Congratulations! You now have the pitter patter of four little paws in the house. Your friendship with your new pet will last a lifetime -- your puppy's! To keep him/her healthy, regular trips to the veterinarian are absolutely necessary.
We recommend that puppies receive Rabies, Bordetella, Lyme Disease, and three DHPP with Corona vaccinations. Each letter in the DHPP with corona represents a certain disease for which your puppy will be vaccinated.
D -- Distemper. This disease affects every tissue in the dog's body. The symptoms can be anything from a "fever/cold" to pneumonia to diarrhea to death. If the dog survives, it may suffer nervous disorders, such as seizures, for the rest of its life.
H -- Hepatitis. This disease affects the liver mostly, but may also affect the kidneys. Symptoms include high fever, depression, and lack of appetite. Younger animals are at a higher risk. Animals that do recover may become victims of chronic, recurring illnesses.
P -- Parainfluenza. Unlike the rest of the diseases in this series, parainfluenza is not life-threatening. This disease spreads very rapidly in a large group of dogs or a kennel. The disease causes respiratory problems such as sneezing.
P -- Parvovirus and Coronavirus. The two diseases are very similar. The two viral infections come on very suddenly and the possibility of death is very high. These diseases cause vomiting, bloody diarrhea, and lack of appetite. The two diseases are extremely contagious. The only and best means of preventing the two deadly diseases is to follow the vaccination guidelines set by your veterinarian.
Rabies can be spread by raccoons, skunks, foxes, dogs, and cats. The virus is shed in the saliva. Therefore, a bite from an infected animal may suffer from hydrophobia -- an inability to swallow. The State of Illinois requires by law that all dogs are vaccinated against rabies. Rabies is always fatal.
Bordetella or kennel cough is a highly contagious disease in dogs. Dogs that visit boarding or grooming parlors should be vaccinated against this disease. The major symptom is a deep cough. Treatment involves antibiotics and cough suppressants.
Lyme disease has received quite a bit of publicity lately. Lyme disease is a bacterial infection transmitted by ticks. Symptoms include: lameness, arthritis, and fever. Fortunately, a vaccine has become available to protect dogs against Lyme disease. If you hunt and/or camp with your dog, or if you live near a wooded area, it may be necessary to vaccinate your dog against Lyme disease.
A stool sample is recommended to check for intestinal parasites, such as hookworms, whipworms, the very common roundworms, and intestinal protozoa. A stool check should also be performed yearly.
Finally, your dog should be checked for heartworms. Heartworms are carried by mosquitoes. The spaghetti-like worm lives in the heart. The disease is fatal if untreated. Fortunately, a preventive is available to protect your dog from this deadly parasite. Your dog should be checked -- a simple blood test -- and protected against heartworms yearly.
Spaying or neutering may be done as early as two months of age. Having your pet "altered" not only eliminates the possibility of unwanted puppies, but also helps eliminate reproductive tumors and infections.
Regular grooming is necessary to help maintain the health of your pet. Brush or comb longer-haired dogs at least daily, although twice daily may be ideal. Your dog's nails may be trimmed every four to six weeks. The "quick" -- the structure that supplies blood to the nail -- is readily seen in light-colored nails. Trim the nail just slightly in front of where the "quick" cannot be seen. Be patient. Cut only small pieces at a time until the nail is completely cut. Should you cut a nail too short, don't panic. Just simply apply a little cornstarch to the bleeding nail. The bleeding will stop with or without the use of cornstarch.
Brushing your dog's teeth is essential in maintaining good dental health. Be sure to use a toothbrush and toothpaste specifically designed for pets. Human toothpaste contains detergents that may upset your pet's stomach.
Nutrition is very important in keeping your pet healthy. Feed a good quality dog food such as IAMS or Science Diet by Hills. Feeding table scraps is not recommended. This habit can only lead to problems, such as obesity, unbalanced diets, vomiting, and diarrhea. Feeding table scraps is a major cause of vomiting and diarrhea in veterinary medicine today. Feeding a good diet is not only healthy but good preventive health.
Taking your dog to obedience classes is one or the biggest favors you can do for your pet. Your dog will learn to "mind his manners." This will make him a better socialized pet and a more enjoyable member of your family. Behavior problems are the number one reason why pets are removed from a household. Remember an obedient pet is a happy pet, and you are a happy owner!
ALWAYS use a leash and collar with name tags on your pet. This simple habit helps protect your pet from becoming lost or worse, hit by a car.
Fleas are pesty pests. Spraying or powdering your pet daily with a good flea product will help control the problem. Fleas are not only annoying but may cause serious health problems in your pet such as tapeworms and flea allergies -- when your pet becomes allergic to the bite of a flea. Daily spraying also helps to control ticks. Ticks are the primary insect to transmit Lyme Disease.
Listed below is a vaccination and checkup schedule for your dog: