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A Health Maintenance Program for Your Pet

Birth – 1 Year (Puppy Stage)

In the first year of life, dogs and cats require a lot of special care. Vaccinations are required at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age, even if your pet does not go outdoors! Since young pets have a tendency to get worm infections repeatedly, fecal tests may be needed two or three times. It is also a good idea to start all dogs and cats on preventative heartworm medication because it’s easier to prevent than to treat.

To improve your pet's health, a high quality diet should be given with good vitamin supplements. At this stage, frequent feedings are recommended. Some pets may need extra attention with brushing and grooming depending on their coat. Brush your pet’s coat often so it doesn’t become matted. Their first visit to a groomer can be done at 3 months of age and every 6-8 weeks as required. Also, just like humans, your pet will need to have their teeth brushed frequently. Start teeth brushing training while your pet is still young, to help reduce cavities and tartar build up.

At 6 month of age we advise spaying or neutering for all pets not intended for breeding. There are significant medical reasons for this including reducing the occurrence of cancer and infections. Regular dental scaling is also recommended. This involves general anesthesia, dental polishing, and fluoride application to reduce cavities. Microchipping can also be done in conjunction with either of the previous procedures. This is a good idea as it provides a fast and reliable way to reunite lost pets with their owners.

1-7 Years (Adult Stage)

Starting at one year of age, your pet will require annual physical exams, regular vaccinations, and other tests including fecal tests, urinalysis, and blood tests. We must stress that even pets that do not go outdoors are able to get viruses such as Distemper, and parasites such as fleas. That is why all dogs should have a heartworm test done each spring, and be put on preventative heartworm medication for the mosquito season. Likewise, cats should be given heartworm medication every year during the mosquito season.

This period of your pet’s life is a period of little growth, so a good maintenance diet is recommended. Dental care is also important. Most dogs and cats require full dental cleaning, polishing, and fluoride application every 6 months to 2 years. Don’t forget to continue good grooming practices! Let’s keep that beautiful coat healthy and tangle-free!

Illness can begin at any point during your pet's life, so watch for signs of problems. These include changes in drinking or eating habits, urination, bowel movements, weight, and energy level. Any sign of itchiness, rash, loss of fur, lameness, and discharge from the eyes, nose, ears or rectum are also causes for concern. When in doubt, do not hesitate to call us!

7 Years Plus (Senior Stage)

These are the years when their metabolism slows down, their organ function slowly diminishes, and growths or cancers become more common. As earlier, we advise annual physical exams, regular vaccinations and other tests like a fecal test. At this stage, annual veterinary care are recommended for senior pets. We tailor each Geriatric exam to fit the risks associated with your pet’s age and condition, which may be any or all of the following: blood screening, EKG, X-rays, and/or urinalysis. The aim is to find and treat any ailments early, before they become serious.

Significant periodontal disease is said to be present in as high as 85% of the dog and cat population. Have your pet’s teeth cleaned every 6 months to 2 years to prevent pain, tooth loss, and secondary organ disease.

Your pet should be switched onto a Geriatric diet at this stage to reduce the burden on their liver and kidneys. Continue with heartworm prevention each year and grooming as required. Take special note of any lumps, bumps or warts that appear, and notify your veterinarian and groomer about these. 

If you have any questions, please give us a call at Erindale Animal Hospital: 905-232-8383

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