Surviving puppyhood is not hard. Puppies are predictable. They chew everything, urinate and defecate everywhere and get into trouble every time they are out of sight. This is normal! Surviving puppyhood with some semblance of calm begins by planning for puppies to behave like puppies. Here are some hints:
Supervise: When your puppy is loose, he must be in sight. Treat him like a human toddler. You would never leave your toddler unsupervised. Don't leave your puppy either.
Entertain: Puppies have active minds as well as active bodies. Get several safe toys and rotate them so your puppy doesn't get bored. Don't give them all the toys at once. Variety helps to keep them interested.
Educate: Your pup is learning every day he is with you. Start teaching him manners right away. Use short sessions with lots of praise and food rewards (freeze dried liver is a great training treat). Even seven-week-old puppies can learn to sit, stay, and come. Educate yourself as well. There are many books and videos available to help you successfully raise a puppy.
Prevention: Put things away. Close cabinets and doors. Coat electrical wires with an anti-chew product (gold Listerine in a spray bottle works well for many pups).
Confine: Confine parents use cribs and playpens. Puppy owners use crates and kennels. Small room with baby gates can be used but remember; a puppy can strip wallpaper, chew the ends of cabinets, or bite holes in drywall. Therefore, our preference is to always use a crate or kennel.
Enjoy: Your puppy is exhausting, frustrating, and demanding. He is also charming, innocent, adorable, eager, smart, and wonderful. Enjoy him every day.
By 4 months of age your puppy should be well on his way to becoming a well-mannered member of the family. To help him achieve this goal, we outline some major "expectations" you should attempt to achieve. Your pup should:
Annual Comprehensive Wellness Examination
An annual comprehensive physical examination is the basis for your dog's health program. Senior dogs (over 8-10 years of age) will greatly benefit from semi-annual health check-ups. Since our dogs age so much more rapidly than we do, health problems may arise in seemingly short periods of time. By 6 months of age, your puppy is the equivalent of a 3-4 yr. old child and by 8 yrs. of age your dog is the equivalent of a 55-65 yr. old person! You have probably heard it said that diseases such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and heart ailments in people might be SILENT KILLERS. This is because often times there are NO obvious clinical signs until severe illness or death occurs. Likewise dogs have many "silent killer" diseases that afflict them. There is NO immunity to silent killers like heart, kidney, and dental disease. EARLY DETECTION through comprehensive anal or semi-anal examinations is the key to your canine companion's well being.
Puppies should begin their immunization series at 6-8 weeks of age. Vaccinations are boostered every 3-4 weeks between the ages of 6 weeks and 16 weeks of age. Once the initial vaccination series has been completed, booster vaccinations will be recommended every 1 to 3 years based upon your dog's assessed disease risk.
“Core” vaccinations are those vaccinations that are currently recommended for ALL DOGS. These include canine distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, and rabies. Other vaccinations, like leptospirosis, infectious tracheobronchitis (bordetella), lyme, and influenza vaccines are recommended based on your dog's lifestyle.
Intestinal Parasite Control
The Center for Control (CDC) recommends that ALL puppies be routinely de-wormed for roundworms and hookworms, at least 2-3 times, whether or not eggs for these parasites are found in a stool sample. These parasites may infect the puppy by traveling across the placenta of the mother dog to the unborn puppy prior to birth. Additionally, the puppies may be infected with these parasite by migration of the immature worm in the mother's milk. Not only are these parasites dangerous to the health of the puppy, but the immature worm is capable of infecting people (primarily children) as well. It is for this reason that the CDC makes it recommendation. Annual fecal exams are necessary to check for a variety of intestinal parasites that may affect your dog.
ALL puppies and adult dogs should be maintained on heartworm preventive medication on a year round basis. Heartworms are parasites that are transmitted by the bite of an infected mosquito. The parasites live in the heart and lungs of infected dogs and are capable of causing heart failure. An annual blood test is recommended to assure that your dog is heartworm free.
Flea & Tick Control
These parasites are capable of causing extreme skin irritation to you and your dog as well as transmitting potentially dangerous diseases. Lyme disease is transmitted by the bite of a tick, and is VERY COMMON IN THIS AREA. It can cause lethargy, fever, joint pain, and even kidney failure if left undetected and untreated. The recommended yearly heartworm blood test also screens for Lyme disease. However, beyond just screening for Lyme disease, the best thing is to PREVENT lyme disease. The best way to do this is to use a good flea and tick control product that will protect your dog from the bite of a tick. It is recommended to use flea and tick control all year long, for the life of your dog.
The mouth is the gateway to the rest of the body. A healthy, clean mouth helps to insure a healthy body. Tarter and plaque on teeth harbor a wide variety of bacteria that may cause infections elsewhere in the body such as in the heart, liver, or kidneys. The practice of home dental care should be started with your puppy to get him/her used to having its teeth cleaned at an early age. Brushing is the most effective method of home dental care, but if this is not possible, other options may be beneficial such as the feeding of a specially formulated diet or offering treats impregnated with an enzyme that helps remove plaque. Regular dental exams along with professional dental cleanings are an important part of your dog's good oral hygiene.
Spaying and Neutering
Dogs may be spayed or neutered at any age, but the preferable age is approximately 6-12 months of age. It is of no health benefit to allow your dog to go through a heat cycle or to breed once prior to being spayed or neutered. Spay and neutering prevents annoying sexual behavior, prevents certain cancers and infections, and generally leads to a happier, healthier dog.
Benefits of spaying your Cat
Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) is a procedure that involves removal of your cat's ovaries and uterus. This surgery may be performed at any age but the preferable age is between 4-12 months. There is NO medical evidence to suggest that your cat will benefit in any way from going through a heat cycle or having a litter prior to being spayed. Spaying can provide you and your cat with the following benefits:
There are many good reasons to have your cat spayed early in life. Unless you are convinced that you would like to show your cat, we recommend spaying at the earliest convenient time.
Benefits of Neutering your Cat
There are many good reasons to neuter your cat early in life. Unless you are convinced that you want to show your cat, we recommend neutering at the earliest convenient time.
Vaccinations are essential tools for disease prevention. Use of vaccines has helped to minimize and in some cases eliminate disease in both human and veterinary medicine. Vaccination is a mainstay of preventative medicine.
Vaccinations are not given without some risk of side effects or reaction. The vast majority of pets have no obvious ill effects from vaccination. Others may exhibit “normal” side effects including lethargy, mild fever, and soreness at the injection site. These side effects should resolve within 24-48 hours.
More significant allergic type reactions include:
What to do if your pet exhibits these signs:
Most lost family pets that are found or rescued are unidentifiable and the vast majority NEVER returns home. Collars with tags may come off or be removed and tattoos become illegible over time and are difficult to trace. Pets can safely and painlessly be identified using a microchip inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades. This microchip is the size of a grain of rice, and is inserted by injection (like a vaccination).
If you are a dog owner in Lancaster County, you can obtain a lifetime license from the county once your pet has been microchipped. This is a one-time licensing fee, that will provide a license for your dog for the remainder of his or her lifetime.
Home Again Microchips
We use Home Again Microchips. See link below for more information on their chips!