Health Issues With Puppies Tips

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Is there any way to avoid common puppy health problems?

Feed Your Puppy Right to Avoid Common Puppy Health Problems

One of the worst things someone can do is to bring home a tiny new puppy and change its food. Unfortunately, many people do just that, especially if the puppy is eating an inferior brand of kibble. With its small body, any change in diet is simply too much for the puppy to handle, which leads to one of the most common puppy health problems - diarrhea.

If your puppy gets into food belonging to your adult dog or your cat or gets a hold of some people food, he or she will probably develop diarrhea. This condition can be quite serious, since it is easy for such a tiny animal to get dehydrated. Contact your veterinarian immediately if your puppy has loose stools. If you can't get a hold of your veterinarian, you should:

  • Take a look at the stool. If there is blood in it, take your puppy to an emergency veterinary hospital. If you wait for the vet's office to reopen, you are taking a chance that your puppy may not make it.
  • Keep your puppy hydrated. While some water is a good idea, you should consider something that has some nutritional benefit as well, such as electrolytes or chicken broth.
  • Feed a very bland diet of broth and rice until the puppy is stabilized. You should reintroduce food very gradually to avoid having the puppy suffer a relapse.

   
Is there any way to stop Lyme with puppy disease prevention?

Puppy Disease Prevention for Lyme Disease

Lyme disease, named for the town of Lyme, Connecticut, is a particularly nasty tick borne illness that affects people and pets. If your dog will be hiking through the woods with you, romping in the grass, or doing other outdoor activities, you should worry about Lyme disease. Luckily, puppy disease prevention for this nasty illness is actually quite simple. To protect your puppy, you should:

  • Always check for ticks after time spent outdoors. Deer ticks are the culprits that carry Lyme and they are very small, so look closely. Don't forget to examine your dog's ears, muzzle and belly.
  • Use a flea and tick preventative on your puppy as soon as your veterinarian says he or she is old enough. Your vet should recommend a medication that will kill ticks within a few hours of contact. This way, any ticks you overlook will be dead before they are able to infect your puppy, since Lyme disease usually doesn't pass to the victim for 24 hours or more after he or she is bitten.
  • Ask your vet to test for Lyme disease if your puppy seems to have sore joints and a fever. The chance of complete recovery is highest if you catch the disease soon after it develops.

   
Should I be concerned about deworming puppies?

Deworming Puppies

When you look at that roly poly little puppy, it doesn't seem possible that it could have any problems with worms. After all, the puppy's mother seems like a very healthy, well cared for dog and worms only happen to dirty, neglected dogs, right? Actually, many veterinarians say that becoming pregnant and giving birth can cause a dog to develop worms that were lying dormant in its system. These worms can be passed on to puppies. Because of this, deworming puppies routinely is often recommended by veterinarians.

  • If your veterinarian wants to deworm your puppy, you may want to ask for a fecal exam instead, since there is no sense in giving medication to a puppy that doesn't need it. This exam shows the vet exactly which, if any, worms your dog has in its system. Often, by the time a puppy is eight weeks, it has already been wormed by the breeder's veterinarian and is worm free.

  • Some veterinarians have discontinued routine worming because certain heartworm preventative medications claim to also kill roundworms and hookworms. They prescribe the heartworm medication and say that will take care of all worm problems. Others say that a preventative is no replacement for treatment of an infected dog. If you are concerned about worms, ask your veterinarian if your puppy's heartworm preventative can treat other types of worms.

   
What should I know about common puppy health problems that are hereditary?

Common Puppy Health Problems That Are Hereditary

There are many common puppy health problems that are simply based on whether the puppies' parents have certain genes. These hereditary health problems can prove very costly and may mean your puppy's life will not be as long as it should be.

