A New Puppy!
Having and holding a cute puppy brings great joy to our lives. This is a scientific fact with numerous studies showing that people are just happier with a pet of any age. But puppies are special!
This is a time that is unforgettable for everyone involved in caring and loving your new young dog. Our veterinarians and staff understand how special and exciting this can be for you. We are here to help you with information on how to get started on caring for your new puppy.
Your early commitment to your new puppy will determine your relationship for their entire life.
It’s Important to Make the Most of Your First Vet’s Visit
We will conduct a comprehensive examination of your puppy during their first veterinary visit to help you understand your puppy’s health condition. This will provide you with an opportunity to learn and gain all the information that you require to become a loving, responsible, and caring guardian to your new puppy. We encourage you to plan for your first visit; it is usually a little longer than usual. If possible, come with everyone who will be participating in taking care of your puppy.
During your first visit we will address the following:
- Puppy diets
- Potty training
- Neutering and spaying
- Signs of any illness
- Vaccinations procedures and schedule
- The appropriate methods for treating external and internal dog parasites.
- Flea and tick preventatives
- Primary obedience training and behavior
Even though these recommendations and considerations are similar for all young dogs, our staff and veterinarians will consider factors such as age, breed, lifestyle, behavioral issues, and current health issues of your puppy.
Good Quality Puppy Food Makes A Lot Of Difference
Understanding the best choice of your puppy’s food is an important part of puppy care. This is because the initial growth of a puppy will determine its quality of life in the future. It is advisable to choose specifically formulated foods for young dogs. Always consider the statement which Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) provides. This is to make sure that the food you decide to use meets all the nutritional requirements that your puppy needs.
- Puppies should be on a puppy formulation until about 1 year of age.
- Giant breed dogs, greater than 100lbs when adult, should be on a specific large-breed puppy formulation because their growth is so rapid.
A puppy should be given clean water at all times to prevent them from becoming dehydrated. A regular feeding program of small frequent meals may be useful when it comes to potty training. The puppy will start enjoying and understanding this routine. It will be a time of bonding.
During your next appointment with our veterinary staff, ensure you discuss a routine for your puppy. A good feeding plan for your puppy should look like the following:
- Between 6-16 weeks old: Requires 3-4 meals each day (4 meals for only very small breeds)
- Between 3-6 months old: Requires 2-3 meals in a day
- Between the age 6-12 months: 2 meals each day
Owners are highly recommended not to share a plate with your puppy. It is very tempting to share a plate with a puppy since it begs for your food while you are eating. Even if it is not dangerous to give a young dog your food, it will be difficult to stop this habit and the puppy will grow up thinking that it is their right to share food with you.
It is good to follow the dog feeding routine so your puppy knows how it is supposed to behave when you are eating. You may even begin by asking your puppy to get out of the dining room until it gets used to behaving well.
Time To Start Potty Training with a Good Bathroom Routine
Potty training should start immediately when the puppy comes to your home. The simplest plan is to get used to taking your puppy out frequently and on a schedule. Always verbally reward them by praising them once they visit the bathroom. They will understand the kindness in your voice. Treats can also be used but in limited amounts.
Please remember your puppy is innocent when there is an accident and they potty in your home. They are not yet aware of any better plan. Be patient with them as you go through the training process. Try not to use too much negative reinforcement once the puppy accidentally potties in your house. Be gentle with your puppy to allow them to bond with you as they continue to learn. Positive reinforcement is always the best policy.
Don’t forget that puppies train differently depending on their breeds and sizes. Herding and working breeds learn quickly while terriers are about average. Hounds and toy breeds may take a little longer. Your patience will be rewarded over time. It is not a concern if your puppy has not mastered housebreaking until they reach 6 months of age.
One of the best ways to train your puppy is through crate training. This avoids having the puppy soiling the house or chewing shoes, especially when it is in a small area. Dogs like small areas just like their ancestors that used dens in the wild. Puppies feel safe in crates and this will significantly help in potty training and safety.
Potty training for young dogs starts with knowing the best time to take the puppy out to carry out its business.
- Immediately after your puppy wakes up (or when you wake up)
- After a puppy exercises or does some physical activity
- Before bedtime
- Right after the puppy eats and repeat 20-30 minutes afterward
Puppies can start their training with another vaccinated young dog immediately after they get their core vaccinations. We advise that you start puppy training from 14-16 weeks and then go on to the basic training.
Remember, if your puppy has not completed the core vaccination series, he or she is at risk of being infected with diseases such as parvovirus. Therefore take precautions even if you are just carrying your dog from your car to where the training facility is to avoid coming in contact with viruses or other intestinal parasites. Keep your puppy away from other dogs which may be showing signs of sickness.
Symptoms of Illness in Puppies
Puppies are vulnerable to serious diseases and illnesses, but fortunately, most of these diseases are avoidable. This is why we recommend that you take vaccination very seriously. However, besides vaccination, you need to monitor your puppy for any symptoms of illness. Contact your veterinarian once you see any of these symptoms:
- Lack or loss of appetite
- Weight loss
- Difficulties in breathing
- Painful or swollen abdomen
- Lethargy (tiredness)
- Pale gums
- Coughing or Wheezing
- Nasal discharge
- Discharge in the eyes or swollen eyes
- Difficulties while passing stool or urine
These symptoms are an indication of emergency conditions and need urgent veterinary care. If you see such symptoms, call East Roswell Vet Hospital immediately.
