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Things to Think About When Getting A Puppy

Posted Thursday, April 3, 2008, at 1:58 PM

Make sure your pet has identification of some kind, rabies tag with your veterinarians phone number, or a personalized name tag with your home phone and cell phone. Better safe than sorry!
Yeah, I know I've written about puppy care before but there's so much to know.

Now that spring here, there will be adorable puppies at our wonderful McCook Humane Society, in parking lots and in front of discount stores with 'Free Puppies' signs. Puppies adopted from the Humane Society will also come with discounts on routine veterinary care (quite a perk!).

So, you've decided you want a puppy. Well, there really is quite a bit to do and puppies are never free. First there are VACCINATIONS, and HIGH QUALITY FOOD, and PHYSICAL EXAM, and DEWORMINGS, and INTESTINAL PARASITE TESTING, and DAILY EXERCISE, and OBEDIENCE TRAINING, and well you get the point. The best time for weaning puppies is 8 weeks of age although their mommies may decide to do so earlier. The other reason to keep them with their litter until then is that mom teaches them good dog manners and socializing with other dog skills.

Does my puppy really need VACCINATIONS? You Bet! Puppies from birth to between 6-8 weeks still have some immunity from their mothers' colostrum that they ate right after birth. After 6-8 weeks that immunity begins to decrease leaving them susceptible to some pretty severe diseases. When you pick out a puppy, make sure they've had at least 1 puppy combo (usually the other 2 are up to you). That's right, one VACCINATION doesn't mean they are protected from every contagious dog disease. You'll also want to get the date and type/brand of vaccine given, not all vaccines are equal). According to NE state law, Rabies should be given at 12 weeks of age (3 months) and needs to be given by a licensed veterinarian. We have three veterinarians that do small animal care so you have no excuse to not have your dogs and cats vaccinated. Luckily we don't have much rabies in our part of the US (there have been a few cases so watch out and make sure your pets have their shots regularly).

Puppies first deworming should happen at the age of 5 weeks (not all dewormers are created equal). Puppies are very susceptible to intestinal parasites. Some intestinal parasites like hookworms are so nasty that they may kill a puppy and may be transmitted to humans. Intestinal parasites also make your dog food bill higher because they need to eat more or they don't reach their full height and weight.

Probably the most important thing you can do for your puppy other than feed him high quality dog food is to take him to a veterinarian for a complete nose to tail EXAM. A good veterinarian will check eyes, ears (ear mites and other infections), mouth (tonsils, cleft palates, retained baby teeth or infected teeth), lymph nodes, chest (heart rate and rhythm and murmurs or other congenital defects), lungs, abdomen/belly for hernias, and legs and feet (hips and knees for laxity and more severely dysplasia where the hips or knee caps slip out of place leading to pain and arthritis later in life). Just like us, a lot can be wrong.

You can also start their dental care as a puppy by teaching them to like having their teeth brushed (just ask me, I've cleaned hundred of dogs with mouths so foul most people would gag just from the smell alone). Exercise is also a key point in keeping your puppy happy and you as well. Take them for a daily walk and start leash training them at 8-10 weeks. Both of you will be much happier.

So how much money can you expect to spend on Fido? Depending on big your puppy gets? I'm not sure but in this area, expect up to $500 with dog food, veterinary care, puppy crate, obedience training. Be thankful you don't live in a large city.

Best of luck with the new bundle of puppy love and give us at the veterinary clinic a call when you have any questions. That first 1-2 years can try your patience but what kid doesn't.

Click here to learn about parvo virus http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?...,

here for canine distemper (not related to feline distemper) http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?...

and for rabies http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?....

(click here for vaccination recommendations -->) http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?...

Here are a list of 2007 RABIES positives: http://www.vet.ksu.edu/depts/dmp/service... and

a map of last year http://www.vet.ksu.edu/depts/dmp/service...

