How Often Should You Take Your Dog to the Vet?

How Often Should You Take Your Dog to the Vet?

Owning a dog requires a lot of patience, unconditional love, and responsibility. It can also require more money than you may think. Aside from dog food, serving bowls, collars, leashes, brushes, flea treatments, treats, and toys, you will have to factor in the cost of regular veterinary visits. When bringing a new furry friend into your home, it is important you consider all of the time and money it will take to keep your dog healthy and happy.

Young puppies need vaccinations and de-worming treatment as soon as they are a few weeks old. Like human children, puppies will receive a series of vaccinations over the first year of their lives. Viruses such as parvo are highly contagious and can quickly kill a very young dog. It’s important to be on time for all vaccinations if you don’t want to run the risk of losing your new companion to a preventable illness. Depending on where you get your puppy from, they may have some or all of their shots before you bring them home. Be sure to get their vaccination records from the breeder or shelter you are getting the puppy from so you know what they have received and when. This information will also be important to give to the puppy’s new veterinarian.

Whether you bring home a young or older dog, you should set up a veterinary visit as soon as possible for them. Not only can you make sure they are up-to-date on their vaccinations, but the vet can give them a wellness check and make sure they don’t have any surprise diseases or conditions you need to be aware of. Some dogs get very nervous in the vet’s office, so taking them early on and then maintaining a regular schedule of visits can keep them from getting too upset when they have to go in for an illness or emergency.

Aside from necessary vaccinations and the initial vet visit, it is a good idea to take your dog in for a wellness check at least once a year. The veterinarian can make sure teeth, gums, skin, fur, hair, and weight are healthy. They can also check for any illnesses or issues that may not be obviously apparent to you. There are also preventative care services that your dog can receive. Many veterinary offices provide teeth cleaning services which, while expensive, can keep you from having to deal with broken teeth and an infected mouth later on.

Once you set up with a regular vet, they will usually send out reminders throughout the year when it is time to bring your dog back in. The reminders should include what purpose the visit will be for. This will help you keep track of when your dog needs to be seen. It is also a good idea to keep all paperwork in a safe place so you can confirm when they have gone in the past, what services they received, and when they may need to see the veterinarian again.

5 Party Ideas for Celebrating Your Dog’s Next Birthday

5 Party Ideas for Celebrating Your Dog’s Next Birthday

Try something new and fun for your dog’s next birthday! Dogs may not understand birthdays, but they certainly understand kindness, attention, friends and lots of party food. Here are some ideas:

  1. Set up a photo shoot

This is easy to do indoors or out. All you need is a backdrop, which could be a wall and rolls of wrapping paper, decorated or plain tissue paper, colored disposable plastic table cloths, props like big paper hearts for a February birthday or orange pumpkins, witches and black cats for an October birthday dog.

Use wrapping paper taped to the wall for an easy backdrop. Black tissue paper makes a great floor material, but it may shred too easily for heavy use. Party stores sell thin but sturdy plastic disposable tablecloths in a wide array of colors and shapes. These hold up well and look natural for photos. Get a digital camera and start inviting human guests to pose with their canines. Some dogs may even pose on their own. Try adding a large bucket covered with matching wrapping paper to the scene. You might get lucky and be able to snap an extra-cute photo of the birthday dog sitting in the bucket.

Colored bandannas tied loosely around the canine guests’ necks add style to your photos.

  1. Doggie birthday cakes and ice cream

Unlike cats, who have no taste buds capable of recognizing sweet foods, dogs have the same taste buds, for sweet, sour, salty and bitter that humans do. Dogs, and cats this time, also have a special taste bud for water.

However, standard cakes with sugar aren’t good or healthy for dogs. Healthy ingredients like carob, applesauce, bananas, carrots and peanut butter are available at dog cake bakeries. The cakes are beautifully decorated, available for delivery and guaranteed to be a hit with your canine guests.

You can make your own doggie ice cream from simple recipes using applesauce, peanut butter, bananas and yogurt. Carob powder is a dog-safe chocolate alternative found online and in natural foods stores. Its rich flavor is surprisingly similar to chocolate’s.

  1. Some great canine ideas for gifts and games

For gifts, try a dog fountain, thunder shirt, food puzzles, interactive toys and a luxurious dog bed. For games, try providing a kiddie pool filled with cool water if the weather is warm enough. Fill another kiddie pool with tennis balls. If your dog regularly visits a local dog park, consider holding the party there.

You can make a festive tower centerpiece for the occasion using the birthday dog’s favorite treats arranged in a tower shape and held together with dog-friendly frosting.

4. Dress the birthday boy or girl for the occasion

A cute outfit purchased for the occasion online or at the pet store will make your birthday dog stand out. It’s easy to make bow ties with tissue paper and ribbon and simple cone birthday hats with construction paper, ribbon or thin elastic, non-toxic glue and markers. You can also decorate the hats with food-safe colored glitter available at cake decorating stores and online.

5. Make party favors

Fill small decorated bags available online and in party stores with dog treats, small stuffed toys, food puzzles and homemade treats like pupcakes. This way, each canine guest gets to take home a piece of the party to enjoy later!