Being a dog owner comes with its fair share of responsibilities, to include making sure Fido stays healthy and lives a quality life. But dogs are susceptible to getting sick just like the rest of us, with the most recent threat being Canine Influenza. You may be surprised to learn that many of the necessary precautions that can keep your dog free from illness are things you’re already doing for yourself on a human level.
Guarding Against The Canine Epidemic
Canine Influenza is a highly contagious viral infection that causes coughing, sneezing, eye/nose discharge, lethargy, and lack of appetite. It’s transmitted by secretions from coughing, sneezing, or barking dogs, which is why it’s so easy to catch. The virus can stay alive on surfaces for up to 48 hours, clothing for 24 hours, and hands for 12 hours. Implementing thorough disinfection procedures is crucial if you think you or your dog have been in contact with the virus. But instead of waiting for a crisis, make it a priority to prevent Canine Influenza in the first place.
- Keep your dog away from other dogs. While this may be difficult, keep in mind that transmission can occur with contact as simple as sniffing.
- Wash your hands and change your clothes after being in contact with other dogs.
- Disinfect objects and hard surfaces other dogs interacted with — remember the 48-hour rule.
- If you have a dog that spends regular time around other dogs at a park or kennel, get a vaccination, but be wary of bringing her to an environment where there have been other sick dogs.
- If you think your dog caught the flu, isolate her for at least two weeks to prevent other dogs from catching the virus and to keep the rest of your home germ-free.
- When taking dog to the vet to confirm whether she has been infected, ask if she can be examined in the car so that other dogs don’t become sick, too.
Other Common Dog Diseases
According to the ASPCA, other common diseases that plague dogs include cancer, ringworm, diabetes, heartworm, diabetes, kennel cough, rabies, and parvovirus. While some diseases like cancer may be unavoidable, you should still talk to your vet about what preventative measures you can take to keep your dog healthy for the long term.
Maintain A Regular Health Routine
At the very least, the following should be a regular part of your dog’s lifestyle.
- Dental care: While the best way to keep your dog’s teeth clean is with canine-approved toothbrush and toothpaste, when time is of the essence, wipes work in a pinch. Giving your dog a natural or synthetic chew toy that’s VOHC-approved (Veterinary Oral Health Council) can help clean plaque and tartar on the daily without any hassle.
- Flea control: Monthly topicals are the best way to prevent fleas, but if it’s too late, you must implement a complete flea control program that involves removing fleas from both indoor and outdoor environments, as well as your dog.
- Grooming: The average cost of a grooming session can range anywhere between $25 and $75 depending on the size of the dog and the current market where you live. If you can’t swing grooming on a regular basis, purchase some basic supplies and do it yourself at least once a month. Keep in mind that it might be tricky to get your dog to cooperate for tedious tasks like nail cutting and ear cleaning — which is one of the reasons many owners like to leave it to a pro.
- Proper diet: Nutritional needs are truly dependent on the size, age, and health status of your dog, so ask your vet for advice.
Remember, a dog is like an extension of the family, so make sure you’re doing everything you can to ensure your pooch lives a long and happy life. But there’s no need to be a mind reader. Establish a good relationship with a vet you trust and stay on top of regular visits and vaccinations. Doing so ensures both you and your furry friend can enjoy the friendship of a lifetime.
About the Author
Cindy Aldridge is a dog enthusiast who enjoys blogging about new furry additions in your home. Check out her blog at Our Dog Friends to learn more about your loyal companions.
Photo Credit: Pixabay