At Detroit Lakes Animal Hospital we promote preventative care which begins with your puppy's very first visit. Our guidance can be a crucial part of your puppy's first few months, while he or she is rapidly becoming part of your family. In most cases you'll be visiting us several times during your puppy's first few months so we would like you to feel comfortable asking questions. Here is a summary of things we'll cover in the next few visits:
We recommend beginning your puppy's vaccinations between 6-8 weeks of age, with boosters every 3-4 weeks apart until he or she is 16 weeks of age. The most common diseases we vaccinate against are (C=core):
Rabies - C
Canine Parvovirus - C
Canine Distemper Virus - C
Canine Hepatitis Virus - C
Canine Adenovirus Type 2 - C
Canine Parainfluenza Virus
Many new pet owners don't realize that puppies can get roundworms and hookworms from their mothers before birth. Puppies can also pick up intestinal parasites from their environment. For this reason and because humans can potentially develop serious problems if exposed to immature forms of some intestinal parasites we routinely recommend deworming all puppies several times. We will also recommend doing a fecal sample check at puppyhood and yearly to ensure he or she has not been re-infected.
In addition to intestinal parasites puppies are vulnerable to picking up heartworms which are transmitted by the mosquito. Heartworm disease is almost always fatal and yet highly preventable by using Heartgard Plus (Merial) once monthly June 1st to November 1st. Heartgard Plus not only helps to prevent heartworm disease but it will also act as a monthly dewormer for roundworm, hookworm, and whipworm.
The most common external parasites we encounter are fleas and ticks. We recommend using Frontline Plus (Merial) which is a safe and effective product used topically once monthly protecting our puppies from fleas and ticks.
Spaying / Neutering
It is very important for your puppy to be spayed or neutered to help lengthen and improve the overall quality of your pet's life.
For females, spaying eliminates or greatly minimizes problems with:
Unwanted pregnancy, which helps prevent pet overpopulation
Attraction of male dogs during "heat" cycles
Potentially life threatening uterine infections
For males, neutering eliminates or greatly minimizes problems with:
Aggression and dominance
Roaming, which helps prevent accidental death and pet overpopulation
Territorial marking with urine
Prostate cancer and infections
A high quality canine diet is essential for proper growth and development of your puppy. Table food, scraps, and cat food are not adequate to maintain the long term health of your canine companion. Choosing the proper diet for your puppy can be very confusing but we can help guide you in the right direction based on breed and size.
You might be surprised to know that the number one cause of pets being euthanized in the US every year is not cancer, heart disease, or "old age". In fact it is often related to behavior problems which is why we feel getting started with puppy socialization and training is so important. Ask our staff about puppy training classes that we offer.
There may be a number of advantages to teaching your puppy to assume subordinate postures (on their side, on their back, hands on neck, hand stroking the top of head, hand grasping muzzle) but this does not mean that they teach your dog to be subordinate in its relationship to you. Having an obedient, well behaved, dog that enjoys handling and accepts restraint should be a focus of puppy training, but needs to be accomplished through reward based training. Avoid punishment and confrontational based training techniques and gradually accustom your dog to enjoy being handled.
General Grooming Care
Getting your puppy used to general grooming at a young age is a great way to desensitize them to nail trims, ear cleaning, brushing, etc. Nail trims should be done every 3-4 weeks. Depending on the breed, ear cleaning should be done routinely to avoid wax build up and infections. Small breeds typically need to have the fine, fuzzy ear hair plucked out as well.
A crate/kennel is considered a "safe place" for your pet. Dogs instinctively seek safety and security in a confined area known as a den. Be certain that your puppy has eliminated and has had sufficient play/exercise before any lengthy confinement. If the crate/kennel is small enough, many puppies will want to keep this area clean and dry. Whether at home or traveling, it is beneficial for you and your pet to be crate/kennel trained.
Expect to have ups and downs with potty training as your puppy grows into his or her bladder and learns a new routine. Most puppies are not fully potty trained until 6-8 months of age. To keep it as a positive experience < Click Here>