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.