Fort Hood Veterinary Center
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First thing is first. What type of food should you feed your new puppy? Choose a dry food intended for puppies, avoiding generic foods that sell for low prices. Brand name food is the best. Owners overlook things such as high protein levels and extra vitamins, which can actually be harmful. For example, overfeeding and over supplementation are factors that contribute to hip dysplasia. For large breed puppies it is recommended to buy large breed puppy food. It is different and is better for you large pup.
Start off at feeding your pup three times a day. After ten to twelve weeks of age, reduce to twice a day. Let your puppy eat for fifteen minutes then take away the bowl. This discourages overeating because we don't want chubby puppies.
People food is a big NO, NO! Regular treats like milk bone biscuits are ok, but not on a regular basis. We want our puppies to have a well balanced diet.
Between six and sixteen weeks of age, puppies lose the disease protection they received from there mothers antibodies and become able to form their own immunity to diseases. Your first shot for your puppy should be given between six to eight weeks of age. This is the distemper shot which is a multi vaccine against distemper, adenovirus, and parvovirus. This shout should be given every three weeks and is a series of four shots. The next vaccine of importance is the rabies vaccine. This can be given between twelve to sixteen weeks of age. This shot is then given yearly in this area and is mandated by law to be done. Another vaccine that can be given but is not required by law is the bordetella vaccine. This vaccine is mainly for animals that are going to be boarded for any reason. This protects against "Kennel Cough" which is a severe but rarely fatal respiratory disease.
Another issue to deal with when it comes to your puppy is the possibility of worms. There are different kinds of worms that your pet can get. One main worm is the heartworm. These worms are transported by mosquitoes. We recommend giving heartgard to your pet once a month. This is a soft, meaty chewable tablet that helps prevent heartworms. As soon as your pup gets their first shots you should start them on heartworm prevention, although their test doesn't have to be done until they're six months of age. After the first test it should be done every year even if you keep your animal on heartworm prevention. Other worms to deal with are hookworms, roundworms, and the most common, tapeworms. The way you might know that your puppy has worms is by looking at their belly. If their belly is larger than the normal puppy belly then that may need to be checked. We check for worms by running fecal test from your animal's feces. Strongid is one of the de-wormers we use, but it does not get rid of tapeworms. For this we use a de-wormer a little stronger called Panacur.
Puppies have a strong natural instinct to avoid soiling their own area. If your are consistent and patient, this natural urge for cleanliness make house training fairly easy. You can begin training at any time, but its best you wait until after five weeks of age. A little extra effort and patience in puppy-hood will make the difference later on between a happy, cooperative pet and one that causes problems for you.
Take your puppy outside after waking up in the beginning of the day or from a nap to aid in housebreaking. Also after extreme excitement, drinking water, prolonged chewing on a toy, or if your pup starts sniffing around the house for a good spot. In about four days your puppy should automatically head for his proper place after meals or whenever the urge strikes. Sometimes it can take linger, so be patient with your puppy.
All in all, there are joys and sorrows with having a new puppy in the family. Be patient and have fun with them. They're just one of the kids.
page last modified on: 3/5/2014