Make the Most Out of Your First Puppy Examination
During your puppy’s first veterinary visit, we will perform a nose to tail physical exam and gather information from you to help get a complete picture of your puppy's health. This is also your opportunity to gather all of the important puppy care information you need to be an informed, responsible and loving owner. Below are some of the topics we will address at the first visit:
Our veterinarian will take into account factors such as breed, age, your lifestyle, and any current health or behavioral issues to make recommendations that will be tailored to your puppy's needs.
Puppy vaccinations should be given every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age, and continue with booster immunizations yearly throughout adulthood.
It is important to stay current with your puppy vaccinations. Puppy vaccinations have been medically proven to combat many preventable diseases and illnesses that will occur without proper immunizations. Puppy vaccinations are a huge part of responsible puppy care, and your puppy deserves no less than every chance to be healthy and happy for life.
Signs of Illness In Puppies
Young puppies are susceptible to illnesses and diseases that can be very serious. This is why puppy vaccinations are so important. However, puppy vaccinations alone will not prevent all illnesses. The key to preventing illness is being diligent in monitoring your puppy's behavior for symptoms. If you observe any of the following symptoms in your puppy, contact your vet immediately:
Lack of appetite
Poor weight gain
Swollen or painful abdomen
Wheezing or coughing
Swollen, red eyes or eye discharge
Inability to pass urine or stool
Intestinal Parasites, Fleas And Heartworm
All puppies need a regular deworming program which includes medication to kill most intestinal parasites. Dogs can also contract heartworm disease. Therefore we recommend heartworm prevention for all of our patients.
One of the most common and annoying parasitic dangers is fleas. A discussion about your pet’s lifestyle and proper flea and tick control is an indispensable component of puppy care. We do not recommend over-the-counter sprays, powders and collars. They are less effective and more toxic to your pet. Your veterinarian will be happy to discuss an effective flea/tick and overall parasite prevention program.
Feeding Your Puppy
Understanding puppy food is a huge part of responsible puppy care. After all, your puppy's body is growing in ways that will directly impact his or her quality of life for many years to come. It is important that you choose a quality puppy food that has been specifically formulated for young and growing dogs. Always look for a statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) that ensures the puppy food you choose meets or exceeds nutritional requirements for growing canine bodies.
Make sure your puppy has fresh and abundant water early in the day to help break down the puppy food, as well as to keep them hydrated. Having a regular feeding and walking schedule will be a tremendous help with potty training. Puppies will begin to learn, understand and enjoy a scheduled routine.
When Should You Spay Or Neuter Your Dog
We recommend spaying or neutering at approximately 4-6 months of age. However, among certain giant breeds, some studies have proven that waiting even longer may be the most optimal to avoid joint problems. Our veterinarian will review this information with you and discuss which breeds may want to consider an alternate plan.
The American Veterinary Medical Association supports early spaying and neutering. In general, puppies recover faster than adult dogs. Therefore, it is an easier surgery for them and one that reduces the rate of disease later in life.
Delaying this procedure past sexual maturity can lead to increased incidences of mammary tumors in females, and testicular cancer in males.