Adding a furry member to the family is a joy that can’t be described in words. Whether you have brought in a newborn or an adult cat or dog, all you have on your mind right now is their safety, health, and happiness.
You may have also done a lot of research on how to take care of your four-foot companion, but we bet there’s always a dilemma around their vaccinations and parasite prevention. So, here is the ultimate guide to vaccines, deworming, and flea and tick treatment.
Although a veterinarian is the right person to consult for specific professional advice (especially for vaccinations), this guide provides you with a better understanding of maintaining a regular schedule for your pet’s vaccination and flea and worming treatments.
Vaccinating Your Pet
Dogs and cats require a series of vaccinations to strengthen their immune systems. Vaccinations lower the risk of your pet spreading and catching infectious diseases. The vaccination requirements differ as per the risk factors, the geographical area you live in, and your vet’s recommendations, but here are some general vaccine recommendations that your pet must undergo. Furthermore, the pet vaccination is divided into two categories:
- Core vaccinations are basic vaccines that are strongly recommended for all pets and maybe even legally required in some areas.
- Optional vaccinations are recommended based on the risks, lifestyles, and geographical location of the pet.
Vaccines for Dogs
Your dog’s life stage determines the vaccines that it requires. The vaccination schedules for puppies and adult dogs are different. Let’s have a look at what vaccines your puppy or dog needs and when:
What vaccines do puppies need?
Most of the puppy vaccines are scheduled to be given in their first year.
Core puppy vaccinations include:
- DHLPP vaccine: The DLHPP stands for distemper, adenovirus (hepatitis), leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvo vaccination.
- Rabies vaccine: The rabies vaccination is one of the most important vaccines to protect your dog, as rabies is a 100% fatal disease.
Optional puppy vaccinations include:
- Canine Influenza vaccine: It protects dogs from parainfluenza or CAV-2 which is a form of kennel cough.
- Bordetella vaccine: Bordetella is a common cause of kennel cough. This vaccine is important for dogs that may visit boarding, daycare, and training facilities.
- Leptospirosis vaccine: It helps prevent leptospirosis, a disease that is commonly spread through soil and water and can be transmitted to humans.
- Lyme vaccine: It may be required for Lyme disease prevention for dogs living in areas with disease-carrying deer ticks.
What vaccines do adult dogs need?
Once your dog reaches adulthood, it will only need some booster vaccines. Generally, DHLPP booster doses are required every one or two years. Some states may even require rabies vaccination at an interval of three or four years. Talk to your veterinarian to know the exact vaccination requirements in your locality.
Generally, an adult dog needs the following vaccinations:
- DHLPP vaccine – every 1 to 3 years
- Bordetella vaccine – yearly
- Canine Influenza vaccine – yearly
- Lyme vaccine – yearly
- Rabies – every 3 years or as recommended by the vet
Vaccines for Cats
Your cats and kittens need timely vaccinations to prevent various bacterial and viral diseases. Let’s have a look at what vaccines your cat or kitten needs and when:
What vaccines do a cat or kitten need?
Kittens receive a series of vaccines beginning from 6- 8 weeks of age.
Core cat/kitten vaccinations include:
- FVRCP vaccine: The FVCRP protects your cat from feline viral rhinotracheitis, calicivirus, and panleukopenia.
- Rabies vaccine: The rabies vaccination is one of the most important vaccines to protect your cat as rabies is a 100% fatal disease.
Optional cat/kitten vaccinations include:
- FeLV vaccine: FeLV or feline leukemia vaccine protects from FeLV disease spreading through the exchange of blood, saliva, and other bodily fluids in infected cats.
- FIV vaccine: FIV protects against feline immunodeficiency virus, which attacks a cat’s immune system.
Your cat will require booster doses for FVRCP, FeLV, and rabies at regular intervals.
Deworming Your Pet
Deworming is an essential part of pet care, as worm infestations can hinder your pet’s growth. Common intestinal worms like roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms can affect your pet’s gastrointestinal functioning, resulting in diarrhea, anemia, skin problems, and more.
Thankfully, you can prevent these worms from affecting your pet by following a regular deworming schedule and using a potent dewormer treatment. Deworming treatments are easy to administer and are available in topical, chewable, and liquid forms.
