New puppies are a fun and memorable addition to any home. Here are 7 tips for new puppy parents to make the transition of your new puppy to your home as successful as possible:
Puppy-Proof your home:
Look for items that are soft and able to be broken into pieces by chewing. These pieces can then be swallowed and block the intestine. Another big problem can be clothing: puppies love to smell, chew, and swallow clothes. Clothing is a big problem for the intestines, which aren’t the best at handling these substances. Rarely, small objects can cause choking, so make sure these are out of reach until the puppy stage is passed.
Socialize your puppy:
While it is important to make sure that your new puppy isn’t around unvaccinated dogs, socializing is also very important while they are young. So avoid puppy classes, daycare and the dog park for now, but do try to set up play dates with other, older dogs that you know are fully vaccinated and healthy.
Puppy vaccines should start between 6-8 weeks, and then booster vaccines should be given at 10-12 weeks and again at 14-16 weeks. Just like other animals, puppies get antibodies that protect them against many diseases through their mother’s milk. These antibodies start to drop off by 6 weeks of age, and so this is why we start vaccinating them right around this time. Before 6 weeks, the mother’s antibodies in the milk cancel out the vaccine, but if we wait too long (ie. passed 8 weeks), there are no more antibodies left in the puppy’s body, and they are at high risk for parvovirus and distemper – both quite common in Manitoba, and Winnipeg specifically.
Puppy Vaccination Schedule
- DA2PPV: Puppies should receive 3 doses of the DA2PPV (Distemper, Adenovirus-2, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus) vaccine. This is usually administered at 6-8, 10-12 and 14-16 weeks old. Variations of this schedule are common, so we will adapt it to your puppy and their previous vaccination history. The overall goal is to have 3 sets of vaccines for DA2PPV and each should be given 3-4 weeks apart.
- Rabies: This is a really important one in Manitoba, and it is given on the third puppy vaccine, at 14-16 weeks of age.
- Bordetella (kennel cough) vaccination: Is recommended for puppies that will be going to puppy classes, doggy daycare, the dog park, go to dog groomers, or who live in pet-friendly apartment buildings. Do you live in a condo, or know a dog parent that does? Read about this surprising trend we found with kennel cough and condo living.
- Heartworm disease: Heartworm disease is easy to prevent, which is fortunate because it can be nasty. A heartworm preventative such as Heartgard or Nexgard Spectra should be given once a month every summer from June 1 through to and including November 1.
- Lyme Disease: This is another bad disease that is common in Manitoba, and is transmitted by ticks. We have good options for tick prevention in dogs that we are happy to discuss. This is important if your puppy will be going camping, hiking or even to parks in the city. Nexgard and Nexgard Spectra are the product that we use the most. We’ll also talk about what activities you have planned for the summer months, and if you should consider vaccination against Lyme disease for those puppies that are at higher risk. Tick preventives should be given from March 1st-Nov. 1st. Remember, ticks don’t hibernate, they just stop moving once it is about zero C, and pick up right where they left off as soon as it warms to this temperature. So around houses and decks, they will be out well before the snow has melted in the spring.
Spay or Neuter Your Puppy:
Your puppy can be neutered (male) or spayed (female) when they are 6 months old.
For the first 12 months, your puppy should be on a good quality puppy food. Once they are 1 year of age, they can be transitioned to an adult dog food. There are many good options available. Our favourite is Hill’s TD food because it does an excellent job keeping their teeth clean and healthy, and dental health is so important for making sure our pets live their longest healthiest life possible. RELATED: 6 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN BUYING PET FOOD
Get Pet Insurance Early:
Insurance companies often don’t insure pre-existing conditions, so if you are thinking that pet insurance might be right for you, now is the time to look into it while your puppy is young and healthy. While we don’t always want to look at our pets from strictly a financial perspective, we find that our customers appreciate the fact that the financial cost for surgery, or other treatments, doesn’t play into their decision of what is best for their pet. We have lots of resources to help you find the right company and plan for you.