How To Choose A New Puppy

Learn how to choose a new puppy that will be right for your and your family.  A lot of thought and planning should go into planning such a life changing decision. When you choose a new puppy, it is an addition to your family.

Decision to Choose A New Puppy

When you choose a new puppy, a lot has to be taken into account.  How big will the dog get. How much exercise will it need. What are your budget constraints. What kind of temperament does it seem to have?  What known medical problems does the breed tend to have?  Is your yard safe?  Finally are you home enough? All these are important things to consider when you choose a new puppy.

 There are some other very serious issues to consider before you choose a new puppy.  Are you looking for a dog to hunt with, run with, or hike with?  Is your family very active or is a lower energy breed better for your lifestyle.  Do you have a yard or an apartment?  Do you have children?

All of these things should be considered when you choose a new puppy.  Before deciding on a breed, it is often a good idea to go to local dog shows if you are considering a pure bred dog.  You can usually find dog breeders, owners, and handlers to talk to about any breeds that might catch your eye.   The American Kennel Club (the AKC) has directories of breeders and is a good place to start if you are just beginning.

Choose A New Puppy From A Shelter

If you are looking to choose a new puppy from a shelter,  before you adopt spend some time with the puppy at the shelter first.  Introduce it to all members of your family and make sure he is comfortable with everyone. Think, when you choose a new puppy as  a family affair.  You all have to learn the ropes anytime a member joins the family.

Avoiding skittish or unhealthy puppies.  Ask permission first so as not to startle the breeder or the shelter assistant, but make a loud noise, like dropping a metal dish.  Things happen in life that will be surprising.  What you will expect to see is the puppy recoil and cower, what you want to see next is the puppy relax and come over to you as soon as you talk gently and console it.  If you get down and call it lovingly, it should recover and come see you.  If it doesn’t, move on to the next puppy.  It isn’t a good sign.


Don’t ever pick the ‘runt’ because you feel sorry for it.  It is usually a bad and costly idea.  Often when a puppy doesn’t grow well, you will find it has less to do with just being smaller and shoved aside than it has to do with a genetic problem of some sort.  This is more true of pure bred dogs simply because the genetics of mixed breeds will vary in size, shape, and color more naturally.  Someone will be the right home for that puppy.  If you just have to have it, make sure you are set up for any additional problems that might come along with being frail or skittish.  Be sure to have your puppy examined within a few days of your purchase. Also, require a written puppy guarantee of some kind.

Others Things To Know Before You Choose A New Puppy

It can be simple, but there should be an agreement that you can return the puppy within a week or two if there should be any congenital defects observed by your vet, or if the puppy should come down with a virus in the first 7-14 days.  You may choose to keep him no matter what, but if you are not financially able to take on any extended burden, be sure you have a safety net.

It is crucial that your pick a breed that matches your family’s lifestyle. So many have strong attributes but may have some reason they won’t work for your family.  Many might be too big, have too much coat, require specific and significant amounts of grooming, or require too much exercise.  If you want to run with your dog, don’t get a basset hound. Even a boxer is not the best choice for a runner.  They have a very poor air exchange and overheat easily.  A condition which is due to their skull structure and can cause serious and potentially life threatening heat stroke concerns.

One thing to keep in mind if you are looking for a pure bred dog is to always purchase it from a breeder, not a pet store.  Pet stores are notorious for purchasing puppies from ‘puppy mills’ and ‘backyard breeders’.  This is not a good way to ensure you will receive any kind of quality in your dog.  You will often pay more for your puppy and be assured of no quality of breed.  The dog may have tremendous medical and health related problems and have an uncertain temperament.

If you choose to breed your own dog, would you sell the pups to the local pet store as soon as they could eat?  Of course not!  Although after six or eight weeks you may be sorely tempted.  You would want to make sure the pups were going to loving and safe homes.  You might even want to keep in touch.

The only pure bred puppies who end up in pet stores are the ones who no one cares where they end up because no one is putting any heart or care into what they are producing.  It’s just about the bottom line.

A breeder will usually not be any more expensive than a pet store.  Unless of course you intend to find a show quality dog, in which case the rules change a bit.  However, having said that, be wary of any breeder that says all the pups are show quality. It is highly improbable to produce an entire litter of show quality pups.

About The Author
This article was written by Laura Anderson, a veterinary technician with more than 15 years experience in the veterinary field. The views and statements expressed in this article, and all other articles found on Puppy’s Place, do not under any circumstance, constitute veterinary advice. Always seek professional veterinary care for your pet.


Choosing Safe Toys For Your Puppy

Safe Toys For Your Puppy

Choosing safe toys for your puppy is very important. There are right and wrong toys.  The first thing to know is always avoid rubber toys.  They are easy to pop, shred and swallow.  This can be both harmful and costly.  When rubber makes it to the stomach and intestine, it swells and can easily block the digestive tract. This causes an obstruction which requires surgery and hospitalization for toxicity due to the inability to void.  Rubber toys are always made to look clever.  Only give them to your puppy  with supervision. Otherwise, they should be avoided.

