Health of Your Puppy
When considering the idea of bringing home a puppy, you must also consider
their health and how you will take care of them. You should ask friends
about the vet they use for their pets and get recommendations to see if they
are happy with their choice. The best thing to do is to plan a checkup
of your new puppy within 8 hours of bringing him home. A vet will check
your puppy's weight, height, temperature and skin for any problems.
The vet will also thoroughly examine the puppy's eyes, ears, teeth and abdomen
and look for any genetic or physical abnormalities.
Your veterinarian will also begin a series of puppy vaccinations to prevent
disease. Common diseases that can be prevented are:
- Canine Coronavirus - A disease that attacks the intestines, making the
puppy weak and sickly. Vomiting, depression, loss of appetite, and diarrhea
may be symptoms of this illness. Vaccinations can prevent this disease
in your puppy.
- Canine Distemper - A very serious and contagious disease that attacks
the gastrointestinal and respiratory systems and sometimes the nervous system
as well. Currently there is no medication available to kill distemper
in infected dogs. Prevention with vaccinations is the best option.
- Kennel Cough - A quickly spreading disease, especially in boarded dogs
that creates a dry, hacking cough and can cause complications as severe
- Canine Parvovirus - A serious, contagious disease that affects the gastrointestinal
system. This virus is generally in the stool of infected dogs.
If your puppy steps in infected feces on a walk, then later licks his paw,
he could get this disease. Symptoms lead to dehydration and can be
fatal. Vaccinations will help prevent this disease.
- Infectious Hepatitis - A contagious disease from a virus that infects
the lining of the blood vessels, liver and kidneys. (It is not the same
as the hepatitis that affects people. Dogs that have contracted this
disease may become lethargic, have a high fever, loss of appetite, bloody
stool, vomiting, and collapse. The vaccination is included in the
DHPP shot (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus).
- Leptospirosis - This disease is caused from bacteria that attacks the
liver and kidneys. It comes from contact with the urine of infected
animals. Contaminated water can trigger this disease. Symptoms
are similar to other diseases listed above, but also include jaundiced eyes
(the whites of the eyes turning yellow). The vaccine used for this
disease is added to the DHPP vaccination (DHLPP).
- Lyme Disease - Ticks spread lyme disease, an ailment that mainly affects
the joints of the body. Dogs may have a fever, have sudden lameness
or painful joints, become weak and lethargic and lose weight. Antibiotics
and an optional vaccine is available to help prevent the disease.
- Rabies - This deadly disease is easily preventable with a series of
rabies vaccines. Rabies is caused by a virus spread usually from wild animals
and attacks the nervous system. Your puppy should be vaccinated at three
months of age, with booster shots given as one or three-year vaccinations.
Prevention of disease is the best treatment. Make sure you take the
necessary steps recommended by your veterinarian to keep your puppy healthy.
Exercise & Activities
All puppies need some exercise and activity. Of course, the best exercise
activity is taking your puppy for a simple walk. Most puppies love to
play fetch or chase after balls or even play with tugging ropes. Even if you
don't provide much, your puppy will find activity to keep him busy.
As he grows, you may want to enter the world of competitive sports that include
jumping, obstacle courses, catching flying discs or even racing. Athletic
sports can be a challenge for your dog. Make sure he is in fit shape if you
decide to enter into that world. As your puppy grows older, he may like to
jog with you, go on hiking and camping as your companion, or even enjoy a
swim. Puppies are adaptable to almost any activity as long as proper
training and care are involved.
Although you expect your puppy to live a long, healthy life, emergencies
can happen. A little preparation can save your puppy's life. First of all,
know where your closest animal emergency hospital is for after hours or weekends
when your veterinarian's office is not open! Always rush your puppy
to an emergency hospital is he is having trouble breathing, he is continually
vomiting, convulsing, whimpering in pain, or unconscious. Keep trouble
items out reach that could cause poisoning or injuries to prevent some of
- Allergies - Allergies are becoming increasingly more common for puppies
and older dogs alike. Allergies are triggered by several things: fleas or
biting insects, inhaling pollen, molds or other antigens, food or drugs.
Your puppy may react to one or more of these antigens. It may be difficult
at first to tell what is the cause. You will have to be patient and
work with your vet in determining the cause. Some allergies cause
skin reactions, such as itching, swelling or difficulty breathing.
Your veterinarian will help determine the best treatments.
- Internal Parasites - The most common internal parasites include heartworms,
hookworms, roundworms, tapeworms and whipworms. Heartworms are from the
bite of infected mosquitoes and can be fatal. Your vet can check for this
worm through a blood sample. Treatment is usually in the form of liquid
or a pill administered to the puppy for a period of time. Hookworms
generally show up in warm, humid climates. They can cause weakness
and anemia. Treatment is generally medication. Roundworms can
be passed to a puppy through the mother's placenta before birth, through
mother's milk or by ingesting worms eggs in the soil. Roundworms are
very common and usually treated by the vet early in his life. Tapeworms
can be caught by swallowing fleas that have eating tapeworm eggs.
Tapeworms can cause some abdominal pain and anal itching. Whipworms
living in the small intestines and are difficult to detect than other worms.
They can cause severe diarrhea, anemia and weight loss. All the parasites
can be easily treated when the puppy is young by the vet deworming him beginning
at his first checkup.
- Fleas - Fleas can be a frustrating problem because they can spread onto
humans, into carpets, furniture and bedding. Itching is the most prevalent
problem with fleas, but with a severe infestation, they can cause anemia
or even death. Talk to your vet about the best treatment for your
pet and how to rid your home of fleas before they take over.
- Ticks are carriers of disease, including Lyme disease, to both animals
and humans. They tend to live in weedy, wooded or grassy areas outdoors.
Ticks can be difficult to remove because they bury their head under the
skin. The best way to remove a tick is to grab it by it's body and
pull outward slowly, steady and firm, with the head attached. Drop it in
a gar with rubbing alcohol to kill it.
- Dental Issues - Just like with humans, puppies and dogs can have dental
problems if their teeth are not cared for. Gingivitis - tartar - builds
up around the teeth and causes bad breath, swollen or bleeding gums and
loose teeth. Products such as dry biscuits and Flossy Bone ropes,
specially designed to help remove plaque and tartar, can help clean the
teeth of your puppy and keep him healthy.
Household Toxic Substances
Skunk Removal Formula
Healthy puppy check up
Recommended Dog Vaccinations
How to Take Care of a Puppy
7 Attributes of a Good Holistic Veterinarian
A Dog Health Checklist for Prospective Buyers
Puppy Paw and Nail Care