Planning for Your Dog's Health Care

Before adopting a dog, take a moment to consider the amount of care your pet will require and your ability to provide that care. Too often a cute face and wagging tail inspires individuals to bring home dogs without really considering the amount of time and financial resources required to raise healthy and happy dogs. As a result, animal shelters fill and pets do not receive the care they deserve.

Budget

Before adopting, look at your household budget. Dogs should have a yearly check-up at the veterinarian and get the required vaccines. Don’t forget the daily expense of pet food, medications, toys, and other supplies. Keep in mind, the bigger the animal, the higher the cost. Before you settle on adopting a St. Bernard or Great Dane, consider the quantity of food the animal will require and how much room your budget has to accommodate your new pet's appetite. Remember to calculate your pet's average expenses into your monthly budget as well as a reserve emergency savings for any accidents or unexpected trips to the veterinarian. If you don’t have emergency savings available, pet insurance might be a responsible option; the monthly cost will be consistent and most of your pet's veterinary care will be covered. You can check on-line to compare the dozen pet health insurance companies. Be sure to ask about exclusions or what is not covered. You can always contact your veterinary office for information about the specific cost of care.

Veterinary Appointments

Regular veterinary appointments are necessary for your dog's welfare. When bringing a new puppy or dog home, schedule an appointment with your veterinarian as soon as possible to screen your pet for any unknown conditions and to make sure all vaccinations are up to date. Your veterinarian will also help you select the best food for your dog, answer any questions you might have about making your home safe for your dog, and help you to provide the best care for your pet throughout its different stages of life.

Planning Ahead

Planning for a dog's future is often overlooked, but should always be taken into consideration. If you have a dog at home, carry a pet emergency notification card in your wallet. If something prevents you from returning home, an emergency contact will be notified that your pet is in need of care in your absence. Establish either a formal or informal agreement with a trusted individual who will be able to care for your pet in your absence. Be sure this individual will have the time and financial resources which your pet needs. Keep a pet folder with all of your pet's information (medications, food, habits/behavior, and veterinary records) and instructions with your other important documents.

Sources:

American Veterinary Medical Association

American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals

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  • "I'm so pleased with the experience I had at lakeville animal hospital. I am traveling with my dog from northern Maine to visit family and my dog had been sick for 3 days. She couldn't keep any food or water down. Long story short I called lakeville animal hospital and they were able to squeeze Aspen in later on in the day. Turns out the reason Aspen had been sick was that she had atleast one blockage in her intestines. They immediately sent us to a 24 hour emergency vet in Swansea for a surgery. Aspen is now out of surgery with 2 incisions in her intestines and 1 in her stomach. Being a long way from home with a sick puppy is not fun and is quite stressful. But I'm thankful the crew at lakeville animal hospital was able to see her so soon, take X-rays, give her a diagnosis, and make a recommendation for a 24 hour surgery facility."
    Rachel G. Lakeville, MA

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