How To Take Care of a Puppy | Boulder Veterinary Hospital
I can’t believe how many puppies we’re seeing. It’s the COVID puppy boom, just like the boomers of the post-WWII period. I’ve heard Humane Societies and other rescue organizations are running low on pups to adopt which is great. For many of you it’s your first time with a new furry family member, so here’s a brief rundown of some of the common things we like to discuss:
Vaccines – These are a really good idea, especially for Parvo. We see this disease more than we’d like to, and it can be fatal. I mention vaccines in the “Things We Do for Our Dogs and Cats” post, so check that out for a little more detail.
Socialization – The majority of veterinarians recommend that puppies start interacting with new people (60%), animals (53%), and environments (62%) between 7–12 weeks of age (from “Socialization Recommendations by Veterinarians for Puppies and Kittens,” Veterinary Behavior Symposium 2017. Antunes*; C. Moody; J. Higginson Cutler; L. Niel). Having at least one DA2PP vaccine on board around 7 or 8 weeks of age offers some protection in the event they encounter Parvo. I personally consider proper socialization a “behavior vaccine,” as we see more serious behavior issues than the diseases we routinely vaccinate for.
Crate Training – We highly highly recommend crate training. Not only does this give you (and them) daily breaks, but they’ll also be more comfortable should they need to come into a vet hospital and require time in a kennel. Make it positive by giving treats when putting them in a crate. The majority of dogs will quickly come to like it. My mother-in-law can tell her dog “go get in your house!” and she enthusiastically runs to her crate and jumps inside. They’ll cry those first couple nights, but ride it out. It’s worth it. In addition, it’s also a safety thing. Picture a two-year old human running loose through your home unsupervised. Not a great idea.
Harnesses when leashed – (vs. attaching a leash to collar) A dog who pulls on the leash can develop a collapsing trachea. This is very bad and there’s not much we can do for it. Picture your trachea (“wind pipe”) pinching shut every time you inhale. It really sucks and makes breathing very difficult. A harness takes care of this problem.
Foods to Avoid – Chocolate, coffee beans, grapes, raisins, macadamia nuts (nuts in general, but especially macadamia), onions/garlic/chives, xylitol. For more in-depth info visit this ASPCA link.
Dog Parks? – Personally I’m ok with these under certain circumstances. It’s best to visit off-hours when only 3 or 4 other dogs are present. Avoid peak times when dozens of dogs are running wild and no one’s paying attention. It’s like turning hoards of young kids loose in an unsupervised playground, potentially with a bunch of bullies…quite similar to elementary school in the 1980’s. Also, wait until your dog is fully vaccinated and socialized. If you routinely encounter bad interactions, stop going. Lots of people in my industry are full-on against dog parks. However, I used to live in a small apartment with a young lab. A dog park was my best outlet to get him out and off-leash on a regular basis. Without it he would have lost his mind. So, just pay attention and use your best judgement.
The above comprises most of what I discuss at those first puppy visits. There’s a lot more to discuss and plenty of individual questions as well. Call anytime you need and we have plenty of time to visit during your follow-up puppy exams. Putting forth consistent effort into training and socialization during the first 4-6 months of life will pay off enormously, giving your pup a solid foundation to become a model citizen.
How To Take Care of a Puppy | Boulder Veterinary Hospital | Rise Vet is Boulder’s new breed of veterinary care located in downtown Boulder. Call us today to make an appointment for your pet. We are located in the Ideal Market Plaza, right next to Sweet Cow Ice cream and are excited to open our doors to you and your pets. We serve pet lovers in Boulder, Longmont, Louisville, Superior and surrounding Boulder County.