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Feeding What Food

Choose a dry food intended specifically for puppies, avoiding generic foods and those that sell for unusually low prices. puppy food We suggest Purina Pro puppy food, because it is impossible to distinguish good dog food from poor dog food simply by looking at the ingredient list on the label.

Many things that owners look for, such as high protein levels and extra vitamins, are as likely to be more harmful than helpful.

For example, overfeeding and over supplementation are factors contributing to hip dysplasia. If you have a large-breed puppy, purchase "large breed" puppy food. The actual formula is different, not just the kibble size, and is better for very rapidly growing puppies.

How Often

Offer food to young puppies three times a day. If your puppy isn't hungry that often, reduce the frequency. After ten or twelve weeks of age, feed twice a day. Even adult dogs should have their food split into morning and evening feedings. When fed once a day dogs become overly hungry and are more likely to overeat at mealtime. Let your puppy eat as much as she wants in fifteen minutes and then pick up the food dish. Having food continually available encourages overeating, and chubby puppies are more likely to have hip dysplasia and weight problems later in life. Also, because free-fed puppies never get very hungry, they don't enjoy their food unless given special treats. The combination of special treats and freely available food encourages them to become bored, overweight and picky.

People Food

Do not give people food. If you start with a balanced diet and add goodies from the table, you won't have a balanced diet anymore, and your puppy will have more digestive trouble. Treats that are reasonably balanced, such as Milk Bone Biscuits are OK, but since they are not really all that great nutritionally, don't let them become an important part of the diet. Canned puppy food is perfectly all right, but we usually suggest feeding dry food because it is cheaper, easier to use, and better for the teeth.

Shots

Between six and sixteen weeks of age, puppies lose the disease protection they received from their mothers and become able to form their own immunity to disease. Unfortunately, we never know when this will happen, so there is often a brief period when puppies have lost the disease protection they received from their mothers but have not yet developed strong immunity of their own. Fortunately, new vaccines for distemper and parvovirus are much more effective than what we had even two or three years ago, and eliminate much of this problem. Also, since the new vaccines work better we don't have to give as many, which saves money. Until your puppy is four or five months old, try to prevent contact with stray dogs or sick dogs. Avoid boarding your puppy or taking her places like highway rest stops where lots of other dogs go to the bathroom.

Distemper

When we say "distemper shot" we are talking about a combination vaccine (DAP) which protects against a group of diseases:
Infectious canine distemper (ICD) is a highly infectious viral disease that attacks the lungs and affects the brain and spinal cord in somewhat the same way polio affects people.
Canine adenovirus type 2 (CAV-2) is a respiratory virus that causes a severe form of "kennel cough".
Canine parvovirus (CPV) attacks the lining of the intestinal tract, and in very young puppies, damages the heart. It remains our most common fatal infectious disease and is the most difficult to protect against. Dobermans, rottweilers and boxer or bulldog type dogs are especially susceptible.

Leptospirosis

Causes kidney and liver damage. The disease can affect any mammal, including people, and is spread by urine contamination from infected animals such as raccoons, opossums, rats, coyotes, foxes or other dogs. The newer leptospirosis vaccine protect against four varieties of the disease. We do not recommend using the old Distemper/Lepto vaccines that protect against only two varieties of Leptospirosis because they don't work against the type of Leptospirosis seen most frequently in some areas.

Rabies

Spread by animal bites or through the saliva of an infected animal, rabies is always fatal. Because infected pets can give the disease to people, rabies immunization is something you don't want to ignore. Rabies shots are started at sixteen weeks of age, boostered a year later, and every one to three years after that, depending on local laws and your Veterinarian's recommendation. Unvaccinated dogs that come into close contact with a skunk must be quarantined or put to sleep. Vaccinated dogs that have skunk contact should be given a rabies booster as soon as possible, regardless of when they were last immunized.

Lyme disease spread by ticks

Lyme Disease has become a significant human health problem because the disease is difficult and expensive to diagnose with certainty; there have been few proven cases in dogs. When Lyme disease is suspected, treatment is with antibiotics. The dogs usually get better and we are seldom certain whether the condition being treated was Lyme disease or something else. Dogs that roam in brushy areas and get lots of ticks should be vaccinated. Those restricted to their own immediate area and never get ticks probably don't need it. Immunization is given as an initial series of two injections three weeks apart followed by an annual booster.

Bordetella

Bordetella, a common cause of "kennel cough", is a severe but rarely fatal respiratory disease. Because it spreads through the air in confined areas, kennel cough is common even in clean, well run boarding kennels. If your dog will be at the groomer's frequently or periodically left at a kennel, it is wise to protect against the disease. Most boarding kennels require it. For dogs that don't need year 'round protection, the best time to administer the vaccine is two to four weeks before going to the kennel.
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Worms

Roundworms & Hookworms
Heartguard Plus and Interceptor, two new combination heartworm medications, also kill common intestinal worms. By using either of these products, we eliminate the need for routine fecal examinations and separate worming medications. However, if your puppy has persistent diarrhea please take a small fecal sample to your Veterinarian in order to check for other less-common parasites.
Tapeworms
If you see little short white worms (1/2 inch long or less), these are probably tapeworm segments. When the segments dry they look like grains of brown rice and may stick to your dog's hair.

If you see anything like this, let your Veterinarian know and they will dispense medicine to use at home. vet

Prescription tapeworm drugs are extremely effective, very safe, and cause no discomfort whatever. Non prescription tapeworm medications don't work very well and often cause intestinal cramps and diarrhea.

Before dispensing medication, your Veterinarian needs to know your dog's weight. If he is not extremely small or too large to lift, you can be sufficiently accurate by weighing yourself with and without the dog. Otherwise, bring him along. Your pet will be weighed to set up the correct prescription when you come in.
Heartworms
If the problem is discovered in time, heartworms can be eliminated, but treatment is difficult, dangerous, and expensive. And even with treatment, heartworms cause permanent damage. Although the treatment isn't nearly as dangerous as many people seem to believe, regular testing followed by treatment when needed is not a reasonable alternative to prevention.

Heartworm prevention
Interceptor Chewable Tablets are recommended by many Veterinarians, because they taste good and need to be given only once a month. In addition, Interceptor kills hookworms, whipworms and roundworms, eliminating the need for separate worming medications and routine fecal examinations. It is important to use Interceptor every month without fail.

Heartworm Testing
Dogs with heartworm disease ordinarily have adult male and female worms living in the heart, and microscopic baby heartworms throughout the bloodstream. Baby heartworms become adults only after living in a mosquito and then getting into a dog when it is bitten by the mosquito. Because we cannot detect heartworms until about six months after infection, we never know for sure if puppies already have heartworms when we start them on prevention medication. Although this is a concern, the risk of puppyhood infection is small, and we can safely wait to perform an initial heartworm test until about fifteen months of age, when rabies and distemper booster vaccinations are given. After that, we encourage you to test every two years to protect against the small possibility that a dose has been missed, or the extremely small possibility that the medicine isn't working.
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For the first six weeks of life puppies are protected by you, the owner, from extreme heat, cold and predators. The mother or Dam provides the maternal antibodies that are found in the colostrum, or first milk. This provides nutrients needed for growth and development. An antigen is a substance that introduces a state of sensitivity or immune responsiveness after a latent period and causes a puppy or dog to become sick. Antibodies are substances that react with an antigen to protect the puppy or dog against that certain antigen. Maternal antibodies are received from the mother, before and after birth, and during the last six weeks after the puppy's birth. It is because of the maternal antibodies that puppies do not need to make their first visit to the veterinary clinic until they are six weeks of age.
Eight Procedures to be Performed at a Routine Office Visit
  1. A general physical exam, recording weight and any abnormalities
  2. Check for external parasites
  3. Perform a fecal exam
  4. Administer a de-wormer (This is done even if the dog or puppy is negative for any parasites)
  5. Initiate Heartworm prevention (one dose by weight for puppies and will recheck at each visit) Vaccinate
  6. Advice will be given on nutrition, grooming and health care of your puppy or dog and some veterinary offices may provide you with pamphlets about such topics A health record will be started or updated for the owner.
  7. A routine physical exam is a general look-over of the puppy or dog to ensure good health status. All systems of the body will be checked and questions will be asked about each one. The skin and ears are checked thoroughly for external parasites such as fleas, ticks, skin mites, ear mites and ringworms. If any of these parasites are found, they must be treated immediately to avoid spreading and/or causing secondary infection. The puppy or dog must be started on prevention of these parasites or if already on a prevention, it should be changed to a different dose or preventive. A fecal exam is used to determine if your puppy or dog has any internal parasites such as whipworms, roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and coccidia. A routine de-wormer such as Pyrantal is given regardless of positive or negative result of fecal exam. If tapeworms or coccidia are present, other medications may be administered and dispensed according to results and severity of infestation. Heartworm prevention, which is determined by the puppy or dog's weight and administered as a pill, chewable tablet or injection, is started at the six weeks of age visit. It is given once monthly for the length of the dog's life. There are many different brands and effects. Some of the Heartworm preventives have internal parasite de-wormer in them and some have external parasite prevention in them. Many of the options will be available at your local veterinary clinic and will be discussed with you by the veterinarian or the veterinary technician to determine the best one for your puppy or dog. Although this prevention can be changed at any time, it must be given monthly to prevent Heartworm disease, which is terminal for your dog.

    A standard vaccination schedule is used. Many Veterinarians use their own discretion on a routine vaccination schedule. Some do not give the Lyme disease vaccinations until the ninth or twelfth week. Some do not give parts of the eight-in-one vaccination until the ninth or twelfth week. Lyme disease vaccination is not required, but is recommended. Kennel Cough vaccinations are recommended and only required for boarding, showing and other events. Rabies vaccination is required once a year in some areas, but other areas only require the three-year vaccination.
  8. Before the visit ends, any problems, diseases or illnesses that arose during the visit will be addressed. This may include other tests such as blood work, skin scrapings or other types of diagnostic tests. Any questions that you may have can be discussed at this time along with other useful information you can use such as prevention procedures of parasites and other diseases, management of the new puppy, skin, ear and nail care, grooming and nutrition. Before the owner leaves the office, a health record will be started or updated for your puppy or dog. If a Rabies vaccination was given, a rabies tag and certificate will be given along with a date for a follow up visit. Many clinics will send out reminders to bring in your puppy or dog, which will help you keep up with when an appointment needs to be made.
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