If you’ve been experiencing the quarantine blues, adopting a new furry companion might help with the loneliness. Dogs are not only blissfully unaware of our current stressful situation, but they offer a much-needed distraction from the news. Best of all, puppies are bundles of joy, unconditionally loving, and will no doubt bring a lot of love and light into your home. What better way to beat the lockdown boredom than with a new pup?
You’re not alone—thousands of people have fostered or adopted new pets this year. With such a happy spike of animals finding their fur-ever homes, it’s still important to keep in mind all the responsibilities that new puppies bring with them. Additionally, they will need support—time and attention—that lasts well beyond quarantine.
In order to decrease the likelihood of returned puppies, we thought we’d share Cuyamaca Animal Hospital’s top puppy recommendations to ensure a long-lasting and happy relationship with your pup.
Here’s what you should know about your new puppy:
At the top of every new pet parent’s to-do list are vaccinations. In fact, many puppy classes/daycares, grooming, boarding facilities, and even dog parks require new dogs to be up-to-date on vaccines before entering their care.
What you should be aware of is the timeline for these shots: the distemper parvo vaccine is given at 8, 12, and 16 weeks of age, while the rabies vaccine is given at 16 weeks. Additionally, we recommend that you do not take your puppy to any beaches, parks, or even walks around the block until the last set of vaccines is administered. Your puppy isn’t fully immunized until then, and can still contract infectious diseases like parvo.
Some puppies will need special vaccines determined by the kind of lifestyle you have. For instance, if you intend to travel a lot with your pup, you should ask about heartworm protection. If your puppy is a swimmer, or you think your puppy will be exposed to wildlife, you may want to ask about vaccinating for leptospirosis. Leptospirosis is a bacteria that’s spread by wildlife and rats, which can cause liver and kidney failure in both dogs and people.
Roundworms are commonly found in puppies, as the larvae are introduced to young developing dogs through their mother’s uterus or milk. Roundworms cause malnutrition and could potentially also cause an intestinal obstruction in your pup. Not only that, but roundworms are contagious to humans through stool contact, making deworming extremely important.
Because worms and parasites are so common in puppies, we recommend deworming puppies immediately, and at least three times (we will need to develop a deworming schedule appropriate for your individual puppy). We also recommend providing a fresh fecal sample to rule out parasites, as approximately 25% of healthy puppies with normal stool will carry them.
Spaying and neutering should be performed as early as the ages of 4 to 6 months of age. Why? Each heat cycle increases the risk of breast cancer, so you’ll want to spay as early as possible.
For large breed dogs (adults weighing more than 50 pounds), the spay/neuter should be performed closer to 12 months of age. Giant breeds can wait to be spayed or neutered until 18 months of age. When you get your new puppy, you’ll want to discuss with your veterinarian as soon as possible what the right time frame will be for your pup.
It’s also important to know that when the last set of vaccines are given, we will screen blood work for congenital liver and kidney problems, juvenile diabetes, anemia, and heartworms. Spaying and neutering should only be performed after these screenings.
After the preliminary veterinary exams your puppy needs to have, socialization is probably the most important thing to consider when introducing a new puppy to the family. Cuyamaca Animal Hospital joins veterinary behaviorists in strongly recommending that pet parents socialize their puppies before 4 months of age to avoid behavioral issues in the future.
It’s also important that he or she learns how to be alone comfortably to prevent developing separation anxiety. Giving your puppy a favorite toy or kong with a little bit of peanut butter when you leave will help him or her associate being alone as a positive experience!
Socialization should take place in a controlled setting, such as a puppy class or daycare at a well-reputed facility, like Furry Friends Resort. Because it’s so difficult to properly socialize puppies during social distance protocols and lockdowns, Furry Friends Resort is now offering The Puppy Package: Receive 20% off your first 10 days of half-day daycare or your first 10 days of full-day daycare.
Head over to Furry Friends Resort to read more about their safety protocols and how they can help your puppy have a normal, happy life without the risk. And in the meantime, give Cuyamaca Animal Hospital a call at (619) 448-0707 so that we can make sure your puppy has the right healthcare plan in place!