Dogs For Dummies
Keeping your dog healthy and happy involves having the right items, toys, and medicine on hand, knowing when to take your dog to the vet, and knowing the basics of preventive care.
Things to Buy before Bringing Your Puppy Home
If you plan to get a new puppy (or just did), be sure to have the following essential items either before, or shortly after, you bring your puppy into its new home.
Baby gates (for keeping puppy inbounds)
Brush and comb
Dishwasher-safe, nonchewable bowls (one for water, one for food)
Enzyme cleaner for pet stains
Flat or rolled collar, buckle or snap-together with an ID tag — not a slip collar
High-quality puppy food, as recommended by a breeder or veterinarian
Lightweight leash, six feet long
Nail trimmer and Kwik Stop powder
Properly sized shipping crate (for housetraining)
When to Get Emergency Veterinary Care for Your Dog
Seek urgent veterinary care if your dog displays any of the following symptoms. If your dog is ever injured or sick and you are not sure what to do, call your vet. Always better safe than sorry!
Allergic reactions, such as swelling around the face, or hives, most easily seen on the belly
Any eye injury, no matter how mild
Any respiratory problem: Chronic coughing, trouble breathing, or near drowning
Any signs of pain: Panting, labored breathing, increased body temperature, lethargy, restlessness, or loss of appetite
Any suspected poisoning, including ingestion of antifreeze, rodent or snail bait, or human medication
Any wound or laceration that’s open and bleeding, or any animal bite
Seizure, fainting, or collapse
Thermal stress, either too cold or too hot, even if the dog seems to have recovered
Trauma, such as being hit by a car, even if the dog seems fine
Vomiting or diarrhea, anything more than two or three times within an hour or so
Preventative Health Checklist for Dogs
Be pro-active to prevent illness and injury and keep your dog healthy and happy. Use the list below as a guide for care at each stage of your dog's life. Also, talk with your vet about what is best for you and your pet.
Puppy veterinary care
Initial exam within 48 hours of adoption.
Four to five combination vaccinations at three-week intervals, starting at the age of 6 to 8 weeks. Rabies vaccination at 16 weeks.
Wormings as prescribed by your veterinarian, at two- to three-week intervals or until the fecal test comes up clear.
Heartworm preventive. No heartworm test required if puppy’s mother was on preventive and puppy is started by the age of 12 weeks.
Follow-up exam at time of final vaccinations to spot congenital problems, retained baby teeth, and so on.
Spaying or neutering, as early as 8 weeks, as recommended by your veterinarian.
Adult veterinary care
Annual examination, which may include periodic chemistry prolife and urinalysis, especially for older pets and prior to procedures requiring anesthesia.
Combination vaccination, annually. Rabies vaccination, once every three years or as required by law.
Dental cleaning and scaling under anesthesia, annually or as recommended by your veterinarian.
Adult home care
Heartworm preventive, daily or monthly
Nail trim, weekly
Regular bathing and grooming
Home exam, including checking for lumps and bumps, weekly
Tooth-brushing, two to three times a week
Regular flea-control program
What to Keep in Your Dog's First Aid Kit
Always keep the following items handy in case your dog needs minor medical attention. It's best to even create a special first-aid bag or medicine chest exclusively for your dog:
Cotton swabs, balls, and rolls
Forceps or tweezers
Kwik Stop powder
Sterile gauze, both rolls and pads
Syringe with the needle removed (for giving liquid medication)
Syrup of Ipecac
Tranquilizers (as prescribed by your veterinarian)
Triple antibiotic cream or ointment
Vet Wrap padded bandages
Water-based lubricating jelly, such as K-Y