Basic care - Puppy adoption
Congratulations for your new puppy. The arrival of this little "ball of fur" comes with many responsibilities that you'll need to take care of all of its life, and especially during its first year. Below is information that could be very useful. During your visit, the veterinarian will be happy to answer all your questions.
During your first visit, the veterinarian will determine with you the diseases to which your animal could be exposed and the appropriate vaccination schedule. Though the schedule can vary, it is important that puppies receive the basic vaccines that give protection against infectious diseases such as distemper, coronavirus, parvovirus and rabies. Vaccination can begin as early as the age of 6 weeks, with a booster shot every 3 or 4 weeks until the animal reaches the age of 12 to 16 weeks. Then, an annual exam is recommended and at that time, the veterinarian will discuss with you the vaccines your pet should receive during the year. Don't forget to tell the veterinarian if your animal is going to be using boarding or grooming services or if it is going to go to obedience school. The vaccine against kennel cough (bordetella) will then be necessary.
At your first visit, a stool analysis (coprology) is recommended to identify the different intestinal parasites that your kitten has. This allows us to prescribe the appropriate treatment. Since your pet can be contaminated when it goes hunting outside, a yearly analysis is ideal.
Sterilization (castration for males and ovariohysterectomy for females) will be done when your pet is around the age of 6 months. To reduce the risk of complications, it is preferable that your kitten not be in heat at the time of surgery. If your veterinarian recommends an umbilical hernia correction or the extraction of baby teeth, this can be done at the same time as sterilization. We recommend preoperative blood tests to make sure that your animal can safely undergo anesthesia and to help in the selection of the appropriate anesthetic agent; this reduces anesthetic risks. All animals that have had elective (routine) surgery receive post-operative analgesics, so they will be more comfortable when they wake up and go home. Antibiotics can also be prescribed to reduce the risk of infections.
Up to 6 to 12 months of age, a puppy should be fed (depending on its weight and race) with food that will foster good growth. When you change to adult dog food, make sure the transition is gradual. An abrupt diet change could cause diarrhea and/or vomiting. It is recommended that puppies be fed 2 to 3 times a day; leave the dog's bowl out for 15 to 20 minutes. After that, remove the bowl even if there is some food left. To housebreak your dog more easily, don't leave food around. If you know when your dog eats, you will have better control over the timing of its nature's needs (urine and stools). If you have many dogs, make sure each one eats its portion; ideally, each dog should have its own bowl. As they get older, dogs are subject to obesity problems; to help avoid these problems, don't let them self-feed.
In Québec, dogs should be protected from June to November. If you travel abroad with your dog, plan for a longer protection according to the length of your stay. There are many products available and they come in different forms: topical, injectable or in tablets; talk to your veterinarian about this. Some products even have a combined action preventing fleas, worms, mites, ticks, etc. A detection test (blood test) must be done before prescribing the medication. This detection test is not necessary for puppies born after the month of August of the current year; these dogs have probably never come into contact with mosquitoes, which are the vector of transmission.
Do you know that there is a simple test that you can do at home to make sure that your cat is not infested with fleas? Ask a technician for a demonstration. Many products are available for control and/or treatment. Each product works in a different way; let us help you choose the right product for your needs. IMPORTANT: NEVER USE DOG FLEA PRODUCTS (containing permethrines) ON CATS, BECAUSE THEY ARE VERY TOXIC!!
Some kittens have ear mites; these are parasites that are easy to see with a microscope. The veterinarian may judge it necessary to do an ear smear in order to identify them. Do you want to see these mites? Ask a technician to show them to you under a microscope. As with dogs, cats can have otitis; but with regular ear cleaning, you will be able to avoid this problem. Use an appropriate product and the proper technique; the veterinarian or the technician will show you how to do this.
The golden rule: Don't cut too short and clip more often. Stroke the legs of your puppy often so that it gets used to being handled; this way, it will be less nervous when its nails are clipped. Clip your pet's nails when it is calm.
As with people, dog teeth should be brushed often. Of course, a specially formulated toothpaste for dogs is used; this toothpaste does not contain fluoride. In addition, some food companies offer kibbles especially made to reduce plaque and tartar build-up because of their abrasive action during mastication; please note that they do not replace brushing. Our nutrition specialists at the « Animania » boutique will be happy to give you advice.
Get the right information before giving medication from your pharmacy to your pet; human medications are often toxic to cats. Call your veterinarian before playing doctor! You risk worsening your animal's condition.