1. Veterinary consultation and examination.
We recommend 3 veterinary visits for each new puppy, to examine your puppy as it grows and to go over the many aspects of puppy ownership with you. All puppies are given at least one full physical examination. There are many aspects of raising a puppy which we may spend a lot of time going over with a new puppy owner and reviewing with a seasoned puppy owner. We touch on socialization, nutrition, vaccines, deworming, dental care, nail trimming, microchip implants, pet insurance, spay/ neutering, weight control, wellness blood testing, heartworm/ fleas, house training, positive reward based training and anxiety issues. The extent to the discussions will depend on the client receptiveness and their own list of important issues. We are here to help you turn this puppy into an important family member who will hopefully healthy well into geriatric years.
2. Vaccine Series: This series is age dependent. By missing earlier vaccines your pup takes on risk of acquiring these diseases as its maternal protection declines.
6- <10weeks – DHPP (distemper, hepatitis (Adenovirus), parvovirus, parainfluenza)
>10-14weeks- DHPP – all dogs.
Leptospirosis (L) – all dogs unless almost strictly indoors with no contact to areas frequented by skunks and raccoons (contaminated soil/ water).
Lymes (Ly) – mainly reserved for dogs that frequent areas where deer roam, such as cottages and hiking in the Gatineau hills.
Bordetella (B) nasal, oral (our current preference), or injectable (when the nasal is not tolerated)
Bordetella is generally recommended in the first year due to exposure to dog obedience classes. Later on often but not always required by dog groomers, dog kennels and it is a good idea at dog shows or where many dogs are held together indoor
>14 weeks – DHPP, L, Ly, B and Rabies Bordetella is given only once to a pup unless the injectable form was given, which requires a booster. Rabies lasts 3 years ONLY after it is boostered 1 year after this pup priming vaccine. For international travel, Rabies must be given no earlier than 3 months of age (which can be more than 12 actual weeks).
* Rabies is required by law mainly to protect the public. This is a reportable, federally regulated disease that is lethal and expensive to treat post rabies exposure in people.
*this vaccine series is boostered at one visit, 1 year after the Rabies vaccine is given. This is considered the next most important vaccine for the rest of the pet’s life. Not to be missed.
3. Puppy Development Consult at 6-9 Months of Age
This is an important visit to evaluate the development of your puppy to make sure nothing has been missed up to this point, and to decide on what is the best time to neuter or spay and start dental care
- We evaluate the body condition score (BCS) to make sure your pet is not over or under weight, and is developing at the normal rate for the breed.
- We do an oral examination to assess for early dental disease, retained baby teeth, over-crowded, or missing teeth, early calculus or broken teeth. If there are problems seen at this age, we will likely recommend the traditional time for spaying or neutering at 6-9 months. This is so we can take advantage of one anesthetic to take care of their teeth at the same time, and dramatically decrease costs. If the teeth look okay, then we would consider delaying the spay/neuter until 12 to 18 months of age to allow the puppy to further develop both physically and mentally.
- We want to assess the puppy’s emotional development especially in regards to fear and anxiety. New information has shown that early neuters and spays can increase fear and anxiety in puppies. For pets exhibiting these types of concerns we would try to postpone the time of spaying or neutering up to 18 months to allow them to develop more self-confidence. If we need to give an anesthetic due to dental issues, then we would pre-treat these pets with an anti-anxiety medication such as Trazadone.
- By delaying spaying and neutering we also allow time for the teeth to show some need of a cleaning. Dentistry before 18 months of age is approximately 40% discounted if done with the spay or neuter, and we also discount that by 30% if done before 18 months of age. By having an early dental it will allow you to have their next dental at 30% off any time before 3 years of age. We recommend pets have a dentistry every 18 months, and repeat dentals within that 18 months are also 30% discounted. See Our Dental Program for more information.
- The parasite program is also reviewed, and the 2nd or 3rd fecal assessment is due around this time. We make sure the pet has been properly de-wormed and is on monthly de-worming medication until 12 months of age.
- We review anything from our healthcare guidelines, which hopefully you received a copy of at your first visit, that we may not have had the opportunity to discuss with you earlier. Guidelines for your Dogs Health Care
- We may, at the doctor’s discretion quickly recheck something that may have been identified earlier related to the development of your pet; such as a heart murmur. However an examination is not part of this visit and if one is necessary it would need to be scheduled for a different time.
4. De-worming and Stool Analysis
Guidelines were adopted from the Canadian Animal Parasite Council www.capcvet.org.
Pups are given an initial series of 3 broad spectrum internal parasite treatments each given 2 weeks after the last.
This is followed by monthly de-worming medication up until the pet is 1 year of age.
Stools are analyzed for internal parasites every 3 months just before the next de-worming medication is given.
