As well as making sure your dog lives a happy and fulfilling life, you will want to make sure your dog is vaccinated against disease, regularly treated against parasites, seen by a vet when ill or injured, probably microchipped and most likely neutered. An annual health check is an important and easy way of making sure your dog stays fit and well.
General dog care
Puppies are typically vaccinated at 8 and 10 weeks of age. Booster vaccinations are required annually to keep your pet protected and evidence of up to date vaccinations are usually required if your dog goes to stay at a kennels.
Your dog needs vaccinating against Parvovirus, Distemper, Adenovirus (Infectious Canine Hepatitis), Leptospirosis (Weil's Disease) and sometimes kennel cough. The biggest infection risk to dogs in the Isle of Man is leptospirosis which can be picked up by sniffing, drinking or swimming in water contaminated by rodents. It can also be transmitted to humans and annual vaccinations are needed to keep your dog protected.
Neutering can help reduce the huge number of unwanted pets, prevent illnesses, some unwanted behaviours and is a simple way to make your dog calmer and happier.
The Operation should be straightforward - carried out under general anaesthetic and animals usually recover quickly.
What is neutering?
Male animals are castrated — this means the testicles are removed. This is usually done between 6-12 months of age although it can be done at any age.
Female animals are spayed — this means the womb and the ovaries are removed. Timing is very important and the operation is usually best done 2-3 months after a season.
Why should I neuter my dog?
Neutering can have many benefits on top of reducing the unwanted dog population:
- Pregnancy can pose significant health risks for your pet and cause her discomfort.
- Castration or spaying reduces the risk of some cancers developing.
- Spaying also stops bitches suffering from potentially fatal womb infections (pyometra).
- Females can bleed for up to three weeks when in season so neutering avoids the inconvenience and mess of this. During this time they may also act strangely, sometimes try to run away and will need to be kept away from males.
- Male dogs behaviour can change greatly when a local bitch is in season and they often become desperate to escape. Neutering males can stop this as well as helping with aggressive and unwanted sexual behaviour and reduce urine marking.
- Neutering prevents the unnecessary costs of unplanned pregnancies and raising puppies.
- Plus it reduces the likelihood of vet's bills associated with certain illness and accidents caused by unruly behaviour.
Will neutering make my dog put on weight?
No, as long as they are fed sensibly and get enough exercise neutering shouldn't mean that your pet will put on weight. We will give appropriate advice on diet following the operation.
How much does it cost?
The cost varies a lot depending on the size and sex of your dog. Please contact us for more information.
The two most common types of intestinal worms that dogs get are tapeworms and roundworms. Tapeworms are generally transmitted to dogs by fleas and eating raw or undercooked meat. Roundworms are the most common intestinal parasites in dogs and most puppies are infected from their mother before they are born. Eggs from these worms can remain infective in the environment for a long time and can be a health risk to young children.
Puppies should be wormed frequently for roundworms and adult dogs should be treated every 3 to 6 months for both roundworms and tapeworms.
Dogs can pick up lungworms from slugs or snails. This is an uncommon problem in the isle of man but if your dog has a tendancy to eat these slimy 'treats' then regular treatment for lungworms is recommended.
We are always happy to advise on how frequently and which worming treatment would best suit your dog.
Fleas are an external parasite. Flea bites make your dog (and you) uncomfortable and itchy. Some dogs are hypersensitive to flea saliva and suffer an allergic reaction and young or frail dogs may be weakened by the fleas feeding on their blood. Flea larvae can also become infected with tapeworm eggs, so your dog could become infected with intestinal tapeworms by ingesting a flea while grooming. If your dog has fleas you should also treat it for worms.
The vast majority of flea eggs and larvae live in the environment (commonly soft furnishings in your home) so if your dog gets fleas you will need to treat your home as well. Treating your pets for fleas as a preventative measure can save a lot of effort trying to kill fleas that have set up home in your home! Ask us for advice on the best flea treatment for your dog.
Ticks are parasites that have special mouth parts and saliva to allow them to attach themselves to a host and feed on their blood for several days. As well as being uncomfortable and irritating to your pet, they can carry and transmit other diseases to their host animal. Unfed ticks are tiny, but can swell up to the size of a pea after a few days' feeding. Ticks must be carefully removed to avoid leaving the mouth parts behind buried in the skin. We are happy to remove ticks and advise on prevention.
It may well be worth insuring your dog in case of an accident or illness resulting in unexpected vets bills. Many pet insurance policies will also pay for complimentary therapies like physiotherapy or acupuncture that are recommended by your vet and some costs relating to finding your dog if they go missing.
Osteoarthritis is very common in older dogs. The commonest sign is stiffness or lameness when first getting up in the morning, but reluctance to exercise or generally slowing down can also be signs that they are sore. Sometimes this can lead to reduced interaction with people or other dogs and it can make them less tolerant.
Treatments include Non Steroidal Anti-Inflammatory Drugs (NSAIDs), joint supplements (eg glucosamine), weight control and acupuncture can be very helpful.
Heated beds, regular controlled exercise, hydrotherapy or physiotherapy can also make a big difference.
If you are concerned your pet is showing signs of arthritis please get in touch and see what we can do to help them get their bounce back!
Some dog disesases
Roughly 1 in 500 dogs are estimated to suffer from diabetes. If your dog urinates frequently, drinks a lot of water and is losing weight despite eating more than usual it is worth asking the vet to check for diabetes (or other health problems that may have the same symptoms).
More information can be found on pet-diabetes.co.uk.
A dog that is 20% over its ideal body weight is classed as obese. The ideal body weight for a dog depends on breed, age, and other factors. Obesity puts your pet at a higher risk of other health problems such as diabetes, arthritis, decreased liver function, heart and lung disease and will decrease their quality and length of life.