How will proper puppy care impact the life of my dog?

Proper puppy care will allow us to give them the care that they need so they live a long, happy, healthy life.

Dr. Lisa Mendise
Care First Animal Hospital

Why is it important to start good puppy care on day one?

It's important to start good puppy care on day one because that allows us to provide the care that your puppy needs so that we are nice and healthy and allows us to make sure that our puppy is well-socialized, happy, and engaged with the family.

How soon should I bring my puppy to their first exam?

Ideally, we want to see a puppy as soon as possible. Usually, if we get a puppy from a breeder or a rescue group, they are going to want the puppy to be evaluated to make sure that they're nice and healthy. The other thing that does is it allows us to evaluate the puppy and then answer any questions that you may have regarding crate training, potty training, and training in general.

What are some of the most common health concerns that happen with puppies?

Common things that we see in puppies can be intestinal parasites, and they can cause some GI upset. We can also see GI upset from introducing new treats and new foods quickly, as well as taking puppies. We want to socialize them, but sometimes that socialization can cause some stress and anxiety, so we can see some GI upset from that, as well. We can also see skin infections and ear infections, and then some upper respiratory symptoms, like coughing and sneezing, nasal discharge, because we're socializing these guys, and they're around a lot of other puppies. So, we can sometimes see little colds. Anything like that, we would want to see your puppy in for an exam.

What are some of the most common signs and symptoms of your puppy being sick?

Some of the most common things that we can see is vomiting and diarrhea. We can see coughing, sneezing, nasal discharge, and then any change with our appetite. So, if we are not eating as much if we're more lethargic or tired. The other thing that we can see is a change with our urine output, so any inappropriate urination or more frequent urination when our puppies aren't even potty trained.

What are some of the signs of a healthy, thriving puppy?

This is Beamer down here, and a couple of things that we can see with a nice, healthy puppy is we want to have periods where they're really active and engaged, high energy, and then those are usually followed by periods of napping, as you can see, like Beamer down here. And we also, because these guys are growing so quickly, we want them to be very food motivated. So, a nice, healthy puppy should be interested in a meal, should be interested in treats when they're offered. But usually, you want to see this combination of high energy followed by a rest.

When should I start training my puppy?

Training should begin as soon as we get a puppy. When we get puppies, that first couple of months is the ideal socialization period, so we want to start training so that they learn to be obedient. Training classes are a great thing to do as soon as we get a puppy because that's both socialization with other people and other dogs, as well as it teaches them things like sit, stay, and then some basic obedience.

What will my vet be looking at when they first examine my puppy?

When you first come in for an examination, we're going to do a nose-to-toes exam. So, we're going to take a good look at the mouth to make sure that the bite looks good and there are no congenital issues like a cleft palate. We're also going to look at eyes and ears. We're going to listen to the heart and lungs and make sure that we don't hear any abnormalities with the heart that could be congenital. We'll take a really good feel of the belly, and then a lot of times, we'll do a range of motion on the hips and knees to check and make sure there are no congenital issues there, like hip dysplasia or medial oxidating patellas, which is where the kneecaps jump in and out. The other thing we'll take a good look at is the skin, and then on that physical, we will get a weight as well as all of our vitals. So, that way when you come in once a month for those puppy visits, we're making sure that they're growing appropriately and all of our vitals are nice and stable. One thing that I usually recommend when you come in for our first physical exam is something that I call kind of puppy massage, where when the puppy's kind of tired, like Beamer here, you can play with the paws, stick your fingers in the ears, kind of open the mouth and kind of touch your puppy all over so they get used to their paws being touched for nail trims, ears being touched for ear cleanings, and that will set you guys up for better success with all of your puppy care.

If you have any other questions, please give us a call. You can also email any of our locations and we will get back to you as soon as we are able. Don't forget to follow us on social media: Facebook and Instagram

Verified and Authorized By Dr. Lisa Mendise