So, you’ve added a new furry member to your family—congratulations! That’s something to celebrate. But bringing home a new puppy is also a big responsibility. Dogs need medical care and attention just like humans do, and even the most well-cared-for puppies are at risk of common health problems.
There are several illnesses that dogs are susceptible to within their first year of life, including parvovirus, kennel cough, and leptospirosis. These diagnoses sound scary but they are preventable. Here’s a rundown of what to do and what not to do to keep your new puppy safe, healthy, and happy.
Making sure your dog stays up to date with its vaccines is one of the best ways to protect them against common illnesses like Kennel Cough. It’s critical that your puppy gets every shot, including all of the boosters, in order to receive full immunity against canine illnesses.
As a bonus, getting your puppy all of its shots doesn’t just protect your pet—it protects other animals and humans, too! You’ll be able to have playdates with peace of mind knowing that everyone involved is protected from harm.
We know you want to socialize your pup and show that cutie off to everyone you know. Your dog is at its smallest and cuddliest at this stage, after all. But they’re also the most vulnerable. So until your puppy is fully vaccinated and their immune system is properly developed, it’s best to keep them away from other animals. This means avoiding dog parks and other heavily-trafficked areas until they’ve had all of their vaccines.
Another way to avoid major health scares is to be aware of basic dog safety tips. Puppies are curious by nature, so don’t be surprised when your new friend starts snooping around in places they shouldn’t be! Store toxic chemicals in a safe place that your dog can’t access. Know which foods are safe for dogs and which to avoid. And be sure to secure all doors, windows, and fences to prevent them from escaping.
A good rule of thumb for how long your puppy can be left alone is one hour per one month of age. For example, a three-month-old puppy shouldn’t be left alone for longer than three hours at a time. Leaving them longer than that can be harmful emotionally and physically.
Dogs are social creatures and too much solo time can lead to separation anxiety or depression (yes, dogs can become clinically depressed). In addition to being detrimental to their mental health, leaving your puppy alone can be harmful in a physical sense, too. This is because dogs need lots of exercise, especially when they’re young. Frequent exercise makes for a healthy puppy.
Parasites are one of the most common yet most dangerous threats to your puppy. All dogs are at risk, even if they live indoors. Luckily, keeping fleas and ticks at bay is easy! Start your puppy on preventative parasite medicine as early as possible to avoid a flea infestation. Being proactive about parasite prevention helps you avoid major health complications later on in life.
It can be tempting to avoid the vet’s office when there seems to be nothing wrong with your puppy. But this is a common pitfall many pet owners catch themselves in—not reaching out to the vet until something is wrong. Regular vet checkups, even when your pet is perfectly healthy, are crucial to avoiding major health issues. Veterinarians are trained to catch potential health issues before they start, which can help your puppy avoid any serious health scares.
It’s hard to be on the lookout for health scares when you don’t know what the symptoms are. As a pet owner, it’s important to learn about common illnesses in puppies and how to catch them. By being attentive and aware of these symptoms, you can spot these health problems and treat them before things get worse.
Dogs can be very food motivated, and many puppies don’t have the self-control needed to pace themselves at dinner time. To keep them from eating too much, follow your vet’s guidance on how much to feed your puppy. Overfeeding your dog can put them at increased risk of obesity, heart disease, osteoarthritis, and more.
A freshly bathed puppy isn’t just cute—it’s also a sign of good health! Regular grooming is another way to keep your puppy safe. Keeping their nails trimmed prevents splitting and infection. And for long-haired dogs, frequent brushing keeps their fur from getting matted. Routine grooming lets you keep an eye out for changes in skin, teeth, and nails that could be indicative of health issues.
Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting time, but it can also be scary! As a caring pet owner, it’s natural to worry about everything that can go wrong. But by keeping these do’s and don’t in mind, you can eliminate some of that worry and avoid any major health scares.