For thousands of years, dogs have been one of humankind’s most faithful companions. In return for all dogs do for their people, from helping hunt to simply being present with us, the least we can do is make sure our dogs are healthy and happy. And the best way to do that is to ensure you’re having them regularly examined by a trusted veterinarian.
Most people know the basic services offered by veterinarians: spaying and neutering, deworming, and general check-ups are the bread and butter of vets. However, there are a number of services we offer at Hastings Veterinary Hospital that you might not be aware of. These range from little things that are good to know, to potentially life-saving knowledge that could be all the difference for the health of your dog.
1. Dog grooming
When you compare it to more vital services, dog grooming can be easily overlooked. After all, it’s more about aesthetics than it is about health, right? In fact, dog grooming is just as essential to your dog’s health as many other routine services.
For example, brushing your dog’s fur regularly is important to ensure their coat doesn’t get tangled (especially in medium to long haired breeds), dirty, and matted. Brushing and combing also allows more blood flow to the skin, which will help keep their fur shiny and healthy. Our veterinary team can show you the best way to brush your dog out, allowing you to keep up with their grooming needs at home.
The same is true for other grooming and hygiene services.
This also goes for nail clipping, which is a relatively simple process that can be quite challenging if you don’t know exactly how to do it. Veterinary team members can show you the best way to trim your dog’s nails without hurting them or making them feel uncomfortable. You can also start learning now by watching our YouTube videos.
2. Dental care
If you own a dog, you’re intimately familiar with the long list of things to keep track of for their health. However, one thing that tends to slip under the radar for many dog owners is dental care.
The most important and highly recommended dental care for your dog is daily brushing or cleaning of teeth at home. There are many different strategies and product options that your veterinary team will be happy to discuss and recommend.
By the time dogs reach the senior stage of their life, about 80% of them show signs of some kind of dental disease. Not only does this affect their hygiene, but also it can make it more difficult for your dog to eat, and can even develop into more serious health problems of the heart, lungs, or kidney. The best way to avoid these issues altogether is to keep up with regular dental care for your dog.
In addition to recommendations for food that will be healthiest for your dog’s teeth, our veterinarians perform yearly cleanings and check-ups on countless dogs. These are preventative measures, including ultrasonic teeth cleanings, polishing, and fluoride treatments much like the ones we humans receive. After the cleaning, your veterinarian will give you recommendations for dental care and diet that will help keep your dog’s teeth as healthy as possible.
Prior to the widespread use of vaccinations, dogs commonly died at an early age to preventable diseases like hepatitis, distemper, parvovirus, and upper respiratory infections. Thankfully, we now understand that vaccines are a safe and effective way to prevent these diseases, and that’s why ensuring your dog is caught up on their immunizations is so crucial to their health.
Although there are a few diseases that all dogs are vaccinated for, such as rabies, certain vaccines may also be advised by your vet depending on your dog’s environment and lifestyle. It’s a good idea to have an open dialogue with your vet so they can get all the information needed to come up with a vaccine plan for your pet. Furthermore, they’ll put your dog on a vaccine schedule for any booster shots, which ensures they’re never vulnerable to any of the nasty diseases they’re at risk of catching.
4. Check-ups for senior dogs
Although it might seem obvious to some, senior dog care is something that sadly can go overlooked. At Hastings Vet, we’re not only available for urgent and emergency care for your senior dog, but we offer annual check-ups that are specifically suited towards older animals.
As your pet changes, so too will their needs. A veterinarian will know exactly where to look for any health conditions related to aging, as well as make recommendations for adapting their diet, exercise, environment, and general lifestyle to help keep them as healthy and comfortable in their later years as possible.
5. Parasite prevention
Parasites can be very detrimental to the health of your beloved dog. No pet owner wants to see their dog scratching or painful due to an infestation of fleas or ticks. In the metro Vancouver area, fleas are a year-round problem due to high humidity and relatively warm temperatures compared to the rest of Canada. So, it’s important to have your pooch protected every month of the year. Ticks are a growing problem in our part of the world and more information can be found here. There are many effective flea and tick preventives that are safe and easy to use. At Hastings Vet we are always happy to help you choose the right product for your dog’s lifestyle.
6. Preventative care
The best way to protect your dog from the many potential health problems they may face is through quality preventative care. Your dog is far less likely to experience major health issues if you’re diligent about taking them in to see your veterinarian regularly. At Hastings Vet, we’ll make recommendations about how often your dog should come in to see us, however you should be bringing them in annually at a minimum, preferably twice annually (assuming there are no obvious health issues).
Through these regular visits, our veterinary experts will perform a full health exam on your dog, which will let them check for a variety of potential issues, including:
- Irregular heartbeats (murmurs, skipped beats, etc.)
- Enlarged lymph nodes
- Tumors on the skin or in the abdomen
- Irregularly sized organs (such as the liver, kidneys, and spleen)
In addition to giving us a chance to do a physical examination on your dog, a regular vet visit allows our veterinarians to ask you, the owner, a few questions about their health and behaviour since the last visit. We’ll check to see that they’re eating and drinking normally, if there’s any irregularities with their urination or bowel movements, that they’re walking normally, and that their energy and mood seems normal. The more honest and open this conversation, the more your veterinarian will be able to help your dog, whether through prevention or diagnosis and subsequent treatment.
There are many benefits to working with our trusted animal hospital. Not only can we help with run-of-the-mill routine check-ups and procedures, but we also offer a wide range of services to help keep every aspect of your dog’s health in tip-top shape. You can count on us to keep your beloved pooch healthy and happy, from their puppy dog days all the way to their golden years.
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