Whether your puppy comes from a breeder or from an animal shelter, keeping him healthy should always be one of your primary concerns. Puppy health means that your puppy should have the proper vaccinations, worming, and prevention for things like fleas, ticks, and heartworms. If you take care of your puppy’s health from the start, there’s every chance he will live a long and happy life with you.
No matter where your puppy comes from, it’s advisable to have him checked out by a veterinarian within 48-72 hours of brining him home. This is true even if he is up-to-date on his vaccinations. Having a veterinarian examine your puppy can tell you if your puppy is healthy and identify any potential health problems. If your vet finds a problem, you can discuss it with the breeder or shelter. If your puppy needs shots, he can get them at this time and you can set up a schedule to continue them. Many puppy vaccinations require a series of shots to provide full immunity. Typical vaccinations include parvo and distemper, among others.
Your puppy will also need a rabies vaccination when he is about four months old. Rabies, in particular, is a serious illness that can kill humans as well as animals. Every puppy needs this vaccination.
Your vet should also test your dog for common worms such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, and tapeworms. It’s not uncommon for puppies to have these worms and they are easily treated.
In many areas, especially those where mosquitoes are common, puppies and dogs will need to be put on heartworm prevention. This prevention is usually given as a monthly chewable or tablet, but there are other forms. You can talk to your vet about the prevention that is recommended for your area.
If you live in a warm climate, then your puppy will probably need a good flea and tick preventive. In most places in summer, nearly all dogs experience some fleas. There are many good options for flea and tick control these days. You can use topicals that are placed on the puppy’s back, chewables, or others. Again, talk to your vet and see what he or she recommends.
Otherwise, at home you will need to keep your puppy’s ears clean and trim his nails regularly. Brushing your puppy’s teeth is also a good idea. You can find toothbrushes and toothpastes made for dogs at your local pet store or online. Dogs usually enjoy having their teeth brushed once they get used to it. Toothpaste for dogs is made to taste like peanut butter, chicken, and other things dogs like. You can also give your dog dental chew toys to encourage healthy gums.
This may sound like a lot to do but once your puppy has his vaccinations, it’s not hard to get into a routine of caring for your puppy. These tips for keeping your puppy healthy will help keep him healthy all his life.