How to tell if your pet is infected with worms?
By following a proper deworming schedule, you can successfully keep your pet free from worms. However, you should always keep an eye out for the following signs that may indicate a worm infestation:
- Pale gums
- Bloated belly
- Weight loss
- Dull coat
- Anal irritation
Deworming schedule for puppies, dogs, kittens, and cats:
Puppy and kitten deworming treatments should begin at an age as early as 2 weeks. The treatment should be repeated every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age. After that, monthly deworming should be done until 6 months of age, followed by treatments at an interval of three months for life.
Deworming treatments for dogs:
These are some of the vet-recommended dog deworming treatments to consider:
- Panacur granules
Deworming treatments for cats:
These are some of the vet-recommended cat deworming treatments to consider:
- Panacur granules
- Antezole paste
Heartworm prevention for dogs and cats
Apart from gastrointestinal worms, heartworms are another type of worm out there, ready to wreak havoc in your furball’s life. Adult heartworms affect the pet’s heart and may cause heart or lung damage and heart failure. A heartworm infestation is difficult to cure and results in the death of the pet in the majority of the cases.
This makes heartworm prevention treatments extremely crucial for pets. All the heartworm treatments available in the market today need to be used regularly every month. These treatments target the larval stages of heartworms, preventing them from maturing into adult heartworms.
Heartworm prevention for dogs:
These are some of the vet-recommended dog heartworm treatments to consider:
- Heartgard plus
- Nuheart (Generic heartgard)
- Credelio plus
- NexGard spectra
Heartworm prevention for cats:
These are some of the vet-recommended cat heartworm treatments to consider:
- Revolution plus
- Bravecto plus
- Nexgard combo
Flea & Tick Prevention For Your Pet
By committing to pet parenting, you also sign a lifetime commitment for protecting your pet from fleas and ticks. Your pet can easily pick these tiny parasites from anywhere in your surroundings. Flea and tick infestations not only cause a number of health problems for your dog, but they may also transmit a range of deadly flea and tick borne illnesses.
Your pet’s soft and warm fur is an ideal place for these bloodsuckers to thrive. You may also spot small, crawly, and wingless creatures scurrying through your pet’s fur on taking a closer look. These parasites multiply quickly and can result in a full-fledged flea or tick population in no time.
Signs that your dog may have ticks and fleas
Here are some common flea and tick signs that indicate immediate attention:
- Excessive licking or scratching
- Scabs, spots, or lesions
- Skin redness and inflammation
- Hair loss
- Loss of appetite
- Dark spots (flea feces on fur)
- White spots (flea eggs on fur)
- Visible flea or ticks
How to get rid of ticks and fleas on dogs?
You can successfully tackle the flea and tick problem by keeping your pet active on flea and tick prevention treatment schedule. Such treatments are available in various forms including:
- Flea and tick chewable tablets: Simparica, Bravecto chews, Credelio
- Flea and tick spot-ons: Frontline Plus, Bravecto topical, Revolution
- Flea and tick collars: Seresto, Lopis Basics
- Flea and tick sprays: Effipro spray, Frontline spray, Ultrum spray
- Flea and tick shampoos: Bob Martin citronella oil shampoo
Most pet parents and veterinarians recommend using oral or topical (spot-on) treatments due to their ease of use and effectiveness. Depending on the type and brand of the product, such treatments can effectively eliminate fleas and ticks on your pet for one to three months. You can also use flea sprays or shampoos in conjunction with these treatments for further protection.
Simplifying Parasite Protection for You & Your Pet
We hope this guide helps you gain a clear picture of your pet’s vaccination, flea, and worming concerns. But if you feel that this is a lot to keep in mind, to spend on, or to take care of, do not worry.
There are multi-spectrum or all-in-one antiparasitic treatments available on the market today that protect your cat or dog against multiple parasites like fleas, ticks, intestinal worms, and heartworms with a single chewable or topical dose.
Such treatments are far more affordable and they simplify your parasite-prevention journey by eliminating the need for multiple product administrations and expenses. No matter what you decide to opt for, always take your vet’s opinion, for it is all about your most loving companion!