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How often should my puppy see the vet?

By Ali, Oct 4 2014 03:00PM

Congrats! You've decided to take the plunge and adopt a puppy. Puppies are a big responsibility but also very rewarding. Keeping your new best friend healthy needs to be your number one priority because puppies lack fully developed immune systems and are susceptible to many diseases.

Want to keep little Rover healthy as can be? Follow these easy step:

1. Complete all puppy shots! Puppies usually begin vaccinations around 8 weeks old and have 3-4 sets of vaccinations spaced every 2-3 weeks. Each vet may have slightly different vaccination schedules depending on a variety of factors but they generally fall within these guidelines. All puppies adopted from ARF have all age appropriate vaccinations. We will not adopt out puppies until they've had some vaccinations but depending on the age of the pup you adopt, you may need to follow up with your vet to complete the vaccination series.

2. Feed premium food! You know the old saying, you are what you eat. Good premium kibble contains mostly meat and healthy whole grains and skips the fillers, dyes and preservatives that are common in cheaper, grocery store brands. And "premium" doesn't have to mean costly. Many pet stores and feed and seed type stores carry good quality food that won't break the bank.

3. Keep your puppy away from public places where unvaccinated dogs may frequent. Socialization is important but you also need to protect your puppy's health until their vaccinations "kick in". Discuss the appropriate timeline with your vet.

4. Buy heartworm preventative! Most puppies can begin heartworm preventative when they're old enough to begin vaccinations. Heartworms are transmitted by mosquitoes and we all know how common those pests are in the deep South! An unprotected dog is highly likely to get heartworms so discuss starting heartworm prevention right away. Heartworms are dangerous to your dog's health, very costly to treat and do irreversible damage so prevention is key! Heartworm preventatives are relatively cheap and most are given monthly. Most importantly, they are extremely effective so if you start your puppy right away and continue his treatment year round, you should easily be able to protect your pup from getting this terrible parasite.

5. Get good flea protection! Fleas are more than just a nuisance. Fleas are the source of parasites like tapeworms and some dogs are extremely allergic to flea bites. In an allergic dog, the reaction quickly escalates from a single itchy bite to a full blown rash and constant chewing on the tail and hind quarters, often to the point where no hair remains. But, don't just use that generic over the counter stuff from the discount store. Many flea preventatives can be toxic to puppies, so consult with your vet to make sure your pup is old enough to begin treatment and discuss your options. Many newer generation topicals and pills exist that are easier to administer, safer and more effective.

Follow these simple steps and you'll be well on your way to having a happy healthy furry best friend!

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