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Puppies: Tips from Will Draper, DVM

10/22/2010

  • Steven Belew:

    So my wife and I are possibly thinking about getting a second dog at some point down the road. Should we try to stick with the same breed? Does that matter? Does it matter if it’s a male or a female?

  • Will Draper, DVM:

    It's kind of a personal preference like it is with people. I will say that I think it is easier to introduce a puppy in with an adult breed rather than to try to have two adults, because there is less dominance and the older dog can generally understand that the younger dog has a certain level of innocence and ignorance that they will be patient with. There is some thought that it's hard to introduce an intact male with another intact male adult dog just because of all the dominance, and sometimes the same with females. But even in those cases a lot of the time it works out fine. I think just find the dog that fits you.

    Puppy neutering shot: Awww... (Laugh), (Lick, lick)

  • Will:

    If you decide to adopt a dog, it's always important to get them spayed or neutered. A good age to do that generally is between 4 and 6 months.

    Puppy neutering shot: Beep, beep (from surgery tape)

  • Will:

    It's really, really important for females to be spayed. They are more prone to breast cancer and uterine infections as they get older. So it's very important to get them spayed -- particularly when they are younger -- because the older they are the more likely they are to have the issue.

    More important than anything, one of the reasons the rescue and humane societies are so full is because of the lack of spaying and neutering. So if every responsible pet owner got their pets spayed or neutered it would certainly cut down on that.

  • Suzanne Anderson:

    Dr. Draper, at what age would you start doing the vaccinations for puppies?

  • Will:

    Puppies generally start their vaccinations at six to seven weeks of age. Generally they get their five in one, their distemper vaccine, which protects them against distemper, and parvo, and hepatitis. You also can incorporate certain other things they may need. For instance, if you are going to board your dog anywhere or take your dog to a groomer, we’ll incorporate a bordetella vaccine or a Kennel Cough vaccine within there as well. If you are going to take your dogs to the mountains, we’ll incorporate a Lyme vaccine. But generally with the last series we give the rabies vaccine.

  • Suzanne:

    What do you advise to feed a really young puppy?

  • Will:

    Puppies should have puppy food until they are 1 year of age, where we generally will consider them an adult.

    Puppies need more protein, more minerals, more vitamins than adult dogs do because they are growing. It’s important that they eat more frequently to help them through their development. So puppies you generally will feed when they are very young three or four times a day and gradually decrease that as they get older.

  • Steven:

    Any specific type of food, whether it’s wet or dry food, that you would recommend for a puppy?

  • Will:

    Canned or dry is fine. Canned is good for them, because again, puppies may not drink as much water as they should and will help them with their hydration. So I would say it’s a great idea to feed a puppy some canned food, and just a good quality puppy food is important.

Pet Health and Nutrition Advice

Veterinarian Will Draper gives tips on the best nutrition and health care for your dog or cat.
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