How to Trim Your Dog's Nails
It's important to keep your dog's nails trimmed and it's not as difficult as you think. Watch this video for helpful tips that make trimming your dog's nails easy. Don't forget the belly rub! As an alternative, your veterinarian or groomer can trim your dog's nails for you.
How to Clean Your Dogs Ears
If you notice that your dog has smelly ears or is shaking his head it could be a symptom of an ear infection. You can easily help keep your dogs ears clean and prevent infection with just a few basic materials and an understanding of the unique shape of a dog's ear canal.
How to Apply Ointment or Eye Drops to Your Dog's Eyes
In this video, Dr. Danner demonstrates how to give your dog eye drops or ointment, including tips to make it easier for you and your dog
New Puppy Information
New Puppy Checklist
If you’re reading this, then you probably just brought a new puppy home, or you’re planning on bringing a new puppy home soon. Either way, congratulations! There’s nothing like a cute, fuzzy new addition to the family.
While it’s important to start right in on the cuddling and training needed by a new puppy, it’s also crucial to get a head start on your puppy’s health. You want to make sure your new friend gets off on the right foot, and this means scheduling your puppy’s first veterinary visit. Depending on your new puppy’s age and expected lifestyle, there are a lot of different things you can expect from your veterinarian. Read on to learn more.
Puppy’s First Visit to the Vet
When you take your puppy to the veterinarian for the first time, your good doctor will probably want to give him or her a physical exam before anything else. This is really important – your veterinarian can find physical problems with your pooch, such as poor gait, heart murmur or skin infections, just by looking him or her over and get your puppy on a treatment plan right away.
In addition, your veterinarian will want to make sure your puppy is free of a variety of illnesses and conditions, and to do so he or she will perform a variety of tests, including:
- Fecal exam to check for intestinal parasites
- Chemistry and electrolyte tests to help evaluate internal organ status
- A complete blood count (CBC) to screen your pet for infection, inflammation, or anemia and other blood-related conditions
- Start parasite control (through the use of prescription medication) to treat intestinal parasites and prevent heartworm
- Begin protecting your puppy from flea- and tick-borne diseases
If your puppy is older than six months old during this initial visit, he or she will also need to undergo a heartworm test. Because it usually takes 6-7 months for an infected dog to test positive, heartworm wouldn’t show up in tests on puppies younger than six months of age.
Vaccinations often depend on a variety of factors, including your dog’s age and your geographic location. In general, however, all puppies and dogs should have the following vaccines:
- Distemper, Parvovirus, Coronavirus, Hepatitis, and Parainfluenza – these are often combined into a single vaccine.
- Rabies, a shot which initially requires boosters at intervals determined by state regulations
When it comes to other vaccines, it really depends on the puppy – his or her lifestyle, your lifestyle, your geographic location, and your puppy’s age all factor in to vaccination. For instance, the Bordetella (Kennel Cough) vaccine is highly recommended for all dogs; this is especially true if there’s a possibility that your puppy will be boarded at doggie daycare or have exposure to other dogs regularly. However, if your dog isn’t likely to leave home or interact with other dogs much, it might not be as important. Another recommended vaccine is that for leptospirosis, which is especially important for dogs located in areas with lots of wildlife, rodents and/or farm animals. If your puppy has access to the woods or a large amount of land to roam – hunting dogs fit into this category especially – then it might be a good idea to talk to your veterinarian about the Leptospirosis vaccine. However, even dogs that live in suburban or urban areas can get leptospirosis.
There are a number of other vaccines that could be recommended by your veterinarian. In addition, most vaccinations require boosters, from once every few weeks (for puppies) to once annually or every few years. We understand that this might seem confusing, but it’s really important! The best thing to do is talk with your veterinarian, who will set up a vaccination schedule appropriate for your dog.