Plush squeaky dog toys are fun, but not harmless.  They are soft and fun to mouth, they squeak which is quite delightful if you are a dog, or a kid!  However, the stuffing can become a dangerous obstruction if ingested.  Same for the squeaky part inside the toy, and even the thread that holds the toy together.  If the toy becomes damaged, it is best to immediately dispose of the toy.  Plush toys are best for gentle dogs who are not adapt to destroy toys.  Plush toys are generally not good investments for puppies.

Choose Safe Toys For Your Puppy

Puppies love to chew. There are good things to chew, and bad things to chew.  Provide safe toys for your puppy, otherwise they make chew on the legs of your furniture eg: piano leg.  Rawhide is not a good idea. They love it, but it usually ends up getting eaten. It can upset or even block their digestive system.  Even if it passes, it will probably cause gas and diarrhea.  Playing ball is one of the safe toys for your puppy. Choose balls that are not so big that they run over your puppy. Nor should they be small enough to be a choking hazard.  Dogs frequently inhale or swallow balls that are too small.  This is hazardous to their health, and your pocket book.  A word of warning, however, once the ball is broken, that is, once you can ‘pop’ it in your hand by squeezing it, throw it away.  It just became a hazard.  A broken ball can now easily be pulled apart and swallowed.  Time to choose other safe toys for your puppy.

Make Your Own Safe Toys For Your Puppy

Socks with knots tied in them make excellent tug-o-war toys. They are one of the safe toys for your puppy with supervision.  If you tie knots in the socks and keep them in their special toy box or basket. Then,they will quickly learn between what is yours and what is theirs.  Don’t allow your puppy to chew on socks as they too can be swallowed and cause a blockage.

If you don’t want to encourage your puppy to find socks to play with, heavy rip proof rubber pull toys are available and are probably easier to grasp – for you, that is.  You should offer other safe toys for your puppy. Some that are different shapes, and sizes.  Some that make different noises. The more your puppy has to do that is acceptable, the less trouble they will tend to get into . Make sure safe toys for your puppy are everywhere to avoid  getting ‘bored’ and finding something ‘to do’!

About The Author
This article was written by Laura Anderson, a veterinary technician with more than 15 years experience in the veterinary field. The views and statements expressed in this article, and all other articles found on Puppy’s Place, do not under any circumstance, constitute veterinary advice. Always seek professional veterinary care for your pet.


Benefits Of Crate Training Your Puppy

Crate training your puppy has many benefits, but the biggest by far is how much easier it makes house training.

Crate training your puppy works with their natural instincts. A dog is, by nature, a den animal. He will feel comforted and safe in his crate. He  will not want to soil where he sleeps. This is your golden ticket to crate training your puppy.

Start The First Night Crate Training Your Puppy

The first few nights of crate training your puppy, expect him to cry and howl for you to let him out. He wants to be with you. This is natural, as is your desire to let him out. Restrain yourself.  He needs to learn from the very beginning where his place is to be. If you allow him to run the house now, be prepared for the mess that will cover your floors by morning, and for many mornings to come. Crate training your puppy is by far the most effective and fastest way to housebreak training your puppy. After the initial break-in period, his crate will be a favorite place for him to be. Once he knows it is a warm, safe place, you will often find him putting himself to bed when he is tired.

 Some Basic Rules Of Thumb To Get Started Crate Training Your puppy

** Part of crate training your puppy is that he should be in his crate if you can’t be right with him. If you need to do something or be somewhere the puppy can’t go, then put him safely in his crate.

**Make sure that crate training your puppy  is always a pleasant place to be. Give him a favorite toy or an old t-shirt that smells familiar to him. (Unless he is apt to destroy and eat them – then minimize what goes in with him)

**Never scold him when you put him in. If he has had an accident, scold him and put him outside, not in his crate.

**Feed him in the crate so he associates the crate with good things.

**Once he goes in at night, do not revisit him, he will settle down….eventually.

** This is hard but part of crate training your puppy.

 Why Crate Training Your Puppy Works For Housebreaking

The reason that crate training your puppy  works so well is that it encourages the puppy to “hold it”.  The puppy does not really want to mess where he sleeps. Make no mistake, he will soil his bed so make sure everything that goes in is washable. The difference is that he really doesn’t want to go there. He will tend to wait as long as he can. He will start to build control over his body this way.

Finding the right sized crate is vital in crate training your puppy. It is important to mention that if the crate is too big then you are defeating it’s purpose. If he can mess far enough away from where he wants to curl up, he won’t mind going there a bit. The crate area should be plenty big for him, but not so big he has no exposure to his indiscretions. This is all part of good crate training your puppy.

