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Posted on 03-22-2017

Are you considering adopting a puppy? Or have you recently added a new pup to your family? If so, you’ll want to give him or her a healthy start right away. Here are a few tips from AMCMA:

-Schedule a veterinary appointment right away. Even if your puppy is up-to-date on vaccinations and appears healthy, take him to your veterinarian as soon as possible. Your veterinarian will document your new puppy’s medical history and determine when his next vaccinations are due. Puppies need three rounds of vaccinations in their first year. So, you will want to make sure you know when it’s time for another one.

If your puppy is not spayed or neutered yet, ask your veterinarian when you should schedule the surgery. AMCMA offers low-cost spay/neuter surgeries with top-notch care including anesthesia, monitoring, and post operation pain medications.

Your veterinarian will also check your new puppy for parasites. Did you know that most puppies are born with worms? Some are nearly impossible to see with the naked eye, and some can be passed to humans and other pets. Your veterinarian will probably recommend at least two rounds of de-wormer, even if your puppy does not appear to have parasites. This will eliminate any eggs or larvae, as well as mature worms.

Finally, your veterinarian will get your puppy started on flea, tick, and heartworm prevention. You want to be sure your puppy is protected year-round, and it is recommended to begin prevention at eight weeks of age. You’ll want to get a year’s supply of prevention so that your puppy is protected. Be sure not to miss a dose!

-Come up with a plan. When raising a puppy, consistency is key. You will want to make sure your entire family is on board with training and that you are all using the same methods. Nothing is more confusing to a puppy than when different people expect different things from him. For example, if one family member allows the puppy to jump up on him, the puppy will jump on everyone – even small children or elderly family members. This might be cute when he is a puppy, but as he grows, it may not be so fun for your friends and family. It will be much harder to train your puppy without consistent rules.

-Puppy-proof your house. Puppies can be quite curious and destructive. You will want to puppy-proof your house as much as possible. Hide electrical cords, pick up valuables like eyeglasses, put medications in a cabinet, and restrict access to rooms that pose a danger risk. Invest in a crate for your puppy so that he will be safe when you are not home to supervise him. Bonus – crates also help aid in house training!

-Get him use to nail trims. You can’t start this early enough. When puppies don’t have their paws handled or their nails trimmed, they grow up not liking it. It can be very difficult to cut a dog’s nails when they aren’t happy! Even when your puppy is young, touch his paws and extend his nails so that he is comfortable with this type of handling. When he needs nail trims, be sure to just cut the tips so you don’t cause pain or bleeding. As your puppy gets more comfortable with this and his quick gets lower, you can cut the nails more. While you are at it, touch his ears, mouth, tail, and belly as much as possible. This will get him used to handling and will make veterinary check-ups much less stressful for him.

Puppies are adorable, fun, and full of energy. Adding one to your family is life-changing. By implementing these tips early on, you can help your puppy to grow into a happy and healthy dog who will love you unconditionally.

The Animal Medical Center of Mid-America is happy to answer any questions you have about your puppy. Call 314-951-1534 or click here to request an appointment online.

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