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:
Benefits of spaying your Dog
Spaying (ovariohysterectomy) is a procedure that involves removal of your dog'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 dog 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 dog with the following benefits:
There are many good reasons to have your dog spayed early in life. Unless you are convinced that you would like to show or breed your dog, we recommend spaying at the earliest convenient time.
Benefits of Neutering your Dog
There are many good reasons to neuter your dog early in life. Unless you are convinced that you want to show or breed your dog, we recommend neutering at the earliest convenient time.
KONG Recipes & Stuffing Techniques
Kong toys are uniquely shaped, extraordinarily durable rubber toys with a hollow center which can be filled with food or treats. Un-stuffing Kongs can become a very important and popular activity for your puppy or dog because it can keep him or her content and busy for long periods of time while they crunch up and lick out the food nuggets and treats stuffed inside. Using the KONG in this fashion helps direct your dog's natural desire to chew toward something that is acceptable to your dog and desirable to you. We much prefer that your dog chews on the KONG than the leg of your kitchen table or your favorite pair of shoes!
Suggestions for KONG stuffing include:
Remember to use any stuffing ingredient in moderation. Items such as peanut butter can be fattening. Also, some foods may not "agree" with your dog's stomach so be aware of potential stomach upsets. This is not usually a problem with the previously mentioned stuffing suggestions. Also, remember that it may be necessary to reduce the portion size of your dog's regular meal if you are using lots of food inside KONGs to keep your dog occupied and happy.
Some recipes may become messy as your dogs licks and chews out the contents of the stuffed KONG so be aware of leaving your dog in an area such as a crate, outside in the yard or on an easily cleaned floor while he or she enjoys the KONG. You may periodically need to place the KONG in your dishwasher to clean and sanitize the inside cavity.
**** Please make sure to use the appropriate sized KONG toy that is recommended for your pet's weight. The company makes guidelines to avoid injury. If a smaller sized KONG toy is offered to your dog, instead of the appropriate recommended size, then problems can arise due to ingestion of the toy or it can become a choking hazard. If either one of these situations arises, then please contact our office if it is during normal business hours, or the local emergency clinic (PETS at 717-295- 7387).
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.
Heartworms are parasites that live within the heart and lungs of infected dogs, and occasionally cats
Transmission-The bite of an infected mosquito transmits the immature heartworm to your pet. The larva then migrates through the body and eventually finds its way to the heart where it matures into the adult form. It is within the heart that this parasite reproduces.
Diagnosis-A blood test is used to detect foreign proteins produced by the adult female heartworm. It is a much better to detect worms BEFORE clinical signs of heartworm disease are present.
Clinical Signs-Signs of heartworm disease may include loss of appetite, weight loss, exercise intolerance, and coughing. In cats, sometimes the ONLY sign is sudden death. Once clinical signs develop, heartworm disease may become life threatening and treatment becomes more difficult.
Treatment-Hospitalization is required for heartworm treatment. Chest x-rays and blood evaluation are necessary prior to treatment to evaluate the progression of heartworm disease and the patient’s ability to withstand treatment. For dogs, a drug called immiticide is the current drug of choice used to kill adult heartworms. The treatment consists of a series of deep injections of this drug into the muscles of the back. Currently, the ONLY WAY to treat cats with heartworms is to manually extract them from the heart during a surgical procedure. This can also be done for dogs, if they are too sick to survive the injection treatment. Once treatment has been completed, the patient returns home for approximately 6 weeks of strict CONFINEMENT. Major lung complications may develop if confinement and exercise restriction are not followed during the post-treatment period. If microfilaria (baby heartworms) are present in the blood at the time of treatment, then the patient returns for one additional treatment 4 weeks later. The patient will then return 2 weeks after the final treatment and again in 3 months for blood tests to confirm that all heartworms have been killed.
Prevention-The most important aspect of heartworm management is PREVENTION! Several different types of heartworm preventatives are available. The doctor can discuss the various types of prevention with you, and help you choose the one that is best for your pet.