Congratulations – you have a new puppy!
You’ve anticipated the new arrival by ‘puppyproofing’ your home and had lots of
fun choosing the crate, bed, blanket, toys and other supplies he or she will
need. This frisky little creature is sure to bring you much joy. In return, you
can make a major contribution to your pet’s longevity, happiness and quality of
life by providing him or her with good nutrition, loving attention in a safe,
sanitary environment and regular checkups at your veterinarian’s.
Spaying or Neutering your puppy
Many veterinarians believe that spaying or neutering not only helps solve the
serious problem of unwanted pet overpopulation but also makes for friendlier,
easier-to-live-with pets. Spayed female dogs are more relaxed, while neutered
males are less likely to roam, urine-mark their territory, or fight with other
males. Plus, sterilization has health benefits – it helps to minimize the risk
of cancers of the reproductive organs and the mammary glands in females and
reduces the incidence of prostate problems in males.
removes the uterus and ovaries of a female dog, usually
after the age of six months. A major surgical procedure, it is performed under
general anesthesia and most often involves an overnight stay at an animal
hospital. Complications are rare and recovery normally is complete within two
also carried out under general anesthesia, removes
the testicles of a male dog through an incision at the base of the scrotum.
Usually performed when the puppy is about six months old, it necessitates an
overnight stay at the animal hospital. Full recovery takes about seven to ten
Your puppy’s basic health check
Your new puppy should visit a veterinarian as soon as possible. The first visit
will probably include:
- Thorough physical examination to determine his or her state of health.
- Check for external parasites (fleas, ticks, lice, ear mites). Check for internal
parasites (tapeworm, roundworm, etc.), if you can bring a stool sample for
analysis. Blood tests may also be done.
- Initial vaccination and/or a discussion of the types of vaccinations your puppy
needs and when they should be scheduled.
- Discussion about whether your puppy should be sterilized (spayed or neutered)
This first health check will give your veterinarian the information he needs to
advise you on your puppy’s immediate diet and care. Plus, it will give him a
“knowledge base” from which, on subsequent checkups throughout your pup’s life,
he can better evaluate, monitor and manage your pet’s health.
Make your new puppy feel at home
Show your puppy the special places where he can eat, sleep and
eliminate and, since he’s probably quite overwhelmed, give him some quiet time
to himself to let him adjust to the unfamiliar sights and sounds of his new
home. Be sure, if there are also young children in the home, that they are
taught that a puppy is not a toy but a living creature who must be treated with
gentleness and respect. As early as 8 weeks old, your puppy is capable of
learning specific lessons – so start house-breaking and teaching simple
obedience commands the day you bring him home. Your veterinarian can suggest the
best training methods and, if you wish, recommend a good obedience school. Your
pup will find learning fun and easy and, with your positive reinforcement, he
should remember his lessons well!
Your Geriatric Dog
When is the best time to start caring for your aging pet? When he’s a puppy.
Starting off your dog’s life with good nutrition, regular exercise, scheduled
veterinary appointments and a happy home life sets the blueprint for a high
quality of life in his older years. However, as your dog ages, much like humans,
changes to the metabolism will occur. Paying attention to your dog’s behavior
will make detecting problems easier.
What you can do at home
- Check your dog’s mouth, eyes and ears regularly. Watch for loose teeth, redness,
swelling or discharge.
- Keep your pet’s sleeping area clean and warm.
- Groom your pet often. You’ll detect any unusual sores or lumps and keep his coat
- Make fresh water available at all times.
- Maintain a regime of proper nutrition, exercise and loving attention.
How old is your dog?
If your dog is...
In human terms, that's
* Please note, these equivalencies refer to small breeds
is a big health risk. An older dog is a less active
dog, so adjustments to your pet’s diet to reduce caloric intake are imperative.
This will relieve pressure on his joints as well as manage the risks of heart
failure, kidney or liver disease, digestive problems and more. Other changes to
his nutrition should include increasing fiber, fatty acids and vitamins while
decreasing sodium, protein and fat.
severity can range from slight stiffness to
debilitation. An exercise program, also to maintain muscle tone and mass, can be
adjusted to suit his condition. Anti-inflammatory medication can help relieve
the pain. Your veterinarian will prescribe any necessary medication.
Intolerance to hot and cold temperatures
occurs because your
dog produces less of the hormones which regulate the body’s normal temperature.
Move his bed closer to a heater and bring him indoors on cold days.
Tooth loss or decay
not only makes it harder to chew but also
increases the likelihood of infection or tumors. Brushing and cleaning the teeth
will help keep these to a minimum.
Prostate enlargement or Mammary Gland Tumors
diagnosed in unneutered or unspayed dogs. Have the prostate or mammary glands
examined at checkups.
presents itself when older dogs can’t cope
with stress. Aggressive behavior, noise phobia, increased barking and whining or
restless sleep are a few signs. Medication combined with behavior modification
techniques are key.
Skin or coat problems
in aging dogs means the skin loses
elasticity, making your pet more susceptible to injury while the coat’s hair
thins and dulls over time. Grooming more often and fatty acid supplements are
Canine Cognitive Dysfunction
manifests itself in confusion,
disorientation or decreased activity. Medication can help solve some of these
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