Dog Health Care, Veterinary Care.

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Veterinary Care

Choosing your pup’s “personal physician” takes time and research. The vet will be one of the most important in your puppy’s life, so chose carefully.

You will want to take your new puppy for a first checkup after bringing her home. A puppy can appear healthy at first, but may have a serious problem that is not immediately apparent. Many pets have some minor condition that may never become a real problem. Unfortunately, if the dog does have a serious problem, you may want to consider returning the pet, especially if you have children, because attachments will be formed that may have to be broken prematurely.

At the first visit, the veterinarian will check your pet's overall health, which includes listening to the heart; checking the respiration; feeling the abdomen, muscles, and joints; checking the mouth, including the gum color and signs of gum disease as well as plaque buildup; checking the ears for signs of an infection or ear mites; examining the eyes; and, last but not least, checking the condition of the skin and coat.

An annual veterinary checkup (plus visits as needed for illness or injury) is the best way to keep your dog healthy from nose to tail. Although you know your dog best, your veterinarian will often see or feel things that you might miss. Your veterinarian also has specialized instruments to fully examine your dog.

During the annual checkup, you and your veterinarian should discuss the following aspects of your dog's health:

  • Physical condition
  • Vaccination status
  • Parasite control
  • Dental health
  • Nutrition
  • Behavior

During the exam, the veterinarian will listen to your dog's heart and res¬piration rate; examine the eyes and ears; palpate (examine by touch) the body to check the condition of the internal organs and make sure there are no unusual lumps or bumps; and test your dog's joint and muscle condition by moving his legs to check his range of motion. You will also want to bring in a stool sample so the veterinarian can examine it for the presence of parasites.