4 Steps to Protect Your Pet Against Rabies

Did you know that rabies has been on the rise in some areas lately? Just 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, which makes it particularly dangerous. Luckily, rabies has been all but eliminated in North America and many other parts of the world thanks to modern vaccination and wild animal control measures. However, it does pop up from time to time.  You’ll want to take the proper precautions to make sure your pet stays safe. Here’s how: 

Vaccinate your pet.

Your furry friend’s core vaccination group should include the rabies vaccine. This is your pet’s first–and only–real line of defense against the rabies virus. Puppies and kittens as young as three months old or so can receive the rabies vaccination. They’ll probably need a few follow-up booster shots before receiving additional rabies vaccines every three years or so. Your vet can give you more information.

Supervise while outdoors.

As you may know, the rabies virus is spread through the bite of an infected animal. Keep a close eye on your pet when they are outdoors, and take precautions to stop them from encountering any wild animals, like raccoons or opossums. Keep your dog on a leash when you go on walks, and don’t let him stray too far. If you live in a wooded area or anywhere that wild animals may pass through, don’t leave your pet outside unsupervised. 

Spay and neuter.

You might be surprised to learn that having your pet spayed or neutered is a good way to prevent the risk of the rabies virus. That’s because spaying and neutering will reduce your pet’s natural urge to wander in order to find a mate. Not only will you avoid the hassle and heartache of a lost pet, you don’t have to worry about them coming into contact with a wild animal that could potentially be rabid. 

Watch for signs of illness. 

Some of the symptoms of rabies include lethargy, loss of appetite, light and touch sensitivity, fever, and unusually aggressive behavior. Seizures and paralysis can occur if the disease progresses. Tell your veterinary professional immediately if you see any of these signs. 

All things considered, the risk of rabies is very low for your pet. But it’s still important for you to take steps to keep your pet safe. Call your vet’s office for help! 

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