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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.
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.
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.
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.
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.
When we say "distemper shot" we are talking about a combination vaccine
(DAP) which protects against a group of diseases:
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.
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, 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.
Roundworms & Hookworms
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.
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.
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