Your puppy’s first veterinary visit is also a great time to discuss other topics with your veterinarian, such as the health benefits of spaying and neutering, diet, dental health, house training, socializing, regularly scheduled veterinary visits and wellness bloodwork and other ways to keep your puppy a well-behaved and well-adjusted member of your family. Remember this rule of thumb – don’t be afraid to arrive at your veterinarian’s office with a list of all the questions you might have about your new pooch! There are no dumb questions when it comes to keeping your pet healthy and happy.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian – they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
The opinions and views expressed in this post are those of the author's and do not necessarily represent the beliefs, policies or positions of PetHealthNetwork.com, IDEXX Laboratories, Inc. or its affiliates and partner companies.
Information on Intestinal Parasites in Dogs
Parasites are a common and important cause of disease in dogs. Although most people know about external parasites like fleas and ticks, many do not realize that intestinal parasites can also cause significant health problems.
What are intestinal parasites?
Intestinal parasites are parasites that live inside the host animal’s gastrointestinal tract. Examples include worms, like roundworms, whipworms, hookworms, tapeworms and protozoa, such as, giardia and coccidia.
How do dogs get intestinal parasites?
Dogs can contract intestinal parasites via different routes. Parasites are usually transmitted when an animal inadvertently ingests parasite eggs or spores in contaminated soil, water, feces or food. In the case of tapeworms, they can also be transmitted when a dog eats an infected flea. Puppies, on the other hand, usually get intestinal parasites from their mother. Transmission can occur in utero or from nursing.
Why should you care?
Intestinal parasites can cause malnutrition, weight loss, vomiting, diarrhea, and anemia. Besides making our pets sick, many of these parasites can affect people. According to kidshealth.org, “20% of dogs pass toxocara eggs in their stool.” Toxocara can cause damage to the eyes and untreated can lead to vision loss, especially in children.
What are the symptoms of intestinal parasites?
While external parasites, like fleas and ticks, are easy to spot, intestinal parasites are rarely seen because they live inside your pet’s intestinal tract and pass microscopic eggs or spores in your pet’s stool that are too small to be seen by the naked eye. Tapeworms are one exception--they shed segments that resemble sesame seeds or grains of rice and are typically seen in your pet’s stool or around their rectum. Roundworms are another exception since they may occasionally be seen in your pet’s vomit or stool. Nevertheless, intestinal parasites are difficult to spot and you should not rely on seeing them before taking your dog to the veterinarian.
Besides being hard to detect, many dogs infected with intestinal parasites are asymptomatic. Even symptomatic dogs may go undetected because their symptoms can be nonspecific. The most common signs and symptoms of intestinal parasites are:
- A distended abdomen
- Weight loss
- Occasionally coughing
Since dogs infected with intestinal parasites can exhibit no symptoms or subtle symptoms that can be easily overlooked; the best way to ensure that your dog is parasite-free is to take him to the veterinarian at least once a year for check-ups. Your veterinarian will examine your dog and perform fecal testing. A fecal examination allows your veterinarian to diagnose intestinal parasites by looking for microscopic eggs or spores in your pet’s stool.
How can you prevent intestinal parasites?
While the thought that your pet may have intestinal parasites may give you the heebie-jeebies, intestinal parasites are treatable and even easier to prevent. In fact, many people are already protecting their pets and family from intestinal parasites and don’t even know about it. Did you know that most monthly heartworm medications also contain a broad dewormer that protects your pets not only from heartworm disease but also from many intestinal parasites? If your dog is not already on monthly parasite preventatives, take him to your veterinarian to discuss how you can protect your pets and family from intestinal parasites. Also, before you bring a new pet into the household it’s important to have them checked by your veterinarian so that they do not expose your other pets or family to parasites.
Although intestinal parasites are treatable, remember that the best way to protect your pets against parasites is to keep them on parasite preventatives and have their stool checked at least once a year.
If you have any questions or concerns, you should always visit or call your veterinarian -- they are your best resource to ensure the health and well-being of your pets.
Information provided by Healthy Pet Network
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