Puppy Wellness Care
By meeting the special needs of your growing puppy, you can protect against illness and parasites and establish good wellness habits for the life of your pet.
Puppies are very vulnerable to contagious diseases such as parvovirus. Until your puppy has completed his or her series of puppy visits and vaccines (usually by 15 weeks of age), please keep him or her at home as much as possible. While at home, keep your pet primarily indoors and avoid prolonged outdoor time, especially in dirt or soil areas. Your pet may go outdoors for play and to potty, but limit him or her to grassed areas and avoid digging. Also avoid places where your puppy will encounter other dogs or their droppings. Don't take him or her to the pet store, dog park, groomer or to visit friends with animals.
Carefully scoop your puppy's poop from your yard as soon as he goes to avoid a long-term parasite contamination of your yard. And, of course, make sure that any other pets in your home are up to date on their wellness care.
Comprehensive veterinary exams are the foundation of good health. Your puppy's first exam should take place as soon as possible after adoption. If possible, schedule a visit on your way home from the adoption center (or breeder). Your puppy should have exams every two weeks until completion of the puppy wellness series at 15 weeks of age (or older if vaccines were started later than 6 weeks of age).
Fleas & Ticks
Fleas and ticks are a year-round problem in our area. Ticks can spread serious diseases like Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever, Lyme Disease, Ehrlichiosis, etc. and fleas can cause skin allergies, skin infections and transmission of parasites like tapeworms. NEVER use over-the-counter flea and tick products as they can be extremely poisonous as well as ineffective. Monthly protection should begin by 8 weeks of age. Some flea preventatives can be started as early as 5-6 weeks of age.
Every dog should be on year-round heartworm preventative (HWP) to protect against heartworms as well as intestinal parasites. Monthly HWP should begin between 6 & 9 weeks of age.
Dewormings: Virtually all puppies are born with intestinal parasites because of transmission from mother to puppy during pregnancy and nursing. Most puppies need deworming every 2-3 weeks until 3 months of age, starting as early as possible (ideally beginning at 2 weeks old). After 3 months of age, monthly deworming is needed. In our heartworm endemic region, we take care of the need to deworm for intestinal parasites monthly by using a heartworm preventative that also controls common intestinal parasites.
Fecal Exams: Because there are many different intestinal parasites that infect dogs and no one dewormer controls every parasite, we need to check your dog's stool. Based on the results of the exam, an appropriate dewormer will be chosen for your pet. Fecal exams are needed every 6 months for adult pets and every 2-3 weeks for puppies and kittens until they reach 12-16 weeks of age.
DA2P-CPV Vaccine: DA2P-CPV (Distemper, Adenovirus, Parainfluenza & Parvovirus combination) vaccines should be administered every three weeks starting at 6 weeks of age. At least two boosters are needed, ending at 12 weeks or older. Parvovirus vaccine is given again as a single vaccine at 15 weeks and again at 9-10 months of age to finish the puppy series. DA2P-CPV vaccine is boostered annually for adult dogs.
Leptospirosis Vaccine: Leptospirosis is given to most puppies at 12 weeks and included with the DA2P-CPV combination vaccine. This vaccine is boostered annually for adult dogs. Certain breeds may be more sensitive to this vaccine, and for this reason may be excluded from receiving it.
Rabies Vaccine: Rabies vaccine is given at 12 weeks of age and boostered annually. A 3 year rabies vaccine may be given after initially receiving a 1 year vaccine.
Bordetella/Adenovirus/Parainfluenza Vaccine: This intra-nasal vaccine is needed if your puppy will be going to puppy classes, a boarding kennel, a dog park, a groomer or to other places where many dogs visit or have close contact. This vaccine will be given between 9 & 12 weeks of age and boostered in 3 weeks. This vaccine is boostered every 6 months for adult dogs.
Lyme Disease Vaccine: The Lyme disease vaccine helps prevent a tick transmitted disease caused by Borrelia burgdorferi, the Lyme disease organism. This vaccine may not be recommended for all dogs. Our veterinarians will help determine if your dog should receive this vaccine.
Canine Influenza (Flu) Vaccine: Dog Flu is a relatively new disease which can be caused by two different canine influenza viruses. Just like human flu is among humans, Dog Flu is highly contagious among dogs. Two different strains of canine influenza virus have been isolated in the US. Canine influenza virus H3N8 was first reported in 2003, and canine influenza virus H3N2 emerged in March 2015. This vaccine aids in the control of disease associated with Canine Influenza Virus H3N8 and H3N2 infection.
Spay or Neuter
Every puppy should be spayed or neutered between 4 & 6 months of age (some circumstances warrant an earlier surgery) unless you are planning on breeding your pet. Spaying and neutering prevents many serious medical (cancers, infections, etc.) and behavioral problems and adds years to your pet's life expectancy.
Permanent identification with a microchip helps ensure that your puppy will be returned to you if he or she is ever lost or stolen. A microchip can be implanted at any time, but we usually do it at the time of spaying or neutering. Your puppy should also where an ID tag on its collar with your name, address and phone numbers.