To encourage success, make sure you take your puppy training out to the yard as late as possible before you go to bed, and plan to get up with the sun to take him out again early in the morning.

In time, he will be able to hold it longer, but when he is very young you can’t expect him to go more than a few hours. He will have to go immediately on waking up.  Don’t even call him to the door, just pick him up and take him out.  You will eliminate many accidents this way.

He will have to go again about five minutes after he eats.  Make sure you are ready to take him out quickly and spend time out there with him until he figures out why he is out there.

Feed your puppy often and offer water frequently. You are creating opportunity to praise!  Just be on your toes and try to have him in a place where he should go.  The more success he has the faster he will catch on.

When he goes where he should, praise him, praise him, praise him!   Do a little dance, cheer, whatever it takes to show him you are delighted with what he did in that spot.

Conversely, fold your arms, scold, and scowl at him when he picks a spot indoors.  Show him his mistake and tell him “No”, “Outside” and take him out where you want him to go.

If you have no yard and actually want him to pick a specific area of your home for him to go on newspapers or training pads, the same rules apply except that will be your final destination and you may say something like “Paper” instead.

You need to be consistent with your training for this issue and all others. The more consistent you are the faster progress you will make.

If you can spend a solid 3 or 4 days at this you will probably be able to training your puppy in a week or so. His age will be a variable however.  Very young puppies simply don’t have the control over their body that they will by 10 or 12 weeks.

Once you start crate training your puppy it should not take more than a week until he really understands that it is a good place. You can take his crate, or his crate pad at least, any time you take him somewhere, with you.  He will feel right at home no matter where he is.  Dog crates create a safe place to hide during thunderstorms and windstorms.  You will have a safe place to put him if you have construction going on.  He will have a safe place to be when fireworks are going off.

If there is any doubt as to the surrounding circumstances when you are away, you can put him in his crate and know without a doubt, he will be fine.  He will be there when you get home, and your home will be intact.

About The Author
This article was written by Laura Anderson, a veterinary technician with more than 15 years experience in the veterinary field. The views and statements expressed in this article, and all other articles found on Puppy’s Place, do not under any circumstance, constitute veterinary advice. Always seek professional veterinary care for your pet.


Veterinary Care, Raising A Healthy Puppy

Critical Part Of Raising Your Puppy Is Veterinary Care

Veterinary care will be a critical part of your dog’s well being throughout their life.  It is important to get your puppy used to seeing the vet regularly.  You should try to make it a positive experience for him. Veterinary care should be a pleasant trip. Also, he should get plenty of praise from both you and your veterinarian.  He will be visiting frequently in the beginning and only yearly or as needed after that.  The better experience he has now with veterinary care, the easier he will be able to handle it at future appointments.  It isn’t good to have a dog, big or small, that is hard to handle at the veterinarian’s office.

Schedule A Puppy Exam For Veterinary Care

One of the first things that you should do for Veterinary care is schedule a puppy exam to ensure that your puppy is healthy. Also, to make sure he does not have any congenital problems or deformities, such as a cleft palate or hernias.  The veterinary will look for juvenile cataracts, hernias, heart murmurs, retained testicles. Also, problems with their bite, deformities of any kind, and evidence of malnutrition and parasites.  At six weeks old your puppy will need to start it’s series of vaccines. They will begin developing immunity to the many deadly viruses it can come it contact with.

Shots To Protect Your Puppy Are Part Of Good Veterinary Care

Canine parvovirus and distemper are horrible viruses. They are widespread, often fatal or permanently debilitating. They are easy to prevent through a complete puppy vaccination series.  Lyme disease is becoming more of a problem in many areas.  Contrary to popular belief, rabies is still found everywhere.  Bordetella, though not deadly. It is quite uncomfortable. Also, it involves a chronic long lasting cough that is aggravating to your dog.

Puppy veterinary care is the proper way to to raise a healthy puppy  If done incorrectly the vaccines will offer little or no effect, rendering a puppy largely unprotected.  Puppy Veterinary care should follow a particular schedule.  This is  especially important to know if you have chosen to do the vaccines yourself.  It is more advisable to seek veterinary care in the first year of your puppy’s life.

Intestinal parasites are present in more than 98% of all puppies.  It is a good practice to make deworming  part of his scheduled veterinary visits starting at six weeks old.  Worms cause malnutrition because they interfere with the digestive system.  They live off of what your puppy needs for his own growth and development.  Be warned, just because you don’t see them doesn’t mean they aren’t there.

Common Findings With Veterinary Care

Other common findings in puppies are coccidia and giardia.  They are microscopic organisms common in puppies which can cause chronic diarrhea.  These can also be found in a fecal sample exam. Veterinary care is fairly common to find these organisms even in puppies who come from good breeders and clean environments. If your puppy is diagnosed with these, it is not necessarily a reflection of poor conditions.

