Caring for a healthy puppy
When you get a puppy, it’s a lot like having a new child. It is your responsibility to take care of it, protect it, and make sure it stays out of harm’s way. And just like a child, puppies and their immune systems are subject to plenty of diseases that we can help prevent by taking the right steps when we first bring our new puppies home.
Once you procure ownership of your puppy, immediately go to a veterinarian for an examination. Veterinarians can determine how healthy your brand new puppy is and what kind of vaccinations he/she needs. By looking at the puppy’s breeding/vaccination report, a vet can determine if the puppy does or does not need to receive any more vaccinations. If the puppy’s never been vaccinated it will most certainly receive the necessary vaccinations during that first visit. Most veterinarians use multivalent vaccines when vaccinating your puppy. Multivalent vaccines combine several different disease antigens into one shot so your puppy doesn’t have to receive several shots. Puppies receive vaccinations to prevent them from getting diseases at ages when they are most susceptible. Make sure to set a schedule with your veterinarian regarding when your puppy should come in for another vaccination (or “booster” shot).
SPAYING OR NEUTERING
If your puppy is not spayed or neutered, ask your veterinarian what might be a good time to have it done. Spaying a female dog prevents her from having unwanted puppies from the future. It also prevents the probability of disease, such as breast cancer and uterine infection. Male dogs that aren’t neutered are more at risk for testicular cancer and prostate disease. A male dog that isn’t neutered also tends to be more aggressive towards people and dogs alike. As a general rule of thumb, it is best to spay a female dog before her first heat cycle, and for a male dog it is normally best to have him neutered at 6 months. Regardless, check with your veterinarian to know the optimal time for either.
Worms are parasites that can grow in your puppy’s intestines and feed off nutrients that pass through them. These are nutrients that your puppy needs. As soon as you can, bring your veterinarian a sample of your puppy’s stool. Your vet can examine it for worm eggs to determine if your puppy does in fact have them. If your pet does have worms, the veterinarian will be able to determine exactly what kind of species they are and give you the appropriate medicine or “wormer” to help get them out of your puppy’s system. Even if the puppy does not have worms, he/she can get them by exposure to another infected animal’s feces. Make sure to clean up feces left by your puppy every week and pick up after it on walks.
These are only some of the basic health issues to keep in mind when deciding to get a puppy. You should generally make sure to feed your pup well and exercise it to keep its health and immune system strong.