Raising a Healthy Puppy

8dogCongratulations on the arrival of your new puppy. Puppies require lots of time and effort but will repay the proper attention with years of loving companionship.


Your puppy is now susceptible to a variety of serious dis eases, many of which can be prevented with proper immunization. Keep your pet confined to your house and yard to avoid contact with these diseases until after the last puppy vaccinations are given. Vaccinations should be given every 3 to 4 weeks between 6 weeks and 16 weeks of age. Vaccinations are given to prevent distemper, hepatitis, par­vovirus, parainfluenza, bordatella, and rabies.

In adult dogs, vaccinations are boostered at 1 year and then every 3 years. Bordatella is the exception; it is boostered every 6 months due to the fact that it provides local, rather than systemic immunity.



Most puppies are born with round worms and often acquire a variety of parasites after birth. Your puppy should receive treatment for roundworms at 2, 4, 6, and 8 weeks of age. If your puppy is older than 8 weeks, dewormings are typically performed every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age. Bring a small amount of fresh stool for analysis to deter mine if other parasites are also present.

Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes and cause serious, sometimes fatal, heart and lung disease. Your puppy may be started on a once-a-month heartworm preventive around 4 months of age. The heartworm preventive also contains medication to control common intestinal parasites.



Puppies require the proper diet for optimal growth and development. Your pet should be fed a good quality puppy food two to four times a day until 4 months of age, then twice daily. Remember to take your puppy outside immediately after feeding since eating creates the urge to eliminate. Large breed puppies should be fed food designed specifically for these rapidly growing puppies. Sup­plementation with vitamins or minerals is usually unnecessary and potentially harmful. After 9 months of age, your pet should be fed adult dog food once or twice daily.


Routine, thorough brushing will help keep your dog's coat in optimal condition. If your pet's coat will require professional grooming, your puppy will better adjust to the process if the first grooming is done at about 3 months of age. You should bathe your dog as often as necessary to keep the coat and skin clean and flea free. Ask about the proper shampoo to use for your pet's skin condition and hair coat.

This is a good time to get your dog accustomed to nail trimming. We will demonstrate the proper technique if you are interested.

Flea and Tick Control

To control flea problems, we recommend puppies be started on the monthly topical flea control Frontline Plus after 7 weeks of age.

barqs.jpgEar Care

Using an ear cleanser, available from your veterinarian, to rinse your pet's ears once a week and after baths will help prevent infections. Ear infections can cause discharge, odor, redness, and scratching or head-shaking, and usually require professional evaluation, ear flushing, and medication.

Dental Care

Your puppy will be losing puppy teeth and growing in adult teeth until about 6 months of age. Provide your puppy with plenty of sturdy chew toys, such as Kong toys, Gumabones and rawhide. Avoid real cooked bones, cow hooves, and pig’s ears since these items can cause intestinal problems and break dog’s teeth.

Sometimes the puppy teeth don't fall out naturally and should be extracted if present after 6 months of age.

Dental disease is a common and serious problem in older dogs. You can slow the progression of dental disease by feeding certain dry foods and Greenies or rawhide, providing chew toys, and by brushing your dog's teeth daily using a pet toothpaste (Enzadent paste). Feeding a Eukanuba diet, or Hills prescription diet t/d, designed to slow development of tartar and gingivitis, can help control dental disease in adult dogs. Professional cleaning will be required periodically depending on your pet's individual needs.

Spay or Neutering

Dogs not intended for breeding should be spayed (female) or castrated (male) to prevent a variety of serious health and behavior problems. Neutering will not change your pet's normal behavior or guarding ability. You will need to feed your dog less after neutering to prevent obesity.

Spaying prevents uterine and ovarian infections and cancers, unwanted puppies, and some behavior problems. Allowing your female dog to go through just one heat cycle will dramatically increase her chances of get ting breast cancer. Female dogs should have surgery between 3 and 6 months of age.

Castration prevents testicular cancer and reduces the likelihood of prostatic diseases and perineal hernias and perianal cancers. Neutered males will fight and roam less, and will be less likely to urine mark in the house. Male dogs should be neutered between 3 and 6 months of age.

If you plan on breeding your pet, an examination and consultation before breeding is highly recommended.

Click on the following links  to learn more about why you should fix your puppy.

Canine Neuter Information

Canine Spay Information


Puppies often challenge their owner’s patience with chewing, digging, struggling, whining, barking or biting. Controlling these behaviors now may prevent them from becoming bad habits later. We will discuss behavior modification techniques if you are having problems. Puppy classes are helpful for both you and your dog and may be started after your puppy has received all the vaccines and is at least 4 months of age.

Crate Training Video

Veterinary care

An examination is warranted whenever you notice any illness or abnormalities in your dog. Bring a stool sample if your dog is having gastrointestinal problems (vomiting or diarrhea) or if it has been more than a year since the last fecal examination.

If your dog remains apparently healthy, an annual physical examination and blood work are recommended to discover any underlying diseases and discuss preventive health care. As your pet ages, these examinations be come more critical and may include blood tests, urinalysis, or radiographs.


Any dog that is allowed outside should wear a collar or harness with a name tag so that you may be contacted in an emergency. Collars are also available with reflective strips to provide added safety at night.

The local shelters and emergency clinics not only look for name tags but also check for the presence of an implanted microchip. Microchip insertion is a safe, convenient, permanent, and highly recommended method of identification.

Once scanned, the microchip information will allow a pet owner to be contacted to retrieve their pet.

We hope you and your dog enjoy many happy and healthy years together!

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