Suggestions Veterinary Care Will Have On Raising A Healthy Puppy

If you did not purchase your puppy with the intent to champion her in the show ring. Then you will schedule your puppy’s spay appointment when she is no more than six months old.  You want to catch her before she comes in heat.  Research indicates that female dogs who were spayed before they went through a heat cycle had lower risk of mammary cancer in later life.  Female dogs who are not fixed run high risk of many serious health issues including uterine, ovarian, and mammary cancers. Also, uterine infection called pyometra where the uterus fills with pus. All of which are often fatal in later life simply because they can not be recognized early enough.

Neutering your dog does not make him lazy.  It will encourage him to be more receptive to training. Also, he will be less likely to mark your house and furniture with urine. He will not feel the need to spring from the property at any opportunity.   This could  limit his life span or at least the time he spends with you.  Male dogs also run a health risk of prostate and testicular cancer in later life if they are left intact.

If you adopted your puppy you already saw the cages full of evidence of the need to spay and neuter your puppy.  Too many puppies go homeless and are euthanized every year.  Be responsible.  Spay, neuter your puppy with the help of proper veterinary care to raise a healthy puppy.

Simple Blood Test For Heart Worm With Veterinary Care

Heartworm is a parasite that you never see. Still, it is becoming more and more of a problem everywhere.  It is spread by mosquitoes.  The larva travel through the blood stream. The worms mature and then reside in the heart.  They are extremely difficult to kill. They can leave permanent damage to the dog’s heart even if the medications are successful.  If left untreated they will kill the dog as the heart is unable to function properly.  A simple blood test should be done to make sure your puppy isn’t infected before putting him on monthly preventatives.  These medications can be fatal if he is treated while he actually has a heart worm.

Other Frustrations For Your Puppy Veterinary Care Can Help

Probably one of the most common frustrations among dogs and their owners is fleas.  Some dogs are bothered greatly while others seem largely unaware and unperturbed.   Fleas are something to protect your puppy against.  Fleas carry tapeworms. They can cause infestations of these intestinal parasites which effect your dogs health and well being.

Fleas can cause anemia and skin disease. They are the number one cause of allergies among dogs.  Fleas can live just about anywhere. They do just as well inside as out.  Thanks to recent advancements in veterinary care products, they are easier to control than they once were.

Ticks are also something to avoid.  They are the vector for Lyme disease. A disease that effects the joints, causing arthritis and degeneration of the joints. There are many varieties of ticks ranging in size, shape, and color. They love brushy areas that animals frequent. Then they drop onto the animals coat and make their way to the skin.  Their saliva has a bit of a sedative and an anticoagulant to it. This way the animal is not bothered by it’s presence.  This allows the tick to stay imbedded and feed.  Ticks can also cause local infections of the skin as the dog’s body responds to the foreign body lodged under the skin.  There are very good medications to prevent these unwelcome companions.


Puppy Feeding Schedule

A Great Feeding Schedule for Puppies

 We will give you first a short explanation of the best puppy feeding schedule, then, a more detailed explanation. The main thing to remember about a puppy feeding schedule is that they need three measured meals every day, preferably at the same times. The best time for the first of those meals is around seven am. Noon is a great time for lunch. Then, five pm to eat dinner. This may sound a little early for dinner, but it gives your puppy plenty of time to digest their food before going to bed.

Making a puppy feeding schedule

Puppy Feeding Schedule

What you should be Feeding Puppies

Proper nutrition is vitally important to the overall health of your puppy. The best recommendation here is that you avoid feeding puppies cheap dog food. Cheap dog food contains a lot fillers and sugars instead of an adequate supply of the proper nutrients that they need. Also, those lower quality foods can cause constipation and diarrhea. Since you are also trying to house train your puppy, those are two things which you will certainly wish to avoid. Once your puppy is a little older,  between fourteen and eighteen weeks, then the puppy feeding schedule can be reduce to two meals a day.

How much you should be Feeding Puppies

A good puppy feeding schedule is important to not feed them too much. Some breeds always seem to be hungry, so it easy to feed them too much.  This in turn can lead to obesity.  This could lead to further health problems later for your puppy. If you are in doubt as to the proper quantities of food for your puppy feeding schedule for your particular breed, the worst thing you can possibly do is just guess. It is far better to ask your veterinarian.  Or maybe ask another owner of the same breed. Try to keep in mind that because cheaper foods are less nutritious, your dog may attempt to eat more of them in order to compensate. For more information on how to feed your puppy, read this article.

When Your Puppy Doesn’t Seem to Want to Eat

Sometimes, on a puppy feeding schedule your puppy may not want to eat.  This problem is rarer than the danger of over feeding, but it does happen.  A simple trick you might try is to have your puppy feeding schedule where your puppy eats in their crate. That way, they won’t feel threatened or distracted when trying to eat. It is important to have your children aware that the puppy feeding schedule is a time to leave the dog alone when they are eating. If the dog feels as though the children are trying to steal its food (even if they aren’t), then it may bite them.

