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Dogs + Care & Wellness

  • Applying topical medications to your pet can sometimes be a challenge. Creams, ointments, and lotions are for external use only. It is important to prevent your dog from licking and swallowing any of these external preparations, as they may contain ingredients that could be harmful if swallowed. A good tip in this case is to apply the product just before feeding your dog or take your dog for a short walk immediately after applying the medication. If you still have trouble keeping your pet from licking the medication, contact your veterinarian and they can supply you with an Elizabethan collar.

  • Primary vaccination is essential in order to prevent the once common puppy diseases that caused high levels of fatality from returning. However, recent research indicates that not all vaccines require yearly boosters. o establish whether boosters are necessary for your pet, blood tests to measure the amount of antibodies (antibody titers) are sometimes recommended. Unfortunately, these tests are often more expensive than revaccination and may be stressful to your dog.

  • There are numerous products on the market that have been designed to help prevent undesirable behavior in dogs. Leashes, harnesses, and head halters are needed to keep pets under control, especially when outdoors.

  • Dogs can be bred when they are in heat. Depending on the size and breed of the dog, heats can begin as early as 4 months and can occur as frequently as every 4 months. Spaying a dog either through ovariohysterectomy or ovariectomy is the most effective way to prevent pregnancy. Spaying also negates false pregnancies and pyometra and reduces the risk of mammary cancer. Medications exist to control the heat cycle but they carry the risk of serious, potentially fatal side effects. There are no drugs approved for use in the US or Canada.

  • When the digestive tract is upset, vomiting and diarrhea may result. Since the causes of these symptoms are varied, it’s best to consult a veterinarian. Often, a bland diet is recommended to rest the digestive tract and to decrease vomiting and diarrhea. Bland diets consist of a single easily digestible protein source and a simple carbohydrate. Pet owners may prepare bland diets at home or choose one of the many commercially available diets.

  • When traveling, you may need to board your pet at a kennel or veterinary clinic if friends, neighbors, or pet sitters are not an option. Ask for references to find a boarding facility and be sure to visit it before agreeing to have your pet stay there. A short stay before a longer trip can help your pet to settle in more easily. Be sure to leave emergency contact info for you and your veterinarian with the boarding facility.

  • Body condition scoring is an effective objective method of determining if a pet is at a healthy weight. There are 2 scoring systems: one out of 5 and the other out of 9. This handout outlines how to body condition score pets and recommends tracking body condition score to keep pets at a healthy weight, an important factor in pets living longer with less health complications.

  • You can place most puppies in their new homes at around eight to ten weeks of age, ideally after ten weeks of age to ensure proper weaning and maximum social development. Treating for worms and first vaccinations should occur before puppies are placed in their new homes.

  • For the next two months, even if everything went smoothly with the birth, you have a lot of work to do! After the birthing process, clean up the mother as much as possible without upsetting her using a warm water and washcloth. Do not use any soaps or disinfectants unless instructed to by your veterinarian. Remove any soiled newspaper or bedding from her whelping box. Normally the new mother will spend most of her time with the puppies. It is important to have the mother and puppies examined by your veterinarian within forty-eight hours of birth. The veterinarian will check the mother to make sure there is no infection and that she is producing sufficient milk. The puppies will also be examined to make sure that there are no birth defects such as cleft palates. Any necessary medications or injections will be administered during this visit.

  • During the first three weeks of life, puppies require little care from the owner, provided the mother is doing her job. Weaning describes the transition of the puppy's diet from its mother's milk to the solid growth diet of puppyhood. A good quality, veterinarian-recommended premium diet is essential for the proper development of your puppy. At the time of weaning, they should be fed small amounts often.