Dogs and Puppies

Unconditional love: a concept that means showing love towards someone regardless of their actions or beliefs.

As humans, we learn to understand unconditional love and we use the term most commonly to describe the love between family members. Over time, our canine companions have assumed a very important role in our families. They have gone from the farm to the house, and within the house, most often have earned a place in someone’s bed. Today, it is not unusual to call a friend and find their pet listed on the answering machine. We are all caught up in a hectic world and are being pulled in numerous directions. No matter how our days are going or what may currently be affecting our lives, Man’s Best Friend is always there waiting to give you that special look or lap in the face that, if even for a moment, brings a smile to your face. Our canine friends never fail to give us a new story to share with family and friends. Bringing canines into our homes give us the opportunity to experience true unconditional love.

During your visits with us, we will work with you throughout your pet’s life to make recommendations and discuss preventative care with you. We believe in addressing all the life stages of your pet and more importantly have age-appropriate discussions with you. From the “baby” stage through the terrible twos, from adolescence to adulthood continuing right through the senior years, we will be with you each step of the way.

Annual Examinations

We recommend yearly wellness examinations for your pet. This will give us a chance to evaluate your pet’s overall health and to detect problems before they turn into serious illnesses. Because your pet cannot tell you how he or she is feeling, we rely on a thorough physical examination and your observations of your pet in order to determine if your pet is truly healthy. For our senior pets (7 years old and over), we recommend twice a year visits.

What will happen during the wellness examination?

We will ask you several questions about your pet’s health history. Be sure to mention any unusual behavior. Some examples are:

  • Excessive drinking and urination
  • Excessive panting or coughing
  • Changes in eating pattern
  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Weight loss or gain

The 12 body system physical examination will include:

  • Temperature, respiration rate, pulse, and body weight.
  • Check ears for yeast, bacteria, parasites, or foreign objects.
  • Check eyes for any abnormalities, injuries, or ulcers. The eyes can also be a window into the body and help us identify internal problems.
  • The gums, teeth, tongue, and palate are checked. We will look for dental abnormalities, fractures, loose teeth, tartar build up, tumors, infections and even anemia.
  • The veterinarian will use a stethoscope to listen to your pet’s heart and lungs. Early signs of heart disease can be recognized this way.
  • Check the reproductive system for swellings, discharges, and breast lumps.
  • The skin is the body’s largest organ and a good indicator of nutritional health. We will check for skin conditions. We can detect allergies, infections, warts, cysts, and tumors. We will also check for fleas and ticks and other external parasites.
  • The abdomen will be palpated to detect irregularities such as enlarged organs, masses or areas that are painful.
  • The legs and feet of your pet will be checked for any abnormalities
  • Also, we will check the lymph nodes and nose.

If any abnormalities are found during your pet’s examination, we may recommend an additional test to diagnose or confirm any health problems.

We may also recommend baseline screenings of blood, urine, and feces to help assess your pet’s health from year to year.

Because your pet ages more quickly than you do, it is essential that you bring in your pet for an exam at least once per year, and more frequently as your pet gets older or develops health problems. Getting an exam on your pet once per year is the same as you getting a physical only once every six to eight years. Because so much can change with your pet’s physical health in such a short amount of time, you cannot afford to have your pet miss even one exam!


Immunizing your pet against disease is one of the best tools of preventative medicine. Vaccines are inactivated or altered live disease agents that cause the immune system to produce a protective response specific to that disease.

Is my pet at risk?

Your pet’s chances of being infected are based on several factors:

  • Where you live
  • Your pet’s age
  • Does your pet go outdoors?
  • Exposure to mosquitoes and ticks
  • Traveling with your pet: camping, hunting or hiking
  • Drinking from puddles and walking through elimination areas of other animals
  • Going to the groomer, boarding, dog shows

Are vaccinations safe?

Yes. The majority of pets respond well but as with human vaccines, there are some risks. Fortunately, serious side effects are rare. The most common side effects of vaccination are low-grade fever, depression or decreased appetite. These are usually short-lived (24-48 hours), require no treatment and are similar to what people experience after a flu or tetanus shot. Vomiting, diarrhea, itching, difficulty breathing, swelling of the face or extremities and hives are some of the rare allergic reactions that can occur.

