VACCINATIONS AND GENERAL HEALTH
Vaccinations are an essential part of your new puppy or kitten’s health. A series of shots are administered to provide the best possible immunity. It is important that these shots are administered no more than 2-4 weeks apart. Unvaccinated or inappropriately vaccinated animals are at a very high risk for numerous life-threatening viral and bacterial diseases.
It is extremely important that you not take your new puppy for walks, to the park, or to pet stores or even let them walk on the veterinary hospital floor until the full vaccination series is complete. Until all the vaccinations are administered, your new family member is susceptible to diseases like parvo for puppies or leukemia for kittens.
Important abnormalities to watch for are episodes of vomiting, diarrhea, lethargy, or decreased appetite. Should any of these things occur more than once in a week’s period, contact your veterinarian as soon as possible.
A high quality puppy or kitten food is recommended to insure proper development. Dry kibble is best! Often food designated for breed size is the best place to start. The amount to be fed will vary according to the brand of food and size of the dog or cat. It is best to check the feeding recommendations on the back of the bag. It is also recommended that your pet grow into a feeding schedule of twice per day (breakfast and dinner). The following brands are veterinary recommended: Royal Canin, Science Diet, Eukanuba and Iams.
All new puppies and kittens should be dewormed. There are several types of intestinal worms that can plague an animal. You may not see diarrhea or worms in the poop even if your new pet has worms. Some types of worms are transmissible to people, especially children. Deworming at least once a year is recommended.
Fleas are very common and not always easily seen. There are some outstanding topical flea medications and oral flea medications that are applied/given once a month to kill and prevent fleas. Avoid cheap over the counter products like Biospot or Hartz. They do not work well and small dogs and cats can have reactions to the pesticide used.
Heart worms live in the heart and lungs of an infected dog or cat and over time cause heart failure. We are starting to see cases of this disease in the central valley and it is now recommended that ALL DOGS be on a once a month heart worm preventative. Dogs under 7 months of age can just start the medication; older dogs need to be tested for the disease prior to using the medication.
Trifexis – a product for dogs over 8 weeks/5lbs that controls fleas, intestinal worms AND heartworm.
PUPPY SOCIALIZATION AND TRAINING
Exposing your new puppy to new people, dogs, and situations is an important part of bringing up a happy, healthy, well-behaved dog. There are several great companies that provide fun, safe, puppy socialization classes. Ask for recommendations at the front desk.
If you have specific questions about housebreaking or other problem behaviors, be sure to ask!
Microchipping is a great way to permanently identify your dog or cat. The microchip is inserted underneath the skin and is read by a scanner that shelters and vet hospitals have. For example, if your pet becomes lost and is picked up by animal control, they will scan him/her, see/receive an identification number and contact the company that keeps the registry of microchipped pet information, leading to a safe return home!