About hookworms- http://www.peteducation.com/article.cfm?...

and here is a list of more parasites with related articles http://www.peteducation.com/category_sum... .

Showing comments in chronological order
[Show most recent comments first]

You didn't mention the possibility of having a computer chip implanted as identification in addition to the collar and tag. It is also a good idea to get a puppy who will grow into an adult that fits with one's lifestyle. A Jack Russell terrier is hardly a good pet for a sedate person or someone who is away from home for extended periods since they need a lot of exercise and get bored easily (and can tear up your home for something to do). Similarly, a Great Dane is hardly an appropriate pet for someone with a small home.

-- Posted by Talia on Tue, Apr 8, 2008, at 12:44 PM

You make good points that I hadn't gotten around to. My main focus was health care of the puppy not whether you and a certain breed would be compatable. There are tons of websites that can help with that as well as most peope that work in at an animal care facility such as the humane society and veterinary clinics. They are familiar with most breeds and can tell you of their energy levels and personality traits.

You might be surprised about large dogs in small homes. As long as they get their daily exercise, most big dogs aren't such a bad idea in small homes. In fact, potty training a large dog in a small home is easier that a small dog in a large home. Why? Because they have less area to deficate and most pets don't want to deficate where they eat and sleep. But there are exceptions. Thanks for the input!

-- Posted by amystrauch on Wed, Apr 9, 2008, at 1:05 PM

If you think you cant afford to get your puppy vaccinated there is always a solution. And that solution is to rescue a dog that has been neglected or abused and has had their shots and things. The only dogs that i get are rescues and they are very good pets because they have never felt love and when you show them love they will love you for eternity. And when you rescue a dog you save them from getting put down because no one wants older dogs. Everyone wants puppies. So please consider rescueing an older neglected dog before you get a new puppie.

-- Posted by Outlawf150 on Wed, Apr 9, 2008, at 10:10 PM

And adult dogs come pre-trained (usually). Sometimes they come with bad habits.

-- Posted by amystrauch on Thu, Apr 10, 2008, at 7:10 PM

yes somtimes they do but they can be corrected i am a dog trainer so i know

-- Posted by Outlawf150 on Thu, Apr 10, 2008, at 7:36 PM

do you have ideas about having puppy and obedience classes? I don't have the time. We don't see too many problem doggies but it's nice to find a reliable trainer who can help out. And to get them started right.

-- Posted by amystrauch on Sat, Apr 12, 2008, at 8:56 PM

umm i really havent thought about it umm im only 15 but i have trained a countless number of dogs from my own and from friends dogs but if you want to talk more about it let me know my email address is bison_8_drummer@hotmail.com and we can talk more about it i will be willing so let me know

-- Posted by Outlawf150 on Tue, Apr 15, 2008, at 4:00 PM

perhaps we ought to give you a few more years to hone your skills. I'd hate myself if I got you injured.

-- Posted by amystrauch on Thu, Apr 17, 2008, at 8:13 PM

o no no i wouldent get injured and if i did it wouldent be serious because i can read a dog like a book i can tell when its uncomfortable when its mad and when it wants to attack i am very good at it so there no need for you to worry like i said before i have trained a countless number of dogs so i have alot of experience.

-- Posted by Outlawf150 on Mon, Apr 21, 2008, at 9:51 PM

I thought the same thing at certain times. You should see the scabs on my hand from the cat last week. I've seen dogs that snarl and attack the cage door just to get at you. I was out walking last summer when I had a dog really think about attacking me just because he didn't like me. If I'd had my phone I'd have called him in. Too bad we don't have an animal control officer. I wouldn't want those nice people at the humane society to deal with the likes of him.

-- Posted by amystrauch on Thu, May 8, 2008, at 9:49 PM

yeah i have never had a dog bite me yet so its all good

-- Posted by Outlawf150 on Tue, May 13, 2008, at 5:05 PM

Lucky you.

-- Posted by amystrauch on Sat, May 17, 2008, at 4:21 PM

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