Puppy Medical Care
The day you bring home a little puppy for the first time is a memorable one. It’s exciting to add a new four-legged member to the family. And in these early days, it is critical to begin laying the groundwork for how you will care for your precious puppy’s health and medical needs. Here we will advise on how to find a Veterinarian for your puppy, how to give your puppy a pill, and how to protect your puppy from fleas.
How Do I Find a Veterinarian For My Puppy?
Just like you, your new puppy needs high-quality health care. Ask a friend or your local humane society to recommend a veterinarian.
Be sure to consider the location of the clinic. A drive across town during a medical emergency could delay urgently needed treatment.
Once you’ve narrowed your choices, take time to visit the veterinarian’s office, inquire about services offered, and talk to the doctor and staff about your new puppy. If you like what you see and hear, arrange a time to bring your puppy for an initial examination. It’s a good idea to visit the veterinarian within the first three days after you bring your puppy home to ensure it’s in good health. The veterinarian will probably check:
- Stool. A fecal exam will reveal the presence of internal parasites.
- Body. A head-to-tail physical exam includes inspecting your dog’s coat and feeling the body for abnormalities. The doctor will check the eyes, ears, mouth, and heart and examine the anus for signs of intestinal parasites.
Once an exam is completed, your veterinarian can advise you on immunizations, spaying and neutering, and future health care visits.
Spaying and Neutering
For most pet parents, the expense, time, and expertise involved in breeding dogs responsibly are beyond their reach. Here are some advantages to having your puppy spayed or neutered:
- For females, there will no longer be a mess to deal with during their 21-day heat cycles, which occur approximately every six months. The heat cycle begins in females sometime after six months of age.
- Spaying a female before her first heat cycle will reduce the chance of mammary tumors or uterine diseases.
- Neutered males tend to be less aggressive than un-neutered males.
- With a neutered male, the urge to mark territory may lessen.
- A neutered male is less likely to want to roam in search of potential mates.
Most veterinarians say dogs should be spayed or neutered by the time they are six months old. Both operations are performed under anesthesia and may require an overnight stay at the veterinarian’s office. Recovery time is quick, with most dogs resuming regular activity in a few days.
Spaying (for females) consists of an ovariohysterectomy. Neutering (for males) involves the removal of the testicles. When you bring your puppy to the veterinarian’s office for the first thorough examination, this is an excellent time to ask the doctor to explain the details of these procedures.
How Do I Give My Puppy a Pill?
Most puppies don’t like taking medicine. And who could blame them? But the good news is that when you use the right technique, that bitter pill can be much easier to swallow. Here’s how.
Step 1: Begin with a play session and praise your puppy for relaxing it. Then get on the same physical level as your puppy. With a large puppy, kneel next to it while the dog is in the sitting position; with a small puppy, place it on a grooming table or a countertop.
Step 2: Place one hand over the top of the puppy’s muzzle. Hold the pill in your free hand, and then gently open its mouth with that hand.
Step 3: Place the pill in the center of the tongue as far back as you’re able to reach. Then close your puppy’s mouth and hold it shut while you blow gently but quickly at its nose. Doing so will cause your dog to swallow before it has a chance to spit the pill out. Give your dog a treat immediately afterward to ensure that the tablet has been swallowed. End each session with play and praise.
How Do I Protect My Puppy From Fleas?
The common flea causes your dog discomfort; it can also transmit disease, pass on tapeworms, and cause anemia, especially in vulnerable puppies and older dogs. Regularly inspect your dog for any signs of fleas. Intermittent scratching, biting, and gnawing, plus evidence of flea dirt between your dog’s back legs or on top of its rump, are telltale signs of fleas. If your dog is continuously biting and gnawing itself or you can see fleas, you’ve got a full-blown infestation.
Check your dog for fleas by standing it in a bathtub and vigorously rub your hands through its fur. If little dark dots fall on the tub floor, they’re likely fleas or flea “dirt” (which is the flea’s excrement). You’ll know it’s a flea problem if the “dirt” turns red when you add a drop of water.
Prevention is the key to winning the battle against fleas. There are prescription products that prevent fleas from biting or reproducing. They are given to your dog in either oral or topical treatments, once a month, to break the flea’s reproductive cycle. Ask your veterinarian for more information.
Meanwhile, there are many misconceptions about keeping these pesky critters away. Here’s the truth about the two most common myths:
Myth: Garlic and onion repel fleas.
Reality: Feeding your dog garlic or onion will only result in bad breath. It will have absolutely no effect on fleas, and feeding large amounts of onion to dogs can be toxic.
Myth: Brewer’s Yeast repels fleas.
Reality: No evidence exists that feeding your dog Brewer’s Yeast repels fleas.
Paying careful attention to your puppy’s health will get your new family member off to a great start.
Article written by Author: Anne Black