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A new puppy is full of potential. This animal will grow up to be a lifelong family member and companion. Veterinarians along with pet owners have the responsiblity of providing good health care, the appropriate environment and proper nutrition to help you start your puppy out right. Much of our well puppy care is scheduled to coincide with the recommended dates for vaccinations. We encourage all puppy owners to enroll in our Puppy Training Class. During this course, you will learn tips on housetraining, how to prevent chewing and biting problems, the correct way to establish leadership and how to socialize your puppy. You will also learn how to teach your pup to sit, lie down, stay, and come when called. Puppy Training consists of four one-hour evening classes. Prepayment is required to reserve a place in class. Any questions not answered through routine office visits can be discussed in this setting.

IMMUNIZATIONS
Newborn puppies benefit from immunities given in their mother's milk. However, this protection soon dissipates once weaned.

Vaccinations usually begin between 6 and 8 weeks of age and are followed by several boosters about three to four weeks apart.

PUPPY SCHEDULE

Age
6 - 8 weeks -- First exam, parasite check, deworming, Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, and Parvovirus.*

3 months -- Exam, parasite check, deworming, Distemper, Leptospirosis,Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus and Kennel Cough*

4 months -- Exam, Heartworm and flea prevention selected, Distemper, Leptospirosis, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus, and Rabies*

6 months -- Exam, Preanesthetic evaluation, Spay or Neuter*

16 months -- Annual examination, parasite checks, Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus, Kennel Cough, and Rabies* Repeat Yearly

* A vaccination is available for Lymes Disease. The doctor will discuss your animal's risk for this infection and advise you.

HOUSETRAINING/CONFINEMENT
When it comes to housetraining, your job is to provide encouragement and constant vigilance. Your puppy wants to please you, so praise your puppy for eliminating in appropriate places.

Fortunately, dogs prefer to keep their den area clean, which makes the use of a crate an ideal way to housetrain. If you leave a puppy in his crate for only a reasonable length of time, he will learn to hold his urine and feces until you let him out. Do this consistently each day, and your puppy will eventually get on a regular schedule for elimination. If he is outside of the crate and in the house, he must be under 100% supervision.

As he learns, your puppy may occasionally have an accident indoors. Under no circumstances should you spank your puppy, rub his nose in it or yell. Expect progress, not perfection.

If your puppy is having a hard time housetraining, please call and discuss the situation with the doctor. Having a completely housetrained pet is paramount to a good relationship.

DIET/FEEDING SCHEDULE
For a variety of reasons, centered on nutritional superiority, we recommend premium diets such as Science Diet, Royal Canin, Iams, and Eukanuba. Providing your puppy with strong bones and teeth, a glossy coat and a healthy digestive system are our prime concerns.

Switching foods may create problems if done too quickly. Diarrhea or an upset stomach may result. If you change brands of food, do so by gradually mixing in the new diet over a week's period of time.

We recommend scheduled feeding for two primary reasons. First, a puppy will eliminate within thirty minutes after a meal. This allows you to set a routine to fit your schedule. Second, if the food is set out by you at certain intervals, your puppy will acknowledge you as the leader and his source of survival. We recommend that toy breed puppies be fed three times daily and that standard breed puppies be fed two times daily. Water may be available all day but should be restricted after 7:00 p.m.

CHEWING
It is a given that all puppies will chew. They will explore with their mouths. Whether they chew on the leg of a piano or on a chew toy is your choice. Restricting your puppy's space by use of a crate eases the amount of supervision needed. All puppies should be supervised 100% while out of the crate. Provide a variety of chew toys. Our favorites are rawhide, Tuffy/Kong toys, and gumbabones. Reward your puppy for chewing on appropriate objects. Reprimand with a clap only if they've made a poor choice and replace it with the correct one.

GROOMING
Getting your puppy used to the comb, brush, or nail clippers is much easier when they are small. Always associate these activities with food treats and praise. If your puppy becomes over anxious, make your grooming attempts very gradual.

Regular shampooing is an important part of skin and coat care. We recommend you bathe them not more than once a week and not less than once every two months, dependent on your puppy's environment.

Professional grooming services are part of our complete health program. Our staff groomers work with all breeds, providing clipping, bathing, nail trims, and comb-outs. For those puppies that will require routine grooming as adults, getting them used to clipping with a "puppy cut" is recommended.

