Benjamin Franklin’s axiom that “an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure” is as true today as it was when he made the statement, and it certainly holds true when it comes to pet health. The cost of prevention is usually a fraction of the cost of treating a problem or disease once it has become more advanced.

Heartbreaking statistics confirm that millions of animals in the United States live without homes, and the only way to reduce pet overpopulation is through spaying and neutering. Homeless pets abound in every community, and although the number may vary from state to state, records show that the majority of animals that are euthanized in shelters are the offspring of accidental litters. Often the owners of a dog with puppies had intended to get the mother spayed, but just hadn’t gotten around to it, felt they couldn’t afford it, or “wanted to have just one litter”. PREVENTION of the birth of unwanted litters is the ONLY way to reduce the number of neglected animals. Millions of pet deaths each year are a needless tragedy, and PREVENTION— by spaying and neutering your pet, and encouraging others to do the same, you can be an important part of the solution to this tragic problem. Help raise awareness as to the importance of altering pets!

Pet identification is a must as a preventive measure for the return, in case your dog is one of the millions that goes missing each year. Sometimes an ID tag and collar are not enough. Microchipping your pet is a means of permanent identification, and is an excellent way to increase your chances of being reunited with her in the event that you are separated.

According to the American Veterinary Medical Association, more than eighty percent of all dogs older than age 3 show signs of inadequate dental care: yellow and brown tarter build-up, inflamed gums, and bad breath. Periodontal disease starts as bacteria and plaque on teeth and progresses into a disease that can cause tooth decay, tooth loss, swollen gums, and even damage to the heart and other internal organs. Prevention is your dog’s best defense against dental problems, and since a dog cannot brush his own teeth, it is important to do it for him. If you’ve never brushed your dog’s teeth, you may need to have a professional cleaning, before starting a home regimen. Visit with your vet about proper procedure to use. Dental homecare for your dog means extra work, but the more you do, the healthier he will be….and the fewer professional cleanings he will need.

Core vaccinations can prevent diseases that are extremely common, and are often fatal or extremely difficult to treat effectively. Core vaccines include rabies, canine distemper, canine parvovirus, and canine adenovirus. Your veterinarian should make a risk assessment for non -core vaccinations such as leptospirosis, lyme disease, canine cough complex, and canine influenza , to determine what vaccinations should be added.

Taking precautionary measures diminishes the seriousness of disease or illness, and early diagnosis and treatment can slow common diseases in animals. Renal, periodontal, and osteoarthritis are just a few problems that preventative vet care can inhibit. Just because your dog looks healthy to you doesn’t mean that he shouldn’t see a vet regularly, and according to Veterinary News and Views, most veterinarians recommend a minimum of once a year physical exams which should cover vaccinations, parasites, breathing problems, nutrition, exercise, ears and eyes, coat and skin exam, and blood test which should include heartworm test.

Every aspect of your dog’s exam may prove revealing even if it seems unimportant at the time. Exams of the ears, eyes, and mouth are often very significant. Examination of his eyes may show infection, anemia, cataracts, high blood pressure, kidney problems, allergies, and sometimes even nutritional conditions. Regular ear cleaning will greatly lessen the likelihood of ear infections which are very painful. Complete exams will include vaccinations, fecal analysis, and heartworm testing. Key benefits of these exams include preventing disease, identifying potential problems and diseases in early stages, and provide the quality of life you wish to give your dog. Check ups allow your doctor to monitor your pet’s progressive health, and make recommendations regarding many different health related areas. It definitely takes far less effort and expense to prevent health problems than to cure them!