A puppy should be vaccinated every three weeks until they become 16 weeks old. Booster immunizations should be continued throughout adulthood. Your vet will assist you in choosing the best non-core and core vaccinations for your puppy. The following is an example of a good schedule for puppies’ vaccinations
- 6-8 weeks: Distemper Parvo, Kennel Cough (Bordetella)
- 11-14 weeks: Distemper Parvo, Leptospirosis, Flu
- 15-18 weeks: Distemper Parvo, Leptospirosis, Flu, and Rabies
It is essential to always remain up to date with your puppy’s vaccinations since they are medically proven to fight preventable illnesses and diseases which occur when immunization has not been done. Puppy vaccinations are indications of responsible dog care which your little dog deserves. Vaccine technology has changed dramatically over the past decades and they are now very safe when administered in the right schedule and method.
Learn To Deal With Puppy Teething
Though puppy teething is a very normal and natural part of a puppy’s life, it can be painful and annoying. It is part of the development and maturity phase, and the puppy needs proper care during this time.
At birth, puppies are toothless, but at 3 weeks old baby teeth start appearing. At about 4-5 weeks, they are starting to wean from the mother dog. Your dog will then have 28 baby teeth at 6-8 weeks. Dogs have 40 teeth when full grown.
This fast and new growth results in a phase known as puppy teething. This is a stage where puppies put all kinds of objects in their mouth to chew and gnaw to relieve discomfort, which comes with teeth growth. Here are the reasons for puppy teething:
- It is a method of attracting attention
- Nipping and biting is a socially healthy culture for puppies
- It’s a defense mechanism
The best thing you can do is provide your puppy with teething toys and devices, but it is wrong to gently reinforce bites and nips to property, other animals, and people. You need to be careful to monitor animals as they play with the teething puppy to avoid any teething incidents that may result in something serious. Puppies like to eat strange objects during this time period, so it is very important to “puppy-proof” your home from any known dangers and provides the right kinds of toys for healthy chewing.
When Should Your Puppy be Spayed or Neutered?
We at East Roswell Vet Hospital recommend that you should spay and neuter puppies aged between 4 to 6 months in general. Nonetheless, people with certain larger breeds of dogs (giant breeds or those with known hip dysplasia) have been advised that delaying this service is better as it helps to avoid some orthopedic or cancer conditions. Our veterinary staff will assess this information together with you and determine if your pet needs an alternative plan.
The American Veterinary Medical Association promotes early neutering and spaying. If this procedure is delayed beyond the sexual maturity stage, it can result in an increase in frequencies of mammary tumors among females, while males may suffer from testicular cancer.
Generally, puppies take less time to recover than adult dogs. Thus, early surgery is quite easy and helps to minimize the chances of contracting diseases later on.
We love puppies as well as dogs of all types, but many end up being euthanized or in shelter situations because of failing to regulate the pet population. We also offer alternative procedures such as vasectomies, ovary-sparing spays/hysterectomies, and ovariectomy, and we can consult with you on the best choice for your puppy.
When To Get Your Puppy Socialized?
One of the vital elements of puppy care is early socialization. This involves getting a recommended veterinary trainer to get your little munchkin started with puppy classes. Puppies usually experience some fundamental developmental phases at the age of 8-12 weeks. During this stage, your puppy needs to go through a different and safe socialization process that involves people, other dogs, and varied situations. Although the majority of owners may consider themselves to be experienced in offering good socialization, there isn’t a substitute for puppy classes that are conducted by an efficient trainer.
When you bring your puppy to our health facility, we will not only assist in identifying problem behaviors but will also guide you on how to discourage your puppy from undesirable behaviors. We listen to your concerns and provide appropriate solutions. Also, we will share information that you can share with your family members so that everyone knows what to do to instill positive behaviors in your puppy.
For instance, dogs with no socialization skills have a high likelihood of reacting with aggression or fear of unfamiliar animals, people, and situations. Dogs that remain relaxed when they encounter cyclists, cats, honking horns, long stairwells, crowds, and veterinary assessment are safer and easier to live with than those that perceive such situations as threatening. Dogs that are well socialized live happy, peaceful, and relaxed lives than those that often get stressed about their environments.
Puppies aged 8-12 weeks can comfortably learn new behaviors, meet new animals or people, and respond positively to new experiences. Although they can still get frightened, you can minimize this by controlling unfamiliar situations and offering supportive and positive feedback whenever they get afraid. After 12 weeks, they get less tolerant of new animals, people, and situations, thereby making obedience, socialization, and training more challenging with every passing day.
Schedule Your First Puppy Veterinary Appointment With Us
Scheduling an appointment with our trained veterinary staff is quick and easy. Simply give us a call or send us an email. Once you do so, our staff will guide you on how to easily get to the vet while ensuring that your puppy does not experience pain or get frightened.