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Preventative Health Checklist for Dogs

Part of the Dogs For Dummies Cheat Sheet

Be pro-active to prevent illness and injury and keep your dog healthy and happy. Use the list below as a guide for care at each stage of your dog's life. Also, talk with your vet about what is best for you and your pet.

Puppy veterinary care

  • Initial exam within 48 hours of adoption.

  • Four to five combination vaccinations at three-week intervals, starting at the age of 6 to 8 weeks. Rabies vaccination at 16 weeks.

  • Wormings as prescribed by your veterinarian, at two- to three-week intervals or until the fecal test comes up clear.

  • Heartworm preventive. No heartworm test required if puppy’s mother was on preventive and puppy is started by the age of 12 weeks.

  • Follow-up exam at time of final vaccinations to spot congenital problems, retained baby teeth, and so on.

  • Spaying or neutering, as early as 8 weeks, as recommended by your veterinarian.

Adult veterinary care

  • Annual examination, which may include periodic chemistry prolife and urinalysis, especially for older pets and prior to procedures requiring anesthesia.

  • Combination vaccination, annually. Rabies vaccination, once every three years or as required by law.

  • Heartworm testing.

  • Dental cleaning and scaling under anesthesia, annually or as recommended by your veterinarian.

Adult home care

  • Heartworm preventive, daily or monthly

  • Nail trim, weekly

  • Regular bathing and grooming

  • Home exam, including checking for lumps and bumps, weekly

  • Tooth-brushing, two to three times a week

  • Regular flea-control program

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