Adopting a Dog: Vaccinations, Medications and Supplements

| July 16, 2012

cute pup with vetYour recently adopted dog needs just a few things: a place to sleep, toys for play and expert health care. If you have yet to sort through the many veterinarians in your area, use DexKnows to find the right one, then schedule an appointment to ensure your new pup gets all of the necessary vaccinations, medications and supplements.

Vaccinations

Bring any medical records provided by the adoption organization or breeder with you to the appointment. For puppies, the standard schedule calls for distemper and parvo vaccination at 6, 9 and 12 weeks of age, plus rabies vaccination at 16 weeks. Adult dogs need these same vaccinations, but in the form of annual boosters. If you plan to take advantage of pet grooming services or must leave your dog in pet day care and boarding, your vet also will administer a vaccination against the highly contagious bordetella disease. Veterinarians also recommend canine hepatitis and canine leptospirosis vaccinations for dogs living in high-risk areas.

Medications

Two medications remain standard for all dogs, no matter where they live. Heartworm medication protects dogs from mosquito bites that transfer the roundworm parasite. Prevention proves essential because the infection can be fatal. Even veterinarians in areas of the country without large mosquito populations strongly recommend the medication, as man-made bodies of water that serve as breeding grounds for mosquitoes have caused the number of heartworm-infection cases to rise. Your vet will also recommend flea/tick prevention. This medication does not require a prescription, and you may be able find it for less at pet supply stores. Other medications for your newly adopted pup will depend on its individual health situation.

Supplements

Veterinarians also recommend certain supplements to encourage healthy and happy lives. An older dog may take glucosamine to ease aches and pains caused by arthritis. Fish oil eases itchy skin caused by allergies, and seaweed products help reduce plaque and put off professional teeth cleaning, which requires anesthesia, for years.

In general, a veterinarian should be your main source of information about pets and pet supplies such as medications and supplements. If you see a lower price for a medication online or in a pet supply store, ask your vet to match the price. Veterinarians often will, as they cannot ensure the efficacy of products they don’t personally provide, and they want to keep your dog safe and healthy. You need not purchase supplements through your vet — and many don’t sell them — but be sure to seek guidance before giving any new product to your pup. Once you’ve adopted your new pet, DexKnows can also help you find pet supply stores near you.

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Category: Adopting a Dog, Pets, Veterinarians

About the Author ()

Pamela Mitchell spent more than 15 years at daily newspapers such as the Hartford Courant and Houston Chronicle before becoming a full-time freelancer. She now writes about a variety of topics, from dining and entertainment to pets and travel.