Puppy Health Care 101
Bringing up your puppy is very similar to bringing up a baby. Except,
as my mom would say, a baby eventually grows up and learns to take care of itself as an adult. I don’t mean to scare
you – just want to put things into perspective for you – your puppy relies on you from the day you bring him home.
It needs you to feed it, to groom it, play with it, and love it. You are also responsible for your puppy’s health care
over its lifetime – you need to make sure he feels and looks good, and to make sure you know when things are not right.
Your puppy health care responsibilities involve things like taking him for his regular checkups at the vet. Or making sure
he takes his worming tabs, flea pills. Taking him for his vaccinations on time. And making sure he’s clean, fed, warm
and safe. I know – it is basic – but you’d be surprise what people miss when they are not informed about
the things they should look out for. So, to avoid health complications and diseases later on, here are some of the best puppy
health care practices to follow:
1. Food ...Dogs are not picky eaters, but that does not mean that
you’re free to feed them anything you want. For one, they are not built the same way we are. If you feed them table
scraps, your dog might develop intestinal parasites later on. Also, their body reacts differently from ours; for example,
if you unknowingly feed chocolate to your puppy, STOP IT! It poses a lot of danger, because chocolate
contain Theo bromine, a chemical which can be toxic for dogs. Another mistake that pet owners make is to overfeed their dog.
Sure, chubby and plump dogs are adorable, but I sure hope you are not compromising their health because of pure aesthetic
reasons. Overweight dogs are susceptible to a lot of illnesses and joint problems. Dogs cannot handle large amounts of food
and they don’t know when to stop eating; it’s recommendable to feed your dog once or twice (at the most) a day
in small portions – if you’re unsure ask your vet or look on the packet of the particular dog food you buy –
they usually have recommendations.
2. Vaccinations ...When you first take your puppy to the vet he
will be able to give a specific schedule and choice you have for your puppy’s vaccinations. There are some vaccinations
that are compulsory, but there are those that are entirely your choice – your vet will help you decide what suits you
best. Here are some of the available vaccinations for more serious diseases, but make sure you ask your vet for more specific
advice for basic vaccinations for your puppy’s health care needs.
•Distemper vaccination – canine distemper is a very
deadly viral dog disease. Some pet owners usually find out too late. Unfortunately, there’s no cure for it so prevention
is still your best weapon. •Parvovirus vaccination – young pups are usually afflicted by this disease. It’s
a highly communicable disease so in order to protect your dog, and other dogs in your neighborhood as well, have your dog
vaccinated for parvovirus.
•Adenovirus vaccination – Dogs contract hepatitis due
to canine adenovirus. Your dog should get adenovirus shots to prevent him from getting this disease. A word of warning: Be
aware of what some of the signs are for an allergic reaction to vaccinations. If your dog becomes sluggish or develops hives,
or has difficulty breathing, take him to the vet immediately! Now obviously your vet is highly trained, but things happen
– and it’s better that you’re prepared on the odd chance that they do.
3. Grooming ...Coat, teeth, ears and nails – these comprise
an important aspect of grooming and of your puppy’s health care. Your puppy will not only look healthy, but it will
FEEL healthy too.
•Coat – Your lab puppy’s coat will not need as
much attention as a long haired puppy’s but you will still want to brush it out a couple times a week.
•Ears – Clean his ears with moist cotton balls twice
a month at least. If you don’t clean your dog’s ears, it could lead to an ear infection – it’s not
pleasant for your pooch, and it will cost you to take him to the vet.
•Teeth – Unlike humans, dogs don’t need their
teeth cleaned every day – thank goodness; about twice a week will do. But like humans, your dog can develop cavities
if you don’t brush his teeth regularly, so make it an appointment with you doggy friend.
•Nails – Don’t let your dog’s nails grow
too long to prevent him from accidentally scratching you or any family members.
4. Exercise/Play ....Exercising your new dog is beneficial to his
health, and yours! A daily walk is a good start. Swimming, playing Frisbee or fetch, hunting or running are also fun. 5. Spaying
and Neutering If you do not plan to breed your own dogs, it’s recommended you consider spaying or neutering your puppy
as soon as it is ready. It’s not possible to watch over your dog 24/7; so as a responsible pet owner, try to do something
about the continually growing population of dogs. Your vet will be able to advise you on your options. 6. Status Quo This
simply means that you should get to know your puppy’s usual disposition. This is very important because only if you
know him, you’ll be able to spot if something’s wrong very early – and the earlier you tackle a health problem,
the more chance you have of curing it and saving yourself and your loved pooch grief. 7. Safety We all love to think nothing
will ever go wrong – and I sure hope it never does with you and your pup. But reality sometimes hits us unexpectedly
– so being prepared is so important. Puppy proofing your home is essential for the health and life of your puppy. Like
young children, puppies are very curious about the world around them. If allowed to, they're likely to get into whatever mischief
they can -- just for the sheer fun of discovering something new. Your puppy probably can't wait to investigate everything
within his reach. Here are a few of the hazards you should be particularly aware of: Electrical cords, Swallow able objects,
Garbage, Medicines, Poisons and household chemicals, Poisonous plants. Once you've thoroughly puppy-proofed your home, the
final key to ensuring that your puppy stays safe and sound is to have a watchful eye over him. Many new puppy owners choose
to take up even the most basic of pet insurances for their dog. Make sure it covers the things you feel you won’t be
able to afford in an emergency, the rest you can pay for as and when you need to – this way insurance doesn’t
have to be expensive. Remember, a healthy dog makes a happy dog. If you follow these dog care practices, your dog would enjoy
a longer and more stress-free life.