Some Other Advice for Your Puppy Feeding Schedule

When planning your puppy feeding schedule you need to consider your own availability to take them outside to use the bathroom. You will want to do so about fifteen minutes after they eat. This gives time to be ready, but you should also be prepared for the fact that later on, they may need to eliminate again. You are going to have to have some patience with your puppy feeding schedule.  As with most other things relative to pet ownership, the long term rewards are more than worth the extra effort which is initially required.

In Summary

In short, you are going to need to exercise some of your own common sense when planning a puppy feeding schedule, but with a little patience it will be fun for the whole family.


Risks Of Buying Dog Medications Over The Counter

Buying dog medications over the counter can have real risks for your dog.  It is best NEVER to buy products such as flea and tick medications or deworming medications at pet stores, discount stores or grocery stores.  There are enough pharmacies available now to allow for competitive marketing for Frontline and Advantage at reasonable prices.

Risks Of Dog Medications Over The Counter

Program is still available but not nearly as effective as it’s successors.   Sentinel and Revolution are good products that also incorporate heart worm prevention into their monthly dosing.  However, it is critical that you have your dog tested for heart worms before administering these types of medications.  If you treat a dog with a heart worm preventative and he has already been infected you can easily kill him.

Dog medications over the counter have dangers that include toxicity to the body and organ failure.  The cheap products we have all seen for years in the pet aisle at the drug store can be extremely toxic – to the dog, not the parasite.  These harmful chemicals are absorbed through the animals skin and can cause multi-system failure due to toxicity.

Dog medications over the counter like flea, tick collars and topicals seem to be some of the favorite products to purchase.  DON’T EVER use them!  They are terribly ineffective and quite toxic.  You often see puppies with fleas that are avoiding a small area around the dog’s neck. This is not solving the problem or even controlling it well.  However, you do see a lot of allergic reactions to the collars. Oral dewormers are also best left to the professionals. It is always the best idea to follow your veterinarians advice toward the best products available for fleas, tick and dewormers.

Oral medications for intestinal parasites are toxic by nature as well.  They are meant to kill the worm without harming the puppy.  The cheap dog medications over the counter varieties are unpredictable. Also, they not well researched and quite toxic.  Don’t ever use them.

About The Author
This article was written by Laura Anderson, a veterinary technician with more than 15 years experience in the veterinary field. The views and statements expressed in this article, and all other articles found on Puppy’s Place, do not under any circumstance, constitute veterinary advice. Always seek professional veterinary care for your pet.


Preparing For A New Puppy

Preparing for a new puppy can be easy with just a little bit of planning.  Here are some things to keep in mind as you go about creating a safe and happy home for him. At the very minimum make sure you have a short list of things for him when you bring him home.

When Preparing For A New Puppy You Will Need

  • a crate and crate pad suitable for your dog
  • food and water bowls
  • high quality food
  • safe toys
  • collar with ID tag

Later you will add a leash, a permanent name tag, additional toys and whatever safety items seem appropriate.  Now that you know what to go get, here are some other important items to address.

1. Clean up the clutter.

Preparing for a new puppy should include removing items you don’t want destroyed.  Pick up anything that could pose a choking or intestinal blockage hazard.  Remember, just about anything can get chewed and swallowed.  Puppies’ mouths are well adapted for chewing on just about anything. Preparing for a new puppy means get down on your hands and knees to get a puppy’s eye view of the lay of the land.  Socks are one of the prime problems.  Make sure they don’t get eaten.

2. Household hazards.  Preparing for a new puppy  always means looking for hazards to avoid heartache.  Electrical cords seem to have some kind of magnetic energy that puppies can’t ignore.  Make them inaccessible.  These are deadly.  Put away rocking chairs and block off stairs when preparing for a new puppy.. Many bones have been broken and crushed when curious puppies explore things at the wrong time.

3. Have a crate. When preparing for a new puppy, make a special place that is theirs.   Puppy should have a crate that is her bed.  It should be a safe quiet place that she can go when everyone needs a break, or when you can’t watch her closely.  Dog crates serve many purposes including house training.  A crate is the perfect place to put a puppy to bed at night.  A crate serves as a safe place she can be when you can’t be right with her.  No one can hurt her, and she can’t get into trouble.  It may take a few days, but not more than three or four if you are consistent. The crate will quickly become her safe place and you will find her there on her own accord once she understands it is her special place. A crate should never be used as a place she goes to be punished.  No matter what, it should always be a ‘happy place’.  Never scold her or swat her as you put her in her crate.  Her toys and blanket or bedding will make it feel more homey for her.

