What are microchips and how do they work? Can they harm my pet?
A microchip is often called “the I.D. that cannot be lost.” It is a small computer chip the size of a grain of rice that is commonly implanted in the pet near the shoulder blades. It is implanted with a special syringe and the procedure only takes a few moments. It may sting the pet momentarily, but this goes away quickly, and the benefits of having your pet micro-chipped far outweigh the few seconds of discomfort (the procedure is much like giving vaccinations to the animal). The chip is designed to attach itself inside the skin and it can be left in place for the rest of the animal’s life without harm.
If a pet who has been implanted with a chip is found and taken to a shelter or veterinarian who has a scanner, the scanner will detect the presence of a chip and the shelter or vet can call a registry to find the owner information. It is imperative that owners of chipped animals make sure their registry information is complete and updated as needed. (The agency that microchips your pet will either send in your registry info for you, or will give you all the info you need to send it in yourself).
Because of micro-chipping, animals have been reunited with their owners even after years of being lost, and at great distances. It is not foolproof, as there are several brands of chips and scanners, and all are not compatible yet. The AHS uses 24 PetWatch and our scanners can read the common chips on the market.
NOTE: your pet should always wear a well-fitted buckle or snap collar (NOT a training collar) with up-to-date I.D. and rabies tags, even if he is micro-chipped! The average person will not have a scanner in their home, and if your pet wanders off and has tags, he is more likely to be returned quickly if found. Tags and micro-chipping TOGETHER are the best combo for finding a lost pet.
How do vaccinations work to protect my pet?Vaccines for pets work like vaccines for humans. A vaccination against a certain virus is actually a small, slightly altered dose of the virus itself. Your pet’s body reacts to the vaccination by building up antibodies. These antibodies circulate in the bloodstream and protect your pet against a real infection. These antibodies weaken and die after time. Therefore, an annual revaccination, or “booster” shot, is necessary every year to continue the protection. With these injections, your veterinarian can help you and your pet avoid the pain, anxiety, and cost of many serious infections. And for some diseases, there is no treatment — only the prevention offered by vaccinations. Vaccinations are a necessary, inexpensive insurance. Even pets who live indoors can be exposed to infectious diseases and should be vaccinated regularly
What’s the big deal about heartworms?Heartworm disease is a serious infection caused by a parasite that lives in your pet’s heart. While there is no vaccination for heartworm disease, there are tests and medication to help protect your pet from this potentially fatal disease. It is also easier, safer, and less expensive to prevent this disease than to treat it after your pet becomes infected. See your veterinarian for more information on this important issue.
Can my pet be too old to spay or to reproduce?Surgical sterilization is surgery requiring anesthesia. Because older pets may react negatively to anesthesia, there should be caution when altering, although the benefits of spaying and neutering in general far outweigh the negatives. If the optimal “window” for altering the pet is missed, the surgery can still have beneficial effects up to a certain amount of years. Dogs and cats do not experience “menopause” like humans and can reproduce throughout their life span. However, they do become less fertile as they age. Often, by this time, unspayed females will have experienced complications due to the fact that they are unspayed. Depending on the animal’s age, it still may be beneficial to have it spayed in the later years. Discuss your concerns or questions with your vet
When is the best time to start training my dog?
As soon as you get him home! Every time you are interacting with your dog, you are training him to do something. It is always easier to build good habits from the start than to let bad habits become the norm for your dog.
No dog inherently “knows” how to fit into a human household; all dogs (regardless of age, size or breed) must be taught proper “house skills” and etiquette. It isn’t difficult, but it takes some patience. You do NOT need harsh physical methods to train your dog! We can show you the most humane way to train.
Any age or breed can be taught, and the earlier you begin, the better it will be for you and your pet. Think of yourself as the team captain, and your dog as the newest team member to a sport he has never played. It is up to you to teach him the rules so that you can “win” together, as a team.
We also have written training information to help you with many aspects of bringing home a new dog or puppy, including booklets about crate training. Call 404.974.2899 to request one.
But even if you don’t come to our classes, take your pooch to a recommended class somewhere to get him properly socialized to other dogs, people, and new situations, or find a competent trainer to come to your home and help you. The importance of proper socialization cannot be overemphasized.
Why it’s important to spay and neuter your pet?Spaying and neutering have many benefits for the altered animal in addition to reducing the numbers of unwanted pets. Altered pets generally live longer, have fewer health problems related to reproduction, are easier to train and live with, and have less desire to roam (and be hit by cars or lost).
Altered male dogs and cats are less likely to engage in frustrating urine marking behaviors, and tend to be less aggressive; the vast majority of serious dog bites are inflicted by unaltered male dogs. Altered females do not go into season (“heat”), saving lots of frustration for their owners. Unaltered pets have a higher incidence of preventable reproductive cancers, and the chances of these cancers occurring increases as the pet ages.
In addition to these benefits, having an altered pet means peace of mind for the responsible owner, who knows his or her pet will never contribute to the pet overpopulation crisis. If your pet was adopted from AHS, he or she has already been altered. If your pet did not come from us, we do perform spaying and neutering by appointment only in our Clinic.
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