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When should I bring my puppy for his/hers first vet visit?
You should plan for your puppy’s first visit to the vet within a week of bringing your puppy home.
What should I expect at my puppy’s first visit?
The first puppy visit is not only for a checkup of your puppy, it is also about education; you will receive a lot of information on how to care for your puppy, vaccine protocols, housebreaking tips, crate training, feeding, parasite prevention, tooth brushing, etc. The vet will do a full physical exam on your puppy to make sure that he/she is healthy, that no birth defects are presents, etc. Prepare to spend some time with your vet at the first visit. We have a lot of information to share with you and want to make sure that your puppy will be starting his/her life on the right steps. Hampton Veterinary Hospital wants to be there for you and your puppy at every step of the way.
When should I start vaccinating my puppy?
When puppies are nursing, the milk they drink provides them with maternal immunity from some of the diseases their mother was vaccinated against, such as distemper and parvovirus. The immunity lasts for weeks. So certain vaccines are started as early as 8 weeks of age.
What vaccines does my puppy need?
Vaccines are divided in 2 types: Core Vaccines, those that are strongly recommended in all pets, and Non-Core Vaccines, vaccines that are recommended to pet which lifestyle may put them at higher risk of contracting those diseases.
- Distemper: a severe viral infection of the respiratory, digestive and neurologic system usually resulting in death.
- Hepatitis: a viral infection of the liver
- Parainfluenza: a viral infection of the respiratory system
- Parvovirus: a viral of the digestive system, causes severe diarrhea and vomiting. Primary affects puppies, highly contagious and potentially fatal
Rabies: fatal infection of the neurologic system which is communicable to all mammals including humans. Puppies should be vaccinated between 12 -16 weeks of age.
Lyme: Lyme is a bacterial infection transmitted by ticks, can cause lameness due to inflammation of the joints, lack of appetite, depression and more serious complications which include damage to the kidney, and rarely heart or nervous system disease. Due to the high incidence of Lyme cases in New Hampshire, puppies should be vaccinated any time after 8 weeks of age and a booster vaccine is given 2 to 4 weeks after. Then vaccine should be boostered annually.
Leptospirosis: A bacterial infection that primarily affects the kidney and liver. Especially important for dogs who swim on rivers, lakes and ponds, go hiking and/or camping often. Contagious to humans, therefore important to vaccinate against.
Kennel Cough: Bordetella and Parainfluenza Vaccine – combination of viral and bacterial agents causing a cough which can vary from mild and self-limiting to severe pneumonia. Important if your puppy is going to groomers, boarding facilities, doggy daycare and dog parks. Single dose given any time after 8 weeks of age. Booster annually.
Canine Influenza: It causes symptoms similar to kennel cough and human influenza, like cough, fever, runny nose. It should be considered in puppies that will be boarded, groomed or exposed to a large number of dogs. Vaccine should be given any time after 8 weeks of age, booster 2 - 4 weeks after and then annually. Due to no natural immunity to canine influenza, infection can result in death.
Should I puppy-proof my house?
Yes, puppies are like little toddlers, they are curious and love to explore with their mouths. To keep your puppy safe make sure to put any electrical cords away from doggy level, lock away cleaning supplies, motor oil and antifreeze, and medications. Keep human food away from your puppies reach, some foods can be toxic to pets, like grapes and chocolate for examples. Make sure that the plants that you have around your house are not toxic for your puppy. Keep trash cans locked; puppies love to explore them and can find things that can be very harmful for them. Remove any mouse traps that can be found around your house, they may look like a toy for your puppy and rodenticide is a poison to your puppy to and if ingested can cause serious problems, if your puppy ingest any rodenticide seek veterinary care immediately.
How can I housebreak my puppy?
You should start housebreaking your puppy as soon as you bring your new puppy home. Be patient, be consistent. Your puppy doesn’t know the difference between inside and outside, and doesn’t understand why he can’t urinate and defecate wherever he pleases. Keep in mind that there will be accidents. That are many methods by which you can train your puppy, we recommend crate training. Here are some guidelines on how to crate train:
- Make sure your puppy’s crate is not too big. Dogs have a natural aversion to urinating and defecating on themselves. If there is plenty of space to run around, chances are that he will use the space for defecation.
- As soon as your puppy wakes up from a nap or has finished eating or playing, take him outside. When he relieves himself, praise him lavishly and give him treats, then bring him inside. Play time and toilet time should be distinct in your puppy’s mind, so don’t play with him before he relieves himself.
- Repeat this routine every hour or two throughout the day. Keep an eye on your puppy at all the times during this period. Scolding him even one minute after he has defecated or urinated in the wrong place is too late. When you are unable to monitor him, put him on his crate, or keep him on a leash by your side. Until he is completely housetrained don’t let him have free access of the entire house. Puppy play pens are very useful.
