Before you bring your new puppy home
Puppies are like babies. They need lots of love, attention, and care. They'll want to explore every part of your house and put everything into their mouths. For your puppy's safety, and your peace of mind, you will need to "puppy-proof" your house. For more information, visit our page: The ABCs of Raising a Puppy
Look at your house from your puppy's point of view. Get down on the floor and make sure there aren't any coins, electrical cords, paperclips, rubber bands, loose nails, plastic bags or other objects that your puppy will want to chew on or put in its mouth and swallow.
Move all household cleaners, laundry detergents, mothballs, antifreeze, insect poisons, rat poisons, etc. out of your puppy's reach. Some of these items taste good to your puppy and can be deadly. (Dogs and cats love the taste of antifreeze.) Call your local Poison Control Center or you can click on the ASPCA's Poison Control Website for more information on this topic: National Animal Poison Control Center-ASPCA
Check your plants. Many plants in and around your house can make your puppy sick and can even be fatal.
- You must always reinforce that you are the boss. Your puppy will constantly test you to see what he can get away with.
- Teach your dog the "sit," "come," "stay," "down," and "leave it" commands. Consult a trainer.
- Do not reward barking or whining with attention!
- Puppies love to chew things. Teach your puppy that his toys are for chewing. If he chews on anything else, say "no" in a firm voice. Give him a chew toy, and praise him as he starts chewing it so he will learn the correct behavior.
- Confine your dog to a chew-proof area when you can't supervise her. A dog crate is the safest place for your dog when you can't be present to supervise.
- Spray the furniture and cabinets with Bitter Apple Spray to minimize chewing.
- Make sure that electrical cords are unplugged or inaccessible.
- Spend time with your dog. Give him plenty of exercise, especially before leaving him alone.
- Schedule veterinarian appointments every two to three weeks for checkups until its sixteenth week.
- Begin puppy vaccinations for distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus typically around six to eight weeks. These vaccinations are repeated every two to three weeks until he/she is 16 weeks old.
- Monitor your puppy's diet. You need to be consistent with what you feed your puppy, monitoring how much he/she eats and weighs.
- From six to eight weeks old, your puppy should be fed three times a day, and when he/she reaches eight weeks, feed him/her twice a day. Feeding guidelines should be listed on your pet food package.
- NewPet.com—lots of helpful resources for new or soon-to-be dog owners.
- Puppy Finder—designed to help potential puppy owners finding the best-suited breed of dog for them.
- ASPCA—National Animal Poison Control Center
The ABCs of a Healthy Puppy
- Always have fresh drinking water available for your puppy.
- Be the boss and set the rules for your puppy.
- Chocolate is toxic to dogs. Don't even give them a taste.
- Don't leave puppies unsupervised. They chew and will swallow everything.
- Exercise your puppy every day. Exercise is good for your puppy's health, it helps them release extra energy, helps minimize undesirable behavior, and helps make them more focused for training.
- Feed your puppy a nutritious, well-balanced, quality puppy food.
- Give your puppy praise when he/she does something right. This reinforces the correct behavior.
- Household cleaners are poisonous to puppies. Place cleaners out of the reach of your dog.
- Invest in a training class for your puppy. All of the time you put into your dog will be rewarded.
- Jumping up to greet you is a common puppy behavior. Train your puppy not to jump. Firmly say no and tell it to sit, then greet it. You may think jumping is cute when he's 10 pounds, but when he's 100 pounds, he's going to knock you over. Besides, jumping without a command is never cute.
- Keep your puppy away from electrical cords, wires, household cleaners, coins, and other objects he might like to chew on and swallow. Keep him on a leash so he doesn't run into traffic and get hit by a car.
- Love your dog, give it a lot of attention, take it to the vet for regular check-ups, feed it a healthy diet, train it, and play with it.
- Make sure you get a dog license for your puppy and have an ID tag on its collar. An identification microchip such as "Home Again" can be easily inserted at your veterinarian's office.
- Nylabones, Kong toys, or sterilized bones are good chew toys for your puppy.
- Opportunities to meet other pets will help socialize your puppy. Please wait until after his distemper/parvo vaccine series is completed before having him around other dogs.
- Puppies learn what behavior is acceptable by the way that you react to their behavior. If you praise a dog and pet it when it does something right, it will want to repeat that behavior so it receives the positive attention.
- Quiet dogs are trained to be quiet. Puppies learn what behavior is acceptable by the way that you react to their behavior. If you run to your puppy every time it barks or whines, it will bark and whine every time it wants your attention...and it won't stop until you give it your attention. If you ignore your dog when it is barking and whining, it will eventually stop. Just make sure he's not barking because he has to go to the bathroom. If you walk your dog regularly, this should not be a problem.
