Puppy Health Care – Quick Guide to Best Practices

February 17, 2010 by  
Filed under Puppy Care

Bringing up your puppy is very similar to bringing up a baby. Except, as my mom would say, a baby eventually grows up and learns to take care of itself as an adult.

I don?t mean to scare you ? just want to put things into perspective for you ? your puppy relies on you from the day you bring him home. It need you to feed it, to groom it, play with it, and love it. You are also responcible for your puppy?s health care over its lifetime ? you need to make sure he feels and looks good, and to make sure you know when things are not right.

Your puppy health care responsibilities involves things like taking him for his regular checkups at the vet. Or making sure he takes his worming tabs, flea pills. Taking him for his vaccinations on time. And making sure he?s clean, fed, warm and safe.

I know ? it is basic ? but you?d be surprise what people miss when they are not informed about the things they should look out for. So, to avoid health complications and diseases later on, here are some of the best puppy health care practices to follow:

1. His Food.

Dogs are not picky eaters, but that does not mean that you?re free to feed them anything you want. For one, they are not built the same way we are. If you feed them table scraps, your dog might develop intestinal parasites later on.

Also, their body reacts differently from ours; for example, if you unknowingly feed chocolate to your puppy, STOP IT! It poses a lot of danger, because chocolate contain Theo bromine, a chemical which can be toxic for dogs.

Another mistake that pet owners make is to overfeed their dog. Sure, chubby and plump dogs are adorable, but I sure hope you are not compromising their health because of pure aesthetic reasons. Overweight dogs are susceptible to a lot of illnesses and joint problems. Dogs cannot handle large amounts of food and they don?t know when to stop eating; it?s recommendable to feed your dog once or twice (at the most) a day in small portions ? if you?re unsure ask your vet or look on the packet of the particular dog food you buy ? they usually have recommendations.

2. His Vaccinations.

When you first take you r puppy to the vet he will be able to give a specific schedule and choice you have for your puppy?s vaccinations. There are some vaccinations that are compulsory, but there are those that are entierely your choice ? your vet will help you decide what suits you best.

Here are some of the available vaccinations for more serious diseases, but make sure you ask your vet for more specific advice for basic vaccinations for your puppy?s health care needs.

Distemper vaccination ? canine distemper is a very deadly viral dog disease. Some pet owners usually find out too late. Unfortunately, there?s no cure for it so prevention is still your best weapon. Parvovirus vaccination ? young pups are usually afflicted by this disease. It?s a highly communicable disease so in order to protect your dog, and other dogs in your neighborhood as well, have your dog vaccinated for parvovirus. Adenovirus vaccination ? Dogs contract hepatitis due to canine adenovirus. Your dog should get adenovirus shots to prevent him from getting this disease.

A word of warning: Be aware of what some of the signs are for an allergic reaction to vaccinations. If your dog becomes sluggish or develops hives, or has difficulty breathing, take him to the vet immediately! Now obviously your vet is highly trained, but things happen ? and it?s better that you?re prepared on the odd chance that they do.

3. His Grooming.

Coat, teeth, ears and nails ? these comprise an important aspect of grooming and of your puppy?s health care. Your puppy will not only look healthy, but it will FEEL healthy too.

Coat ? If he has a long or medium length coat brush it every day to avoid hair tangling and matting. For short coats ? once every 3-4 days will do. Ears ? Clean his ears with moist cotton balls twice a month at least. If you don?t clean your dog?s ears, it could lead to an ear infection ? it?s not pleasant for your pooch, and it will cost you to take him to the vet. Teeth ? Unlike humans, dogs don?t need their teeth cleaned every day ? thank goodness; about twice a week will do. But like humans, your dog can develop cavities if you don?t brush his teeth regularly, so make it an appointment with you doggy friend. Nails ? Don?t let your dog?s nails grow too long to prevent him from accidentally scratching you or any family members.

4. Spaying and Neutering.

If you do not plan to breed your own dogs, it?s recommended you consider spaying or neutering your puppy as soon as it is ready. It?s not possible to watch over your dog 24/7; so as a responsible pet owner, try to do something about the continually growing population of dogs. Your vet will be able to advise you on your options.

5. His Status Quo.

This simply means that you should get to know your puppy?s usual disposition. This is very important because only if you know him, you?ll be able to spot if something?s wrong very early ? and the earlier you tackle a health problem, the more chance you have of curing it and saving yourself and your loved pooch grief.

