Puppy Care Handout
We recommend starting vaccines at about 8 weeks of age and continuing past 16 weeks of age. We will tailor your puppy’s vaccine schedule to suit your specific needs but the vaccines that we recommend are DHPP(Distemper, Adenovirus, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus), Leptospirosis, Bordatella (Kennel Cough) and Rabies. An example of a typical vaccine schedule looks like this:
8 weeks: DHPP #1
12 weeks: DHPP #2, Lepto #1, Bordatella
16 weeks: DHPP #3, Lepto #2
4-6 months: Rabies
*if your puppy comes to us for vaccination after 16 weeks of age, he/she will require 2 vaccines.
Fecal Testing and Deworming:
We strongly recommend a Fecal Test on all new puppies regardless of whether or not the breeder dewormed the puppy prior to purchase. There are several internal parasites that are typical in puppies and that are not covered by the over-the-counter dewormers available to breeders. In addition, no matter how clean your puppy’s previous home was, puppies can pick up worms any time prior to leaving and may not manifest them until they are home with you. Most of the time parasites are not visible in your puppy’s stool, that is why it is important for us to test their stool for worm eggs.
You will hear us mention Heartworm Disease and prevention. Heartworms are worms that are transmitted from dog to dog via mosquito bites. When a mosquito bites an infected dog, it ingests the Heartworm larva. When that mosquito bites its next doggy victim, the larva is injected into the bloodstream. It then travels to the dog’s heart where it grows to adult size and causes severe heart and lung disease. Heartworm disease is deadly if not treated but the treatment can be deadly as well (it’s also horrifically expensive). Heartworm Disease is not common in our part of Oregon yet, but it is present. We recommend a monthly chewable Heartworm Preventative medication to prevent your puppy from coming into contact with this deadly disease. We have several types of Heartworm Preventative available, some even contain flea prevention.
We have several options both topical and oral flea preventatives. We typically start with topical medications on young puppies and can switch to an oral preventative as your puppy grows. Most of our products last for 4 weeks, but we also carry Bravecto which lasts for 12 weeks. Bravecto is not recommended until after 6 months of age due to the rapid growing our puppies do. The oral flea preventative medications we carry are Bravecto, Comfortis, and Trifexis (also contains Heartworm preventative). Oral topical product is Activyl. While Frontline and Advantage are still widely used, they are older flea preventatives that fleas seem to have become resistant to and we do not recommend their use.
Puppy socialization is a tricky thing. It’s incredibly important yet we need to be very careful where puppies are taken until they finish their vaccine series. Puppy class is a highly recommended way to get your puppy out and about in a safe environment. Dog parks can be germ-infested places and we simply do not recommend them until your puppy has been fully vaccinated. We do recommend lots of exposure to new people, children, sights and sounds as well as playtime with vaccinated dogs to help your puppy become a good citizen.
With all the “scary” things we are introducing our new puppies to, there are several ways that we can help. Frequent handling of the ears, feet and opening your puppies mouth, followed by rewards for cooperation is important. Bringing them in for just a “fun” visit can also help with any anxiety they may have about coming to a new place. There is also a new nutritional supplement called Solliquin that we are finding very successful in helping alleviate anxiety in our puppies. It’s an all natural chewable treat that helps block the anxiety receptors and this combination is only available in Solliquin.
Dental care is one of the most important ways to ensure your puppy’s good health, especially in small breed dogs. Puppyhood is a great time to start teaching your new pet about teeth brushing. Always use pet tooth paste (toothpaste intended for people is toxic to pets). You can use a small finger toothbrush or a child size toothbrush, whatever is comfortable. Brushing 2-3 times per week can significantly reduce plaque accumulation in adult dogs but it’s much easier to teach a puppy than a full-grown dog! Ensuring that your dog has clean teeth will ensure that his/her kidneys and heart will be protected from bacterial assault as they age.
Your new puppy is going to start teething around four months of age and will begin by losing the top and bottom incisors first. The last teeth to be replaced by adult teeth are those super sharp canine teeth around five-six months of age. While teething, your puppy may need appropriate chew toys. Unfortunately, there is no chew toy that is 100% safe. Rawhides are a good option as long as you monitor your puppy and take them away if the puppy is at risk of swallowing large pieces. Rope toys need to be monitored the same way. Freezing a Kong toy with peanut butter or chicken broth can help soothe during teething as well. Really hard chew toys like antlers, bones, and Nyla bones can break teeth and are not recommended.
Small Breed Dental Health:
Small breeds such as Chihuahuas, Yorkies, Pugs, Daschunds, Maltese, Havanese, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels, etc are often plagued by periodontal disease. There is a genetic component to their poor dental health. Even if you brush your little dog’s teeth regularly, he/she will likely lose some of them during their lifetime. For this reason, a comprehensive dental examination under anesthesia will be something that you will hear us recommend as your dog ages. We really can only see 50% of the damage present while a pet is awake. It’s also very important to take care of teeth early as periodontal disease cannot be reversed. Groomers will offer to “brush” or “hand-scale” your dog’s teeth for you, giving you a false sense that your dog’s dental health is being addressed. This removes surface grime on the outer surface of the teeth only and often scratches the enamel, making teeth more prone to future plaque accumulation. The groomer’s “treatment” also does not address periodontal disease let alone the pain that bad teeth cause.
Spaying/Neutering Your Puppy:
In recent years, there has been a plethora of research regarding when to spay/neuter large breed dogs, ie. dogs greater than 50 pounds at adulthood. Testosterone and estrogen are essential for proper growth plate closure. If altered at a young age, large breed dogs will grow taller than their genetics intended, leaving them more susceptible to joint injuries. We recommend spaying/neutering your large breed dog between 12 and 14 months of age. Most female dogs come into their first heat cycle around 8-10 months of age, which can be unpleasant to live with for 2-3 weeks. Some male dogs may also begin to develop unwanted behaviors such as aggression and roaming if left intact after 8 months of age. As long as you understand the consequences, we will honor your request to spay/neuter your large breed dog at the traditional age of 6 months. We recommend spaying and neutering dogs less than 50 pounds of body weight at maturity at 6 months of age.
Pet insurance is a really good investment for your pets health. It is best to get signed up for a plan at a young age instead of waiting until there is a problem, at which point you will not qualify. Some companies that we have had good experiences with are Trupanion, Nationwide and ASPCA. As with all forms of insurance , there are negative stories associated with the pet version, but overall the positive experiences tend to be more numerous than the negative
We offer Puppy Wellness Packages to help offset the cost of puppyhood. We also offer Adult and Senior Wellness Packages that include annual exams, blood work, heartworm testing, fecal parasite exams, urinalysis, vaccines needed that year and a comprehensive dental exam under anesthesia if needed.