Dog and Puppy Health Issues

Before bringing your new puppy or dog  home,  find a vet that you feel comfortable working with.  Hopefully you won’t be seeing him often but you want someone with whom you have a rapport, whom you trust, whose bedside manner you like and is convenient to home.  Get a “well puppy” check at your vet’s office as soon as possible.  Many reputable breeders  offer a health guarantee  if you take your puppy for a well puppy check within 72 hours. If you are getting a purebred puppy, the vet will know what health issues are prevalent in that breed. For a variety of reasons, purebred dogs can be prone to certain breed-specific problems. Familiarize yourself with what those may be and whether your puppy’s lineage is prone to these or not so that you can share this information with your vet.

Well Puppy Check

 Hopefully you have given him a once over yourself but the vet will check the following  during your first visit:

  • Ears
  • Eyes
  • Nose
  • Chest
  • Mouth
  • Coat
  • Skin

Typically a vet will recommend a vaccination regimen for your puppy. This is a fairly hot topic at the moment so familiarize yourself with the issues. Your vet will know what vaccinations are required in your area as well as what diseases are prevalent. Treatment and prevention of parasites is crucial. Again, this is a topic of  heated debate. Some vets take a more “holistic” approach to health care while others are more traditional. Check around with your friends and family to see who they use and ask them about the vet’s approach, manner, and availability.

Be Prepared

I think it is a good idea to be prepared ahead of time with a Puppy First Aid Kit. In it I have my vet’s phone number as well as the closest 24 hour emergency clinic  phone number and directions as well as the following items:

  • Thermometer (rectal is most accurate) and K-Y Jelly
  • Blunt-nosed scissors
  • A variety of bandages
  • Adhesive tape
  • Cotton balls
  • Tweezers
  • Benadryl
  • Small flashlight
  • Neosporin
  • Hydrogen Peroxide

The range of mishaps your puppy can have is enormous. They are very creative when it comes to getting into trouble.  It is best to get a general overview of these possibilities before you bring the little guy home.  But don’t forget that older dogs who are new to your home also need close supervision. Without knowing their history you might not know whether they are attracted to cable cords, know how to negotiate steps, or have experienced that household monster – the vacuum cleaner.

Careful Supervision

As with a child, careful supervision  and puppy-proofing is necessary.  My approach is to assume that if there is any possible way a puppy can get into trouble or injure himself, he WILL!  Electrical cords are chewy and tempting. Small toys can be swallowed and cause intestinal obstructions. Large toys can be chewed in pieces and swallowed.  Pools can be fallen into. Poisons can be tasted.  Chocolate, raisins, and grapes can be deadly. Puppy proofing a house is hard work but well worth the peace of mind. Introducing your puppy to a crate in such a way that he is at home in it goes a long way in bringing you some peace of mind. When you are unavailable to keep your eyes on the little one you can relax knowing he is comfortable  and safe in his cozy crate. There are pros and cons about using a crate and I am in favor of them when they are used judiciously and introduced properly.

So what is the best way to introduce a puppy to a crate?  Share your stories of how it went for you.

Image Credits: Matthew_Roberts on flickr

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