- Be patient, you are dealing with a baby. He is not trying to be difficult. It will take time but if you are willing to ensure that training is consistent, it will happen sooner than later.
- When your see your puppy sniffs the ground or circles around, quickly but calmly take him to the desire elimination area. Ideally don’t wait for these behaviors.
- Use a specific verbal cue that you want your puppy to associate with desirable elimination, such as "go potty", or "do your business".
What should I feed my puppy?
We recommend feeding your puppy a name-brand dog food made by a national dog food company, with a diet "recommended for puppies" . Food choices are almost unlimited. Feed your dog puppy formulated food until he is at least twelve months of age depending on breed and size. There is more than one correct method of feeding your puppy. The most commonly used method is "meal feeding". This means feeding your puppy at specific times of the day. A measured amount of food should be offered 4 -5 times per day for 5 -12 weeks old puppies. Thirty minutes later take any uneaten food away. If the food is eaten in 3 -4 minutes, you are probably not feeding him enough food. By about 3 – 4 months of age, your puppy will begin to cut back on one or more of those meals. At 6 months of age you can start feeding your puppy twice a day.
Should I spay or neuter my puppy?
We recommend spaying and neutering your puppy, in addition to the many health benefits, you ensure that your puppy won’t contribute to the pet overpopulation problem. Spaying or neutering your dog is an important part of responsible pet ownership. Having your dog spayed or neutered won’t affect her working abilities, friendliness, playfulness or personality, however will get rid of the unwanted behaviors associated with mature males and the heat cycle on females. Hampton Veterinary Hospital uses surgical laser for spays and neuter surgeries. The benefit of using the laser is that it reduces pain, bleeding, swelling and infection of the surgical site.
Should I microchip my puppy?
We recommend microchiping your puppy, each year millions of pets become lost or displaced. In fact, 1 in 3 pets will go missing sometime in their lives. The microchip is an implantable medical device that safely and permanently identifies your pet. Microchips are about the size of a grain of rice and are typically injected between the shoulder blades with a 12-gauge needle. The procedure is similar to receiving routine vaccination through a needle and most pets don’t even react when the microchip is injected. Registering your pet in a pet recovery database is the most important step in the microchipping process. Unfortunately, many pet owners forget or will not take the time or effort to register their pet. When an unregistered pet enters an animal control facility the pet could be adopted by another person or group, or the unthinkable can happen. Because unregistered pets are difficult to trace back to their owners these pets have a limited time to be reunited with their owners. When we place a microchip here in your pet, we will do the registration for you.
Should I use flea and tick preventatives?
At Hampton Veterinary Hospital, we recommend using Flea and Tick preventative year round. Fleas and ticks can transmit a variety of diseases to your puppy, besides making your puppy uncomfortable. You want to make sure to get rid of the fleas before them make themselves comfortable in your house and you have to deal with a bigger problem. There are several products available in the market, not all over the counter flea products are safe, consult your veterinarian before applying any product on your puppy. Whenever the temperature is above 37o and there is no snow/ frost cover, ticks will be looking to attach to your pet. During warm winter, we see ticks very often!
What is heartworm? Should I give my puppy heartworm preventative?
Heartworm disease is a serious and potentially fatal condition caused by parasitic worm living in the arteries of the lung and in the right side of the heart. Mosquitoes spread heartworms from dog to dog. The onset and severity of the disease is mainly a reflection of the number of adult heartworm present, the age of the infection and the level of your dog’s activity. Most dogs infected with heartworm can be successfully treated, but the treatment is costly and carries a significant risk of side effects, including sudden death. With the migration of dogs from the South to our area, the incidence of Heartworm disease cases has been increasing considerably in 2014, 356 dogs were diagnosed with Heartworm disease in New Hampshire. Prevention is safe, economical and nearly 100% effective if administered correctly. Preventative medications are administered monthly usually in the form of a chewable or a pill. Puppies over 6 months of age can use the alternative injectable form of heartworm prevention than one injection lasts for 6 months.
Do I need to give my puppy dewormers?
Yes! Intestinal parasites are very common in puppies. While they are certainly a cause for concern, effective and safe treatment are available to cure your puppy and keep your family safe. Symptoms vary by disease, but include poor overall condition, soft or bloody stools, loss of appetite, a pot bellied appearance, loss of luster of coat and weight loss. Some parasites are transmitted from the mother to their offspring, while others are carried by fleas, mosquitoes, or via infected eggs ingested in the feces. Roundworm, hookworms, tapeworms are the most common parasites. Not all puppies have worms, but since fecal samples may sometimes not show parasites, we recommend deworming all puppies. Specially, because some of those parasites can be zoonotic and we care about keeping your pet and your family safe.