.

Every dog should be permanently protected from distemper, infectious hepatitis, and leptospirosis. These vaccines are now generally combined in one single inoculation. From the age of 6 months, all dogs should also be protected from rabies. Most vaccines are effective for one year, although the latest rabies shot is good for four. They are almost 100 percent effective when administered on schedule, but worthless if exposure to risk is maintained after the protection has expired.

After your initial visit, you will normally need to take your dog to the vet only once a year to keep his immunization up to date. During this annual visit, ask him to give your dog a through examination, including checkup of his:

-teeth (removing tartar if necessary)
-anal glands (emptying them if necessary)
-nails (clipping them if necessary)
-stool (if you think he may have worms)

Females need more regular attention than males, especially if they are bred. When you wish to travel with your dog, you will be prepared for any state, federal, or international requirement if you ask your vet for a certificate of good health, and make sure that his vaccinations are in order before you leave. Normally, a sound dog needs no more veterinary attention than this. However, you may take him to the vet on other occasions due to accidents or illness.

As you get to know your dog, you will be able to distinguish between passing symptoms of no importance, chronic minor disorders, and the indications of disease and infection. Among the symptoms that warrant a visit to the vet are:

-A temperature over 102 degrees, or under 100 that lasts for more than 24 hours, or a temperature as high as 104, or as low as 99
-Acute pain for which there is no logical explanation.
-Bloody urine
-Blood in the stool more than once
-A discharge of yellow mucus from the eyes or nose
-Persistent vomiting, coughing, or refusal to ear for more than 24 hours
-If your dog simply looks and acts really sick

A visit to the vet will at least ease your anxiety, if only because the vet can judge better than you whether or not there are allied symptoms that would indicate a more serious illness. Have a great summer!

Randy Jones and his partner Brent Jones have been in the pet industry for a long time. Recently they formed Joncopets.com On the site, customers can read articles about anything pets as well as shop for the latest dog clothes, dog collars, dog carriers and more for their best friend. Feel free to check out the site at http://www.joncopets.com.

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