Dogs should be immunized against:

  • Canine distemper, parvovirus, parainfluenza, adenovirus, hepatitis, and leptospirosis.
  • Rabies
  • Lyme
  • Bordetella -if around other dogs in boarding, showing, classes or in the park

Vaccines may be appropriate based on where you live and your pet’s age and lifestyle. How often you should have your pet vaccinated against certain diseases depends on many factors. Discuss these with us to understand what is recommended for your pet’s unique situation.


All pets not intended for breeding should be surgically spayed/neutered for many important reasons. In addition to improved health and behavior resulting from this surgery, you will be doing your part to reduce unwanted pet populations. Millions of unwanted animals are euthanized each year because good homes are limited and most pets simply cannot be adopted out.

The Benefits


  • Prevents signs of heat
  • Prevents blood stains from heat
  • Decreases chance of breast tumors
  • Eliminates the chance of cystic ovaries
  • Eliminates the chance of uterine infections
  • No unwanted pregnancies or offspring


  • Prostate cancer incidence reduced
  • Testicular disease eliminated
  • Decreases roaming
  • Decreases aggression
  • Eliminates undesirable sexual behavior.

Your pet will not get fat or lazy because of this surgery. Diet, exercise, and heredity have much more influence on the weight and attitude of your pet.

We highly recommend surgery be performed any time between four and six months of age Surgery is performed while your pet is under general anesthesia. At the Gardner Animal Care Center, we require a mandatory pain management protocol with all surgical procedures. Surgical risk is minimal and your pet will go home the same day.


A recommendation by your veterinarian is based on knowledge, experience and caring. We want to help your pet live a longer, healthier life. We recommend Hill’s pet food. It offers the right balance of advanced nutrition based on age, activity level and special needs, avoiding both excesses and deficiencies of key nutrients. It also has a great taste that pets love.

Hill’s also has a special food line used by veterinarians to help manage the nutrition of pets with a variety of disease conditions. Hill’s uses only quality ingredients and have more scientific research than any other pet food company.

Senior Program

We’re pleased to introduce a program that will help us provide the best care for your senior pet: Celebrate Seniors! Living longer, living better-starting at 7.

As your pet enters his/her senior years, he/she may start to develop diseases common to senior human counterparts, such as diabetes, cataracts, arthritis, hypothyroidism and cancer. These diseases can go unnoticed in their early stages and many develop rapidly, making regular monitoring and blood testing very important. Here are a few facts important to senior pets:

  • Pets become seniors much faster than people. Your pet ages roughly seven years for each human year.
  • By age seven, many pets are feeling the aches and pains of aging, and they cannot tell us what’s wrong.
  • Older pets’ joints and organs don’t function as efficiently, and health and comfort can be compromised.

You play a key role in maintaining your pet’s health because you know your pet better than anyone else. With your watchful eye and our medical care, we can establish baseline information, identify illnesses early and provide effective treatment to help your pet avoid serious or life-threatening conditions.

Please ask us about our senior program that we offer starting at 7 years of age.


The HomeAgain Pet Recovery Service is a safe, simple and permanent form of pet identification designed to quickly identify lost pets and reunite them with their owners. Over 10 million pets become lost each year.

The chip is no bigger than a grain of rice and contains a unique ID code capable of being read by an ISO standard scanner. The microchips biocompatible material is extremely safe for the animal. It is a passive device and requires no battery.

Microchipping your pet takes just seconds and is relatively painless. It does not require anesthesia. You will then have the paperwork to enroll your microchipped pet in the HomeAgain nationwide recover database. A professional recovery team is available 24 hours per day, 7 days a week. A successful recovery occurs approximately every 6 minutes.

We’re here to help!

Have questions about your dog’s care? Contact us today!

Contact Gardner Animal Care Center today!

Our Address

73 Eaton Street
Gardner, MA 01440
Click here for directions.

Our Hours

Mon -  Fri: 8:00 am - 7:00 pm
Sat: 8:00 am - 2:00 pm
Sun: Closed

Contact Info

Call: 978-632-7110
Fax: 978-632-7354
Email: [email protected]

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