“Happiness is a warm puppy.”
― Charles M. Schulz
Congratulations on your new addition! Having a new puppy in the home is always fun, but can be somewhat stressful at times we know! Please remember that we are here for you if you have questions about how to care for him, and to manage behavior or medical issues that may arise.
Puppy veterinary care involves several main points:
- Assessment of general health, including detection of congenital disorders, infectious diseases, and parasites both internal and on the skin. To accomplish this, it’s important for the doctor to do a complete physical exam and intestinal parasite test during each of your puppy’s visits for his vaccinations.
- Prevention of infectious diseases with vaccinations given every 3 to 4 weeks, beginning at 6 to 8 weeks of age and ending at 16 to 17 weeks of age. Keep in mind that one set of vaccinations is NEVER sufficient to stimulate a puppy’s immune system to allow protection against these diseases. When puppies are born, they receive antibodies through their mother’s colostrum (initial milk supply) which will protect them for the first several weeks of life. This immunity begins to decrease at about 4 weeks of age and is usually gone by 7 weeks of age, but these antibodies unfortunately interfere with the puppy’s immune system’s ability to respond to a vaccine adequately. Once the immune system can respond, it needs to be exposed to the same vaccine multiple times to develop enough protective antibodies. Therefore, puppies are at most risk of developing illness from an exposure to an infectious disease between 5 and 16 weeks of age. More detailed information on vaccinations.
- Deworming as deemed appropriate by the doctor.
- Heartworm preventative medication begun at the puppy’s first visit, and continued life-long.
- Addressing puppy socialization and behavior/ training issues.
- Preventative dental care recommendations.
- Spay (females) and neuter (males) recommendations.
We recommend you spay or neuter your puppy at 5 ½ to 6 months of age. This routine procedure offers many benefits to companion animals and their owners, such as:
- Promotes health and longevity by preventing certain cancers, uterine infections, and prostate problems.
- Reduces or eliminates many problem behaviors such as urine marking, aggression, and roaming.
- Controls pet overpopulation, as many pets are euthanized simply because there is no room in shelters and no one adopts them.
“A dog is the only thing on earth that loves you more than he loves himself.”
Help your puppy become a social butterfly
What you need to know about socializing puppies Social skills are just as important for your canine pal as they are for each of us. A well-mannered, well-adjusted dog who can adapt to a variety of situations with new people and other pets will be a happier dog and a better companion for you.
What is a well-socialized dog? Dogs that are comfortable meeting and being around a variety of people of all ages, other dogs, and even other types of pets – especially cats – are considered well socialized. Being relaxed and receptive to new people and pets isn’t something that comes naturally to every dog, any more than it does to every person. Some dogs are extroverts and others are timid. Some dogs are naturally comfortable with people, but take a bit more time getting used to another dog or cat.
Why is socializing a dog important? If you socialize your dog in a variety of situations, especially those situations in which you often find yourself (households with lots of children or pets, dog parks with your other dogs, a busy city street, etc.), you’ll know how he or she is going to react and feel confident that your dog is going to be comfortable and well behaved in any situation. If you’re not focusing on social skills from an early age, you’re basically always putting your dog into new and surprising situations. This can lead to fear, insecurity, and the negative behaviors that come with those emotions.
The Social Puppy Top 4
- Start early. As your veterinarian gives you the go-ahead, make routine “social engagements” part of his life. These can be as simple as meeting neighbors or other neighborhood pets as you take walks. You can also find local playgroups or doggie daycare facilities (in the case of a puppy, be sure they have classes specializing in younger dogs– you don’t want a little tyke to be thrown in with the big dogs right away). Dog parks can also be a good possibility, but these require a bit more thought and research and aren’t a place for very young dogs. Also, always make sure that your dog is up to date on vaccines and preventatives that protect against parasites such as fleas and intestinal worms.
- Mix it up. Make sure that you introduce your dog to a variety of situations. A dog who only meets puppies might not be at all comfortable the first time they bump into an adult. Even spending time only with dogs of a particular gender, breed, or size can limit your dog’s comfort with future introductions to different dogs. If you think about it, the same applies to people. A dog that’s totally comfortable with adults can be completely freaked out by the well-intentioned toddler who comes running his way. Children have a very different kind of energy than adults and many dogs are very sensitive to that. It’s worth some extra attention with your dog.
- Be part of the social experience and pay attention to your dog’s reactions. Don’t just introduce your dog to his new human or animals friends and let him figure things out on his own, especially when he’s young or new to your household. Stay with your pet, observe his comfort level, and assess whether he’s happy, nervous, anxious, fearful, or crabby. If he’s having a positive reaction, provide lots of praise and encouragement. If he’s not as comfortable, make introductions to these situations brief, still provide encouragement when he engages positively and remove him from the situation if he exhibits a negative or fearful behavior using a verbal correction if necessary (no, don’t jump, down, etc.).
- Accept your dog’s preferences and limitations. Some dogs are never going to love kids; however, every dog should be well mannered around kids. In this case, you want to understand that your dog is never going to be the dog who is in the back yard playing with your nieces and nephews, but he or she can be the dog who’ll be calm and trustworthy around kids, even if it requires some extra effort and training. Likewise, not every dog will want to play with other dogs. But you want to know that you can comfortably walk your dog on the street and he’ll be calm when passing another dog during your strolls. Sometimes, you might need help from a professional trainer to get your dog comfortable in these situations. Talk to your veterinarian and they can give you tons of tips and tricks. The important thing to remember is that you want your dog’s world to be a happy and comfortable place. That doesn’t mean his or her life is free from anxiety any more than ours is. It does mean you can help your dog be prepared for a variety of situations, be confident regardless of what comes his or her way, and simply know when your dog is going to be the social butterfly and when your dog will be the wallflower!