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Healthy Dogs

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New Puppy FAQ

What you need to know about bringing home a new puppy.


In my practice, we really want to educate people on the responsibility they are taking on and everything that goes along with it. Understand that this is a lifelong commitment. This cute puppy is going to grow up and that’s going to require a lot of patience and a financial commitment. A lot of people don’t understand how expensive it can be to properly care for a dog.


Q: At what age should my puppy start his vaccinations? Why is this important?

A: Vaccinations are usually started at about eight weeks. Then they get a series every three weeks until they’re 16 weeks of age. Most puppies get three to four series of vaccines, and after that it’s just the yearly vaccines.

The puppies get a natural immunity from their mothers, but by the time they are 6 to 8 weeks old, they’re losing that and they become very vulnerable to all the diseases and illnesses that are out there. That’s what the shots help protect against.


Q: How dangerous are distemper and the parvo virus to my puppy?

A: Distemper and parvo are the most dangerous viruses that can affect a puppy. They are potentially deadly. They are the main reason puppies are vaccinated early. Distemper is especially deadly. If we catch parvo early, there’s a good success rate with treatment.


Q: What other illnesses are common in puppies?

A: Intestinal worms -- hookworms and roundworms -- are pretty common. Demodectic mange is very common with puppies. Gastrointestinal issues are pretty common in puppies, both diarrhea and vomiting. Their intestinal system and colon are still growing and are easily disrupted.

But in general, if they receive good care, most puppies are pretty healthy. I’d say less than 10% of the puppies we see are really sick, and then it’s usually because the owners are people who really shouldn’t own a dog in the first place.


Q: Do all puppies have worms?

A: Not all puppies, but it is very common for puppies to have roundworms or hookworms, either passed in utero or through a mothers' milk. Because worm infection is so common, we normally deworm puppies just to be safe. Fecal samples might not show parasites, but it’s so common that it’s almost irresponsible not to deworm a puppy.

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