How to Prevent Your Dog from Getting Rabies

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Anyone who's seen Old Yeller knows that rabies plus dogs equals heartbreak. This virus is incurable and most often leads to death. If that wasn't bad enough, before it kills its victim, the affected dog will turn super aggressive and then succumb to seizures and extreme pain. It's easy to see why you'd want to do anything you can to prevent your pup from contracting this silent killer.

It's not always obvious when a dog has rabies. Symptoms may not show for months in some instances, long after the the infection has started. While this virus is more controlled than it used to be, you still need to know what measures you should take to keep rabies out of your family's life.

Causes and Prevention of Rabies in Dogs

The rabies virus spreads from animal to animal through bodily fluids. Only mammals are susceptible to the virus. Once you understand what can cause this virus to enter your dog, you can take action to prevent it from happening.

Animal Bites

By far, the most common way that pooches get rabies is from infected wild animal bites. Because rabies makes its host go crazily aggressive before shutting down its body, an animal with rabies is likely to attack. Once the saliva of a critter with rabies enters a dog's blood stream, the rest is only a matter of time. The creatures that carry this virus the most are raccoons, skunks, and bats. So, an obvious step in preventing your beloved pupper from contracting rabies would be to keep him away from areas where these animals roam. This is sometimes easier said than done, as all three of these creatures live in populated cities and traipse through backyards. Thankfully, there is an effective vaccine that is offered at almost every veterinary clinic in the country. Some of these vaccines need booster shots every year, while others only need top-ups every three years. As long as you keep your dog on schedule, the risk of them getting rabies is very low.

Infected Carcasses

The rabies virus lives on after its unlucky host passes. If your dog gets into a dead animal body, there is a chance that it could get rabies. Eating the brain or spinal tissues of an infected animal is a sure way to come down with rabies. To stop your fur-baby from getting into bad meat, monitor him while off leash or on walks. Nibbling on dead animals is not only gross, it can be deadly! If your dog eats raw, be sure not to give it animals that commonly carry rabies. Once again, the best prevention for rabies transmitted by dead tissue is regularly vaccinating your pooch. Vaccines stop the virus from spreading regardless of the entry point.

Other Dogs

It's a relief to know that the rabies virus has drastically dwindled in recent decades. That doesn't mean that it can't come back with a vengeance, though. Dogs are very social creatures that greet each other with nose boops and butt sniffs. These intimate “hellos” are the perfect scenarios for diseases to spread. It's best practice to keep your dog from interacting with sick dogs. But as we've discussed, a dog with rabies may not exhibit symptoms for months! So, yet again, the best preventative method to save your canine from an unpleasant demise caused by rabies is regular vaccinations. In many areas, these vaccines are required by law for all domestic pets. When it comes to rabies, there is no better way to protect your pet than a quick prick in the leg.

Importance of Preventing Rabies

Rabies has no known cure. Prevention is the only treatment for this nasty virus. Rabies vaccines are generally affordable, and may only be needed once every three years. When you get your dog vaccinated, not only are you protecting him from this terrible ailment, you're also protecting yourself and your family. Rabies is a zoonotic virus, meaning that it can spread from an animal to a human. While there are aggressive treatment options for infected humans, the rabies virus is terrible no matter how many legs you walk on. There really is no reason not to protect your poochie from this unforgiving virus.

Essential, Simple Vaccination

Rabies is no joke. It's considered so much of a threat that many states have legislation surrounding people and animals that contract the virus. Now you know just how dangerous this illness is and how easily you can stop it from ever becoming a problem. When you protect your pup from rabies, you also help the local animal population and the human community! Vaccinating your dog for rabies really is a no brainier. Save yourself and your doggo the devastation of this preventable virus.