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There are few things more exciting than bringing home a new puppy. While there are plenty of fun adventures waiting to be had, pet parents also need to think about puppy preventative care.
While regular wellness visits and essential vaccines are a significant part of that care, there’s so much more to it than that. Proper puppy preventative care ensures that a puppy grows into a healthy adult dog, reducing his risk of potentially significant (and expensive) health complications. It also enables a pet parent and their dog to live a long and happy life together.
Heartworms, fleas, and ticks can all have a detrimental impact on a puppy’s health. Fortunately, a pet parent can protect their puppy with regular, affordable preventative medications.
Of all of the parasites, heartworms are one of the most dangerous. An infection is expensive to treat and can have devastating consequences if not addressed right away.
Even in cooler climates, puppies are still at risk. A regular heartworm preventative can help keep them safe year-round. The American Heartworm Society recommends that puppies (and kittens) start a preventative at eight weeks of age. Puppies grow rapidly in the first few months of life, and their rates vary significantly by breed. Heartworm prevention doses are based on weight, not age, allowing a pet parent to ensure their puppy has adequate protection.
Puppy pet parents should also start using flea and tick preventatives at an early age. Fleas and ticks can transmit harmful parasites, or cause tapeworms, anemia, dermatitis, and Lyme disease. As a puppy nears six months old, a pet parent may decide to switch to oral medication, while others may stay with topical applications. A vet can provide insight into which preventatives will work best based on the puppy’s geographic location, breed, and lifestyle.
A vital component of raising a healthy dog is providing a puppy with a healthy, well-balanced diet. Puppies need high-quality puppy-specific food that has all the nutrients needed to support their rapid growth and development.
For pet parents raising very young puppies, weaning may be necessary. It begins by feeding a mix of formula or water mixed with wet food, then moving to dry kibble. The process is gradual and will take a few weeks of multiple feedings per day. Pet parents can consult with their regular vet or an online vet if they have any questions or concerns regarding weaning or what foods are best to feed their puppies in general.
Approximately 80% of dogs have gum disease by the age of two. One of the best ways pet parents can avoid dental issues is with good oral hygiene, starting in puppyhood.
Regular tooth brushing is just as important for puppies and dogs as it is for humans. A pet parent should introduce toothbrushing using a dog-safe toothpaste gradually and as early as possible to help their puppy feel comfortable with it. The process may take a few weeks, but it can help to prevent a lifetime of oral health complications.
A microchip is a pet parent’s best bet for finding their puppy in case the puppy gets lost or stolen. The tiny chip contains the pet parent’s contact information. Pet parents should always make sure the chip information is up-to-date in the microchip registry, especially if they move or change phone numbers.
A pet health insurance plan can be an invaluable asset to a puppy pet parent. Even though the puppy is young and healthy now, health conditions may develop, and accidents can happen. These issues can create unexpected expenses, leaving pet parents wondering how they’re going to afford them.
Pet insurance plans can make emergency pet health care more affordable, providing pet parents with peace of mind. Ideally, they should apply as soon as possible. No policy covers pre-existing conditions, so getting one before a puppy develops issues will help to ensure optimal coverage.
Puppy preventative care is a lot of work and requires a long-term commitment. However, measures like preventative medications, a healthy diet, microchipping, and a pet health insurance plan can ensure a dog lives a long, happy, and healthy life. To a pet parent, that can mean the world.
If a pet parent has any questions or concerns about their puppy’s health or overall wellbeing, they can always consult with their regular vet. They can also take advantage of Fuzzy’s team of online vets, who are on call 24/7. They can get in touch with a live, qualified veterinary professional for answers and advice any time, day or night. Sign up to become a Fuzzy member today!