We know that there is so much to learn in this exciting time and that you may have questions at any moment. We are here to help! This page will provide you with many resources about giving your puppy the best care.
There are so many dog food brands out there and it can be confusing to decide which one to feed your puppy. So how do you pick the right food? There is an organization called the World Small Animal Veterinary Association, or WSAVA, who have created guidelines for food brands to be compliant with which are to perform a series of feeding trials as well as have a veterinary nutritionist on staff. Did you know that only 5 dog food brands follow these guidelines? Brands that do not follow these guidelines have been investigated by the FDA among research that Grain-Free, Exotic, and Boutique food brands are linking to a form of cardiomyopathy in dogs, Dilated Cardiomyopathy or DCM. So, who are the 5 food brands that follow the guidelines? Purina, Hills, Royal Canin, Iams, and Eukanuba are all compliant with the WSAVA guidelines. We highly recommend any of these 5 food brands to ensure the best nutrition for your puppy. Still trying to decide which to use? Feel free to give us a call and we would be happy to discuss your puppy’s lifestyle and help you narrow down your decision!
For more information on Canine DCM, visit: vetmed.wsu.edu/Pet-Health-Topics/dilated-cardiomyopathy-in-dogs
Socialization is an extremely important factor to set up your puppy’s life as a pet, patient, and being able to interact well with other dogs. A common misconception is that you can’t socialize a puppy until they are fully vaccinated. The truth is that you shouldn’t let them interact with dogs who are unknown to you, such as at a dog park. However, you can still let your puppy interact with other dogs as long as you know they are vaccinated and healthy! So, feel free to let your family bring their dogs to play!
Socialization doesn’t stop with other dogs though. Be sure to socialize your pet with people too! They will be more comfortable with interacting with people and children alike whether it is people coming over to your house or coming into the vet. Especially with children, by teaching your kids how to interact with your puppy and teaching your puppy how to respond to the way children act vs an adult. Also, play with their ears, lips, and feet so they can become used to needing nail trims, ear cleanings, or even exams. The most crucial time for socializing your puppy is between 8 and 16 weeks of age, so let your puppy experience everything safely!
Recommended Puppy Vaccine Schedule:
- 8 weeks of age: DA2PP 1/3, Bordetella IN, K9 Flu 1/2
- 12 weeks of age: DA2PP 2/3, Lepto 1/2, K9 Flu 2/2
- 16 weeks of age: DA2PP 3/3, Lepto 2/2, Rabies
- 6 months+ (or fully vaccinated): Spay/Neuter
Vaccines and Preventatives:
- Rabies Vaccination: This vaccine is required by law, also required by law to be performed by a DVM. The first time your puppy receives this vaccine, it will be good for 1 year. When you return after a year, the rabies vaccine will then be good for 3 years each subsequent time. If you plan to have your puppy groomed, boarded, or attend daycare you will want to ensure the rabies vaccine is up to date.
- Distemper/Parvo Vaccination: This vaccination is a 4-way combination that includes Distemper, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza, and Adenovirus. You may hear us refer to this vaccine as Distemper/Parvo or DA2PP. These are highly contagious diseases that puppies can get from other dogs which makes DA2PP a “core” vaccine. Distemper is a highly contagious upper respiratory disease transferred between dogs and can travel by air. It can cause upper respiratory symptoms, fever, and even have neurological side effects. Parvo is a highly contagious GI disease that can live on surfaces. This can cause severe vomiting and diarrhea, fever, lack of appetite, and dehydration. These diseases can be considered fatal. Expect your puppy to get 3 boosters with the third lasting for a year. Then when you return in a year, the Distemper/Parvo vaccine will then be given every 3 years.
- You may hear this vaccine be referred to as a 5-way vaccine. In these scenarios, Leptospirosis will be included in the lineup. While we don’t carry this 5-way version, we can combine Distemper/Parvo with Leptospirosis so your puppy can receive one less poke!
- Leptospirosis Vaccination: This is considered a “non-core” vaccine, but is highly recommended for dogs, especially the area we live in. Leptospirosis is a bacterial infection spread through wildlife urine. If you anticipate taking your puppy hiking, camping, or fishing, or if you live in an area with high amounts of wildlife such as Roxborough, you should definitely consider vaccinating against Lepto. This is a zoonotic disease meaning it can be spread to humans. This is given as an initial booster and then is good for one year. For more information on Leptospirosis, please visit www.avma.org/pet-owners/petcare/leptospirosis
- Bordetella: This vaccination is recommended for “social” dogs. Dogs who go to boarding, daycare, grooming, or dog parks should be vaccinated to help prevent kennel cough. Kennel cough is a bacterium that causes persistent cough and/or nasal discharge in infected dogs. It is highly contagious but very treatable. If left untreated, it may lead to pneumonia. Much like a flu vaccine, it helps prevent kennel cough but is not a 100% preventative. There are 2 options that we provide to vaccinate with. The Bordetella IN (intranasal) is sprayed in the nose and is considered local, therefore it is only good for 6 months. The Bordetella SQ (subcutaneous) is an injectable version that once given as a booster, lasts for 1 year.
- Canine Influenza H3N8 and H3N2 Vaccination: The canine flu is a respiratory virus causing a cough and even sometimes life-threatening pneumonia in some dogs. Colorado is one of the “hot spots” for dog flu and should be given to social dogs much like Bordetella. This vaccine is given annually after the initial booster. This is a bivalent vaccine, or dual strain, which is required by many boarding facilities instead of a single strain.
Although Colorado has not considered being a “hot spot” for heartworm disease in the past, we are seeing more cases in the states due to the transport of infected dogs in the area. Heartworm transmission does decrease in winter months, but the presence of microenvironments in urban areas suggests that the risk of heartworm transmission never reaches zero.
Heartworm disease is spread through a mosquito bite in which they transfer the disease into the bloodstream. This causes worms in the heart and can be fatal if untreated. Common signs noticed are frequent coughing. Baby heartworms turn into adults after 6 months and this is the stage it can become the disease. Heartworm preventions kill baby heartworms and eggs, but cannot kill adults. Dogs unfortunately will not show any signs or symptoms of heartworm disease until they are in the late stage, so it is best to check often and prevent Heartworm Disease. We recommend year-round prevention for this fact. As long as your pup is on prevention year-round, we will test them every 2 years, however, if they are not on it consistently, we require annual testing to be able to provide them more prevention. We know that because of the heartworm lifecycle, puppies under 6 months of age do not have heartworm disease and they may start prevention (depending on the type) as soon as possible without testing. For more information, visit www.heartwormsociety.org/pet-owner-resources
There are many prevention options out there that you can choose from. Specifically, we offer HeartGard Plus as well as Proheart Injections here at the hospital, but that doesn’t mean you should be restricted from your choices! Feel free to check out our online pharmacy and see the various options you can pick!
Puppy Daycare and Star Student Classes
Also provided by My Pets Place is the Star Student Puppy Class! This is a 4-week course taught by our AKC Certified trainer, Chris. These classes can help you focus in on specific concerns you may have with your puppy and train them to overcome. The classes also include basic puppy training to prepare your dog for the future as a pet in society! Classes are every Saturday morning at 9am. Call My Pets Place to enroll your puppy in the Star Student Classes!