Dr. Dawn Love, Veterinarian
Special to Valley News
Loving the pets you bring into your household may start with something other than puppy love. It may start with something more critical: finances.
Many would-be pet owners neglect to consider the true costs of pet ownership. Pet ownership comes with responsibility. Make plans to include your pet in your budget. The first expense is nutrition. Good pet food is not cheap. Next are vaccinations and protections your pet(s) need.
There also are preventive veterinary services that may be suggested for certain breeds. For example, you may want to be sure an American Kennel Club certified Doberman is screened for certain cancers the breed is known to have. Labradors are known to have hip problems. An AKC breeder can document that the parents of the pup you are considering has been screened for this malady.
Essential preventative services in our area include protection from flea infestation and heartworm. While the warmer months produce more fleas, anytime the temperature reaches 50 degrees fleas can hatch. We have seen that. The products from a veterinarian which require a prescription have produced significantly better results than over-the-counter items. It is much better to prevent fleas than to try to get rid of them.
To gather reliable information to help make decisions prior to bringing a pet into your home, there are two websites to look at: AKC.com and the American Veterinary Medicine Association’s website. For general questions you may call the office,760-728-2244, and our staff will do their best to help you.
A decision that will surface in the first several months is whether to neuter or spay. This is especially true for cat owners as cats are almost always fertile and can become pregnant when they are 65 days old.
Two unaltered female and male cats can produce or be responsible for 250,000 animals in a seven-year period.
Purchasing your pet(s) from an AKC breeder or SPCA shelter is possibly your best decision. You might also ask a veterinarian. What you want is a breeder who is doing their job with love and professionalism. Others are known as “puppy mills’” or “backyard breeders.” Beware and proceed with caution when breeders will not meet with you on-site and do not belong to professional associations. Also, proceed with caution with pets being sold on Craig’s List or any online-only pet sales group.
Shelters can be a great place to find a pet that benefits the owner and pet alike. Shelter workers are committed to the pet’s welfare and a “forever home” so they can tell you about the pet’s disposition, likes, etc. They also have veterinarians who have done basic blood workups and vaccinations that are needed by the age and breed of the animal. If you fall in love with a shelter animal, the staff can alert you to any ongoing care such as antibiotics or other medical care to keep the pet in optimal health. SPCA has a good website with excellent information.
Dr. Dawn Love is a doctor of veterinary medicine and proprietor of North Orange Veterinary Clinic in Fallbrook. For more information or to book an appointment, call 760-728-2244 or visit northorangevet.com.