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I Just Adopted a New Puppy. Now What? Puppy Training 1

Puppy Rearing 1: Congratulations on the acquisition of your new puppy!

Owning a dog can be an extremely rewarding experience, but it requires a commitment to years of responsible care. This article will give you the information needed to make good decisions for your new puppy’s well-being and healthy aging.

What Type of Playing Should I Expect From a Puppy?

Stimulating play is important during the first week. Stalking and pouncing are important play behaviors in puppies and are necessary for proper muscular development. If given a sufficient outlet for these behaviors with toys, your puppy will be less likely to use family members for these activities. The best toys are Iight and movable. These include wads of paper and rubber balls. Any toy that is small enough to be swallowed should be avoided.


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Can I Discipline a Puppy?

Disciplining a young puppy may be necessary if its behavior threatens people or property, but harsh punishment should be avoided. Hand clapping and using shaker cans or horns can be intimidating enough to inhibit undesirable behavior. However, remote punishment is preferred. Remote punishment consists of using something that appears unconnected to the punisher to stop the problem behavior. Examples include using spray bottles, throwing objects in the direction of the puppy to startle (but not hit) it, and making loud noises. Remote punishment is preferred because the puppy associates punishment with the undesirable act and not with you.


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Should My Puppy Be Vaccinated?

Vaccination is a double-edged sword.  On the one hand vaccinosis has cause irreperable harm to our pets.  Vaccines are even known to cause cancer.  On the other hand, immunization in the right situation can save lives.  Personally I do not recommend vaccination of most pets.  My own dogs and cats only receive the rabies innoculation as required by law every three years.  Theoretically, vaccination can be useful in the midst of an epidemic or when a puppy is exposed frequently to sick dogs, e.g. the puppy of a vet tech who doesn’t understand the harm of vaccination.  In my opinion, you should consult a homeopathic veterinarian and consider homeopathic prophylaxis with a constitutional homeopathic remedy before giving any vaccinations.  Homeopathic treatment and dis-ease prevention start 1-2 weeks after obtaining a new pet.  Schedule these visits 3-5 weeks apart until 4 months of age or until the symptoms of imbalance are gone.


If you still feel neglectful of your puppy due to not vaccinating you really shouldn’t.  If you still do, please read this info from a vaccinologist and a noted immunologist. Regardless of whether you have a holistic or homeopathic veterinarian you need to have a discussion about vaccination to find the right path for you.


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Do All Puppies Have Worms?

Intestinal parasites are common in puppies. Puppies can become infected with parasites before they are born or later through their mother’s milk. The microscopic examination of a stool sample will usually help to determine the presence of intestinal parasites. This exam is recommended for all puppies, if your veterinarian can get a stool sample. Please bring one at your earliest convenience. Even without a stool sample, the use of a deworming product that is safe and effective against several of the common worms of the dog is recommended. It is important that deworming be repeated in about 3-4 weeks, because the deworming medication kills only the adult worms. Within 3-4 weeks, the larval stages will have become adults and will need to be treated. Dogs remain susceptible to reinfection with hookworms and roundworms. Periodic deworming throughout the dog’s life may be recommended for dogs that are not homeopathically treated. One of the beneficial effects of homeopathic treatment is reduced susceptibility to parasites.


Tapeworms are the most common intestinal parasite of dogs. Puppies become infected with them when they swallow fleas; the eggs of the tapeworm live inside the flea. When the puppy chews or licks its skin as a flea bites, the flea may be swallowed. The flea is digested within the dog’s intestine; the tapeworm hatches and then anchors itself to the intestinal lining. Therefore, exposure to fleas may result in a new infection; this can occur in as little as two weeks.


Dogs infected with tapeworms will pass small segments of the worms in their stool. The segments are white in color and look like grains of rice. They are about 1/8 inch (3 mm) long and may be seen crawling on the surface of the stool. They may also stick to the hair under the tail. If that occurs, they will dry out, shrink to about half their size, and become golden in color.


Tapeworm segments do not pass every day or in every stool sample; therefore, inspection of several consecutive bowel movements may be needed to find them. Your veterinarian may examine a stool sample in his office and not find worm segments, but then the next day they may appear. If you find them at any time, notify your veterinarian.


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How Dangerous Are Heartworms?

Heartworms are important parasites, especially in certain climates. They can live in your dog’s heart and cause major damage to the heart and lungs. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes so your dog does not have to be in contact with another dog to be exposed. Fortunately, there are drugs that will protect your dog from heartworms. These drugs are very safe and very effective if given regularly. Be aware that having a long haircoat or staying primarily indoors will reduce the risk but does not totallyprotect a dog against heartworm infection.


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There Are Lots of Choices of Dog Foods. What Should I Feed My Puppy?

Diet is extremely important in the growing months of a dog’s life, and there are two important criteria that should be met in selecting food for your puppy. Most of my clients feed a fresh food-based diet. This ranges from sharing whatever is in your home, to making the food with a recipe or feeding strictly raw meats (“species-appropriate diet).


If you elect to feed processed foods, please select a high quality food made by a reputable company (not a generic). Puppy diets are recommended and are often contain the highest percent of meat in each brand. Depending on the size of your puppy, it should get puppy food until it is about 6-12 months of age. Only food with the AAFCO certification is recommended. Certifification usually appears on the label. AAFCO is an organization which oversees the pet food industry. Its certification is not an endorsement but an assurance that the food has met minimum nutritional requirements. Most commercial pet foods carry the AAFCO label. Generic brands often do not. In Canada, look for foods which are approved by the Canadian Veterinary Medical Association (CVMA).


Dry food (kibble) is the most inexpensive as they contain fillers to allow “kibbleization”. Wysong Epigen uses a new method for manufacturing dry food with fewer starches. This food looks like rabbit and guinea pig food rather than kibbles. Soak dry food well before feeding to larger breed puppies in order to avoid bloat later in life. Allow dry kibble to sit in water for 5-10 minutes before feeding. It can be left available dry (no soaking) during the day for smaller breeds that may enjoy snacking, but there are many better options such as Ziwi, Archetype, and other freeze-dried meats. Always read the label; not all pet foods (even “super premium”) are equal. Please purchase only smaller bags of food and store dry food properly so that it remains nutritious and does not go rancid.


Canned foods are also acceptable, but as with dry food, please read the ingredients. They can be considerably more expensive than dry food. Using a mix-in such as one you blend from millet-quinoa-lentils, or purchase from Dr. Harvey’s or Sojourner Farms is another more affordable option.


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How Do I Insure That My Puppy Is Well-Socialized?

The socialization period for dogs is between 4 and 16 weeks of age. During that time, the puppy is very impressionable to social influences. If it has good experiences with men, women, children, cats, and other dogs, it is likely to accept them throughout life. If the experiences are absent or unpleasant, the puppy may become apprehensive or adverse to any of them. Therefore, during the period of socialization, your dog should be exposed to as many kinds of social events and influences as possible. [See Puppy Rearing 2: New Puppies and Socialization . Use your browser’s BACK BUTTON to return to this page.]


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What Can Be Done About Fleas?

Many of the flea control products that are used for adult dogs are not safe for puppies less than four months of age. Fleas [Use your browser’s BACK BUTTON to return to this page] do not stay on your puppy all the time. They will jump off and seek another host, and flea eggs are laid off your dog. Therefore, it is important to kill fleas on your new puppy before they can become established in your house. A flea comb will help isolate any adult fleas your puppy may have. The once-a-month oral flea pill “Program®” does not kill fleas but prevents flea infestation by sterilizing the fleas and preventing their eggs from hatching.


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Can I Trim My Puppy’s Sharp Toe Nails?

Puppies have very sharp toe nails. They can be trimmed with your regular finger nail clippers or with nail trimmers made for dogs and cats. If you take too much off the nail, you will get into the quick; bleeding and pain will occur. If this happens, neither you nor your dog will want to do this again.


