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Feed your puppy 4 times per day until 12 weeks old, 3 times daily until 6 months old, then 2 times daily for life. Feed your puppy medium priced brand name foods, making sure ingredients include a calcium and phosphorus ratio from 1.25:1. A mixture of canned or semi-moist food with dry food is also recommended.
Groom your puppy at least once per week. Use a brush and comb down to the skin. Trim nails with pet nail clippers when nails hit ground while walking or when visibly long. Cut off narrow tips anterior to blood vessel. If nail bleeds, rub cut surface with a damp bar of soap or with cornstarch.
Besides a physical exam, annual check ups include Leptospirosis vaccine and a tri-annual distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza vaccine (DH-PP vaccine). You may also consider vaccinating against bordetella & parainfluenza ("kennel cough"), especially if <animal> is exposed to many other dogs. Rabies vaccines are given every three years, after your puppy has had a one-year rabies vaccination. Additionally, an intestinal parasite screen should be performed yearly and only requires a small fecal sample. Intestinal parasites can be harmful to your pet, but if detected, they are very treatable. If positive your puppy has a positive screen, bring another fecal sample 2 weeks after worming to ensure all parasites are killed. Heartworm tests are performed every spring using a blood test to ensure <animal> is free of heartworms and preventatives are given.
Take your puppy outside whenever he/she wakes up, finishes eating, finishes playing, or whenever you suspect he/she "has to go to the bathroom". Praise highly when he/she performs. Also take him/her out after an accident saying "No" indoors, and praising outdoors. Punishment doesn't help nearly as much as praise. Also puppy has forgotten what he/she has done by five minutes later. Confine pup to a small area (as a crate) when not watching him/her.
Heartworm testing must be done every spring for all dogs over 6 months of age. Preventative medication is now recommended by the Center for Disease Control (CDC) as a year-round treatment. Preventative medications are available in a monthly oral or topical form, or a 6-month injection can be given along with one dose of oral preventative. Illness or death can occur when preventative medication is given to a heartworm-infected dog. Preventative medication must be given regularly to be effective. See our "Heartworm FAQ" page for more information.
Pet Health Insurance and Microchipping are available to your puppy. Pet Health Insurance can help defray the costs of future health care and special discounts are available to new puppies. Microchipping is a method of permanent pet identification. A small microchip is placed under the skin between the shoulder blades which, when scanned, provides a unique number. That identification number can than be traced back to your puppy via a national database. The chip allows veterinarians, animal control officials, or emergency clinics to quickly contact you in the event of an emergency or reunite you with your puppy if he/she is lost.
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