Your dog is likely to have some health issues during its life. The worst can be prevented through vaccinations and spaying and neutering. Others, such as cancers and other diseases may not be avoidable. That’s why it is important to maintain your dog’s diet, nutrition and exercise at all times. However, there are a few common health problems you need to take care of to keep your dog well.
Fleas and Ticks. Cities like Andover, Blaine and Coon Rapids are just as likely to have fleas and tick as your cabin areas in Minnesota. Fleas are external parasites that cause a skin allergy, a common skin disease for dogs and cats. Ticks latch on to the skin and burrow in to feed on blood. Both can be itching, annoying and unhealthy for your dog and you. Keeping your dog flea and tick free is easier today thanks to new products that can be applied like “Frontline”, once-a-month. However, you need to visually inspect your dog’s skin for signs of fleas during daily grooming and check for ticks after returning from an area known to have them, like wooded camping sites.
Heartworm. Heartworm, roundworm, hookworm and tapeworm are other parasites that can enter your dog’s intestinal system and create serious health problems. Heartworm parasites are passed on to dogs from mosquitoes to the blood stream. Hookworm and roundworm larvae end up on your dog’s feet, which, through licking, enters its abdominal system. The best form of treatment is early and regular prevention. A monthly pill will help your dog avoid these parasites. If your dog does contract a parasite, it is important for your vet to do testing to determine which kind it is suffering from and what level the development the worm has reached. A correct diagnosis is needed because the treatment for one parasite is not the same as for another. Some symptoms of a parasite can be an occasional cough, fatigue, weight loss and difficulty breathing. Talk to your vet about how often s/he recommends checking for parasites, since the symptoms may not present themselves before serious damage occurs.
Lyme Disease. Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease that is spread by deer ticks. Lyme disease can cause a variety of symptoms such as inappetetance, lethargy, lamesness and fever. If left untreated it can damage the kidneys. Lyme vaccine is available for dogs. It is an initial 2 dose vaccination 2-4 weeks apart and yearly thereafter.
Poisoning. Many common indoor and outdoor plants can be poisonous to dogs. Before your bring your dog home, get rid of any houseplants that appear on the list below. Don’t let your dog eat plants and leaves when outdoors. If you do suspect poisoning, get your pet to the veterinarian immediately. You should also keep the ASPCA’s Animal Poison Control Center hotline number near your phone in case of emergency. You can reach this 24/7 hotline by calling toll free 1-888-4ANI-HELP (1-888-424-4357).
Following is a partial list developed by the ASPCA’s Poison Control Center of common plants that are poisonous to dogs and cats:
Apple leaf croton
Avocado (both the fruit and pit)
Bird of paradise
Cherry (seeds and wilting leaves)
Fruit salad plant
Giant dumb cane
Gold dust dracaena
|Hahn’s self-branching ivy
Indian rubber plant
Janet Craig dracaena
Lacy tree philodendron
Lily of the valley
Madagascar dragon tree
Peach (wilting leaves and pit)
Saddle leaf philodendron
Spotted dumb cane
String of pearls
Swiss cheese plant
Tomato plant (green fruit, stem and leaves)
Tropic snow dieffenbachia