What is considered preventative care for dogs?

Preventative care is a discussion about vaccines, diet, exercise, preventatives such as heartworm prevention, and parasiticides for intestinal parasites and external parasites, fleas, and ticks. Some of these things are vitally important for your dog’s well-being and safety, and yet we want to have an individual conversation with every one of our dog owners to make sure that we're doing the right thing for their lifestyle.

Dr. Michele Drake
Drake Center For Veterinary Care

What information does my veterinarian need to know about my dog's lifestyle before providing her preventative care recommendations?

If you're a new client to the Drake Center, we want to get your most recent records from your other veterinary hospital so we can see if you're up to date on all the vaccines and preventative care you need. And when you come in, our technicians and doctors will have a conversation with you. And we're going to discuss things like diet, exercise plans that you're currently on, and find out what's a day like in the life of your dog. That's what I usually ask people. What does your dog do every day? What's the typical way that they spend their time, including feedings? So we learn a lot about that. And then also their exposure. Are they going to daycares? Are they going boarding? Because we may add additional vaccines depending on that, or if they have an active lifestyle outside, we will talk about things like tick prevention and leptospirosis. So it depends, and it's our job to ask you all the questions and your job just to let us know what's going on at home.

What recommendations will my veterinarian make when it comes to my dog's preventative care plan?

So we're going to talk again about the vaccination schedule that is dependent on your dog's age and lifestyle. Furthermore, flea and tick prevention, heart prevention, and intestinal parasite prevention are critical because some are zoonotically transmitted to humans. So we're watching out for your family as well with the products and recommendations that we make. Again, diet is vitally important, and weight and exercise plans.

And then also as dogs age or at the very beginning of their life, we're going to do some blood work and a fecal check. We're going to check their stool for parasites because you can't see parasites in the stool. They're microscopic eggs that we do a test on to determine whether or not they have parasites. So there's a lot involved in preventative care. And again, every dog is different, so we want to tailor it to your dog's needs.

How can I keep my dog safe while in a car?

If you were to have a short stop, we want to make sure that your dog's not going to be able to move forward and injure themselves or a human. If they came from the back seat to the front seat, they could hit the back of your head. So what we'd like to do is make sure that your dog is either in a crate or that they have a seatbelt on.

Why should I keep my dog on a leash when in public?

The reason for your dog to be on a leash at all times out in public is because there are scary things, like cars and other dogs. And if your dog were to see something like a rabbit or another dog across the street, they'll take off and run. We have coyotes in my neighborhood, and so my dogs would love to take off and run after the coyotes. One of my dogs is 15 pounds, and he would become a coyote meal. So we keep them on a leash all the time when we're out hiking on trails. And so it's for safety for you and your dog.

What are the most common dog health conditions that can be prevented with a good wellness plan?

A good wellness plan is designed to prevent illness for your dog. So vaccines are so important. And I know people don't see enough of the scary diseases like distemper and parvo, but they are still around. Rabies is a genuine health concern for dogs and certainly for humans as well. Parasite control can make a massive difference in the well-being of your dog and the quality of their life. So these things are all essential, and you're not going to get the correct information from a 16-year-old who works at a pet store or online from Petco or Chewy. They're not going to give you the accurate information that's specific to your dog. It’s well worth your time and your money to come in and spend time with the veterinarian and their staff, who are going to educate you on what your dog needs.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (760) 753-9393, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Preventive Care - FAQs

Dr. Michele Drake
Drake Center For Veterinary Care

What does preventative care do for my dog?

Well, it prevents disease and illness. Vaccines are going to prevent some very bad diseases like distemper, parvo, and rabies, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, bordetella, and the flu—these are all things that we want to prevent in your dog. There are also intestinal parasites and external parasites and heartworm—again, things that we're going to prevent. And there’s even the consideration of things like weight. Weight management is preventative care and can make a huge impact on the wellness and your dog’s quality of life.

What illnesses are staved off by good dog preventative care?

Preventive care will stave off diseases like parvo, an intestinal virus that can cause death and severe illness; distemper, which can cause death and severe illness; rabies, which can even be communicated to humans. These things are all completely preventable. Also, intestinal parasites and external parasites like fleas and ticks can affect the quality of your dog's life. So these things are all preventable if you use the preventives properly and with the right timing. So that's something your veterinary care team will provide to ensure that you're well-educated and know the next best steps.

Will dog preventative care keep my dog flea and tick free?

Yes. If you come to the Drake Center and you use the products that we recommend, we will not only keep your dog and cat flea and tick free, but we'll also keep your house flea-free. And that's really important because fleas and ticks can transmit diseases to humans and cause discomfort. So we want to make sure that that's not part of your family or your dog's life. So yes, they're all very preventable.

Does preventative care help my dog in all stages of life?

So puppies have a particular set of needs as far as extra dewormings and a series of vaccines. We're going to prepare them for life by good training, diet recommendations, and exercise routines. And then as the dog goes through the average stages of life and into geriatric time, we are going to change our recommendations as far as how often we're going to do lab work and what kind of testing we're going to be doing and things that we're looking for to ensure that their quality of life is its very best.

Is preventative care less expensive than treatment?

Oh, for sure. Prevention is always the way to go. Really, the amount of time you spend with a veterinarian at least once a year, but twice a year for dogs as they age, is so well-worth your time to make sure that, again, things that we're working on, which are preventative things, vaccines, preventative medications, and then certainly nutrition and weight management are all vitally important.

Can preventative care save my dog's life?

Without a doubt. Parvo and distemper can be fatal, and rabies is usually fatal as well. These are all terrible diseases. And some of the things that ticks carry also can be very detrimental and cause death. So we really want to make sure we stay ahead of those things and they're all super preventable and so much less expensive than waiting until the dog becomes ill.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (760) 753-9393, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.