Shots Shots Shots!!!
So before we get into training your pet, I feel that it is good to talk about the importance of shots. No I am not talking about the kind you take to toast to your new puppy. I mean vaccines. All pets will need them. Just like infants and young children need several to help build their immune system and to keep them from getting sick, the same goes for your new companion. I know to some it may seem silly to compare a pet to a child however, vetting can be expensive if a dog gets sick or hurt. A lot of how we keep our pets healthy relies on preventative care. For instance, Canine Parvovirus is a common virus that infects and kills unvaccinated puppies. Although it can be treated, it is very expensive and depending on the severity of the virus, the pup may not survive if it does not receive immediate care.
Because their immune systems are not as strong as adult dogs, your vet may recommend boosters of the DA2PP (or other variations) vaccine to protect your puppy from several strands of viruses. If you are adopting an adult dog and are unsure of the vaccine history, your vet may also want to booster as well just as a precaution. Now just because your pup has had its first round of shots, does not mean you’re done. Monthly flea tick treatment, dewormer and heartworm preventative are necessary to keep your pet healthy as well.
The vaccine that people may be most familiar with is the rabies vaccine. This is particularly important out of all the vaccines because it protects against the rabies virus. Rabies is a deadly virus that can be passed to humans. Due to the seriousness of the virus, most if not all states in the US require that your pet is vaccinated against rabies. It may be helpful to call your local Animal Control or check with the ordinances in your area if you are unsure of the regulations. If your pet already has the vaccine, make sure to keep a copy of the rabies certificate on hand in case you need it. The tags are not sufficient proof that your animal is vaccinated. If you are looking to have your pet groomed or boarded, the paper certificate is what you need.
Let’s Talk About Vets Baby!
One of the scariest words for some pet owners is “vet” either because they automatically think “expensive” or that the vet may find something wrong with your pet. I must admit that at first I had this same mentality when I got Jack. Then I discovered that I have options. When Jack came home with me, he was 8 months old. I decided to go with a Banfield plan because they were well-known and once again I had no idea what I was doing. I had it in my head that every other vet meant paying an arm and a leg for service. What I did appreciate about the plan was that it included everything. Since my dog was still young and needed a series of shots, for me the plan was cost effective. I was also clueless when it came to understanding the vaccines he was getting. I was not well-informed about heartworm disease and knew nothing about the preventative he was getting. I only knew it doubled as a flea medicine. I appreciated the reminders for shots and that the plan came with the heartworm preventative so there really was not a way I could forget to give him his pill. I liked the experience I had with the vet because it opened opportunities for questions. I also suffered from first time dog mom syndrome where everything about Jack scared me. If he coughed or sneezed too much I was concerned and if he threw up at all, I freaked out. Until I became more aware of what was normal for my dog, the Banfield plan worked for me because vet visits were included.
By the time I thought about getting a second dog, I had gained more knowledge about vetting options from just asking my peers. Instead of going through Banfield to get Jack neutered, I chose to go through a clinic. As time went on and I realized that I did not need to take Jack to the vet as often as I thought, I decided to look at other options. Instead of paying a monthly fee, I decided to just pay for the vet visits and services when I needed them. Now at the time it worked out and seemed like a good idea; however, when I got dog number 2 I assumed that because Jack was young and had no major issues, Piggy would be the same. The Worst mistake as a pet owner. Since Piggy is a Pitbull, she came with ear issues, skin issues and possible allergies which Jack did not have. This goes back to a previous post where I say it is important to research your breed so you know what issues may arise.
Reassurance About Pet Insurrance
While we are on the subject of pet healthcare, what if you do have moments where services ARE expensive? Depending on the vet, you may not have the option to pay in installments. From my experience, all payments are due in full. As we all know with our four legged friends, accidents can happen and as they get older serious health issues can occur. Now as I am still new to the topic of pet insurance, I myself do not have it but it is something I have considered. I am not sure if many people are aware of the option for pet insurance. Once I looked into I was actually amazed by all the options out there! I did a simple search for top 10 pet insurance options for dogs and I found this list
So why is pet insurance needed? Okay let me throw out a scenario. Your new pet is playing outside and somehow breaks a leg. How much is the surgery going to cost to fix it? Do you have it all at once? Scenario 2: Let’s say your pet is playing and swallows a piece of string. At the time you are thinking “It will eventually come out right?” Something so simple as an animal swallowing a toy or a piece of string could do some damage. These surgeries are not always simple nor are they cost effective. By having insurance it may save you a lot in the long run. Now am I saying that every pet owner should go out and get pet insurance? Absolutely NOT. I am only presenting options in case an emergency situation does occur.