SOCIALIZATION
Early on it is important to introduce your puppy to children, family friends, and any others who will play a role in his life. Otherwise, he may become fearful or aggressive when he meets them later. Have people offer your puppy food treats so that your puppy learns that an extended hand is non-threatening and friendly. Never force your puppy to tolerate attention if he is fearful. The positive experiences your puppy has in the first 4 months of his life will dramatically affect his adult personality.

DENTAL CARE
Your puppy's teeth are tiny and very sharp. They will soon be replaced by larger adult teeth at 4 to 5 months of age. At this time, routine use of rawhide chews (chewing daily) and/or routine brushing are important in keeping teeth and gums healthy. Our office staff will be glad to assist you in determining what home care will work for you and your puppy.

Some breeds have an increased tendency to have retained baby teeth. These teeth will be evaluated at the 6 month exam to determine if removal is necessary.

FLEAS
Fleas are very tiny, thin, brown insects that live on dogs, cats, and a number of other animals and survive off of the host's blood. Fleas can cause numerous health problems such as tapeworms, flea bite dermatitis, and anemia. Flea season begins in March and runs through December. Fleas thrive in hot, humid weather common in August and September. Once a flea jumps on your pet, the eggs laid by the female will fall off onto the bed, couch, carpet and yard. These eggs will hatch into adult fleas within 4 weeks. One female flea will produce 2,000 eggs in her lifetime. Many owners are not aware that they have a flea problem, since adult fleas spend 99% of their time on the host. You will never see an adult flea in your carpet. However, what you don't see is the problem. 90% of the fleas, in the form of eggs, larvae, and pupae, are in the carpet. Prevention is the key!

A flea infestation is much easier to prevent than to treat. Several prescription medications have become available that have revolutionized flea control (Trifexis, Nexgard, Frontline). Messy dips, powders, sprays, and foggers are treatments of the past. These prescriptions are easy to use and can be administered only once a month. These medications have no effect on a mammal's body, and are proven safe for dogs and cats. These products eliminate the concerns over use of insecticides in your home and on your pet.

We routinely recommend the use of these flea prevention products year-round, so that you can stop flea infestations before they start! Just as you immunize your pet to prevent disease, medications can be given routinely to prevent fleas. The doctor will review your pet's history and advise you on the particular prescription that would be best for your pet.

HEARTWORM DISEASE
Your puppy will be started on Heartworm prevention medication after 3 months of age. You should continue this once a month medication all year long for the rest of your pet's life. This medication prevents a 12 inch worm from developing in your dog's heart. This is a serious disease, not comparable to intestinal worm infections. The worm, passed by the mosquito, can be transmitted by a single mosquito bite and will reside in your pet's circulatory system for as long as 7 years. With any given infection, 1 to 200 worms may crowd your dog's heart and airways causing exercise intolerance, repiratory difficulty, and eventual heart failure.

INTESTINAL PARASITES
Internal parasites are common in young kittens and puppies. During pregnancy, worms will migrate through the placenta to infect unborn young. Roundworms are most commonly spread from mothers to offspring. Hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms can be picked up from the environment. Soil contaminated with infected feces, fleas infestations, and unsanitary housing can lead to intestinal parasitism. Adult worms will not be seen in the feces. Adult worms live high in the gastrointestinal tract attaching to the lining of the intestine. Microscopic fecal examinations reveal tiny eggs that identify the adult worms present internally.

When the parasite load is severe, symptoms include pot-bellied appearance, diarrhea, poor body condition, and vomiting. Two fecal examinations will be performed during puppy and kitten visits to determine whether your pet may be carrying intestinal worms. Thorough handwashing and sanitary clean up of feces is recommended until your pet is parasite free.

SPAY/NEUTER
We strongly encourage spaying (female) or neutering (male). This procedure is normally performed at 6 months of age prior to the onset of puberty. The benefits of sterilization include a dramatic decrease in breast cancer and testicular cancer late in life, preventing an unwanted litter of puppies, preventing life-threatening uterine infections in older females, and decreasing sexual activities in males such as marking with urine, humping, and aggressiveness.

A spayed/neutered pet makes a better companion and on average lives 2 to 3 years longer than a sexually intact animal.

When you schedule this surgery for your pet, we will go over presurgical instructions and recommended services. If you have any questions for the doctor, you may address them during your animal's presurgical examination. Most procedures are performed on the same day, being admitted in the morning and discharged in the evening. The new gas anesthetics allow for quicker recoveries so your pet can return home for some TLC. *Permanent microchips can be implanted during surgery to aid lost pet recovery. Please ask us about this option during surgery admit.