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Puppy Basics: Health Care Essentials
Puppy Basics: Health Care Essentials-mobile

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Puppy Basics: Health Care Essentials

You’ll do anything to keep your puppy healthy and happy—IAMS™ is just the first step. Here’s some extra advice to help your puppy stay extra healthy.

 

 

Giving Your Puppy a Pill

Step 1: Begin with a play session and praise to relax your puppy. Then get on the same physical level as your puppy. With a large dog, kneel next to him while he's in the sitting position; with a small puppy, place him on a grooming table or a countertop.
 

Step 2: Place one hand over the top of the puppy's muzzle as shown. Hold the pill in your free hand and then gently open his mouth with that hand.
 

Step 3: Place the pill in the center of the tongue as far back as you're able to reach. Then close your puppy's mouth and hold it shut while you blow gently but quickly at his nose. This will cause your dog to swallow before he has a chance to spit the pill out. Give him a treat immediately afterward to ensure that the pill has really been swallowed. End each session with play and praise.

 

 

Finding a Veterinarian

Just like you, your new puppy needs high-quality health care. Before you run into any dog health issues, ask a friend or your local humane society to recommend a veterinarian, then choose one with these factors in mind:
 

  • Education and experience. How long has this veterinarian been practicing? Did he or she graduate from a respected veterinary college?
  • Specialty. In urban areas, you might find veterinarians who deal exclusively with the special problems of dogs and cats.
  • Location. Don't let it override education, experience, and specialty, but location is important. A drive across town during a medical emergency could delay needed treatment.

 

 

Schedule a visit and interview

Once you've narrowed your choices, visit the veterinarian's office. Inspect the facility and talk to the doctor about your new puppy. If you like what you see and hear, arrange a time to bring your puppy in for an initial examination. It's a good idea to visit the veterinarian within the first three days after you bring your puppy home to make sure he's in good health. The veterinarian will probably check:
 

  • Stool. A fecal exam will reveal the presence of internal parasites.
  • Body. A head-to-tail physical exam includes inspecting your dog's coat and feeling his body for abnormalities, as well as checking the eyes, ears, mouth, and heart and examining the anus for signs of intestinal parasites.
  • Once an exam is completed, your veterinarian can schedule immunizations and vaccinations and advise you on the importance of spaying and neutering.

  • 4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet
    4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet-mob

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    4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet

    Switching your dog to a new food takes some planning. Because dogs are creatures of habit, they tend to prefer their current food to a new food. Like us, they become accustomed to a food and might not be thrilled about a new routine. These useful dog-feeding tips will help you keep your dog satisfied.

     

     

    4 Tips to Successfully Transition Your Dog to a New Food

    1. Introduce the new food gradually.

    When easing your dog into a change in diet, think “slow and steady.” Start by mixing 25% new food with 75% current food. Slowly change the proportions over the next three days or so by gradually increasing the new food and lessening the amount of the current food. Here’s a sample feeding schedule:

    • Day 1: 25% new food, 75% current food
    • Day 2: 50% new food, 50% current food
    • Day 3: 75% new food, 25% current food

     

    At the end of this weaning process, you should be feeding 100% of the new food. Your dog may want to eat only the old food, or not eat at all. Don’t worry — a healthy dog can miss meals for a day or two with no ill effects.

     

     

    2. Watch your body language.

    Bringing a new food into your home, pouring it into your dog’s bowl and declaring that he should eat it might cause your dog to go on a hunger strike. This is not the time to show who’s boss. It’s better to introduce the new food by using a pleasant tone of voice and gently encouraging him to try the new food.

     

     

    3. Don't give in to demands.

    Persistence is key! For the first two days of the food transition, don’t give your dog treats or table scraps. Dogs train us as much as we train them. Giving in to their demands only reinforces refusal behavior and makes it more difficult to make a nutritious dietary change.

     

     

    4. Be patient when switching from wet food to dry food.

    Switching diets may be more challenging when changing from a moist food to a dry food. If your dog continues to resist eating dry food, mix in a little warm water. You might even want to put the moistened food in the microwave for a few seconds. If you mix the food with water, be sure to throw away the uneaten portion after 20 minutes to prevent spoilage. The same rule applies for canned and pouch food. After the dog has become accustomed to the moistened food, you can wean him onto completely dry food. To do this, follow the same mixing instructions outlined above.

    4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet
    4 Tips for Changing Your Dog’s Diet
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