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Health Care

Selecting Your Puppy

Let's face it, almost all puppies are hard to resist - so when it comes to picking out a new pooch, it's important to know just what you're getting.

A puppy's adult personality is fairly well defined as early as seven weeks of age, so seven weeks is an excellent age to "test" a prospective pet. A few careful minutes spent choosing your puppy will make all the difference once you've made the puppy a member of the family.

Look for the puppy that's willing to relax when cradled in your arms for a minute or two. Puppies that fight, bite, or struggle may not be able to handle stressful situations or restraints such as leashes. Next, try to startle the puppy during a quiet moment. Dropping your keys on the floor is a good way to gauge the puppy's reaction. A puppy that runs and hides may always fear loud noises and eventually display destructive behavior or soil the house when left alone, for example, during a thunderstorm. If you're trying to select a puppy from a litter, the attraction test is instructive and fun. Get on your hands and knees and call to the puppies as a group. A curious puppy is the one that responds first and most often. It's likely to be people oriented as an adult.

Protecting Your Puppy

Love's not enough. Your puppy needs a preventive health care program, too.

Every new puppy faces a variety of parasites and infectious organisms as it grows. Some can pose a threat to humans too, so it's important to take your puppy to your veterinarian as soon as you can. That way, your veterinarian may get your puppy started on a preventive health care plan that's the foundation for a long, healthy life - and your family can enjoy your new dog worry free.

Here are some puppy health care topics you should discuss with your veterinarian. This list is for the information of pet owners - it does not include every threat to the health of your puppy and does not replace veterinary care.

  • Rabies
  • Canine Parvovirus
  • Canine Coronavirus
  • Canine Distemper
  • Infectious Canine Hepatitis
  • Kennel Cough
  • Canine Parainfluenza
  • Leptospirosis
  • Fleas and flea infestations
  • Ticks and tick borne disease
  • Heartworm Disease

Heartworms and Gastrointestinal Parasites : Risks You Might Not Even See until Your Dog's Infected

Outdoor type or couch potato, your puppy is at risk of exposure to potentially deadly heartworms as well as harmful gastrointestinal parasites. But don't despair - heartworm disease can be prevented and roundworms and hookworms can be treated and controlled!

Heartworm disease is prevalent in the Philippines all year round. Its prevalence has increased because we live in such a mobile society - people and their dogs travel from place to place, unknowingly taking parasites along for the ride. Dogs of any age and breed are susceptible, and the disease may be fatal.

Heartworms are not the only parasite of concern to puppy owners. Everyday, gastrointestinal parasites such as roundworms and hookworms may weaken puppies, and can even cause death in severe cases. Effective treatment and ongoing control of gastrointestinal parasites are essential for the health of your puppy.

Viral Diseases : A Regular Immunization Program Can Help Protect Your Puppy

There's no way around it - potentially dangerous, disease-causing organisms are part of your new puppy's environment. And because puppys are curious and like to explore everything, they're good candidates for exposure to infection. But your veterinarian can help protect puppies and adult dogs against a number of infectious organisms through a regular vaccination program. A puppy typically receives its first vaccination at 6 to 8 weeks of age, and vaccinations will continue throughout the dog's life. Your veterinarian will set up your puppy's vaccination schedule - it's important that you follow your veterinarian's recommendations.

In fact, taking your dog to "get its shots" on a regular basis is one of the easiest, most important ways you can protect your pet's good health, because it also ensures that your veterinarian has the chance to examine your dog regularly to detect any problems before they become serious threats.

Some of the most important diseases to understand and talk about with your veterinarian are rabies, parvovirus, distemper and canine coronavirus. Vaccines are available against all these diseases. You'll also want to discuss heartworm disease and fleas, ticks and other significant parasites with your veterinarian.

Your Puppy's Vaccination Schedule

No matter what kind of puppy you've selected, its vaccination schedule should begin at six to eight weeks of age. After that, revaccinations are necessary to keep your dog healthy. See your veterinarian to establish a vaccination and revaccination schedule.

Dog Health FAQ

When should I have my dog vaccinated? Which vaccines are the right ones?

Since your veterinarian is familiar with your dog's health history and understands the disease conditions in your area, he or she can best determine the correct vaccination schedule for your dog. In general, a veterinarian will administer a series of vaccinations early in a dog's life to help develop its immunity against a number of diseases. Mature dogs require regular revaccinations, called boosters, to help maintain their immunity. Your veterinarian will assess your dog's risk factors and recommend a customized vaccination program.

Why do puppies require multiple vaccinations?

When a vaccine for a specific disease is given to your dog, its immune system produces substances called antibodies that work against a specific virus or bacteria. A nursing puppy receives certain antibodies from its mother that help protect it from disease early in life. Interestingly, these same antibodies, passed in the mother's milk, can also keep a vaccine from being completely effective. Since the presence of maternal antibodies gradually decreases as a puppy gets older, the puppy must create new antibodies to help ward off disease. A series of vaccines over a period of time stimulates the puppy to produce its own antibodies.

How will my dog feel after vaccination?

The way an individual animal reacts to a vaccine depends on a number of factors, including its age, the type of vaccination, and the dog's overall health. In all likelihood your dog will act normally. It may experience a few mild signs such as fatigue, a slight fever, or lack of appetite. If these symptoms persist beyond 48 hours, consult your veterinarian.

Click on the following links for more information:

The puppy has arrived!
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