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Dog Care Tips!

by Laurie. B
(IL)

I'd like to share some important care tips for dog breeds. I am a vet tech at a small clinic in IL and these are some of the most common questions and personal opinions.

Ear cleaning: there are some very good tips on this website. To roughly go over some points. I would STRONGLY recommend getting ear cleaning solution from a vet. Some ear solutions contain perfumes and alcohol that could do more harm then good. It does not cost much more and can help a lot. Mineral oil is a VERY good way to get dirt and wax out of your pets ear. Followed by cleaning up with the solution. The steps on this page are exactly how I'd recommend. Once a week is ideal. Any more then that for a period of time could actually dry your dogs ears out and cause problems. Taking all these precautions does not mean your dog will not get an infection. Less likely to get them is more accurate. An ear that is infected has a odor to it. Personally, I recommend taking your dog into the vet right away. The sooner you catch it the cheaper it is. Also if you try to clear the infection yourself and it does not work, you'll be spending more money. Ear infections are nothing to mess with. Painful and dangerous. The infections can spread from the ear and/or cause a hematoma in the ear. The standard procedure to treat this is VERY expensive.

Teeth - brushing a dog's teeth is very important. Until recently this has not been a common concern for dog owners. Bad teeth can cause infections in the mouth, and more serious problems. If you think about it, your dog is ingesting that disgusting plaque and bacteria and it goes through his blood stream and affects the heart, liver, and kidneys. Abscess teeth is another huge problem. Just because you can't see it does not mean it's not there. You WOULD notice an abscess on the exterior of your dog. So daily brushing is a good habit. There are bones and treats designed for teeth. Do NOT use human toothpaste or any human tooth products on a dog. They say a yearly dental is a good habit. With the economy like it is, for most dog owners that is out of the question. So keep up with brushing! When you can easily afford a dental on your dog have it done. Your vet will gladly explain the standard procedure. Just a heads up many vets include pre-surgical blood work into your surgical bill. Make sure you understand what's included on the bill before you take your dog in. The quote does not always include bloodwork and medications.

Heartworm - is heartworm a serious threat? YES. Many many many people do not understand this. Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes. Heartworm is a parasitic worm. A very deadly worm. Worms living in your heart is a very serious problem. And heartworm is common. That is why a yearly test and year round heartworm medication is your pet's best option. It's not something to poke around with or cut corners or ignore all together. Take this seriously. Heartworm medication must be stored in certain conditions. Because of this buying heartworm products online presents a risk. The companies do not stand behind the products if purchased online. I've seen name "brand" heartworm and flea medication purchased from a common online supplier and the box did not have the product's company name on it anywhere. There are alternatives to the name brand "pricey" medications. Ask your vet to try to match the prices you see online or simply ask them to order a generic version of the medication that is still guaranteed. Don't fall into this online trend. This is a very strong recommendation. Find another way to save the money.

Fleas - Flea collars are a thing of the past. Don't waste your money. It's best to buy your flea treatments from a vet. Buying from a store has a lot of risks. We had many cases of a serious skin rash caused by a common flea treatment purchased in the pet isle of most stores. They have amazing treatments now that can kill all fleas in 24 hours and last for a month or longer and all it takes is dripping a few drops between your pets shoulder blades. You can put your mind at ease - not worrying that maybe you didn't get them all.

- It is always good to buy a lot of your pets hygiene supplies from a vet. I see so many dogs getting weird rashes or allergic reactions to a lot of shampoos.
- How often can i bathe my dog? Once a week at the most. If you do bathe them once a week you should really use a shampoo from a vet and make sure you rinse very well.
- Always ask your vet what you're paying for. I've stated previously. Surgical blood work, medications, hospitalization, and other things are not usually added on to your quote over the phone. They would rather you make an appointment and come in. "You can spay my dog for 100 bucks?! that's great!" Then you get the other fee's. are all of them recommended/needed? yes! I'm just making this statement so your prepared for the bill and also when looking around for the best prices. Always get a second opinion!
- If your dog is bitten. Do NOT try to treat it yourself. We get case after case of people doing this. It's terrible. Bite marks are puncture wounds. Why do I say the obvious? Because you can treat the outside and clean it real good but you almost never get under the skin. What looks small on the outside can turn into a huge out of control infection in the matter of days. One case in particular. Someones dog got bitten both canines punctured the neck. Barely could see the 2 tiny little holes. The victim was a big overweight Rottweiler. The owners were very nice people. They treated it with peroxide and neosporin a few times a day. After 5 days they brought the dog in and it was just awful. We had to cut so much rotten flesh/fat tissue from the dogs neck. 2 incisions about 6 inches long and all the fat tissue around it was cut out. $900 later what could have been prevented with a trip to the vet. Some cleanser topical and oral antibiotics which might run you $150 depending on the dog.

I hope you found some of my tips useful.

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Mar 03, 2009
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Thanks for the Tips!
by: Virginia from just-basset-hounds.com

Good tips.

I buy all prescribed medications from my vet including heartworm and flea / tick prevention. I'm sure there are reputable places to buy prescriptions online. But, I haven't had time to do any research into which are good and which are not - so I play it safe and always buy prescriptions from my vet. I wouldn't buy prescriptions for myself from a questionable source (or one that I had not checked out) and would not do that for my dog either.

I buy other pet supplies either online or at a pet store. I haven't had any problems with any products such as shampoo that I have bought. But, I agree if your dog is having a problem with sensitive skin or any other problems then get it checked.

Thanks again for the tips.

Mar 01, 2009
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i forgot!
by: Laurie.B

I forgot to mension about the serious threat of Lymes disease in dogs. If you live in an area where Lymes is a problem getting your dog vaccinated for it i strongly recommend! Humans get Lymes and it can be hard to tell that you have it. Imagine figuring that out on a animal patient. Lymes tests are being pushed into the vet feild as part of the annual checkup. They can check for it when you get the heartworm test done, just ask there is a additional fee. Otherwise consider the vaccination. I get it on all of my dogs because i live in a forest which is home to a herd of deer. It just takes that one tick! even though they are treated with a monthly does that protects agains fleas and ticks that doesnt mean they wont get a bite off before they die.


- also fleas are one of the main ways tapeworms are transmitted to your dog! so if you have a flea problem you have a very high chance of having a tapeworm problem. Very high chance. Lucky for us tapeworm is relatively easy to spot! Its good to have a fecal test done annually anyway.

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