Pet Care and Health Special Section: A timeline of pet health; what to do and when

Published on Wed, Jun 13, 2012
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For pet owners, there are few things more exciting than bringing home a new companion. And while it’s fun to play with that new furry friend during those first months together, there’s also some business to take care of.

Setting a pet up for a long, rich life is in your hands, so it’s important to know how to take care of his health from the start.

Whether you found your new pet at a local shelter or through a breeder, it’s important to have discussions about what veterinary care the youngster has already received. Many organizations and breeders make the effort to give puppies and kittens the necessary treatments in their earliest weeks of life, before they’re ready to go home with new owners. However, you should remember that those steps are only the beginning – it’s up to you to continue your pet’s health care.

Follow these tips to ensure that your pet’s health stays on track.

• Fix at four months. Spaying and neutering are an essential part of responsible pet ownership.

• Vaccinate regularly. Between 6 and 16 weeks of age, pets need a regular schedule of vaccinations. For dogs, vaccines for distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza and parvovirus will likely be recommended by veterinarians; shots will typically be administered in three rounds, at 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks and 14-16 weeks.

• Keep up with preventive care. In addition to vaccines, you need to protect your pet from other threats to their health. Some of the most common concerns are ticks, fleas and worms.