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New pet know how: your new dog's health

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Spay & nueter - a one-time surgery; a lifetime benefit
The right thing to do for your dog is to spay her (if female) or neuter him (if male). Because they're no longer distracted by the mating cycle, dogs of both sexes tend to make better pets when they are spayed or neutered; this enables them to develop a closer bond with humans. Spaying/neutering is a safe, cost-effective, and socially responsible part of your dog's health care program.

Spay & nueter - a one-time surgery; a lifetime benefit
The right thing to do for your dog is to spay her (if female) or neuter him (if male). Because they're no longer distracted by the mating cycle, dogs of both sexes tend to make better pets when they are spayed or neutered; this enables them to develop a closer bond with humans. Spaying/neutering is a safe, cost-effective, and socially responsible part of your dog's health care program.

What's more, your dog will be healthier in the long run. Spaying eliminates the possibility of uterine or ovarian cancers in females and greatly reduces the incidence of breast cancer. Neutering reduces the incidence of prostate cancer and prostate disorders in males.

Finally, spayed and neutered dogs are less likely to bite, run away or get into fights, which means they'll live longer and healthier lives.

When an immediate trip to the veterinarian is required
Accidents and illnesses can happen to dogs, even under the care of the most watchful, dedicated Pet Parents. You will need to seek immediate help from your veterinarian or emergency pet clinic if any of the following symptoms occur in your dog:

* Blood in the stool or urine
* Blood or unusual material in vomit
* Difficulty breathing, especially if noisy or gasping
* Choking
* Signs of distress and/or pain when the abdomen is touched
* Severe, forceful diarrhea or vomiting
* Severe or continued pain, as shown by whimpering, unwillingness to move, etc.
* Bleeding that cannot be stopped by a pressure bandage
* Unevenly dilated pupils, especially following a traumatic injury

Exercising for health
Your dog doesn't differentiate between play and exercise. He looks forward to a walk, he loves to run, and there's probably nothing he'd rather do than chase a ball! Many Pet Parents do not give their dogs enough exercise, and this can result in them becoming overweight, bored or destructive.

Different dogs require different amounts of exercise to keep them healthy and content. It's best for Pet Parents to consult a breed book or an accredited PetSmart professional trainer for advice on the amounts and types of exercise that are best for their dog. In general, there are several ways of providing necessary exercise.

Walking on a leash is undoubtedly the most popular way of exercising a dog. Plus, it provides health benefits for both you and your dog! If you are a runner, your dog will love to run with you, unless he is extremely small or has a limiting health problem. It is advisable to plan a run that will have your pet running on soft earth or grass. After all, he's running on his bare feet!

It is not advisable to take your dog with you when you ride your bike. He doesn't understand the concept of wheels and could easily injure himself, or you!

Get set with a good vet
Aside from you and your family, the most important relationship your new dog will develop will be with his health care provider- a good veterinarian.

After bringing your dog home, you should have him checked as soon as possible by a licensed veterinarian, like the ones at Banfield, The Pet Hospital®. You can find a Banfield hospital in more than 250 PetSmart stores across the country. (To locate the Banfield hospital nearest you, call 1-800-768-8858 or visit its website at Banfield.net.) This initial visit is important to ensure your new friend isn't bringing any unwanted guests into your home, such as fleas or worms. Then, make sure to schedule routine appointments at least once a year. During these visits, your veterinarian will give your dog a thorough physical and oral exam, vaccinate him, and answer any pet health questions you may have.

Routine vaccinations are fundamental to preventing diseases that can not only cause sickness, but also result in the death of your dog. Your veterinarian will notify you when your dog's immunizations need to be renewed, and will keep a record of his complete medical history.

The battle of the bugs
A parasite is an organism (usually small to microscopic) that lives in or on another species. Fortunately, there are a number of products available to help you keep your dog healthy, happy and parasite-free. Two of the most common parasites are fleas and ticks.

Fleas are tiny, flat insects that hop, bite and cause irritation. Frequent scratching may be your dog's way of telling you he has fleas. Evidence of "flea dirt" (which looks like grains of black pepper) will most commonly be found at the base of his tail.

Flea treatment products are readily available to eradicate these pests. A Banfield veterinarian or a PetSmart associate can advise you about the many new products that have recently made flea control much more effective.

Ticks are slow-moving parasites, ranging in size from a nail head to a freckle. During warm months, they can attach themselves to your dog's skin and suck blood, swelling in size as they do so. They tend to favor pulse points around the head, neck and ears. Though they do not cause your dog discomfort, ticks can carry serious diseases like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever.

Tick treatment requires coating the tick with petroleum jelly, or soaking it in rubbing alcohol. Use a tweezer to remove a dead tick, and make sure the head pulls free of your dog's skin. Then, dab the area with peroxide or another topical disinfectant. You should also check with your PetSmart PetStylist about using a flea and tick solution, and to see if any other treatment for your home is necessary.

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