Puppy Basics: Health Care Essentials

You’ll do anything to keep your puppy healthy and happy—IAMS™ is just the first step. Here’s some extra advice to help your puppy stay extra healthy.

Giving Your Puppy a Pill

Step 1: Begin with a play session and praise to relax your puppy. Then get on the same physical level as your puppy. With a large dog, kneel next to him while he's in the sitting position; with a small puppy, place him on a grooming table or a countertop.

Step 2: Place one hand over the top of the puppy's muzzle as shown. Hold the pill in your free hand and then gently open his mouth with that hand.

Step 3: Place the pill in the center of the tongue as far back as you're able to reach. Then close your puppy's mouth and hold it shut while you blow gently but quickly at his nose. This will cause your dog to swallow before he has a chance to spit the pill out. Give him a treat immediately afterward to ensure that the pill has really been swallowed. End each session with play and praise.

 

Finding a Veterinarian

Just like you, your new puppy needs high-quality health care. Before you run into any dog health issues, ask a friend or your local humane society to recommend a veterinarian, then choose one with these factors in mind:

  • Education and experience. How long has this veterinarian been practicing? Did he or she graduate from a respected veterinary college?
  • Specialty. In urban areas, you might find veterinarians who deal exclusively with the special problems of dogs and cats.
  • Location. Don't let it override education, experience, and specialty, but location is important. A drive across town during a medical emergency could delay needed treatment.
 

Schedule a visit and interview

Once you've narrowed your choices, visit the veterinarian's office. Inspect the facility and talk to the doctor about your new puppy. If you like what you see and hear, arrange a time to bring your puppy in for an initial examination. It's a good idea to visit the veterinarian within the first three days after you bring your puppy home to make sure he's in good health. The veterinarian will probably check:

  • Stool. A fecal exam will reveal the presence of internal parasites.
  • Body. A head-to-tail physical exam includes inspecting your dog's coat and feeling his body for abnormalities, as well as checking the eyes, ears, mouth, and heart and examining the anus for signs of intestinal parasites.
  • Once an exam is completed, your veterinarian can schedule immunizations and vaccinations and advise you on the importance of spaying and neutering.