6. His Safety.

We all love to think nothing will ever go wrong ? and I sure hope it never does with you and your pup. But reality sometimes hits us unexpectedly ? so that?s why I always advise my friends to take up even the most basic of pet insurances for their dog. Make sure it covers the things you feel you won?t be able to afford in an emergency, the rest you can pay for as and when you need to ? this way insurance doesn?t have to be expensive.

Remember, a healthy dog makes a happy dog. If you follow these dog care practices, your dog would enjoy a longer and more stress-free life.

Anita Watson is passionate dog owner with years of experience in helping people raise and train their dogs, using real methods that work fast. She owns and maintains RaiseALovingDog.com, an indispencible resource on puppy health care.

Article Source: ArticlesBase.com

Puppy Health – Most Common Symptoms to Look Out For

February 12, 2010 by  
Filed under Puppy Care

Puppies are fragile little things, and can be at risk of injuries and diseases because they don’t yet know the world round them, but also becauase their immune system is not yet strong.

Because it is helpless during these critical months, preventing these ailments is largely your responsibility. Therefore, if you want to keep your puppy healthy and happy, familiarizing yourself with the most common ailments in advance can be the best thing you can do for him.

To help you get acquainted with what it takes to keep your puppy in good shape – I’ve compiled a list of the most common FAQs and answers about puppy health.

1. Distemper – The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA) calls this disease the “greatest single threat to the world’s dog population”. Unvaccinated dogs from four months to four years old are at the greatest risk.

It is caused by a viral infection spread through saliva, urine, feces, even through inhalation of droplets from sneezes and coughs.

Symptoms include vomiting, red eyes, shivering, fever, weight loss, nose discharge, loss of appetite and energy, thickened footpads, and seizures.

There is no specific treatment for this, and many dogs don’t survive infection. This is why prevention is a much better option. Make sure your puppy gets vaccinated, and keep its surroundings as clean as possible to prevent infection.

2. Diarrhea – This is extremely common among puppies that are just starting to eat solid foods. Be aware, though, that it may also be a symptom of a more serious problem, such as a viral infection.

Make it a habit to check your dog’s feces regularly, and bring your pet to the vet at the first sign of an abnormality, such as bloody stools, or if diarrhea persists for longer than 3 days.

3. Constipation – Another very common problem for puppies. You can prevent this by ensuring your puppy always has fresh drinking water and enough physical activity.

Feed him a natural diet; if you wish, you can also add some fiber to his diet, in the form of a teaspoon of ground flaxseed.

However, if you notice that your puppy has particular difficulty doing a poo, or if doing so seems painful, have a vet check him immediately for a possible intestinal blockage. If you leave constipation untreated, your puppy may suffer intoxication because of waste back-up.

4. Vomiting – This is a normal occurrence when a puppy has eaten too much or too quickly. And that can happen often, as puppies don’t have an internal trigger system that alerts them when they are full. Prevent over-eating by feeding him the right amount. And make sure you always have fresh water for him to drink.

If your puppy shows distress or pain after vomiting, however, bring it to the vet right away. It might be a symptom of poisoning. Chronic vomiting and loss of appetite (for more than 24 hours), on the other hand, may arise from worm infestation or infectious illnesses.

5. Ear mites – If your puppy is always scratching its ears or shaking its head, check the inside of its ears. If it smells or contains brown wax, this may be due to ear mites. This condition is very contagious and may lead to outer ear infection and even hearing loss. Give your puppy some Vitamin C to combat the infection, clean its ears, and consult with a vet for proper treatment.

6. Parvo – This virus is another extremely contagious condition which typically affects puppies that are being weaned. It can cause serious cardiac and intestinal problems. Symptoms usually include extreme lethargy, agitation, loss of appetite, restlessness, and fever. Parvo often leads to death if not treated, so take your puppy to the vet immediately if you see these symptoms.

7. Scabies – Also known as sarcoptic mange, this skin condition results in hair loss and brown lesions and can make your puppy extremely irritated and agitated. Scabies are highly contagious and can even infect people, so be careful when handling your puppy if you think it has this condition. Bring it to the vet for appropriate treatment.

8. Cough – Hacking cough or kennel cough is caused by a bacterial or viral infection. This can be treated with commercial medicines or herbal home remedies. If coughing is chronic, however, it may be a sign of a more serious disease, such as heartworm. If your puppy continues coughing for more than a week, consult with your vet.

9. Fleas and ticks – These parasites feed on your puppy’s blood, causing itching and extreme discomfort, and potentially spreading illnesses such as Lyme Disease.

