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A new puppy, now what?

We spoke to Dr. Price of the Windmill Animal Hospital about what comes after we bring our new puppy home.
YOU GOT A NEW PUPPY FOR CHRISTMAS—NOW WHAT DO YOU DO?

The first 4-6 months of a puppy’s life determine his health and behavior for the rest of his life. Here’s how to handle those critically important months, to end up with a healthy, well-socialized pet.

1. VETERINARY CARE
· all puppies need to see their veterinarian every 3-4 weeks, starting at 6-8 weeks of age, 4 times
· EVERY puppy needs to receive3 Distemper, 4 Parvovirus, 2 Bordetella and 1 Rabies vaccine during those 4 visits
· all puppies should be checked for worms at each veterinary visit; this is strongly recommended by the CDC and the NPC, because canine intestinal worms are transmissible to humans
· Abilene has an ongoing Parvo and Distemper epidemic; unvaccinated puppies are at a huge risk of exposure; the cost of all 4 puppy visit vet bills are LESS than the cost of 1 day of treating for a Parvo infection

2. GROOMING
· puppies need to learn early about being bathed, brushed, nails clipped, etc.
· schedule formal grooming visits at the grooming salon as soon as your puppy has received 2 sets of vaccines
· bathe & trim your puppy’s nails regularly

3. SOCIALIZATION
· behavior problems are the #1 reason for dogs being surrendered to a shelter
· you MUST invest the time with your puppy during the critical first few months, so that he/she gets the needed skill set for a happy, well- adjusted life; 6 weeks to 4 months is THE most important time to socialize a puppy
· puppy kindergarten class is an excellent learning environment
· puppy play dates with other dogs & puppies, taking your puppy everywhere you go, exposure to new environments and stimuli are also huge helps
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