4 Steps to Protect Your Pet Against Rabies

The word “rabies” tends to conjure up some frightening images in the mind’s eye. Rabies is a zoonotic disease, meaning that it can be transmitted from animals to humans. That makes it particularly dangerous. Luckily, rabies has been all but eliminated in the United States, and many other parts of the world, because of modern vaccination and wild animal control measures. Even so, you’ll still need to take the proper precautions to make sure your pet stays safe. Here’s how: 

Vaccinate your pet.

Your pet’s core vaccination group should include the rabies vaccine. This is going to be his or her first line of defense against the rabies virus. Puppies and kittens as young as three months old or so can receive the rabies vaccination, and they’ll probably need a few follow-up booster shots before receiving additional rabies vaccines every three years or so. 

If your pet needs the rabies vaccination, or if you’re unsure whether or not they have already gotten this vaccine, call your vet’s office right away.

Supervise while outdoors.

The rabies virus spreads via bites from infected animals. Keep a close eye on your pet when they are outdoors, and try to keep them from encountering any wild animals, like raccoons or opossums. Keep your dog leashed when you go on walks, and don’t let Fido stray too far. If you live in a wooded area, or anywhere that wild animals may pass through, do not let your furry buddy outside unsupervised. 

Spay and neuter.

You may be surprised to learn that having your animal companion spayed or neutered is a good way to prevent the risk of the rabies virus. This is because spaying and neutering reduces your pet’s urge to wander in order to find a mate. Not only will you avoid the hassle and heartache of losing your pet, the odds of them coming in contact with a wild animal that could potentially be rabid will be pretty much nil.

Watch for signs of illness. 

Keep an eye out for symptoms of rabies. These include lethargy, loss of appetite, light and touch sensitivity, fever, and uncharacteristic aggressive behavior. Seizures and paralysis can occur if the disease progresses. Tell your veterinary professional immediately if you see these signs. 

All things considered, the risk of rabies is very low for your pet. But make sure to take the right steps to keep it that way. Call your vet’s office for help! 

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