You need to know enough about puppy health to ensure a good life for your puppy, but not so much that you get anxious about it. Let’s face it, most dogs are very robust, and given a good early start from a healthy dam are unlikely to run into any trouble.
This is another reason for going to a reputable breeder for your pup. A good breeder will not hand over a puppy too young (six to eight weeks is the norm) and will also give you a diet sheet and a schedule for worming.
It’s important to stick to the diet sheet rigidly, at least until the puppy has settled in, to avoid digestive mayhem. If you don’t like the feeding regime your puppy is on then there’s plenty of time to introduce a gradual change to what you prefer. Take a look at our Dog Feeding section to get some ideas on this aspect of puppy health.
Puppy Health – a Good Start for Your Dog
However well-bred, your puppy has arrived in this world with a load of worms on board, and the first six months is a battleground for ownership of his insides. Will the pup or the worms win? Your good breeder will have started him on the worming program – which you will need to continue for optimum puppy health – fortnightly to begin with, then monthly, until your puppy has matured to a stage when you need only treat him twice a year.
If you have small children it’s particularly important to keep your puppy’s doing right and to clear away his waste hygienically. The dog roundworm is a nuisance in the dog and can kill small puppies. But when they get into a human host the worms run amok and can cause blindness.
The solution is simple, thankfully, and here are two products which will do a great job of protecting your puppy and your family from this gruesome parasite. Heartgard, Sentinel – the choice is yours. The dosing guidelines will be on the product but always check with your vet if in any doubt about this aspect of puppy health. Overdosing is as inadvisable as underdosing.
Of course, you can get a rescue dog that has had no care whatsoever, whose belly is distended through wrong or insufficient feeding and worms, whose hair is stary and scraggy as a result … and still end up with a fine healthy dog!
Some people rate crossbreds as the most robust of animals. It’s certainly so that while breeders double up on the good points of a breed by tight breeding, they are also doubling up on the bad ones. The fresh blood from an outcross can strengthen the pups and result in good health.
Take a look at my story about Poppy for a perfect example of crossbred vigor ensuring good puppy health.
In some parts of the world ticks and lice is a menace – even in local areas of otherwise tick-free countries. Taking the advice of your local vet is the best course of action.
As with all babies, if your puppy has a full stomach, a warm bed, and plenty of love and attention, he’ll thrive.
To vaccinate or not to vaccinate?
That is the question! There are vociferous supporters on both sides of this debate, and the pro-vaccination camp have huge funding from the vaccine companies to make their case. Your vet will be advising you to vaccinate your new pup. This is a decision for you to make, but make sure you are well-informed before making it. It’s a serious puppy health issue.
Your breeder won’t have started your puppy on a vaccination program. This is not because she’s mean! It’s because the maternal antibodies will protect your puppy’s health until he’s at least 6 weeks old. Any vaccine given before then will be killed off by the existing antibodies doing their job, leaving your puppy quite unprotected when they wear off.
If you decide to vaccinate, keep the vaccination program advised by your vet. This will vary from country to country, but often entails keeping your dog isolated from other dogs until anything up to 17 weeks of age.
This will mean you have lost a large part of the most important developmental and socialization period of your puppy’s life. You could end up with a social cripple – fearful, snappy, spooky, unreliable with other dogs – not much fun, in fact … for you or the poor dog.
You will need to weigh this aspect of puppy health carefully against the standard advice on vaccination. Would you rather have a physically healthy dog (though there are those who claim that the vaccines can do great damage) which needs years of therapy from the dog-shrink, or take the very small risk to puppy health involved with socializing him with a select group of other pups and dogs?
If you are fortunate enough to live where there are puppy classes, you have an ideal opportunity to socialize your puppy with the pups of other careful owners. I refer you to the excellent book on puppy health and puppy care generally, The Perfect Puppy which covers socialization in great detail. It’s a very important area of puppy health. If you’re new to dog-owning, or just want to do the best for your puppy, you should arm yourself with a copy of this book.
So how can I protect my puppy?
Yes, you’re right to be concerned about protecting your puppy from the threat of killer diseases.
An alternative to the usual vaccination is homeopathy. Here you give your puppy nosodes (usually a few drops or a little tablet) regularly for a few months. There are no known side-effects, and of course, no trauma associated with men in white coats and needles.
It’s also a much cheaper option, but of course, you won’t be basing your decision on puppy health on financial grounds!
As with us, diet has a tremendous effect on the good functioning of the immune system. Check out Dog Feeding and consider giving your pup a natural immune-booster for optimum Puppy Health. All youngsters in my household get a daily helping of Aloe Vera Gel, which helps their digestive system as well as boosting the immune system – even giving them a lovely shine on their coat! You can learn more about the best available Aloe Vera here. And, what’s more, you can find out how to get it at the best price on the net!
Now you can go to our Homepage to find out what else you will need for your new pup – even help in deciding on a name for him! – in https://thedogpedia.com/
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