Congrats on your new puppy! Here are some guidelines for the next few months for recommended veterinary care for your puppy.
1) Vaccines: The DHPP (distemper, hepatitis,parvovirus, parainfluenza) vaccine should be started at 6-8 weeks of age, and given every 3 weeks until the puppy is at least 16 weeks of age. The Rabies vaccine is administered at 15-16 weeks of age.
If your puppy will be outside (camping, hiking, live on acreage, etc) there is a chance of exposure to Leptospirosis and Lyme Disease. These vaccines may be started at 20 weeks of age and will need to be boostered once, 3-4 weeks apart. In addition, if your puppy will be boarding, going to dog parks or have large exposure to other dogs, we recommend a Bordetella (“kennel cough”) vaccine and Influenza (flu) vaccine to aid in preventing upper respiratory diseases. This vaccine may be given at 12 or 16 week puppy visit and the Flu vaccine will need to be boostered once, in 3-4 weeks.
Here are Pittsboro Animal Hospital we offer a Vaccine Program to help with the cost of essential vaccines for your pet for life. For more information regarding this program please click HERE or visit our “Special Programs” page on our website.
2) Diet: It is important that your puppy be fed a diet specific for puppies. We recommend puppies be fed at least twice a day until they reach 12 months age. Small breed puppies or puppies less than 4 months of age should be fed 3 times daily. Puppies should generally be fed in meals so later it is easier to control their portions. Very small puppies may need food available at all times (toy breeds). We also recommend puppies are introduced to slow feeders and to food toys such as Kongs. They can be fed all of their food through the slow feeders or even use their normal ration of food as training treats. Using slow feeder/ food toys helps keeps puppies occupied which can prevent chewing. It will also slow down how fast they eat and teach them to chew on the proper things.
3) Heartworm, Flea & Tick Prevention: Please start monthly heartworm prevention and flea/tick prevention. These should be given every 30 days year round for the entire life of your pet. As your puppy grows we may adjust what type of prevention we are using.
4) Spay/neuter: We recommend spaying and neutering at 4-6 months of age. There may be different recommendations for large or giant breed dogs – please discuss this with us. At the time of spay/neuter, we also recommend placing a microchip (if not already performed).
5) Puppy classes: It is important to socialize your puppy well at a young age – they need to be exposed to different types of people, dogs, cats, children, bicycles, wheelchairs, etc. Please start taking your puppy to new places where there are not other dogs that you are unfamiliar with (avoid possible unvaccinated dogs – dog parks, pet stores, etc until your puppy has finished his/her core vaccine series). This can include places such as schools, kids' parks, and friend's homes. They may be socialized with dogs that you know are healthy and vaccinated (friends, family, etc). At 12-16 weeks of age, your puppy may start puppy classes. We recommend choosing a facility that uses positive training methods. After your puppy has finished his/her core puppy vaccine series, you can begin socializing your puppy with more dogs.
6) House training: If you are have any issues with house training, please call us. Remember puppies must learn how to control their bladder and colon. If your puppy has an accident in the house, do not punish them. Instead take them outside to the outdoor potty area immediately. Once they have gone outside appropriately, make sure you praise them and even reward with a small treat immediately outdoors in the potty area. Make certain you are taking your puppy outside within 5 minutes of them eating, drinking, or awaking. As your puppy grows, their bladder control should improve. If you have taken your puppy outside, and they do not use the bathroom, do not allow them unsupervised indoors until they have appropriately used the bathroom outdoors. You may keep them attached to you by a leash or place them back into their crate and try again in 30 minutes! Be patient when house training a puppy.
7) Pet Insurance: Puppies are prone to all sorts of medical emergencies such a foreign body obstructions, soft tissue trauma and fractures, etc. Therefore, we always recommend having pet health insurance. Most clients seem to be happy with Trupanion. Here is a link to their website: