When it comes to your puppy’s health and happiness, your veterinarian is your co-pilot – or co-Plott (yes, that’s a breed of dog!), however you see fit.
Getting your puppy vaccinated for parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis kennel cough, and possibly leptospirosis (which your vet will discuss) is one of the first orders of business with your vet. You’ll want to do this when your puppy is at six, 10 and 14 weeks old.
But before your VERY BRAVE boy or girl has their shots, it’s best not to walk them in public or allow them to go to any mutt mixers – this shouldn’t hurt their social lives too badly, since most dogs have ‘been there’.
Your puppy’s growth period, which is under one year of age (give or take a few bones), is another prime time to see the doc. During this phase, your itty bitty bowser will do all the growing it takes us humans 20 years to do – bow-WOW! His bones are developing rapidly, and by four to six months, his baby teeth will have fallen out and been replaced by adult teeth – or canines, if you will. By having the vet check your puppy during this important time, problems can be found and fixed early. Which of course, gives your wee little woofer the best start to a long life with you. Wag, wag!
Microchipping your puppy is yet another party at the vet’s office – but in all seriousness, it’s the law. And a good one, too. Microchipping safely and permanently identifies your puppy in the event he gets lost or injured, so he can be quickly returned to you. Now what the Dalmatian is a microchip? It’s a tiny transponder, about the size of a grain of rice, which your vet implants under your pet’s skin, between the shoulder blades. Once this is done, it’s a good idea for you or your veterinary office to register your puppy’s microchip number with the local council and Australasian Animal Register/New Zealand Animal Register. This way, if your puppy is found, a vet or RSPCA/SPCA worker will use a handheld scanner to read the radio frequency of the chip, and up will pop your dog’s identification number, now linked with your contact details. Registering your little Lhasa Apso by the time he’s three months old is the way to go. Yip to the chip!
Spaying or neutering your puppy are two ouchie but oh-so-important things your vet can also help with. Unless you’re planning to show or breed your dog, it’s a good idea to have your pet spayed (removal of the ovaries and uterus) or neutered (removal of the testes) by the time he or she is four months old.
Spaying spares your female dog from becoming ‘in heat’, which can cause some social problems. Not only that, it also helps prevent health problems, including mammary cancer and uterine disease. Go, grrrl!
Neutering your male dog makes him less likely to mark his territory by cocking his leg; roam and be aggressive with other dogs; and father unwanted puppies. Ruh-roh!
Both are very caring, responsible choices for petlovers to make. If anything, you’ll help protect millions of dogs from being destroyed each year, due to overpopulation and lack of homes. They’ll woof you for it. xo