If there is history of fleas we need to treat for tapeworms regularly so long as we feel the dog is being bitten by adult fleas. This may be midway and at the end of flea treatment and perhaps the following year. Flea eggs can remain dormant for many months, potentially as long as 6-12 months in cold conditions.
4. Heartworm Prevention
This is combined with the deworming program since the medication we use works for heartworm prevention too. The key times for heartworm prevention are between June and mid October.
5. Dental Care
We encourage clients to be proactive at keeping on top of their pets teeth at an early age.
The easiest thing to do is socialize your puppy to letting you into their mouth. You should teach him/her to let you lift up the lips, to touch all the teeth and gently scratch them. Opening and looking down the mouth is not important for dental care, but it is a valuable tool to be able to do later on for a number of reasons. Ideally you should scratch the outer surfaces of the teeth once per week. If you can graduate to brushing once or twice daily that would be of great value, but in the future scratching off brown build up is going to be critically important to prevent tartar build up. Brushing by itself is usually not enough. Chewing rawhides and other soft chew toys, ideally daily, is a very good way to help keep the teeth clean.
Some dogs have such rapid dental tartar accumulation and gingivitis that they need a full dental before 1 year of age (Yorkshire Terriers are one such prone breed). Mild to moderate early tartar can be removed by ultrasonic scaling or hand instruments at the time of spay/ neuter.
Baby teeth come out at variable times, but should be mostly out by 6 months of age. It is common for small breeds especially to have retained deciduous (baby, milk) teeth that need extraction at this time. We hold off the spay and neuter time for this reason. This saves giving a second anesthesia. Retained deciduous teeth that remain can cause early periodontitis in the adult teeth that are grounded by them.
Our Dental Program
6. Wellness Testing
We advise a complete blood count and biochemical profile (wellness screen) to be done on all pets in their first year to assess the internal organs and screen for congenital abnormalities. This is particularly advantageous before they get their first anesthesia to be spayed or neutered at 6-7 months of age. This pre-anesthetic panel adds to the safety and quality of giving general anesthesia…it’s gold standard.
Our Wellness Program
7. Spay and Neuter at 6-7 months
Although we can spay or neuter an animal as early as 7 weeks of age safely, we advise to wait until the animal develops more, and to wait to make sure the baby or deciduous teeth fall out properly (otherwise we need to extract them).
We like to have a preanesthetic blood screen done at least a few days before the procedure to make sure everything is healthy inside the pet. On admission pets are given a sedative, anti-anxiety and pain preventative medication. Intravenous fluids are administered throughout the procedure and we monitor closely with the help of respiratory, blood pressure, arterial oxygen saturation (pulse oximetry), temperature and ECG monitors.
It is important to remember that pets sometimes have a tendency to gain weight after being spayed. Their metabolic needs may change due to a decrease in the male and female hormones since the testicles or ovaries were removed. Researchers feel this procedure may change the behavior of the animal leading to more consumption of food. Regardless, you should be proactive by decreasing the quantity of food given and especially quantities of treats given after this procedure. Obesity and overweight is very common and often evident at the 1st annual exam.
8. Positive Reward Based Training
We encourage all our clients to take their puppies for obedience training. We can’t understate the importance of having your dog be able to consistently respond to the basic directions of sit, down, stay, and come, whether Great Dane or Chihuahua. It is important though to pick the right trainer, because it is a buyer beware market out there with no professional overseeing or regulatory body; philosophies vary.
We strongly suggest finding a trainer with a Positive Reward Based Training philosophy. Basically you reward good behaviors, or behaviors you want to see repeated, and ignore and prevent from occurring undesirable behaviors. Clicker training is a very fast way to teach a pet your language. Using punishment or dominance philosophy can lead to increased anxiety, fear and aggression in dogs. Most of us can’t time or give punishment correctly, if there is a correct way at all, without inappropriate negative energy.
There are a lot of positive guidelines I believe you can get from Cesar Millan the ‘Dog Whisperer’, but his dominance ideas and confrontation have caused a lot of concerns in the veterinary behaviorist community. His magic formula of correcting dog behavior is really good**: 1. Exercise, Exercise, exercise (the walk) 2. Discipline (rules, boundaries and limitations) 3. Affection **key point being in THAT ORDER. Thinking of dogs’ needs as firstly an animal, then a dog, then the breed and finally the pet is good. Looking at your energy (your emotional state toward your dog in particular and to those around you) and how your dog may likely mirror your energy is important to understand. The idea of being calm and assertive and praise your dog for being calm and submissive should not be confused with over powering your dog, hitting it, pinning it down, yelling etc. to get a nice, quiet, calm, happy, trained dog. Forcing your dog to do something is archaic. If they can train an elephant with just peanuts, and all the other zoo/ marine animals, you can train your dog too. Your treat is the payment for good behavior. None of us like to work for free and neither should the dog have to.