Fortunately, there are many sprays, topical medications and shampoos that can help remove these pests from your dog. Make sure your puppy is over the minimum age (usually 8 to 10 weeks) before using these products. Once you’ve eliminated all parasites, put your pet on flea and tick prevention medication to avoid this problem in the future.

10. Heartworm – These parasites live in your dog’s bloodstream and are transmitted through mosquito bites. They can cause severe damage to the heart, lungs and liver, typically causing death due to heart failure.

Worse, they are usually undetectable until your dog is already ill with the disease. Treating this illness usually involves costly and powerful medicines, and sometimes actual heart surgery. Prevention is far more desirable. Make sure your dog is on a heartworm preventive medication by 8 weeks of age.

It should be given once a month during peak mosquito season, without fail. Consult with your vet for the brand that will suit your puppy best.

As you can see, these common problems are best addressed by early detection, preparation and prevention. Keep your pet’s vaccinations updated and always be on the lookout for any possible symptoms. Learn to understand your puppy’s predisposition, and that way you’ll be able to notice any difference in his condition – to ensure early detection. This way, you’ll ensure a long, happy and healthy life for your puppy.

Anita Watson is passionate dog owner with years of experience in helping people raise and train their dogs, using real methods that work fast. She owns and maintains RaiseALovingDog.com, an indispensable resource on puppy health.

Article Source: ArticlesBase.com

Your Puppies Health – How To Make Sure You Take Good Care

February 10, 2010 by  
Filed under Puppy Care

Having your own puppy is like taking care of a baby – you must feed him regularly, play with him, give him attention, bathe him, etc.

If you forget one important task, then you might be putting your puppy’s health at risk. This sounds ominous for any first-time pet owner, but once you know the things you need to look out for, it becomes part of life and you don’t even think of it anymore.

Puppies’ health is a little more fragile in the beginning and hence you need to pay closer attention, but later on you can relax a little more.

Here are some of the tips that will help you take good care of your puppy:

1. Make a trip to the vet for your puppy’s vaccinations.

Dogs need to have their regular vaccinations just like babies. Your dog should be vaccinated especially to avoid these diseases: parvovirus, adenovirus, canine distemper, rabies, etc. Other vaccines are also available – but your vet will be best suited to recomend the right course of action.

2. Groom him regularly.

This includes regular baths, brushing teeth 2 to 3 times a week, cleaning his ears, brushing his coat and so on. Not only for aesthetic reasons, but to also prevent him from getting ticks or fleas. Although these types of pests are common to dogs, they can be fatal too.

Remember, fleas suck blood for food. As a result, your dog might get malnourished if you don’t get rid of his fleas and ticks soon. You can buy pest flea collar for your dog, or bathe him using a anti-flea shampoo.

3. Feed him healthy food.

Your puppy’s diet should not consist of table scraps. You should resist the urge to feed him your leftovers because your dog’s biological make-up is very, very different from yours.

Table scraps usually contain fat and oil, and these can pose harm to your dog later on. Give your dog a healthy meal which contains nutrients appropriate for his growing body and healthy mind.

4. Exercise regularly. Dogs need regular exercise or they will suffer from obesity when they grow older. Worse still, if they don’t get enough exercise they get bored and boredom breeds destruction. Boredom can easily lead to destructive chewing, barking obsessively and most of all it will be bad for your puppies health.

Jogging or even strolling in the park can be a form of exercise for your dog. Make it a regular habit in the morning or in the evening – but do it at least once a day – ideally twice. It will also greatly affect his psychological well-being.

5. De-worm your pup.

No matter how healthy your dog is, parasites are still present inside your dog’s body. They may come in the form of a tapeworm, hookworm or roundworm. When your dog starts to lose his appetite or becomes lethargic, bring him to his vet to check if he needs to be de-wormed.

5. Know your puppy.

This one sounds a little like a play on words, but it’s not. What I mean by this point is that you should know how he is usually. What’s his appetite like, what are his habits, what he likes and dislikes to do, and how he looks.

This is by far the best way to spot if something is wrong with your puppies health. If you know how he is usually, you will immediately know when he’s not ok – further investigation, will help you stop most illnesses before they become a more serious cause for concern.

At the end of the day – a healthy puppy is a happy puppy – is a happy you! It makes sense – when your dog’s happy, he will be more responsive to you and your commands, thus making life easier for you both.

Anita Watson is passionate dog owner with years of experience in helping people raise and train their dogs, using real methods that work fast. Visit Raise a Loving Dog for more great tips and advice on your puppies health.

Article Source: ArticlesBase.com