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You are here: myPetSmart.com > Pet Care Library > Articles > Dog Health Care

Dog Health Care

PetSmart Brent Carroll, DVM - Banfield, the Pet Hospital®

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A healthy, nutritious diet builds a foundation for well-being and disease prevention throughout your Pet's life. As a dog ages, their nutritional needs change; for example, a puppy needs a diet high in calories and protein to maintain its active lifestyle and to grow healthy bones and muscles. An older dog may need a diet restricted in calories and supplemented with fiber for optimum weight and gastrointestinal health.

Vaccinations protect dogs from many viral predators, including parvovirus, coronavirus, adenovirus, parainfluenza virus, giardia, and distemper. These organisms cause a wide range of disease symptoms, from sneezing to bloody diarrhea and death. Just like a child, your puppy needs to be protected at an early age and given boosters as an adult.

Parasite Control
Many types of worms can affect your Pet, and some can be contagious to you and your family. Worms attach to the intestinal lining, causing painful diarrhea or life-threatening conditions. They also compete for your Pet's nutrients, stunting growth and depriving your Pet of energy. Worms live inside your Pet, so it may not be obvious that your dog is suffering an infestation.

Giardia is one of these microscopic parasites that can invade your Pet's digestive system. Left untreated, the infection may cause your Pet to become increasingly debilitated and susceptible to other infections. There is a risk it is transmitted between Pets and humans, making you subject to the same health threats as your Pets.

The giardia vaccine is invaluable to all Pets. The vaccine protects your dog from harm, and guards against spreading an infestation from your dog to the people in your household.

Along with vaccinations, routine deworming, and fecal checks, providing your puppy with a heartworm preventive will decrease the likelihood that your Pet will be infected with a worm that can cause fatal heartworm disease. To ensure that no infection has occurred, we recommend testing your Pet's blood for heartworm every year.

During your dog's life, you'll make many important healthcare decisions. One of the best choices you can make is to spay or neuter your dog. Scheduling this important surgery early in your Pet's life helps prevent many future problems, among them cancer of the reproductive organs; such behavior problems as fighting, roaming, and marking; and Pet overpopulation.

Spays (which are technically known as ovariohysterectomies) and neuters are routine and generally safe, but they are major surgeries that require general anesthesia and an all-day stay. Spays and neuters are usually performed when the Pet is 4 to 6 months old. Your veterinarian should discuss all surgical options with you and help you pick the right time for your Pet.

Routine Check-Ups
Think about the regular care you receive throughout your lifetime from pediatricians, dentists, physicians, allergists, ophthalmologists, and so on. Why settle for anything less for your Pet? Now think about the fact that Pets age an average of seven years for every one of ours--and it's clear why regular care is so critical. Your Pet should receive a comprehensive physical exam every six months. A regular check-up lets you know if your Pet needs deworming, grooming, training, dental care, a change in diet, or special testing or care. Give your Pet the regular care it needs--and the best chance to live a long, happy life with you!


To learn more about Banfield, the Pet Hospital, visit www.banfield.net.

Use our store locator to find a Banfield at a PetSmart store near you.

© Banfield 2002.11 HOEP #81001

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