4. Prepare your yard.  When preparing for a new puppy , your yard should be ‘puppy safe’.  Make sure there are no places she can escape.  Look under or behind bushes, check wooden slats, and loose boards.  If she is particularly small, you might need to make additional reinforcements to fences and gates.  Follow her around closely.  While she explores, let her show you areas that may pose a threat. Make sure you don’t have any toxic plants in the yard.  Puppies chew everything, including plants.  Make sure you don’t have any snail, rat, or weed poison around, either on the ground or in bags and boxes. Make sure there is no anti-freeze or coolant from cars, or air conditioners around. If you have a pool that she can get to, make sure she knows where the steps are.  Puppies can swim but get exhausted very quickly and can drown if they don’t know how to get out.  The best way is to get in with her and have her swim to the steps, if she does it a time or two, she will have a better chance at remembering where they are if she falls in by accident.

5. Lots of toys.  There will be thousands of things that your puppy should not get into so make sure there are lots of things that are just for her.  If you need to redirect her attention, make sure you have a variety of soft squeaky toys, nylon chews, and tug toys.  Puppies get bored and you don’t provide plenty of variety, they will find their own entertainment.

6. Appropriate food.  There are many different brands of food available when preparing for a new puppy. Often it is better than what she has been eating since feeding a litter can be expensive. If you and your vet have chosen a proper food be sure to change her slowly.  Mix about 2/3 what she has been getting with about 1/3 of what you want her to have for a day or two and then slowly change the ratio over the course of a week or more until she is just getting what is recommended by your vet.  This will reduce upset tummy problems.  Whatever food you use should be high quality and made just for puppies.

About The Author
This article was written by Laura Anderson, a veterinary technician with more than 15 years experience in the veterinary field. The views and statements expressed in this article, and all other articles found on Puppy’s Place, do not under any circumstance, constitute veterinary advice. Always seek professional veterinary care for your pet.


Cosmetic Dog Surgeries

Cosmetic dog surgeries are something beyond what mother nature created. Special Cosmetic surgeries are some times warranted. Some are medically sound ideas and with strong merit. Others are purely cosmetic and a matter of taste.  All have a reasonable history to support their rise in popularity.  Ear cropping and tail docking are among those special Cosmetic surgeries commonly performed on certain breeds. They are to achieve that picture perfect breed standard we have come to recognize.  Doberman Pinschers, Boxers, Great Danes, Pit Bulls, American Staffordshire Terriers, and Schnauzers are among the most common breeds on which these special Cosmetic surgeries are preformed.  The original intent was utilitarian.

Cosmetic surgeries historically, most of these breeds were used in some form which would require that they might engage in battle with another dog or person.   The short tail and short ears were less likely to be grabbed by the opponent.

Tail Docking And Ear Cropping Are Cosmetic Dog Surgeries

Tail docking is usually done at 4-7 days old and usually does not involve the new owner.  If you got your puppy from a breeder who did not dock her tail and it is a breed on which that is usually done, it still can be.  It will be much more involved than when she was newborn.  It will now require anesthesia and sutures. As well as being a bit more messy and painful.  Tail docking is to keep with the breed standard.

Ear cropping is done at 9 to 12 weeks of age.  It is a procedure that not a lot of veterinarians perform because it is artistic, quite specialized, and the follow-up is tedious.  The surgery usually involves an overnight stay, and for good reason. Once the puppy’s ears are cropped, they are sutured and placed in an aluminum rack.  The sutures will be removed after no more than seven days so they won’t scar. The rack however will stay in place for three weeks.

After the ear edges are healed, the ears will be wrapped in cotton and tape and checked every ten days until they stand.  This is can range from a relatively short amount of time in a short eared breed but can take months in a long eared breed.  This takes some getting used to for the puppy and often requires pain medication for a few days.  Follow up care is more critical and precise than the original surgery.  Many things can go wrong with disastrous results.

Ear cropping is generally cosmetic. It does offer the advantage of better air circulation and fewer ear infections.  Something most Labrador and Golden Retriever owners may envy.

Dewclaw removal is much less cosmetic. It is a very good idea in most breeds, especially if the claws are ‘not attached’.  These are deciduous claws which may have served an ancestral purpose. They are no longer necessary and often cause problems when they get caught on things and torn.  These claws can be found on one, two, three, or all four feet. They are part of the way up the foot, as if it were a thumb in placement.  They may either be ‘unattached’ in which they flop around loosely, only attached by skin, or ‘attached’ in which they grow from a joint.

Since they do not touch the ground they are never worn down.  They can be kept cut short but that is often overlooked.  They often grow around into a circle and can cut into the dogs leg.

Dewclaws commonly get caught on things like wires, blankets, and afghans, and tear, causing a lot of pain and blood.  It is an unnecessary trauma. If they weren’t removed at birth, they should be removed when the puppy undergoes his first anesthesia for a procedure.

