Like people, dogs need maintenance to stay healthy. Make sure your pooch does not become overweight, gets exercise, is fed a high-quality diet, and gets regular checkups and vaccines. The American Veterinary Medical Association also recommends spaying and neutering, though some pet owners and professionals disagree on the timing and even the necessity of these procedures. Talk to your vet, ask questions, and do your own research.
“Core vaccines,” such as shots for rabies or vaccines to protect against contagious viral diseases like distemper, are not considered optional, explains Sherman. Also, proof of rabies vaccination should be worn on a dog’s collar. Non-core-vaccine protocol depends on the dog’s environment and exposure, as well as the owner’s preferences. It’s also important to keep your dog’s gums and teeth in good shape.