Your Puppy's First Vet Visit
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Your puppy's first visit to the vet will probably be more than just a quick hello. Get all the details from Veterinarian Dr. Katy Nelson as she talks about important details like how to properly bring your puppy into the vet's office and vaccinations he needs.
Your puppy's first veterinary checkup is about much more than simply greeting your dog's new vet, weighing in, and getting him his standard immunizations. Believe it or not, your first visit is just as much about educating yourself and answering your questions as it is about checking the health of your newest family member. Your first vet visit requires organization, preparation, and sometimes even some light note taking. Hi, I'm Dr. Katy Nelson with IAMS, and today we're talking about how to take your new puppy to his first veterinary appointment. Let's begin with what you'll need to bring to your first visit. First, you should find out what the breeder or shelter has already done for your puppy. They've probably given them some vaccinations. He probably has also been placed on a deworming schedule, and may even be on a heartworm preventative. And depending upon his breed, the tail may have been docked and the dewclaws removed. Your veterinarian will need all of this information, along with the puppy's approximate birth date. So it's important to bring all of your paperwork with you to your first veterinarian visit, so they can help you determine a schedule for completing immunizations, and determine when it's best to schedule spaying and neutering. Next you should bring a fresh stool sample to your first visit, so the veterinarian can check for parasites. Lastly, prepare a list of questions. After having your puppy home for a few days, there's no better time to ask questions than at your first visit with a medical professional. Ask other family members, too, if they have any questions that they'd like added to your list. Once you're prepared, bring your puppy's crate to the car, and do your best to secure it with available seat belts. Depending on the size and weight of the crate and the puppy, it's usually easier to secure the crate first, and then put your puppy inside. If you cannot fit a crate in your car, try purchasing a dog seat belt that is specifically designed to restrain and protect your puppy in case of an accident. This next piece of information is critical. Carry your puppy into the doctor's office. Do not let him interact with any other animals in the office. Though the other animals may be perfectly healthy themselves, your puppy can still get very sick from even just rubbing noses with another dog until his vaccinations and immunity against disease is further developed. After greeting you and your new pup, your vet will likely begin examining your pup as she continues to converse and answer your questions. She'll check your puppy's weight, temperature, heart, lungs, ears, genitals, eyes, nose, skin, anal region, mouth, and gums for both basic and breed abnormalities. Your puppy needs to learn to be comfortable being handled by others. Remaining calm and peaceful in the new environment with the vet or any other stranger will allow your puppy to do the same. Depending on the status of your puppy's records and stool exam, your puppy will also begin the deworming process, receive the following initial vaccines: rabies, distemper, and Bordatella. If your puppy's exposed to other dogs in boarding, public dog parks, training, and other situations, then based on geography and lifestyle, ask your veterinarian which vaccines they recommend for your puppy. Also, ask your vet about microchipping, and when it is safe to begin socializing and training your pup. Following the initial visit, your veterinarian will ask that you return to booster the vaccines until your puppy reaches a certain age. The time between boosters typically ranges between two and four weeks. Here are some signs that your puppy needs immediate medical care: allergic reactions or swelling around the face, hives-- this is most easily seen on the belly or face-- any eye injuries, any respiratory problems, any signs of pain-- panting, labored breathing, increased body temperature, lethargy, restlessness, or loss of appetite-- any suspected poisoning, any open wound, a seizure, fainting, or collapse, snake bites, thermal stress-- either too hot or too cold-- trauma, like if he's hit by a car, even if he seems fine, vomiting or diarrhea more than two or three times within an hour. I'm Dr. Katy Nelson with IAMS, and I hope that you found this helpful as you welcome your new addition to the family.
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- adp_description_block164Nutrition for Large- and Giant-Breed Adult Dogs
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Healthy joints and proper weight are especially important for dogs that grow to be more than 50 pounds. But not all large- and giant-breed adult dogs have the same nutritional needs. Is your dog getting proper exercise? Is she about to have puppies? Special conditions can dramatically affect your dog’s nutritional demands. Giving her a food specially formulated for her large size, life stage and activity level is the easiest way to make sure she’s getting the nutrients she needs.
Choosing a Food for Overall Health
To address the special needs of your large- or giant-breed dog, look for these features:
- Less fat to help maintain an ideal body condition for less joint stress
- Vitamin-rich fish oils for healthy skin, shiny coat and overall health
- Essential vitamins and minerals to help support the immune system and help maintain good health
- High-quality animal-based protein sources to help maintain muscle tone
- A moderately fermentable fiber source, such as beet pulp, to maintain intestinal health, enhance your dog's ability to absorb nutrients, and reduce backyard cleanup
- A carbohydrate blend to help sustain energy by maintaining normal blood sugar levels
These components are key to good nutrition. Look for them in treats, wet dog food, or dry dog food, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Adult Large Breed.
Maintaining Healthy Joints and Cartilage
Joint health is a big concern for owners of large- and giant-breed dogs. A large- or giant-breed formula that contains high-quality protein can help nourish healthy joints. Vitamins and minerals help promote the production of cartilage. Also, keeping your dog at a healthy weight will help minimize joint stress.
Guarding Against Weight Gain
Dogs with lower activity levels and dogs that have been neutered or spayed are all prone to weight gain. Controlling your dog’s weight is an important step toward protecting against the health effects of excess weight, such as diabetes or joint health problems. If you use a weight-management food, look for these characteristics:
- A reduced fat level that still offers essential nutrients for skin and coat health
- L-carnitine, a key nutrient that helps burn fat and maintain muscle mass during weight loss
- Special carbohydrate blends that help maintain energy while managing weight
- Vitamin-rich fish oils for overall health
Providing Nutrition During Pregnancy
Pregnant dogs have substantial nutrition requirements. Starting in the seventh week of her pregnancy, a mother dog will need to increase her energy intake up to 50% by the time she gives birth and increase it even more when she starts nursing her puppies. Because she may lose her appetite at times, it's important that she eats a nutrient-dense food. A complete, balanced puppy formula can give her the extra nutrients she needs. But avoid puppy food created for large and giant breeds; these formulas contain specially adjusted levels of energy and minerals that may not be sufficient for a pregnant or nursing dog.
Switching to a Mature Diet
Dogs who grow to be more than 50 pounds are considered mature or senior at age 5 or 6, which is earlier than small-breed dogs. So, it’s critical to make a proactive transition to a specially formulated mature diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Mature Adult Large Breed, to help keep your dog healthy and active as she ages.
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