There are a number of proactive steps that owners can take to maintain the health and wellbeing of their dogs from puppyhood through the golden years. The following is a brief puppy care guide, complete with facts about puppies, puppy food, and puppy health conditions.
Puppy Care Guide
If you do not already have a trusted veterinarian, be sure to find one before you bring home a new puppy. Ask your friends and neighbors who cherish their pets for recommendations.
Before bringing home a new puppy, you also need to puppy proof your home and purchase a crate for the little one. The crate will be his home until he is fully housebroken and can be trusted not to get himself into trouble around the house when you cannot supervise him. The crate should be just large enough for him to stand, turn around and lie down comfortably. Crawl around your home and look for potential dangers from a dog’s eye level. Pick up all small objects, position electrical cords away from chewing reach, make sure that backyard gates and household entrances to utility areas latch securely when closed, block access to the bottoms of staircases and move all poisonous houseplants and household chemicals out of a dog’s reach.
Once you have your new puppy, bring him to the veterinarian for a checkup. The veterinarian will examine the puppy, evaluate his health, offer valuable tips on care and administer vaccines. Puppies must be vaccinated every three to four weeks until they reach four months of age. It is important to complete this series in order for the puppy to achieve complete immunity against a number of diseases, including distemper, parvovirus, adenovirus, parainfluenza and rabies. Additional vaccines may be recommended, depending on your geographic location and your dog’s lifestyle. Your puppy’s stool will be analyzed for the presence of intestinal parasites, which are common in puppies and easily treated.
Feed your puppy a premium quality food that is specifically formulated for puppies. Between the ages of 10 to 12 months, you may begin to wean your puppy to an adult food. Switching foods abruptly can cause diarrhea, so always make the transition slowly by gradually increasing the new food while decreasing the old food over the course of a week.
Puppy Care vs Preventing Pests
From intestinal parasites to nasty little critters that bite, your dog needs to be protected against these pests that can make him sick. Ask your veterinarian about heartworm preventatives and flea and tick preventatives. Learn here how to remove a tick from a dog. Most of today’s preventatives are administered once each month.
Heartworm disease is transmitted by mosquitos, and the disease is much more expensive to treat than it is to prevent. Many of the heartworm preventatives on the market also offer protection against the more common intestinal parasites, including tapeworms, hookworms and roundworms. For the safest and most effective flea and tick control, use a product that is prescribed for your dog by your veterinarian. Flea and tick preventatives protect your dog against a host of health conditions:
- Flea infestations make dogs unbearably itchy and miserable.
- A bite from a single flea can set off a skin allergy known as flea mite dermatitis.
- Severe flea infestations can cause anemia.
- Ticks can infect dogs with Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and ehrlichiosis.
Puppy Care vs Know the Signs
Your veterinarian will recommend an adult vaccination schedule, and he will evaluate your dog’s health annually. You may end up seeing your veterinarian more often, however, if your dog becomes sick. It is important to know the signs and symptoms of a sick dog. Any dog that is not acting quite like himself, hiding away in a secluded spot or exhibiting any of the following symptoms should be taken to a veterinarian for evaluation:
- Diarrhea or constipation
- Discharge from the eyes or nose
- Excessive scratching
- Changes in appetite
- Changes in water intake or urinary output
- Lethargy or depression
- Appearance of new lumps or bumps
When is the best time to get your puppy insured?
When is the best time to buy a pet insurance policy for your puppy? At PetPremium puppies can be covered if they are at least 8 weeks old, but also aging dogs can be covered any time without any problem. Don’t wait to enroll your doggy into a health care plan and have a look at our coverage plans. We help to provide your pooch with the best possible puppy care! Check out more puppy care tips here or Get a Free Quote now.