As a pet owner, I know it’s my job to keep my dog safe. That includes providing her with health care, the proper diet, keeping her on a leash when we are out and about, and much more. It’s truly a job that is never finished, and it’s not a job I take lightly. Many of my friends and family members also have dogs, and as much I love to let my dog play with the other dogs, there are some things I ask the owners before allowing her to interact with them.
These are things you should know about your dog’s friends.
Are they up-to-date on their vaccinations?
In the first months of life, dogs should receive a variety of vaccinations. After that, they should receive what the ASPCA calls the “core” vaccinations every year. Those core vaccines protect against canine parvovirus, distemper, canine hepatitis, and rabies. Before allowing your dog to play with another dog, you should make sure that dog is up-to-date on all of its vaccinations. Doing this will help prevent your dog from becoming sick.
In our area dogs are only required to be vaccinated against rabies each year, but my husband and I always opt for our dog to receive all the core vaccines. It costs a little extra, but it worth it to us.
Have they been sick recently?
You should also inquire about the overall health of the dog. It’s important to know if the dog has been sick in any way in recent weeks. Many of the illnesses the core vaccines treat are contagious as are many other virus like the canine flu according to the ASPCA. If a dog has had a cough, diarrhea, or vomiting within the last two weeks, it’s probably best to reschedule the play date.
In December, our dog developed a cough after a short stay in hospital for a knee injury. Our veterinarian treated her for several different illnesses including bronchitis, which was said to be spreading around the area, but couldn’t pinpoint the actual illness causing her cough. It took more than two months for that cough to go away. Now, I’m very careful about what animals and there for illnesses she comes in to contact with.
Are they animal friendly?
This one should go without saying, but some people don’t think to ask. Before allowing a dog to interact with your precious pooch, you should make sure it hasn’t showed any signs of aggression toward other animals. Some barking, growling, and nervous pacing can be perfectly normal even if two dogs have met before; however, if a dog has shown true aggression toward other animals it’s best not to risk your dog’s safety.
You may feel a bit awkward questioning your family and friends before allowing your dog around theirs, but most pet owners will completely understand why you are doing it. Some may even be pleased to see you are proactive in protecting your dog and its health.
More from this contributor:
DHPP Vaccinations for Dogs
Puppy Vaccination Schedule
Coronavirus Vaccination for Dogs