1. Not completing a puppy’s vaccine series and/or not giving vaccines. Parvovirus is rampant and it kills.
Puppies need a set of shots. Puppy series shots generally start at 6-8 weeks of age. They should be vaccinated every 3-4 weeks until they are over 16 weeks of age. Canine parvovirus is a huge threat and it is in the vaccine series. Most dogs who develop parvo are under two years of age and they almost always are dogs who have never had a vaccine or those who have been improperly vaccinated. The ones who develop it as older dogs typically have a problem with their immune system or have a heavy load of intestinal parasites. Always check with a veterinarian to make sure your dog’s vaccine series is updated and appropriate. Always make sure you trust your source of vaccines if you buy them on your own because if they were shipped improperly and the vaccine was not cooled appropriately during the entire shipment, it is likely to be ineffective.
2. Assuming that a senior dog’s weight loss/trouble getting up in the morning/lack of appetite, etc is “just getting old”
Age is not a disease (although aging does make one more prone to certain disease processes). There is generally a reason behind the issues your geriatric dog is experiencing and addressing these issues early rather than later gives us a better chance for a cure or for more comfort in the long term.
3. Letting your dog ride in the back of the truck.
Dogs fall out. They see something exciting and they dive for it. They do not generally comprehend potential consequences for their actions.
4. Not keeping your dog on year-round heartworm preventive.
Please read Dr. Keith’s excellent post on this topic for more information. There is NO treatment.
5. Hot weather and dogs with big fluffy hair coats (chows, huskies, saint bernards) do not mix; neither do smooshy faces (pug, boston terrier, bulldogs)
These dogs are ineffective at cooling their bodies when extreme temperatures occur. If they become overheated, they can develop heat stroke. Short term survival is difficult, as heat stroke can lead to clotting problems and other system wide effects that can result in death. If they are lucky enough to survive, long term consequences can include neurologic dysfunction and organ damage.
6. Antifreeze poisoning.
A tiny amount of antifreeze is all that is required to kill a dog. Ingestion of this sweet substance can lead to kidney failure.
7. Ingestion of foreign bodies
Eating rocks, pantyhose, balls, shoes, string. These can cause your dog to have a foreign body removed from his intestines, part of the intestine to be removed or rupture of the intestines (perforation). Dog proofing is a necessity in a house with a new puppy or dog.
Next week, I will discuss the feline population and how to keep them protected.
What other tips do you have?