Preventing diseases or problems with your pet is far less costly and traumatic than treating them later. The two most important and responsible things you can do are to vaccinate and to neuter your pet.
Fortunately, many contagious diseases in dogs and cats can now be prevented with vaccines. Nothing is more heartbreaking than to watch a helpless puppy or kitten die painfully and needlessly from a disease such as distemper which could easily have been prevented.
And by neutering your pet, you not only make him or her easier to live with, but you are helping to control the tragic overpopulation problem, where millions of healthy dogs and cats are euthanized each year for lack of a home.
Vaccinate puppies and kittens at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age. Puppies are immunized for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza and parvo virus (the DHLPP vaccine). Vaccinations are also available for bordatella (kennel cough) and canine influenza.
Kittens are immunized for distemper and two respiratory diseases (the FVRCP vaccine). This vaccine is often given in combination with the feline leukemia vaccine.
Please Note: Boulder County Regulations require all dogs and cats to be vaccinated for rabies, a fatal disease that can be transmitted to humans. Rabies vaccinations are administered at 3 months, 1 year, and then every three years thereafter.
Spaying females and castrating males, both dogs and cats, will help you enjoy a better relationship with your pet. Sexually mature or active animals have a number of unappealing traits, such as attracting unwanted males, inappropriate sexual behavior, blood spotting or spraying urine in the house. They can also exhibit excess aggression toward other animals and wander away from home. Unless you intend to breed your animal and are willing to endure the inconveniences, neutering your pet is a kindness to yourself as well as for the animal.
Neutered pets tend to focus their affection on humans, which is probably why you got a pet in the first place!