Taking Care Of Your Pet
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Routine Pet & Wellness Visits - See A Vet​​
Take your dog or cat to the vet at least once a year for a check-up and to see if they need any shots.  A rabies shot is mandatory in Georgia and there is a 3 year rabies shot.  The vet will also check for heart worms, intestinal worms, lumps and bumps and look at his teeth.  Your vet can advise you on what other shots are recommended for an adult dog and what heart worm preventative is recommended.  If you are adopting a puppy take him to the vet for a check-up and to complete his puppy shots.  While you are there get their nails trimmed if you don’t cut them yourself. 
Pet Teeth Cleaning

Your dog will need to get his teeth cleaned periodically and the vet can recommend frequency.
Take Your Pet to the Vet

There are many instances where a dog or cat needs veterinary care, most of which are common sense.  If he is shaking his head or scratching his ears continually he probably has an ear infection, if he has diarrhea, a wound or pus filled area, is throwing up, he seems sick, he has been attacked by another animal, been involved in any type of accident, is limping, all these and more call for a trip to the vet.  Don’t wait if he is exhibiting any of these symptoms, as an animal can get very ill very quickly just like a human.
Spay or Neuter Your Pet

Be sure and get your dogs and cats spayed or neutered as soon as you get them if they are not already.  This is important not only to prevent unwanted litters but also helps protect your pet’s overall health and longevity.  There are low cost programs available if money is an issue but it is very important to take care of this right away.

Tips For Taking Care of Your Pet That Will Help Keep Your Dog or Cat Healthy & Happy!

Now that you have gotten your new dog or cat you want to give it the best care possible.   What does  your dog or cat need?  Following are some guidelines most of which are commonly accepted standards for companion animal care: 
Dog Training & Obedience is Especially Important for Larger Dogs!
1. Get tags for your animals with your name and phone number.  Remember to buy new tags if you get a new phone number.   Keep your dog’s collar with tags on at all times. 
2. Have an identification chip put in your dog or cat and remember to notify the company if you move or change your phone number.  Buy the lifetime plan so you don’t have to renew every year.
3.  Be sure you can afford to have a pet.  Vet bills and proper food can cost $500.00 or more per year. 
4.  It is best to keep your pet in the house unless you live in the country and have a barn or other warm, dry shelter for them to stay in.  Most dogs prefer to stay in the house and bond with you, the pack leader.  Outdoor cats have a shorter life because of disease, getting run over by a vehicle, fights, coyotes, etc. and kill a lot of wildlife every year.  Don’t leave a dog outside chained to a dog house, tree or anything else.
5. Take your pet to the vet at least once a year for a check- up, suggested shots, periodic tooth cleaning and nail care if you don’t cut their nails yourself.   Have them tested for worms and heartworms which are a killer of dogs.  Many dogs in the South get heart worms if not on a preventative and eventually they will affect heart and respiratory function and kill them.  They need monthly heart worm pills or the vet can give them a shot that is longer lasting.
6. Your dog will be spayed or neutered if you get them from this shelter.  If you get a pet somewhere else be sure and have it spayed or neutered to be a responsible pet owner, a good citizen and also for the health and well- being of your pet.  There are various low cost spay and neuter programs in the area.  If you live in the City of Washington and are low income the city will help you get your animal spayed or neutered.
7. They need to have dog or cat food that has the proper nutrients.  Read the bag.  My experience is a dog can do with somewhat less than the bag recommends.  You don’t want your pet to be too fat (can’t feel the ribs) or too thin (can see the ribs or no meat on the ribs).   An overweight pet will have more health problems and a shorter life.  You are being unkind to your dog or cat by letting them get too fat.  Don’t feed them human food or bones which can be dangerous or break their teeth.  Chicken are not the only dangerous bones.  Rawhide bones can gum up in their intestines and cause serious problems.
8. Your dog or cat needs to have fresh water available at all times.
9. Never leave your pet in the car even with the windows cracked summer or winter.  Your vehicle can quickly heat up to a lethal temperature even in the winter.   It is not kind to take your pet in the car if they have to be left in the car whether they want to go or not.
10. If you pet has long fur brush it regularly to avoid mats.  Most animals like to be brushed.   Dogs also need to be bathed periodically.  I bathe my dogs at least once a month.  Try to brush their teeth at least once a week.  Some dogs that mat up will need professional grooming.  You can normally train your dog to allow you to cut his nails (may not be easy though).  Just cut the tips and try not to get into the quick.  Research this on the Internet.  There are special pet nail clippers.
11. Use flea preventative once a month especially in warm months.   There is a very good product for your home that you plug into the wall.  It acts like a night light and fleas and other bugs jump on it.  It comes with sticky paper (which is expensive) but I find it works just as good without the paper.  Just vacuum it when you clean the house.  This gadget is worth the $15.00 to $20.00 it costs because it keeps fleas out of your home and you don’t have to use flea product on your pets as often, especially in the winter.  I use 4 of them in different rooms.  It’s called Electronic Flea Capture Trap and is made by Biocare, Spring Star Inc.  You can do a search on the Internet to get the best price. 
12. Exercise:  Your dog needs daily walks more than just going outside to relieve himself.   This is good for you and your pet.  Your dog will be happiest if he can engage in some version of what he was born to do if possible.  Retrievers need to retrieve, herding dogs need to herd, agility training, etc.   Cats need stimulating toys and a window perch to look out at the birds if they are inside cats.
13. Teach your dog basic commands, such as sit, stay, down, heel, come.  There is a trainer in Washington (Melody Villafina 706-678-7521) if you don’t wish to do it yourself.  It’s not too hard if you devote a few minutes every day and use some treats.  This is even more important for a larger dog.  Training your dog and dog obedience is even more important with larger dogs.
14. Remember a pet is a lifetime commitment and dogs will live an average of 15 years and cats much longer.   Don’t get one and break its’ heart if you are not willing to make this commitment.  Also think about and discuss with family members what is to become of your pets if something happens to you.  It is very sad for the pets when someone dies or goes into a nursing home and the beloved pets go to a shelter.   They are often old themselves and this alone often makes them less adoptable.

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Including Athens, Augusta, Greensboro, Lake Oconee, Georgia!
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Washington Wilkes Animal Shelter & Rescue For Dogs & Cats