Your puppy's first visit to the vet will probably be more than just a quick hello. Get all the details from Veterinarian Dr. Katy Nelson as she talks about important details like how to properly bring your puppy into the vet's office and vaccinations he needs.
Your puppy's first veterinary checkup is about much more than simply greeting your dog's new vet, weighing in, and getting him his standard immunizations. Believe it or not, your first visit is just as much about educating yourself and answering your questions as it is about checking the health of your newest family member. Your first vet visit requires organization, preparation, and sometimes even some light note taking. Hi, I'm Dr. Katy Nelson with IAMS, and today we're talking about how to take your new puppy to his first veterinary appointment. Let's begin with what you'll need to bring to your first visit. First, you should find out what the breeder or shelter has already done for your puppy. They've probably given them some vaccinations. He probably has also been placed on a deworming schedule, and may even be on a heartworm preventative.
And depending upon his breed, the tail may have been docked and the dewclaws removed. Your veterinarian will need all of this information, along with the puppy's approximate birth date. So it's important to bring all of your paperwork with you to your first veterinarian visit, so they can help you determine a schedule for completing immunizations, and determine when it's best to schedule spaying and neutering. Next you should bring a fresh stool sample to your first visit, so the veterinarian can check for parasites. Lastly, prepare a list of questions. After having your puppy home for a few days, there's no better time to ask questions than at your first visit with a medical professional. Ask other family members, too, if they have any questions that they'd like added to your list. Once you're prepared, bring your puppy's crate to the car, and do your best to secure it with available seat belts. Depending on the size and weight of the crate and the puppy, it's usually easier to secure the crate first, and then put your puppy inside. If you cannot fit a crate in your car, try purchasing a dog seat belt that is specifically designed to restrain and protect your puppy in case of an accident. This next piece of information is critical. Carry your puppy into the doctor's office. Do not let him interact with any other animals in the office. Though the other animals may be perfectly healthy themselves, your puppy can still get very sick from even just rubbing noses with another dog until his vaccinations and immunity against disease is further developed. After greeting you and your new pup, your vet will likely begin examining your pup as she continues to converse and answer your questions. She'll check your puppy's weight, temperature, heart, lungs, ears, genitals, eyes, nose, skin, anal region, mouth, and gums for both basic and breed abnormalities. Your puppy needs to learn to be comfortable being handled by others. Remaining calm and peaceful in the new environment with the vet or any other stranger will allow your puppy to do the same. Depending on the status of your puppy's records and stool exam, your puppy will also begin the deworming process, receive the following initial vaccines: rabies, distemper, and Bordatella. If your puppy's exposed to other dogs in boarding, public dog parks, training, and other situations, then based on geography and lifestyle, ask your veterinarian which vaccines they recommend for your puppy. Also, ask your vet about microchipping, and when it is safe to begin socializing and training your pup. Following the initial visit, your veterinarian will ask that you return to booster the vaccines until your puppy reaches a certain age. The time between boosters typically ranges between two and four weeks. Here are some signs that your puppy needs immediate medical care: allergic reactions or swelling around the face, hives-- this is most easily seen on the belly or face-- any eye injuries, any respiratory problems, any signs of pain-- panting, labored breathing, increased body temperature, lethargy, restlessness, or loss of appetite-- any suspected poisoning, any open wound, a seizure, fainting, or collapse, snake bites, thermal stress-- either too hot or too cold-- trauma, like if he's hit by a car, even if he seems fine, vomiting or diarrhea more than two or three times within an hour. I'm Dr. Katy Nelson with IAMS, and I hope that you found this helpful as you welcome your new addition to the family.
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For some dogs, a simple fence isn’t enough to keep them in the yard. Maybe you’ve got a little escape artist that’s too smart for their own good. Maybe you’re raising a brave explorer who loves to get lost. Or maybe you’ve been unlucky enough to have your dog stolen from their own backyard. Creating a safe and secure space to keep your pet can be a challenge, but we’re here to help. Understanding the common reasons dogs get out and what you can do to prevent it from happening goes a long way toward keeping your furry friend safe.
Why Does Your Dog Want to Escape?
Securing your yard starts with understanding the impulses that drive your dog to see what’s beyond your property. Spaying or neutering is an important first step in curbing a dog’s desire to roam, but there may be other factors at play. Creating a safe yard for a lonely Labrador in search of a friend is an entirely different exercise than securing a burrow-happy beagle on the hunt for a squirrel. We’d recommend trying to learn as much as you can about your dog’s breed and underlying instincts. The most common reasons dogs try to escape are:
- Feeling socially isolated
- Lack of stimulation (think toys)
- Desire to escape something that scares them, like thunder
Countering these behaviors starts with understanding which one is at the heart of your dog’s desire to break free. Once you’ve got a theory of what’s motivating your pup, it’s time to give your safety measures a second look.
How to Keep Your Dog Safe and Secure in Your Yard
Microchip Your Dog and Scan Their Nose
If your dog is committed to getting out, your most useful tool will be the ability to track and locate them wherever they’re found. There are a huge variety of products and services designed to help you keep your dog safe, but the most important thing you can have is a plan. You’ve most likely heard of GPS tracking chips that can be implanted in your pet, but you may not know that you can also scan their nose. Through a new app called NOSEiD, you can capture your dog’s unique nose print, which will give whoever finds them a faster, simpler way of reuniting the two of you. It’s that easy! Just download the app, call your pup over and start scanning.
The Best Defense Is a Good … Fence
Even though they’re not technologically impressive, a sturdy wooden or metal fence still plays an important part in protecting your dog while they’re in your yard. Not only does it keep your dog from wandering, it also keeps unwanted animals and people away from your dog’s space. If your dog can leap over it, you’ll obviously need to raise the height, or you can add an overhang that makes it harder to clear. You might also consider planting some shrubs along the inside of the fence to discourage jumping. If your dog is burrowing beneath your fence, consider adding a barrier beneath it or putting a bumper collar on them, which makes it harder to squeeze into small spaces.
If you have a particularly territorial dog, you may want to cover any open spots in your fence that your dog might spy adversaries through. A solid fence may help them feel safe and diminish their need to patrol their surroundings.
When it comes to electric fences, using one successfully depends on your dog’s personality. If your dog has recently been ignoring the electric fence, you may want to consider retraining them or investing in a physical barrier.
Make “Yard” Mean “Yay!”
Making your yard a dog-friendly and entertaining space is a huge part of keeping your dog safe at home. With enough toys, space to burn energy and ideally a friend to play with, your dog won’t have any reason to see if the grass is greener elsewhere. A few popular dog-pleasers you may want to provide are:
- A bit of shelter or shade
- A source of water
- A rotating lineup of toys
- Their favorite playmate (you)
Use Your Yard Wisely
Last, but not least, if you leave your dog unattended for a long period of time in your yard, there’s a good chance they will get bored and look for a way to burn off some energy. To prevent them from getting mischievous, limit the amount of time they’re out on their own, and check in frequently. Also, for dogs with separation anxiety or that may be afraid of loud noises, your presence will help keep them calm and close to home.
With your dog chipped or their nose scanned, you’ll always have an option in the event that your dog strikes out on their own. Beyond that, understand what makes your dog unique and check your yard’s safety features regularly for holes or weak points. As usual, a little preparation now can save you a ton of time and energy in the long run.
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