- Read books and websites about proper puppy care.
- Spay or neuter your dog when it's the appropriate age. Thousands of dogs are put to sleep each year because they don't have homes. Dogs that are not spayed or neutered can demonstrate unwanted behaviors and are more prone to certain medical problems.
- Toys that contain small, hard parts, such as squeakers, are dangerous if swallowed. Supervise your dog when they are playing with these types of toys.
- Use every opportunity to train your dog.
- Vaccinate your puppy and schedule check-ups every 2-3 weeks until he/she is 16 weeks old.
- Whining and barking should not be rewarded with attention. If your puppy barks or whines when you put it in the training crate, ignore him/her—if you are sure it doesn't need to go to the bathroom. Otherwise, your puppy will learn that if it barks or whines you will let it out. If you walk your dog regularly, this should not be a problem.
- Xpect the best care from Rocky Gorge Animal Hospital and Resort!
- You are the most important person to your puppy. You are the key to his/her happiness. Your puppy will behave only as well as you train it. All of the time you put into your dog will be rewarded.
- Z-best, most caring doctors around!
Here at Rocky Gorge Animal Hospital, we believe that an ounce of prevention is truly worth a pound of cure. This is especially important due to the fact that cats, dogs, and pocket pets age much faster than humans. We strive to examine all of our patients at least once a year. Please bring in your pet for a routine wellness exam, any needed vaccines, any required lab work, and preventative care for unwanted parasites. Together, we can ensure continuing quality of health and extend the life of your beloved companion.
Puppies and kittens should be examined by a veterinarian at a young age and often begin receiving their vaccinations when they are six to eight weeks old. Rocky Gorge Animal Hospital offers new puppy and kitten exams, which include advice about nutrition and training for your new pets and recommendations on vaccinations, de-worming, and parasite control.
Vaccines create antibodies, which protect your pet from disease. Up-to-date vaccinations play a large part in keeping your pet healthy and free from disease. However, not every pet requires the same series or frequency of vaccines. Current research in veterinary medicine has linked possible over-vaccination in senior and geriatric pets with certain immune-related conditions. Our veterinarians tailor a vaccine protocol that is specific to your pet based on his or her lifestyle and immune status. Blood samples may be taken and laboratory titers run to verify or measure a pet's immune status to specific contagious diseases.
Since vaccine schedules are subject to change based on the most current information available, we recommend that you call our hospital for information about our vaccine protocols. Maryland state law requires rabies vaccinations for both cats and dogs.
If you think your pet needs vaccinations, please call Rocky Gorge Animal Hospital to schedule an appointment for a physical examination and vaccinations. Vaccination schedules are determined by your veterinarian and are based on state law, physical examination findings, as well as the age and health of your pet.
Rabies is a viral disease that affects all warm-blooded animals, including humans. The virus is transmitted through saliva when an affected animal bites a susceptible victim. On rare occasions, the rabies virus can enter the body through deep scratch wounds (or any break in the skin or mucous membranes) or by inhalation. Inhalation of the virus is an unusual method of transmission; however, it can occur in caves that are heavily populated by rabid bats.
A rabid animal bites its victim and injects saliva containing the rabies virus. In the newly infected animal, the virus begins to multiply. Virus multiplication occurs in the area surrounding the bite wound. After a period of time, virus particles enter large nerves and travel toward the spinal cord and brain. Once inside the brain, the rabies virus multiplies a second time. As multiplication occurs, viruses pass to the salivary glands. This is particularly important and accounts for the danger associated with saliva.
Early symptoms include personality changes. Friendly animals become shy, and reserved animals often become aggressive.
Two forms of rabies are recognized: the "furious" or "mad" type and the "paralytic" or "dumb" form.
The most common form of rabies is the furious type. Animals hallucinate and snap at imaginary objects. A rabid animal is extremely aggressive and may attack or bite other animals as well as his (or her) owner. Other signs include excitation, irritability, photophobia (extreme sensitivity to light), and seizures.
In the United States, wild animals are the reservoir for the rabies virus. Raccoons, foxes, skunks, and bats are commonly infected. Raccoons and skunks are particularly a problem due to their presence in urban and suburban areas. Pets become infected when they come into contact with these animals (and are bitten).
Vaccinating pets protects them from rabies!
Vaccinations begin at three to four months of age and should be continued throughout the animal's life.
State law often mandates rabies vaccinations.
If you would like additional information concerning rabies, contact Rocky Gorge Animal Hospital or your local public health official.