Puppy Care

What Can I Expect For Veterinary Care For My puppy?

Brix at 8 weeks old
Wellness Visits: Since puppies  are rapidly and changing they will have an exam with the doctor every 3-4 weeks until they are 14-16 weeks of age. During these visits they may receive age and lifestyle appropriate vaccines, dewormers and testing.

When puppies are born, their immune systems are not yet mature and therefore are very susceptible to infection. When our young pets first nurse from their mothers, they receive all the antibodies that the mother has to offer providing them with immunity until their own system can take over. Birthing order, how well they nursed and other factors influence how long the maternal antibodies will provide protection. This period of time is very individual from pet to pet. By 16 to 20 weeks of age, maternal antibodies are gone and the pet will be able continue on its own immune system. Any vaccines given while maternal immunity is present will be inactivated. We will vaccinate your puppy with a series of vaccines ending at a time when we know their own immune system should be able to respond. Waiting until your pet is old enough to definitely respond, as we do with the rabies vaccination, could leave a large window of vulnerability if the maternal antibody wanes early.

Parasite / Fecal exam: A fecal sample will be done to determine if your puppy has any intestinal parasites.

Microchipping: Microchipping serves as a permanent form of identification. Our microchips are read universally. If your pet is lost and turned in to a shelter or veterinary hospital, they will be scanned with a chip reader which picks up the id number that corresponds to your name and phone number. We commonly microchip your pet while they are under anesthesia for their spay or neuter, although it can be done at any time.

Vaccinations: Vaccinating puppies is one of the crucial steps in assuring your puppy will have a healthy and happy puppyhood. The who, what, why, when, where and how of vaccinations are complicated, and may vary from puppy to puppy.  To better understand vaccines, it is important to understand how your puppy is protected from disease the first few weeks of its life.

A newborn puppy is not naturally immune to diseases although it does have some antibody protection which is derived from its mother's blood and early milk (colostrum). These are called maternal antibodies. High levels of maternal antibodies present in the puppies' blood stream will block the effectiveness of a vaccine. When the maternal antibodies drop to a low enough level in the puppy, immunization by a commercial vaccine will work. It is commonly felt that these antibodies fall off between 8-12 weeks of age. Since it is not determined when each individual puppy looses their maternal antibodies, we protect them by giving a series of vaccines with the last vaccine given between 14-16 weeks when the maternal antibodies have dropped off.

Neutering/ Spaying: We recommend surgery at 5-6 months of age.
  • Females: A “spay” is an ovariohysterectomy (removing both the ovaries and the uterus). At 5-6 months of age, your puppy will not have gone into heat yet and all medical evidence suggests that spaying a dog before her first heat dramatically reduces the risk of breast cancer later in life. Other medical benefits of spaying your dog include preventing pyometra (a potentially life threatening infection of the uterus) and uterine and ovarian cancer. 
  • Males have an orchiectomy in which both testicles are removed through the same incision. Health benefits of having your puppy neutered include a significantly reduced chance of prostate infections and cancer. The risk of testicular cancer is eliminated. 
Heartworm and Flea and Tick Preventative: Monthly heartworm and flea and tick prevention will be dispensed based on your puppy's weight and should be taken monthly.

Keep those teeth clean: Puppies should have their teeth brushed every 24 hours. Getting your puppy used to having their teeth brushed at a young age will make it easier when they get older. Start with introducing your pet to the toothpaste by letting them lick it off your finger. Slowly work your way up to rubbing your finger along the gum line/ teeth with paste on your finger and eventually to brushing their teeth with a pet toothbrush. Take it slow, use lots of praise, affection and rewards.

Feeding Guidelines:
  • So many foods...how do I choose? When it comes to feeding your puppy, the most important factor is choosing a high quality diet. We have many years experience with the diets available in Gustopher’s Pet Boutique (off of reception) and feel confident in recommending them to your puppy. 
  • How often? < 5 lbs: 3 meals per day
                               > 5 lbs: 2 meals per day
  • How much food? Following the recommendations on the side of the bag is a good guide to start with. When training puppies to eat you can put down the bowl and pick up whatever is not eaten in 15 - 20 minutes. 
  • When do I change to adult food? Typically you will transition your pet to adult food between 9-12 months of age.
176 River Road Andover, MA 01810

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