When you purchase your new puppy, inquire about any vaccines or deworming medications that they may have received. You will want to ask what type of medication or vaccine was given, as well as the dates given.
In general, most puppies start their booster series around 6 to 8 weeks of age.
Vaccines for puppies:
Leptosporosis (this will be started at 12 weeks of age in the booster series)
This series of boosters is recommended every 3 to 4 weeks until your puppy is 16 to 18 weeks of age.
2) Rabies (Given at 12 weeks of age or older)
The first time this is given the vaccine is good for 1 year and then it is given every 3 years. This vaccine is required by law.
The above are the core vaccines that we do at our hospital.
Other vaccines that your puppy may need:
1) Bordetella (Kennel Cough)
This vaccine is only recommended if your dog will be in places where they will be exposed to many other dogs. Some examples are groomers, boarding kennels, puppy classes, and doggie daycare. Some of these facilities will actually require this vaccine be given before your dog will be admitted.
This vaccine is similar to the Flu vaccine in that your dog may still get the disease. There are too many strains of the virus to make a complete vaccine; however, the vaccine should protect your dog from the most serious strains of the disease.
If you are traveling or live part-time in other areas of the country (i.e. east coast) please let us know. There may be other vaccines that you may want to consider for your dog.
Why does my dog need vaccines?
Vaccines help to protect your pet from viruses and bacteria that can cause serious illnesses. These viruses and bacteria can be shed from other pets, wildlife and sometimes farm animals.
1) Distemper: Virus that spreads throughout the body, which can cause a wide variety of problems such as not eating, vomiting, coughing and in severe cases seizures and death.
2) Hepatitis (Adenovirus-1): Virus that can cause liver failure.
3) Leptosporosis: Bacteria that can cause kidney and/or liver failure. This is shed in urine of infected animals. This is also contagious to people.
4) Parainfluenza: Virus that can cause an infection in the lungs. This virus is spread through inhaling virus particles. This can be fatal to your puppy.
5) Parvovirus: Virus that attacks the intestines, causing watery, bloody, diarrhea and vomit. This virus is shed in the feces of affected animals.
6) Rabies: Virus causes behavioral and neurologic problems and is always fatal.
These usually live in your puppy’s intestinal system and are usually detected with a fecal exam. Most of these worms are passed from Mom to the puppies but can also be from the environment.
If your puppy has worms then it may have vomiting or diarrhea.
Roundworms: Thin, spaghetti-like worms that you may see your puppy’s stool.
Hookworms: This worm can cause bloody stools.
Whipworm: This worm can cause mucus in the stools.
Tapeworms: Small, rice-like segments may be seen in your puppy’s stool or around the hind end. These are usually due to fleas, so check your puppy for fleas.
Coccidia: Protozoa that can live in different areas of the intestines. Can cause watery, sometimes bloody diarrhea.
All of these parasites can be treated with oral medications and some can be prevented with monthly heartworm medications.
These worms are transmitted through the bite of a mosquito. The mosquito injects a larva (baby worm) into the dog, which travels through the muscle and eventually to the heart. In the heart, the worms develop to adults and produce more larvae which travel through the blood stream. Adult worms can be detected with blood tests run at the clinic or the larva can be detected with specialized tests at the lab.
Heartworm can be easily prevented with monthly heartworm medicine. We recommend that this medicine be given YEAR ROUND. This medicine is dosed by weight. For a growing puppy we will send home small amounts at time. Then when your puppy reaches a steady weight you can purchase 6 to 12 months at time.
These parasites live on or in your puppy’s skin.
Fleas: These will cause your puppy to itch. You can see individual fleas or evidence of fleas such as red bumps (flea bites) or black pepper-like debris in the fur (flea dirt). You will need to treat your puppy for fleas but also need to treat any other pets in the house. Also, fleas only spend part of their time on your pets the rest of the time they live your house. You will need to clean and possibly treat THE ENVIRONMENT!!!
Ticks: Certain ticks transmit diseases when they bite your puppy. Ticks will attach to your puppy and fill with blood. You can remove the tick by grasping the head with a pair tweezers. Make sure you get the head out.
These parasites can be treated and prevented with topical medications. Some over the counter medications are too harsh or too strong for puppies. You also need to be cautious of internet purchases. PLEASE ASK the Veterinarian first!!
Ringworm: This is a fungus that causes bare spots of the fur. The area can be circular or irregularly shape with some crusty or flaky skin. These lesions are usually not itchy but THESE ARE CONTAGIOUS TO HUMANS and other pets.
Demodex: These mites normally live in the hair follicle of your puppy. An overgrowth of the mite causes a problem and you will see bald spots on your puppy’s fur.
Sarcoptes: This mite lives in the skin and will burrow through your puppy’s skin secreting a substance that will cause severe itching. Your dog will lose hair, scratch constantly, and in most cases get red lesions as well. THESE ARE CONTAGIOUS TO HUMANS and other pets.
Ear mites: These mites live inside the ear canal. They will cause scratching and pawing at the ears. You will usually see a dry, black, material in the ears. These are contagious to your other pets.
Feeding your puppy
What should I feed my puppy?
Any commercial puppy food should be okay for your pet. There are three things that you will want to check on the bag:
1. AAFCO (Association of American Feed Control Officers) approved, this should be on the back of the bag
2. Meets the requirements for growth of puppies
3. Contact information for the company that makes the food
All the major pet food companies will have this information on their bags.
How much food should I feed my puppy?
– Most companies will tell you how much food to feed your puppy since each food is different in calories. It is okay to follow the bag recommendations for your puppy but when you feed them adult food DO NOT FOLLOW the instructions on the bag.
– Measure the food with an 8 oz measuring cup, so that you know the amount of food your dog is eating.
– When your dog is neutered/spayed, you will want to cut back the food by 20% and get them onto an adult dog food.
How many times a day should I feed my puppy?
This depends on the breed of dog.
– Most puppies up to 16 weeks of age can be fed 3 times a day
– Smaller breed puppies (Yorkshire terrier, Chihuahua, etc…) may need to be fed more frequent smaller meals until 20 weeks of age.
How should I feed my puppy?
– Every dog in the house should have its own food bowl and water bowl. Communal bowls are not a good idea.
– Meal feeding is the best way to feed to a dog. Free choice feeding for dogs will lead to overweight even obese dogs.
Things NOT to feed your puppy, some of these are toxic to animals!!!!!
Gum (especially the sugarless with Xylitol)
Yeast dough Fatty foods
Always check with a veterinarian or go to the following website if you are not sure if a food, medicine, or substance is toxic.
Website: www.aspca.org Click on the animal poison control link.
Do not give your dog over the counter pain medication without checking with a veterinarian, such as things like Tylenol or Advil can be toxic to your pets.
Things to do during training
Get your puppy used to his/her toes being touched. Hold each individual toe for few seconds then reward them for being good. This will hopefully lead to easier toe nail trims in the future.
Get your puppy used to his/her teeth and mouth being touched. This will lead to more successful tooth brushing when his/her adult teeth are in place. This will also make it easier to remove things from the mouth that are not to be chewed or eaten.
Get your puppy used to his/her ears being touched. This will lead to more successful ear cleaning and treating if needed in the future.
May want to get used to them laying on their backs. If your dog develops arthritis when it he/she gets older then it will be easier to take radiographs of your dog.
We recommend all puppies be spayed or neutered at 6 months of age.