Adding a new furry member to your family is an exciting time, but it’s important to start planning your new pup’s health plan (sooner rather than later) to ensure they live a longer and happier life with you.
Here are the to-do’s for your new puppy’s health along with tips and suggestions I give to my own clients and their new companions.
8 Must-Have Items for Your New Puppy’s Health Checklist
1. Set Up Your Puppy’s Health Insurance Plan
Just like your health insurance policy, pet health insurance can relieve your wallet from a huge chunk of your new puppy’s medical expenses.
Technology in the world of veterinary medicine is consistently increasing, and this growth reflects on your vet bills. Luckily, many great pet health insurance policies will cover accidents, medications, and any diagnostic or alternative treatments. Some will even cover your puppy’s routine preventative care appointments!
Check out these popular pet health insurance providers or ask your veterinarian which ones they recommend:
- Healthy Paws Pet Insurance & Foundation
- Embrace Pet Insurance
- ASPCA Pet Insurance
- Nationwide Pet Insurance
2. Get Your Pup Vaccinated
When you visit the veterinarian for your puppy’s health check, the doctor will help you set up a vaccination schedule. There will be a series of strongly encouraged core vaccines along with some non-core vaccines formulated to protect your furry friend from preventable illnesses.
A dog’s core vaccines include:
- Canine parvovirus
Non-core vaccines are:
- Canine parainfluenza virus (CPiV)
- Lyme disease
While all of these vaccines are optional, you should talk to your veterinarian about which ones will be essential for your puppy according to their unique needs and the kind of lifestyle they’ll have with you.
3. Treatment for Worms and Parasites
Pesty worms and parasites can easily make their way into young dogs’ bodies either in utero or through their mother’s milk. This is why a fecal test and de-worming treatment will be some of the most important things you’ll do for your new puppy’s health.
During your fur baby’s first vet visit, a fecal exam will determine if they’ve been infected by worms or parasites. If possible, bring a stool sample with you to the appointment.
This will also be a great time to discuss preventative treatment for heartworms, parasitic worms that can cause severe lung disease and heart failure in pets. The American Heartworm Society recommends that puppies start heartworm treatment as soon as eight weeks of age.
4. Choose a Flea and Tick Treatment
Fleas and ticks are other unpleasant pests you’ll want to keep at bay from the get-go. Not only can they carry pathogens that cause disease in both animals and humans, but they are a pain to get rid of once an infestation starts.
Most flea and tick preventatives are safe to use at 8 weeks of age and can be given either topically or orally.
5. Get Ready For Spay or Neuter Surgery
If your puppy hasn’t already been spayed or neutered, you’ll definitely want to consider it. Pets that are “fixed” have a lower risk of developing uterine/prostate cancer and experience fewer behavioral problems usually associated with their mating instinct.
You’ll also be preventing unwanted litters and helping your local animal shelters from overcrowding.
6. Start Dental Care
Although a puppy’s tiny chompers are shiny and new, I always recommend that my clients start dental care immediately.
Dental disease is a common yet preventable health problem in canines that can lead to a variety of troubling symptoms such as:
- Bad breath
- Mouth pain
- Loose or broken teeth
- Inability to eat or drink
In severe cases, plaque can enter your dog’s bloodstream and cause damage to the heart, kidneys, or liver.
You can kickstart dental care at home by brushing your puppy’s teeth with a pet-formulated toothpaste, offering dog dental chews, and providing teeth-cleaning chew toys. Most veterinarian practices will offer professional teeth cleaning services, which should be done annually, so be sure to schedule your puppy’s first cleaning soon.
7. Insert the Microchip
Did you know that one in three pets become lost at least once in their lifetime? If you don’t fancy the idea of losing your four-legged friend, getting them microchipped will be a must.
A microchip is a tiny radio-frequency transponder that is inserted under the loose skin between your dog’s shoulder blades. Don’t worry! They won’t even know it’s there.
This chip will carry an identification number unique to your pet, so if they ever become lost, a veterinarian or animal shelter will be able to scan the chip, find your contact information, and return your dog to you safe and sound.
This procedure is commonly performed during spay or neuter surgery for your pet’s comfort, but it can also be done during any vet appointment.
8. Establish a Healthy Diet With Supplements
Ensuring your puppy is getting all the nutrients they need to grow big and strong is essential, but if you’ve ever been to a typical pet store, you might understand how overwhelming it can be to choose the right food for your companion.
Since growing puppies require more protein and fat than adult dogs, it’s best to go with food formulated specifically for puppies. Search for kibbles that contain a dry matter minimum of at least 22.5% protein and 8.5% fat.
If you want to take your pup’s nutrition a step further, offering supplements is a great way to support their wellness and healthy growth.
Fera Pet Organics’ Puppy Starter Kit includes three essential supplements for brain development, immunity support, energy, and more:
- Fish Oil: Custom formulated with Vitamin E for glowing skin and coat, joint strength and flexibility, and normal heart function.
- Organic Probiotics with Prebiotics: Contains beneficial microorganisms that help control the balance of the digestive system.
- Organic Mushrooms: This powdered mushroom blend is made with only 100% blooming bodies with high levels of beta-d-glucan for enhanced liver function and normal blood pressure.
Provide Holistic Health During Every Stage of Your Pet’s Life
From puppyhood to their golden years, your fur baby deserves only the best when it comes to their health and nutrition. That’s why we use only the purest ingredients in our all-natural pet supplements.
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