DISTEMPER: (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus): A puppy should start its Distemper vaccinations at 6-8 weeks of age, then be boostered every 3-4 weeks until 16 weeks of age. Puppy will need a booster 1 year later, and it lasts for 3 years.
RABIES: A puppy can receive its Rabies at 12 weeks of age (usually done with 2nd Distemper shot).
LYME DISEASE: Puppies who are outdoors frequently and exposed to ticks may need the Lyme vaccination. This can be done as early as 12 weeks of age, and should be boostered within 2-3 weeks for maximum protection.
KENNEL COUGH: (Adenovirus Type 2, Parainfluenza, and Bordetella Bronchiseptica): For puppies that will be boarded, at daycare, groomed, or exposed to many other dogs should receive a Kennel Cough vaccine. It can be done as early as 8 weeks of age and needs to be boostered within 3-4 weeks.
LEPTOSPIROSIS: Puppies who are spending lots of time outside (camping or hiking), and are in contact with standing water (pounds, swamps, slow brooks) should be vaccinated against this bacteria. This vaccine can be started at 8 weeks of age and needs at least one booster in 2-3 weeks.
CANINE INFLUENZA: Canine Influenza (dog flu) is a highly contagious infection occurring in dogs. This is a rapidly transmitted disease. It is spread through the air (coughing, barking, and sneezing) and on contaminated surfaces (kennel surfaces, food and water bowls, collars and leashes). A vaccine is given and needs a booster in 2-4 weeks when given for the first time. The vaccine is then repeated annually.
Heartworm is a parasite that is transmitted through mosquitoes. Heartworm prevention (an oral tablet) is started at the first visit, given monthly and continued all year round. A blood test is done at 9-12 months of age to assure that the puppy is free of heartworm larva, and then repeated annually with routine vaccinations.
A stool sample should be checked on the puppy’s first three visits to assure that there are no Hookworms, Roundworms, Whipworms, Coccidia or other intestinal parasites. Internal worms shed their eggs intermittently, so it is important to check several samples. Tapeworms in puppies may not be identified on this exam, so it is very important to report any worms that are seen on the feces. Any necessary dewormings will be done either by injection or an oral medication, depending on the parasite.
Puppies should be fed a high quality puppy food. No matter what kind of food you choose to feed your puppy, look for the AAFCO (American Association of Feed Control Officials) label on the bag. Any dog food that is labeled complete and balanced as regulated by AAFCO must, by definition, contain all the vitamins and minerals required for good health. Puppies can be weaned onto adult formula dog food at the age of 12 months, and for large breeds between 18-24 months. Feeding dry (hard) food along with routine dental care helps to keep teeth free of tartar and decay. In most cases the same diet throughout a dog’s adult life is sufficient. Keep in mind, puppies need more calories than seniors, and older dogs may need nutritional supplements.
Light brushing with a tartar control paste made for dogs should be started in puppy hood to avoid tooth disease and loss, and get the pet used to routine dental care. Several pet toothpastes are available (in poultry, malt and mint flavors) which many dogs love! Brushing twice a week is a great start to oral health. Dental chews, a bar containing edible toothpaste and abrasives are available for the toothbrush resistant puppy.
SPAYING AND NEUTERING
For the small to medium breeds, it is recommended to neuter/spay between 5-8 months of age. For the larger breed dogs, there are new thoughts that there are some health benefits to neuter/spay closer to one year of age. For female dogs this would be done soon after their first heat cycle. This will prevent unwanted pregnancies and can help deter the development of aggressive behavior. These operations also greatly reduce a chance for certain types of cancer in both female and male dogs. This chance is lost however if the female goes through more than one heat cycle. These procedures are discussed with a doctor on a case by case basis at your puppy visit.
GROOMING AND SKIN CARE
Puppies may be bathed as necessary. This needs to be done only when dirt, parasites, or skin problems signal the need for bathing. Ask us about veterinary approved shampoos for use in dogs. Human skin and hair products may cause skin irritation or sickness.
Microchipping is a form of permanent identification for lost pet recovery. It can be done during a routine vaccine visit or during spay / neuter appointment. Please ask us for more info.