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Socially responsible owners maintain their dog's health. A dog that is unwell may be irritable. Dogs, like people, are susceptible to a variety of diseases and conditions that are caused or exacerbated by poor hygiene. Some diseases found in dogs can be transferred to humans, so it is essential to insist on strict hygiene rules for the entire family.
It is important to discuss the following information with your veterinarian who can give you accurate and specific information on keeping your dog healthy.
Young children may not fully understand the importance of personal hygiene. It is therefore important to supervise their hand washing after contact with animals. Remove dog faeces from the yard and outside the yard if on a dog walk.
If you have a new puppy, seek advice about how to toilet train a new puppy quickly and effectively. Use rewards and praise for correct behaviour. If your dog soils in the wrong place, do not rub your dog's nose in it as it may make them sick and lead to other behavioural problems.
All puppies require vaccinations for canine distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus. Vaccinations are also available for kennel cough. People cannot catch these diseases. A yearly trip to the veterinarian is necessary for a general health check and your veterinarian will discuss appropriate vaccinations, health maintenance and desexing.
Dog worms such as roundworm, hookworm, whipworm, tapeworm and heartworm can easily be controlled. Consult your veterinarian for an effective worm prevention plan for your dog. Puppies are most susceptible to intestinal worms and should be de-wormed at least every two to four weeks depending on their age and adult dogs every three months. Heartworm requires different medication. Keep all pet medication in a locked child resistant cupboard.
With the exception of tapeworm, adult dog worms cannot be transmitted to people, however the larva from some worm eggs can migrate through the organs and skin of people and cause a rare and serious condition called visceral larval migrans. Children can pick up worm eggs from sources such as dogs and the ground where dog faeces have been. To reduce the risk of infection regularly treat your dog with effective medication, pick up your dog's faeces and teach children to wash their hands thoroughly after playing and touching pets and before eating.
Flea bites can cause nasty skin irritations for dogs and humans. Fleas carry tapeworm eggs which can infect people if ingested. All dog bedding should be kept clean, thorough vacuuming of all carpets and regular flea control programs within the house are recommended. Consult your veterinarian for further advice.