Puppy Basics: Health Care Essentials
Puppy Basics: Health Care Essentials

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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.

  • Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On
    Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On

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    Your Senior Dog’s Health from 7 Years On

    Keeping Your Senior Dog Healthy and Active

    It depends on the breed of dog, but your pet's senior years generally begin at age 7. Louise Murray, DVM, director of the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City and author of Vet Confidential (Ballantine, 2008), tells you what you need to know to keep your older dog spry and happy.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Preventive Health

    At this stage, Murray recommends taking your dog to the vet twice a year. "So much can happen to an elderly dog," she says. Your veterinarian can take blood annually to test liver and kidney functions. "Discovering problems early is extremely important," she says. Your vet can be on the lookout for conditions that often affect older dogs, such as anemia and arthritis.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Urination, Bowel Movements, and Appetite

    Pay attention to what might be subtle changes in your dog's habits: Is she drinking more water or urinating larger amounts? These behaviors might indicate a liver or kidney problem. Have your dog's bowel movements shifted? This could indicate a digestive issue. Diabetes or digestive problems might cause your dog to eat more but still lose weight. Knowing the dog's patterns can help the veterinarian determine a course of treatment.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medicines

    Continue to use preventive medicines.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Dental Health

    Clean your dog's teeth daily. If she has tartar buildup, you might need to have her teeth professionally cleaned at your vet's office, which requires sedating your pet.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Exercise

    Your dog is probably less active, so steady, moderate exercise is best for her now. Don't turn her into a "weekend warrior" who, after lying around on weekdays, accompanies you on a 10-mile hike on Saturdays. This is especially hard on an older dog's joints.

     

     

    Senior Dog Health: Diet

    Your veterinarian might wish to put your dog on a senior diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Senior Plus. These formulations contain nutrients specifically geared toward older-dog health.

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