Bringing home a puppy can be intimidating for pet parents because of the care, attention and responsibility required. The way you treat your dog as a puppy will affect its behavior as an adult, therefore, proper care and training should begin the minute its paw steps through the front door.
“Plan ahead before getting a pet because there are immediate health and behavioral concerns that need to be considered in advance,” says Dr. Jeff Werber, veterinarian and Emmy-award-winning pet health reporter. “Puppies can be very vulnerable so it’s important they’re properly trained and protected from parasites and the potentially dangerous diseases they can transmit, especially if you plan on taking your dog hiking or hunting.”
As you strive to raise a happy, healthy companion for life, here are some tips to ensure your puppy’s health, safety and well-being.
Learning about pet care and making sure your pet is healthy should be your number one priority after bringing your new puppy home. Research the veterinarians in your area to find one that best suits your needs, and immediately schedule an appointment, as its key to your dog’s long life and contentment.
A typical first visit consists of a thorough physical exam to asses your puppy’s general health including, listening to its chest, gently feeling the abdomen, looking in the mouth and eyes, taking its temperature, checking the ears for mites and combing the fur for evidence of fleas or ticks. After completing the physical exam, the veterinarian can indicate any problems (i.e., parasites, lumps, growths or abscesses) and administer the appropriate treatments. In fact, some prescriptions can be used on puppies as young as seven-weeks-old.
To make sure you are prepared and maximize your visit, consider asking:
What type of diet should my puppy follow?
After the vaccines, how long should I wait before interacting with other pets?
When should I spay or neuter my pet?
What do I need to do to train my new dog?
How do I protect my pet from contracting parasites and getting heartworm?
Because most bugs are found in prime hunting locations — the woods, tall grass, weeds, and brushy areas — protection from harmful parasites such as fleas, ticks and mosquitoes is a major part of maintaining a dog’s health. Pet owners should protect their furry friends year-round with a monthly parasite preventative such as K9 Advantix® for dogs, which offers triple protection from fleas, ticks and mosquitoes.
In fact, experts have predicted an especially bad year for ticks, and an increased risk for Lyme disease, a tick-borne illness. According to the American Lyme Disease Foundation’s best estimates, Lyme disease can occur at rates in dogs that are 50 to 100 times the rate of humans. Other common disease threats for dogs include Rocky Mountain spotted fever, heartworm, and flea allergy dermatitis, among others.
Training: A Field of Opportunity
Preparing a dog for hunting should begin right away with basic obedience training and encouraging the puppy to enjoy time spent in the field with you. The more hours you devote to your puppy, the quicker the training process – after all, a properly trained dog makes for a life-long hunting companion.
Most behaviors can be instilled with “positive reinforcement” (treats and praise), and once your dog learns cooperative behavior (i.e., coming when called), learning others becomes easier.
Here are additional tips to keep in mind when training your puppy in the home.
To train your pet to respect territorial boundaries and avoid gaining free reign of the house, confine it to a specific area, complete with food and water bowls, a crate, bed and toys.
Dog crates serve many purposes when training a puppy and by giving your dog a place of its own, you can minimize damage in your home as well as keep your puppy safe and secure.
Feed your dog at the same time everyday to encourage self control and a regular schedule.
To avoid accidents and to help Spot learn where it’s acceptable to go to the bathroom, go to a “toilet area” outside every hour or less.
For more information about pet health, including parasite prevention, and to find out how to get a FREE TUBE of K9 Advantix®, visit www.petparents.com.