Getting a new puppy can be an exciting time. However, for new pet owners, there are a lot of questions that they might have in regard to their pet. Here are some of the most common ones.
What vaccines/shots does my puppy need?
The routine vaccination schedule helps prevent diseases such as distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus. Ideally, they are given at started at about 6-8 weeks of age and continued every 3-4 weeks until approximately 16-18 weeks of age. Then they are given just once a year.
Distemper-Adenovirus Type2 – Parainfluenza-Parvo Vaccine
- Distemper – a highly contagious and often fatal virus that first affects the dog’s respiratory system and then progresses to gastrointestinal and nervous system symptoms. It is spread as an airbornes infection or through direct contact with an infected animal, feces, urine or blood.
- Adenovirus (Canine Hepatitis) – a viral disease that affects the liver, kidneys and cells lining the blood vessels. It is spread by direct contact with infected animals, feces, urine, blood and/or saliva.
- Parainfluenza – A highly infectious virus that can be one of the causes of “kennel cough.” It is spread quickly in closed quarters, such as shelters, poor breeding environments and kennels.
- Parvovirus – The most common and biggest fatal viral infection puppies can get. This virus causes SEVERE gastrointestinal problems. Profuse vomiting and severe bloody diarrhea are the initial signs that lead to severe/life threatening dehydration and death. It is spread by contact with feces, blood or vomit of infected dogs.
There are two other vaccinations that are recommended as well:
- Bordetella – This is used for prevention of kennel cough. Kennel cough is a bacterial infection that causes tracheobronchitis. It is an airborne bacteria and can be passed between dogs without direct contact. Environments such as kennels, groomers, and dog parks are places where the bacteria may be airborne and transmitted. It is recommended that dog’s who will be exposed to these environments be protected and vaccinated a week before possible exposure. This vaccine is a series of 2, given 2-4 weeks apart.
- Lyme vaccine – recommended for dogs that can possibly be exposed to ticks
- Rabies vaccine is mandatory by law and must be given by 4-6 months of age.
How do I housebreak or crate train my puppy?
Housebreaking should begin as soon as your puppy enters his/her new home. Some puppies learn sooner than others. A puppy’s memory is short so patience is very important. We recommend crate training. This is the puppies living quarters when he/she cannot be supervised by an adult. The crate should just be big enough for the dog to get up, and turn around. If the area is too spacious, it allows the pet to defecate or urinate on one side and sleep at the other. Dogs DO NOT like to sleep in there own urine or feces. So a small living quarters will make them hold it. That is why as soon as they are let out of the crate at ANYTIME, they should be immediately taken to the proper spot for voiding/defecating.
Why does my puppy bite so much?
All dogs loose there puppy teeth usually beginning @ 3-4 months of age. During this time, their gums are sore, making them wanting to chew on anything and everything. By the time that they are 6 months, all the puppy teeth should have fallen out and the permanent teeth should be in place. At this time, teething should be over.
When does my puppy need to change to adult food?
Diet is very important in the growing of a dog’s life. A premium brand dog food is recommended (Solid Gold, California Natural, Wellness, Merrick, Purina One, and some others..). This should be fed until your puppy is about 12 – 18 months of age, depending on its size. Usually small breed dogs can switch at about a year of age, where as the large breed dog’s should be on puppy food until approximately 16-18 months of age.
Should I feed wet food or dry food to my puppy?
Feeding dry or canned food is both acceptable. Each has some positives and negative. Dry food is less expensive and usually leads to less dental tartar and plaque. Wet foods are most often more appealing for taste because of a higher sugar and salt content. But they are often more expensive and lead to more dental disease if the teeth are not properly brushed.
Is it normal for my puppy to have ‘hiccups’?
Yes, puppies frequently have episodes of hiccups. They may occur for 5-10 minutes before they eventually disappear. They are probably related to either eating very quickly or being very excited and swallowing lots of air. Usually hiccups stop as the puppy gets
Why does my puppy have to go to the vet so much?
The answer is NOT that we just want your money. There are many diseases that are fatal to dogs, esp puppies that have very weak, compromised immune systems. Fortunately, we have the ability to prevent many of these through a series of vaccines.
Is it common for my puppy to have diarrhea?
No. A microscopic fecal exam should always be checked during the first veterinary visit. Intestinal parasites are very common in puppies. Puppies can become infected with parasites either by their mother or if they are housed with another dog with parasites. The most common types of intestinal parasites are Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms, Tapeworms, Coccidia and Giardia.Any change of diet or new food can also lead to loose stool or diarrhea. If the diarrhea persists for more than 2 days, examination of your pet is recommended.
Is it common for my puppy to defecate so much? It seems like he/she goes at least 3-4 times a day.
Yes, puppies go to the bathroom often. Usually at least 3 times daily, and can be up to 10 times a day. Most puppies have to defecate early in the am, and then approximately 30 minutes after each meal. As the puppy gets older and the intestines learn how to properly digest and break down the diet, the frequency of defecating will decrease.
When is the best time to have my pet spayed or neutered?
We recommend spaying or neutering at about 6 months of age. The first heat cycle for the female occurs from 6 months to about 10 months. Spaying before the first heat cycle ELIMINATES the chance of mammary cancer and prevents bleeding in the house. Neutering your pet prevents many undesirable behavior problems early on and potential metabolic diseases later on in life.