Eight Simple Steps to Raising a Happy and Healthy Puppy
- Annual Exam
a) Monitoring the health of your pet yearly with a physical exam and sometimes
blood work, will provide an opportunity to detect early signs of disease
b) Early detection and treatment will increase the prognosis of many diseases
a) Vaccines reduce the risk of obtaining many lethal and untreatable diseases.
b) Puppies require a series of vaccines to establish immunity from a variety of diseases.
c) Vaccine protocols vary from patient to patient, so an exact schedule should be discussed with your veterinarian.
a) Distemper/Parvo vaccine
--- This is a core vaccine that prevents 5 serious diseases:
Distemper, Parvovirus, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza and Leptosporosis.
--- This vaccine requires a 3 shot series starting at 8 weeks of age with a
booster every 3-4 weeks.
--- This vaccine must be boostered yearly
b) Lyme Disease
--- Lyme Disease is spread by tick bites and is highly prevalent in the
Northeast. Lyme disease can cause fatal kidney failure or severe joint
disease and has no cure.
--- Initially two vaccines given 3-4 weeks apart will establish immunity for
--- This vaccine must be boostered at 6 months and then boostered yearly.
--- Rabies vaccines are a legal requirement and are first administered at 12
weeks of age.
--- Dogs are boostered initially after 1 year and then every 3 years after that.
a) Kennel Cough/Bordetella
--- Bordetella is a bacterium that is transmitted between animals by
breathing contaminated air. Infection is characterized by a severe, harsh,
--- Protection from Bordetella requires a series of 2 shots, 3-4 weeks apart.
--- This vaccine is boostered yearly.
b) Canine Influenza
--- Canine flu is a contagious viral disease that can spread quickly among dogs.
It affects a dog's respiratory system and may cause serious illness. In the US, outbreaks of
canine flu were first reported in 2004 and the virus has since spread across country.
--- Proper vaccination requires two initial sets of injections given 2-4 weeks apart, followed by a yearly booster.
3. Spay or Neuter your pet
a) This reduces the risk of developing various diseases including cancer
b) This also reduces the risk of developing negative behavior traits, such as
aggression, and roaming
c) Helps control the pet population
d) We recommend spaying at 6 MONTHS of age
e) This will decrease your pet’s energy needs, so please decrease their food by 20%.
4. Fecal Exams
a) There are many kinds of intestinal parasites that your dog or cat can become infected
with. Many of these parasites can cause infection in humans, especially children.
b) Fecal exams are recommended on all puppy visits. Intestinal parasites are acquired by
puppies from their mother or the environment.
c) Two negative fecal tests are required to determine a puppy is clear of parasites.
d) A yearly fecal exam is recommended to rule out intestinal parasites.
5. Heartworm Prevention
a) Heartworm disease is a parasitic infection that is transmitted by mosquitoes and lives in
the heart and lungs of infected dogs and cats.
b) Heartworm disease causes many changes in the heart and lungs of infected animals.
These changes may be fatal.
c) There are very safe and effective preventatives that are used once a month to prevent
infection. These preventatives also help prevent most intestinal parasites
d) We recommend either Heartgard or Interceptor once a month year-round.
6. Flea and Tick Control
a) Flea infestation can lead to many problems with your pet; including itchiness, anemia,
lethargy, hair loss, intestinal and blood borne parasites; as well as owner infestation.
b) Prevention is much easier than treating a flea infestation, since fleas can live and
reproduce in your house
c) Tick infestation can lead to the spread of many diseases including Lyme disease.
- It only takes one tick to spread disease
d) We recommend using Frontline once a month to prevent Fleas and ticks
7. Permanent identification for your pet- MICROCHIPS
a) NEVER lose your loved one
b) Microchips are placed between the shoulder blades of your pet.
c) Microchips are encoded with a unique serial number that supplies the finder with your
name and address.
d) All animal shelters and veterinary hospitals have a scanner to identify and return your
e) We recommend Microchip implantation for all pets at time of sterilization
f) Millions of pets are euthanized each year because their owners cannot be located. Do not
let this happen to your loved one.
8. Provide a High Quality Food
a) A well balanced diet is essential to maintaining a healthy pet.
b) Eating a high quality food will reduce the risk of developing many diseases; including
skin disorders, allergic reactions, urinary tract disease and more.
c) We recommend Royal Canin, Hills Science Diet or Purina as a high quality food
source for your pet. These three companies develop specialized diets for your pet with
the knowledge that nutrition is important in the prevention of diseases. Consistency is
one major benefit of these three companies. They invest a lot of time and money,
researching, testing and developing their diets to ensure your pet is receiving a safe and
properly balanced diet. Although many people are recommending “holistic” or
“natural” diets today, these terms indicate a marketing strategy and not an ingredient
list. Holistic and natural are not terms regulated by the FDA.
Commonly Asked Questions
How often should I feed my dog?
Puppies benefit from several small meals rather than one or two large meals. Adult dogs should have at least two meals a day Remember the quantity and frequency of feeding should be based on the dog’s age and activity level. Soaking kibble in water can alleviate pain during teething and prevent bloat.
How often should I let my dog out to go potty?
Generally every 3-4 hours when you are home. Some dogs can “hold it” for a longer time. Remember that dogs have to “go” after a meal, drinking a lot of water, or waking up from a nap. A puppy should be able to “hold it” for the same number of hours as their age in months.
How often should I clip my dog’s nails?
Once a month you should clip your dogs’ nails. You can also tell they need to be clipped if you hear them clicking on the floor. Clipping nails may have to be done as often as every two weeks especially with growing puppies. Our staff can train you on how to properly trim your pets’ nails.
How often should I clean my dog’s ears?
Cleaning your dog’s ears at least once a month can help prevent ear infections. Cleanings may need to be done more often; especially after your dog goes swimming or has been given a bath.
How often should I bathe my Dog?
It can vary due to coat type, how often they get muddy, etc. Just make sure you are using a shampoo tailored for dogs as human shampoo can cause dryness or flaking. A bath should not be performed more frequently than every 2 weeks.
How can I prevent my puppy from biting?
Your puppy naturally explores their world and plays through tasting and play biting, especially if they are teething. Teething can occur anytime between 2-7 months. Making sure your puppy has a wide variety of chew toys can alleviate the urge for your puppy to chew on you. One very effective chew toy is a “Kong”. Please ask our receptionist to see one today.
How do I get my dog used to a leash?
Begin by not carrying your dog everywhere and not picking them up unless necessary. To start, clip the dog’s leash to the collar and let them drag the leash while being supervised at home. Then slowly start taking short walks remembering to reward your puppy for walking next to you. If your puppy stops, keep walking, encouraging as you go. If you stop when they stop walking, your pet has now trained you!
How can I make my pet’s visit to the Hospital a good experience?
The Veterinary Hospital is a busy and noisy place. This can be a stressful environment for some pets to visit. Keeping your pets on leash or in a carrier can give you and your pet some peace of mind. Bringing along your pets favorite toy, blanket, or treats can also provide comfort. If your pet seems nervous or scared try not to coddle them or panic yourself. This can accidentally encourage their nervous behavior. Instead, try to distract them with familiar words or commands like sit, stay, etc. Practice looking in your pet’s ears, eyes, mouth, and have them stand for an exam at home. This can make it seem routine when your pet comes for their yearly physical.