Before you buy a puppy, do some research on that breed to see which genetic problems are common. Then, ask the breeder if the puppy's parents have been screened to be sure they are free of these defects. For example, Standard Poodles are prone to hip dysplasia, Von Willebrand's disease, Hypothyroidism and Legg-Calve Perthes Disorder. If the parents have been tested and have received a clean bill of health, then the puppy is fairly likely to be healthy, as well. However, young parents could develop some of these disorders later in life, so there is not an absolute guarantee that your puppy won't develop a genetic illness.

You should also be sure that the breeder has a policy for hereditary defects. While you may not want to act on the policy because you have gotten too attached to the puppy, it is good to know that you have options, especially if your vet informs you of the condition hours after you bring your puppy home. For example, finding out that your puppy's entire litter has Demodectic mange and will have to get painful shots every week may simply be more than you can handle, while finding out you need to pay for a simple operation for cherry eye is annoying, but manageable.

   
Are there signs of common puppy health problems I should be aware of?

Signs of Common Puppy Health Problems

When you buy a new puppy, you should know a few signs that can help you avoid getting a dog with one of the common puppy health problems. While many of these problems are curable, it is best to get a puppy that is healthy right from the start.

  • Check your puppy's teeth. The top and bottom teeth should meet. If one set of teeth sticks out past the other set instead, your puppy has an overbite or an underbite. While this does not stop the puppy from being a wonderful addition to the family, it is a major fault, which means you will not be able to show or breed your dog. In addition, you may be spending much more on dentistry as your dog grows older than you would on a dog with a normal bite.
  • Turn your puppy onto its back and take a close look at its belly. Many times, a puppy will have a hiatal hernia and you can see the bump from the hernia on the lower part of the belly. While it sounds a bit scary, most hernias naturally go away as the puppy matures. However, the worst cases will need corrective surgery.
  • Put the puppy down and watch it romp around on the ground. If it is favoring a leg, you may have a puppy with a bad knee or hip. Operations for these problems can be very costly.

   
Is heartworm prevention necessary?

Heartworm Prevention

You keep hearing about heartworm prevention, but you have to wonder if it is really necessary or if you can spend the money on a cool new pet bed instead. The short answer is that if you live somewhere that has even one mosquito, you need to give your dog a heartworm preventative. Treating a dog for an illness that was completely preventable and has caused permanent damage to the dog's heart is not fun.

Heartworms are caused by a bite from an infected mosquito. As the name suggests, heartworms do grow in the dog's heart. However, according to the American Heartworm Society, the heartworms actually begin growing in arteries that are inside the dog's lungs and will eventually spread to the heart if the dog doesn't receive the proper diagnosis and treatment.

Keeping dogs from contracting heartworms is not just simple. It is delicious. A heartworm preventative tablet is given to a dog once a month throughout the year. Your dog will probably be unhappy that he or she is only getting one pill a month and may beg for more pills. If only all pet medications could be made to taste this good!

If you neglect to give your dog medication for a month or two, you should go to the veterinarian for a blood test to rule out any infections before you restart the medication. This is because it can be fatal to give a dog with heartworms the preventative without treating the infection.

   
Is there any way to avoid common puppy health problems?

Avoid Common Puppy Health Problems With Preventative Medicine

People line up to get flu shots every year to avoid getting sick. You can avoid common puppy health problems with preventative medicine, too. To be sure your puppy doesn't become ill from a virus that is easily prevented, you should:

  • Ask the breeder about vaccination records before buying the puppy. Be sure the puppy received at least the first DHLPP shot in the series. (A DHLPP shot is a combination injection that protects against distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza and parvovirus.)
  • Take the puppy directly to the veterinarian's office for a well puppy check and set up a vaccination schedule. Your vet should give your puppy a series of DHLPP shots over the next few weeks, a Bordetella shot and a Rabies shot.

  • Make sure you don't miss any appointments for your puppy's shot appointments. While the costs do add up, they are much smaller than the cost of treating a sick puppy and the money spent is the least of the heartbreak you could face. A puppy with distemper or parvo often does not recover and the veterinary staff is often as devastated as the owners when their fight to save the puppy ends in a tragic loss of life.

   
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