Our canine companions are an important part of our lives, providing constant love and joy. It is our job to provide them with the proper care so they can remain healthy and happy.
Vaccines protect animals from specific viral and bacterial infections. These diseases are deadly. The vaccine is not a treatment, but a preventative.
- Puppies should receive the combination 4-in-1 at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age. This protects against Distemper, Parvovirus, Adenovirus Type-2, and Parainfluenza. Do not walk an unvaccinated dog outside or put him on the floor of the hospital until 48 hours after the final vaccine. After the initial puppy vaccines, adult dogs will receive a one-year booster, and then need to be re-vaccinated every three years.
- NYC law requires all dogs older than 3 months to be vaccinated for Rabies. The rabies vaccine is usually given at four months of age, at the time of the final Distemper vaccine, and then needs to be boosted every three years.
- There are several other vaccines available for your dog, including Bordetella (to prevent kennel cough), Leptospirosis, and Canine Influenza. These vaccines should be given only if your dog is at risk for these diseases
Female dogs are spayed (ovariohysterectomy – removal of the ovaries and uterus) and males are castrated (removal of the testicles). Spaying reduces the risk of breast cancer, a common and often fatal disease in older dogs. Spaying also eliminates the risk of pyometra (infected uterus), a life-threatening problem in older females that must be treated by surgery and intensive medical care. Castrating males prevents testicular and prostate disease and hernias. Aggression can be reduced by castration. Spaying and neutering should be done around 6 months of age and not later than 8 months.
It is a myth that spaying or neutering an animal will change their behavior. Any variation in activity and playfulness is a result of age; as puppies mature into adult dogs they become a bit more sedentary naturally.
This parasite lives in the heart and is passed from dog to dog by mosquitoes. Heartworm infections are fatal. Your dog should have a blood test for heartworm every other year, and should be on the once-a-month preventative Revolution® or Heartgard® year-round, life-long. These products are also useful in reducing the risk of certain intestinal parasites.
Healthy teeth are essential to the overall health of your dog. Infected gums can be a breeding ground for bacteria, which can then pass through the blood stream and attack the vital organs. Have your dog’s teeth professionally cleaned once a year. Certain dental chews are effective in maintaining dental health between professional cleanings.
Intestinal parasites are a common problem for city dogs. Microscopic eggs produced by intestinal worms left on the street by infected dogs (passed in their feces) provide a source of infections for other dogs. There are four types of worms and two microscopic parasites (one-celled protozoans) that most commonly affect city dogs. Since only two types of worms can be seen with the naked eye in the feces, dogs should have annual fecal exams to make sure they are parasite-free. Revolution® and Heartgard®, the heartworm preventatives, will also diminish the risk of certain intestinal parasites, and should be given once a month, year-round, life-long.
We recommend you feed your dog a name brand dog food such as Science Diet, Iams, etc. two to three times daily. These food are formulated not only for proper nutrition, but are also balanced in fatty acids which help the skin and coat. Do not give meat bones to your dog. They can splinter and cause impaction, perforation, and/or irritations of the gastro-intestinal tract.
Start teaching puppies basic sit and stay commands. Use little bits of food as a reward. Also, get your pet used to being touched on all his “sensitive” spot as a puppy: ears, lips, mouth, scruff, tail, and feet. This gets him used to being touched in these areas and can prevent biting when he is older.