If you are reading this you have either purchased/adopted anew puppy or are thinking about getting a new puppy. This can be both an exciting and stressful time as you add a new member to your family! There are several things to consider after getting a puppy including vaccinations, starting on prevention, and purchasing insurance and it can all get a bit overwhelming so here are a few tips and tricks to help guide you through this process.
The most important thing for you to do after you get a new puppy is to schedule an appointment with your veterinarian to establish care and do a thorough physical exam to be sure the puppy is in good health. It is equally important to get an accurate health record from the breeder or shelter so that we can see what vaccinations the puppy has already had and what they are due for next. Puppies typically start getting vaccines between 6-8 weeks old and should continue to get them every 2-4 weeks until they are at least 16weeks old. At the first puppy visit, we will examine the puppy, update vaccines that are needed such as Distemper/Parvo and Bordetella. Depending on the age of the puppy, there are other vaccines that we may recommend as well (see our blog about vaccinations in dogs and cats).
Puppies usually see the vet at least twice while getting their vaccines: at their first puppy visit and again at their final puppy visit around 16 weeks old. In between these visit, a technician will see your puppy for a quick check-up to be sure your puppy is growing normally, booster vaccine, and answer any questions you may have.
Checking your new puppy for intestinal parasites is a vital part of a new puppy check-up. Intestinal parasites are common in puppies and can have many negative health effects on a growing puppy. Some parasites are even transmittable to people which is why we strongly recommend two fecal tests in puppies. The first test we run in house and checks for common GI parasites such as hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, and coccidia. The second sample we collect is sent out to the lab to check for other parasites that are not evident on the in house test such as giardia and tapeworms. We also recommend deworming puppies with a broad spectrum dewormer two to three times to be sure we are treating any undiagnosed parasites that may not show up on the tests we have run.
During the first vet visit, we will discuss flea, tick and heartworm prevention for your new fur baby as well. Dogs in Florida are highlysusceptible to heartworm infections and fleas are also very prominent in this area. There are several options for prevention (topical vs oral vs injectable,some that last 1 month and some that last 12 months) so our veterinarians and technicians will help you to choose the best type of prevention for your puppy.
At your final puppy visit with the veterinarian (usually 16weeks old), we will discuss having your puppy spayed or neutered. This is strongly encouraged at 4 Paws for many reasons (see our blog on the importance of spay/neuter). Depending on the breed of the puppy, we usually recommend spay or neuter procedures to be performed around 6 months old and we do offer this procedure at 4 Paws.
It is strongly recommended to purchase health insurance for your puppy. There are multiple companies that provide preventative and/or catastrophic insurance for dogs and cats. A few that we recommend include: Trupanion, Fetch, Pumpkin Pet and ASPCA. If you do not wish to purchase insurance then another option would be to set aside an emergency fund for your puppy to help pay for unexpected expenses that may pop up in the future. Another thing to consider for your puppy is to get them genetically tested. We recommend a genetic test that looks for over 200 genetic abnormalities and will look at your puppy’s ancestry and predict its adult weight. This information can give so much useful medical information to your vet that may come in handy in the future should your puppy ever get sick or need certain medications that may be contraindicated in dogs with specific genetic abnormalities.
If you ever have questions about raising a new puppy, feel free to call, text or email us and we will be happy to help in any way that we can. You can also see our blogs about heartworm prevention, importance of spay and neuter and vaccines as well as our videos about bringing home a new puppy and training a puppy.