Entropion One, Is One Of The Special Cosmetic Dog Surgeries

Entropion One, of the special Cosmetic surgeries that some dogs require is due to Entropion.  This is a condition in which the eyelids curl under.  It can affect one lid or all four and tends to affect some breeds more than others.  The Rottweiler, Chow Chow, Golden Retriever, and Shar Pei seem to be most susceptible.  Dogs may develop this at a young age, when they get older, or never.  If it occurs, the procedure to correct it is not elective.

As the eyelids curl under, the eyelashes scrub the cornea with every blink.  You will notice tearing and discharge. Eventually a pigment will grow on the cornea. The dog will be blind from the damage.

Cosmetic surgeries involving the rolling out of the eyelid. Removing a small sliver of skin and suturing it in place so that as is heals the dogs eyelid will close normally.  A dog having undergone this procedure will temporarily have a ‘surprised look’.  This look will relax as the swelling goes down and the hair grows back around the surgery site.  Don’t be alarmed.  This is the proper way to correct the affliction

De-barking Is Another One Of The Cosmetic Dog Surgeries

De- barking is not as widely performed on pets. It is quite common in show dogs. Anytime you have hundreds of dogs in one place, it seems like a good idea.  There are some breeds that are more vocal than others.  It may pose no problem at all.  Those dogs who do create problems for their owners, such as making enemies out of the neighbors, it is an option.

De-barking is a very quick procedure and causes about as much discomfort as having ones tonsils out.  It involves removing a piece of the vocal cord so that it doesn’t vibrate effectively.  The dog will still have a hoarse bark.  Instead the sound will not carry well.  Most dogs that went to sleep barking seem to wake up barking.  They just don’t make as much noise.  It doesn’t seem to dampen their spirits or slow them down a step.  They need to eat soft food for a few days.  There is usually very little after care besides encouraging them to rest.

About The Author
This article was written by Laura Anderson, a veterinary technician with more than 15 years experience in the veterinary field. The views and statements expressed in this article, and all other articles found on Puppy’s Place, do not under any circumstance, constitute veterinary advice. Always seek professional veterinary care for your pet.


Traveling With Your Puppy

Traveling with your puppy for summer vacation can be a marvelous experience.  A complete family picture!  There are some very important things to remember to keep you all safe and happy.

Very Important When Traveling With Your Puppy

The number one thing you have to remember when traveling with your puppy is to never leave him in the closed car without you…not even for a few minutes.  The car can become an oven in a very few minutes.  Dogs can’t get rid of heat from their bodies by sweating, so panting is all they can rely on.

In an enclosed hot car, all the dog is exchanging is hot air.  This is very dangerous.  Heat stroke can overcome a dog in a matter of minutes. Also ,it is often fatal.  Can cause permanent brain damage if they do survive.

A dog is more likely to get into trouble even on a moderately warm day if he stresses out when you leave the car.  When he paces, barks, whines,  frets, he will work himself into a state that isn’t safe.

Ventilation Is A Must When Traveling With Your Puppy

When traveling with your puppy there are a few items to consider purchasing.  Window guards are available that allow the window to be down several inches while still protecting your pet from escaping.  These are a must if you plan to be on vacation with your pet.  Ventilation is the key!

 Safety Items Available For Traveling

  You might consider a barrier that keeps him from freely jumping (or falling) over the back of the seat.  It keeps him safe from doors that get left ajar, from minor car accidents, and windows left open.

If he will be traveling in the back seat you might want to invest in a harness that clips into the seat belt clip. This will keep him properly tethered in case of accidents. Also, it keeps him from lunging out the door before you are ready for him to do so.

Be sure to take a lunge line or a tie out cable if you plan to stop at rest stops along your travel.  Give him a little wiggle room too so long as it is Traveling safely away from the road and other hazards.

Important to Have Water Available When Traveling With Your Puppy

He should have plenty of water available.  When you pack your cooler, make sure his jug gets in there too!  Soft packable bowls are available. Plus they take up less room than standard ones.  You might want to keep a couple around for his food and water.

Traveling Dogs can also get car sick, just like anyone else.  Bonine is available over the counter and generally very effective.  Check with your veterinarian for the appropriate dose.

A Few Others Things To Make Traveling With Your Puppy A Fun Time

Another item that may be useful to have is a waterproof pad or mat for him to rest on.  At least throw in a comforter or a favorite blanket for him to rest on.  It is preferable that it be easy to clean.

A few toys that make him feel at home are a must.  If he is crate trained you might invest in a soft collapsible crate for those times when you will be away from him. This is if you think he would feel safer that way.  When shopping for dog crates, make sure you match the size of the crate to the size of your pet.

Don’t let taking your friend along be daunting or unsafe.  Plan and prepare just a little and this promises to be a great summer vacation full of wonderful memories!

