Keeping Your Puppy Healthy

Now that you have your new puppy, you want to do everything possible to keep it healthy and happy. Routine veterinary care, a well balanced diet, and at home care will all contribute to keeping your puppy in tip top shape. Dry food that is premium quality will provide a well balanced diet. You can mix the dry food with canned food, water, or broth. Too much canned food can cause runny stools and make housetraining difficult. Puppies 8 to 12 weeks old need four meals a day. At three months of age, reduce to three meals a day, at six months old reduce to two meals a day. One meal or two smaller meals is enough when the puppy reaches his first birthday. Puppies may enjoy fruits and vegetables, cottage cheese, and cooked eggs but these additions to his diet should be limited to no more than 10 percent of his daily intake. Giving your puppy too much ?people food? can cause dental problems, obesity, and vitamin and mineral imbalances. Adhering to a routine vaccination schedule will protect your puppy from distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza. Although the schedule can vary somewhat, vaccines are given at three to four week intervals, beginning at six to eight weeks of age and ending at 20 weeks. The rabies vaccination is given at 16 weeks of age and a booster shot one year later. In addition to these routine vaccines, there are vaccines to protect against kennel cough and Lyme Disease. Your dog should have a blood test to detect heartworm every spring. During mosquito season, a once-a-month pill will protect your dog. Clean your puppy?s teeth once or twice a week with a dog toothpaste or baking soda and water paste. You can use a child?s soft toothbrush, a gauze pad, or even pantyhose stretched over your finger. Unless your puppy will be bred, spaying or neutering before maturity will reduce the risk of many common health problems. Neutering males prevents testicular and prostate diseases and some hernias. Spaying females reduces the risk of breast cancer and eliminates the risk of pyometra (an infected uterus). Daily grooming and inspection are an important part of your puppy?s health. Brush your dog daily and inspect for fleas or ticks. You can find and remove fleas with a flea comb. Ticks should be removed with tweezers or gloved hands. Finish the grooming session with a nice belly rub and your puppy will look and feel good.

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