Puppy Care
by Dr. Karen Halligan
GET A COLLAR & ID FOR YOUR PET
Before anything else, get a collar and ID tag with current contact information on your pet immediately! Prevent a tragedy by always having current identification on your pet. Since collars can come off, a back-up form of identification, such as a micro-chip, is a strongly recommended as a secondary ID.

SOME ADVICE ON CHOOSING COLLARS
Small breeds of dogs that are predisposed to tracheal problems do better with a harness rather than a collar. Harnesses distribute pressure throughout the body versus solely on the neck. Check with your vet or trainer for advice. You can find additional information by click here.

GOT A POOCH THAT PULLS WAY TOO MUCH?
Try a Gentle Leader® or Haltie® when walking your dog. Most pet supply stores, including the spcaLA Marketplace carry these amazing collars that practically eliminate pulling. You begin training on one.

TAKE YOUR NEW PUPPY TO YOUR VETERINARIAN FOR A COMPLETE CHECK-UP.
Make sure your veterinarian does the following:

Listens to the puppy’s heart and lungs
Opens the puppy’s mouth and checks his ears
Weighs the puppy and takes his temperature
Checks out the skin and coat to detect any skin problems that may be present
Performs a fecal exam of the stool (taking a stool sample into the vet is easiest)
Intestinal parasites are common in puppies. If parasites are present then a de-worming medication will be prescribed. Some veterinarians just routinely de-worm puppies since they very often have parasites. Avoid buying over-the-counter de-wormers unless directed by your vet.
ALWAYS GET YOUR PUPPY SPAYED OR NEUTERED!
You may safely have your puppy altered as early as eight weeks. Remember that puppies go into heat at seven months, and so many vets recommend having them altered by four to six months. Female dogs that are altered before they have their first heat cycle have at least a 90% decrease in developing breast cancer later in life.

ALWAYS FEED YOUR PUPPY FOOD FOR HIS OR HER
LIFE STAGE & SIZE
Feed food formulated for puppies
Large Breed Dogs: Consider getting a food formulated for large breed dogs which provides extra nutrients that help combat predisposed illness, such as hip dylspasia, etc.
Small Breed Dogs: Get a smaller sized kibble that is easy for him or her to chew. The staff at the spcaLA Marketplace can help you choose the right food for your new friend.
Wet/canned food is okay in addition to a high quality kibble
Do not feed table scraps or milk (which many dogs cannot digest).
SOCIALIZE YOUR PUPPY
The most influential socialization period is between 4 and 12 weeks of age. During this time your puppy is very impressionable to social influences. If your puppy has good experiences with men, women, children, dogs, cats, rabbits, etc. NOW, he will likely accept them throughout the rest of his life. Therefore, make sure he is regularly around all different types of people and animals. A puppy play group is an excellent idea for any puppy four months and older. Puppies less than four months of age, avoid dog parks, beaches, etc—any area where a lot of dogs go because puppies under four months are highly susceptible to disease.

GET PROPER VACCINATIONS FOR YOUR PUPPY
Vaccinations should ideally be given between six and eight weeks, and also at 12 and 16 weeks of age. These routine vaccinations should include DHLP, Parvo, Corona, Bordatella and Rabies.

GROOM WELL
BATH TIME
Getting your puppy acclimated to taking baths early on will help them tolerate it later on in life, making it much easier on you. Unless your dog gets excessively dirty or has allergy problems, a good rule of thumb is a bath once every couple of months.

NAIL TRIMMING
Puppies often have sharp nails so it is best to have your veterinarian trim them on the first visit. If you feel comfortable you can do this in the future once your vet shows you how.

FLEA CONTROL
Advantage, a topical treatment which keeps 99% of fleas off your pet, can be applied once a month. It can be purchased at the spcaLA Marketplace.