About The Author
This article was written by Laura Anderson, a veterinary technician with more than 15 years experience in the veterinary field. The views and statements expressed in this article, and all other articles found on Puppy’s Place, do not under any circumstance, constitute veterinary advice. Always seek professional veterinary care for your pet.


Puppy Vaccinations – How To Protect Your Puppy

Puppy vaccinations are the best way you can protect the health of your puppy. You should begin vaccinating your puppy at six weeks old. Research shows that puppy vaccinations administered before that time are ineffective due to the level of antibodies yet in their systems. Puppy vaccinations should be given every three to four weeks until four months of age. Vaccinating protect your puppy.

Puppy Vaccinations For A Healthy Puppy

The major viruses we can protect them against are distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, para-influenza, parvovirus, corona, bordetella, lyme disease, and rabies.  There is also a vaccine for giardia, which is a protozoa, not a virus.

Never expose your puppy to other animals until they have completed their puppy vaccinations. Protect them. Dog parks, city parks, walks around the block, grooming facilities, boarding facilities, friends houses.  Anywhere else they may come in contact with where other dogs have been, should be avoided at all costs. At the vet they should stay on your lap until it is their turn.  They are more susceptible to disease now than they will ever be again. Any place except your own backyard should be considered off limits.  Until they are five months old and have completed their series of vaccines.

 Puppy vaccinations work by injecting and exposing. Protect the puppy to tiny amounts of the virus so the body can begin to recognize it and develop immunity against it. Every injection builds the immunity level a little bit more. It is necessary to follow a schedule and complete it.  It will be 7-10 days after an injection before the body begins to respond.

Viruses survive quite well long after the animals who had them have passed by.  Keep in mind that stray dogs happen through front yards and even wild animals can carry canine diseases. Canine parvo is a mutated strain of the feline distemper virus. Wild animals such as raccoons and skunks are susceptible to both canine and feline viruses. Protect these animals that the mutation is thought to have occurred, changing enough to affect a new species.

 Suggested Time Schedule For Puppy Vaccinations

Ask your veterinarian what his recommendations ar,e but a good puppy vaccinations schedule should look something like this:

6 weeks old Parvo
9 weeks old 1st DHLPP, 1st Bordetella
11 weeks old 2nd Bordetella, 1st Lyme disease
13 weeks old 2nd DHLPP
16 weeks old 3rd DHLPP, 2nd Lyme, Rabies

DHLPP is five different vaccines given in one injection.  They are distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, and parvovirus.

The parvo vaccine tends to get a bit over ridden by the distemper vaccine when given in combination and therefore should be given at least once by itself. Preferably at the six week visit to begin to build immunity as soon as possible.

Canine Parvovirus is a virus that causes tremendous bloody diarrhea and vomiting, extreme lethargy, and often drooling. Parvo is often fatal despite everyone’s best efforts. The only effective course of treatment is hospitalization in quarantine and intravenous fluids as the virus renders pups unable to keep anything down by mouth.Treatment can last from 4 to 7 days and cost hundreds of dollars for effective medications and fluid replacement. Cause of death is severe dehydration and multi-system failure.  This virus is still quite prevalent. It is the most common contagious virus.  It is contracted through contact with infected feces and can linger on solid surfaces and in fabrics for months.  All precautions should be taken to protect against it.

Distemper is another virus that is still fairly common and causes neurological damage that often ultimately results in seizures and death. It is airborne as well as by direct contact with secretions.  Common symptoms are nasal and eye discharge, coughing, and vomiting, and hardened nose and pads of the feet. Hospitalization and quarantine is usually the best way to treat and prevent the spread of this virus.

Bordetella is a virus that causes what is commonly known as ‘kennel cough’.  Two vaccines should be given two weeks apart at first. This is not a fatal virus, but it can cause a tremendous cough that can last for weeks or months. It can cause permanent damage to air passages.This vaccine is available by injection and as an internasal drop. It is a bit easier to give as an injection but quite a bit more effective as an internasal as they also get a local immunity in the nasal passages. This is important because it is contracted from inhaling the virus.

Lyme disease is becoming more common in most parts of the country now. It is spread by the deer tick and can effect the heart, nervous system, and cause arthritis and degeneration of the joints.

Rabies vaccines are given at no earlier than 16 weeks old. Many veterinarians prefer to give it slightly later.  This vaccine must be given by the veterinarian and a certificate of proof will be issued .Law requires that dogs be vaccinated against rabies because it is possible for humans to contract rabies from a dog.

Rabies virus attacks the brain, causing nervous system responses such as anxiety, restlessness, apprehension for several days and then progresses into aggression and fury. Paralysis starts to set in after several more days which causes deep labored breathing, a fixed jaw, drooling and ultimately, death.

Rabies is still found in wild animals including bats, skunks, raccoons, and foxes and deaths are still reported among pets and humans though the numbers are very low thanks to strict vaccine laws.