A few tips for cutting your pup’s nails might be helpful:


  1. If your dog has clear or white nails, you can see the pink of the quick through the nail. Avoid the pink area, and you will injure the quick.
  2. If your dog has black nails, you will not be able to see the quick, so only cut 1/32-of-an-inch (1 mm) of the nail at a time until the dog begins to get sensitive. The sensitivity will usually occur before you are into a blood vessel. With black nails, it is likely that you will get too close on at least one nail.
  3. If your dog has some clear and some black nails, use the average clear nail as a guide for cutting the black ones.
  4. When cutting nails, use sharp trimmers. Dull trimmers tend to crush the nail and cause pain even if you are not in the quick.
  5. You should always have styptic powder available. This is sold in pet stores under several trade names, but it will be labeled for use in trimming nails. Corn starch and even small pieces of tissue can also be used if needed.
  6. Use a Dremel tool or similar for grinding your pup’s nails. Even a plain nail file is often useful for pedicures of small dogs.


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What Are Ear Mites?

Ear mites are tiny parasites that live in the ear canal of dogs (and cats). The most common sign of ear mite infection is scratching of the ears. Sometimes the ears will appear dirty because of a black material in the ear canal; this material is sometimes shaken out. An instrument for examining the ear canals, an otoscope, has the necessary magnification to allow us to see the mites. Sometimes the mites can be found by taking a small amount of the black material from the ear canal and examining it with a microscope. Although mites may leave the ear canals for short periods of time, they spend the vast majority of their lives within its protection. Transmission generally requires direct ear-to-ear contact. Ear mites are common in litters of puppies whose mother has ear mites.


Ear inflammations and “infections” may also cause the production of a dark discharge in the ear canals. It is important that your puppy be examined to differentiate the causes. Sweet Almond oil applied in the external ear canal can both clean and soothe ear inflammations from most causes. The oil will also suffocate the mites and can be a useful ear mite treatment when directed by your veterinarian.


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Why Should I Have My Female Dog Spayed?

Spaying offers several advantages. The female’s heat periods result in about 2-3 weeks of vaginal bleeding. This can be quite annoying if your dog is kept indoors. Male dogs are attracted from blocks away and, in fact, seem to come out of the woodwork. They seem to go over, around, and through many doors or fences. Your dog will have a heat period about every six months.

Spaying removes the uterus and the ovaries, and heat periods no longer occur. In many cases, despite of your best effort, an unspayed female will become pregnant. Spaying prevents unplanned litters of puppies.


As unspayed female dogs age, the incidence of breast cancer and uterine infections increases. Spaying before the first onset of heat practically eliminates the chance of either. If you do not plan to breed your female dog she should be spayed if so advised by your veterinarian. This can be done at anytime though there is some newer evidence that unspayed females live longer.


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Why Should I Have My Male Dog Neutered?

Neutering offers several advantages. Male dogs are attracted to a female dog in heat and will climb over or go through fences to find her. Male dogs can be more aggressive and more likely to fight, especially with other male dogs. As dogs age, the prostate gland frequently enlarges and causes difficulty urinating and defecating. Neutering will avoid or render less harmful all the aggression and ailments common in male dogs. Surgical neutering can be done at any time though there is some newer evidence that male dogs should be fully developed (often 12-18 months) before neutering. Of course if your male dog is allowed to run loose, he should be neutered before he can sire an unwanted litter.



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If I Choose to Breed My Female Dog, When Should That Be Done?

If you plan to breed your dog, she should have at least one or two heat periods first. This will allow her to physically mature allowing her to be a better mother without such a physical drain on her. Breeding after five years of age, unless she has been bred prior to that age, is not recommended. A first-time litter for a female more than five years old increases the risk of problems during the pregnancy and delivery. Once your dog has had her final litter, she should be spayed to prevent the reproductive problems of older dogs.


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