National Puppy Day

posted on March 02, 2017 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

March 23rd is national puppy day, and this couldn’t be more fitting this year.  Dr. Hartman recently got a new springer spaniel puppy named Afton!

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Puppies bring a lot of joy to the family, but are also work as well!  A puppy should never be a spur of the moment decision, breeds and breeders should be researched, and lifestyle should be evaluated before bringing home a new pet.  Different breeds have different energy levels, grooming requirements, and personalities.  Care should be used to avoid adopting from a puppy mill and rescues should be considered.  Many states also keep records of breeding facilities that they inspect.

Puppies usually can only hold their bladder for about 1-2 hours when they first come home.  It gradually increases as they get bigger (a rule of thumb is 1 hour per month of age), but some dogs are not able to go 8 hours until adulthood!  It is important to consider your lifestyle and schedule for this reason.

Puppies also require frequent visits to the vet in the first year for a number of reasons including to get booster vaccines, check weights, to make sure they are growing appropriately, and to be spayed or neutered.  Adopting from a shelter may alter some of these visits, but there is still more upkeep for puppies than for adult pets.

Puppies also should be well socialized.  Puppy classes are recommended for all dogs, even if you’ve been through a class with a previous dog.  It is a good interaction for the dogs to meet other dogs and people, and it’s always good to use the latest, proven training methods such as positive reinforcement.  Outside of class, puppies need to be introduced to a variety of things-car rides, people of various ages and appearances, stores, other dogs, water, grooming, etc.  A rule of thumb is to introduce the puppy to something new every day!  One option for puppy classes is held right here at Heritage Animal Hospital by Julie Humiston of Puppy Love Dog Training.

Lastly, puppies tend to chew and bite a lot.  This is a normal behavior, but must be trained to be appropriate.  Teaching the puppy what is acceptable to chew on, which toys are theirs, and how not to bite/nip at humans is your responsibility.  In the meantime, the house must be “puppy proofed”, removing items that are potentially dangerous to the pet if they chew on them such as electric cords, toxic plants, and potential foreign objects that could be ingested and cause an obstruction.

Despite a few inevitable relatively sleepless nights, a few accidents in the house, and maybe even a shoe or two being destroyed, puppies are a source of unconditional love and are a great joy.  If you have questions prior to adopting a puppy, please contact us, we are happy to help!

Posted in: Canine Health

Adding on to the Family

posted on November 04, 2015 by Dr. Jamie Hartman

Adding a new pet to your family is an important decision.  There are many ways to acquire a new pet, be it from a rescue, a humane society or other adoption facility, or from a breeder.  But how do you know if you are working with a reputable source?  Here is a list of questions to help!

Rescues:

1.  Do they have you fill out an application.  It should look at your plans for neutering/spaying (if not already done), your knowledge about pets and their interactions, your training intentions, and what your household is like (other pets, children, adults, work schedule, activity level, etc.)  A good rescue wants to place pets in the best possible situation for the animal, so they will try to find a good fit with lifestyle and pet personality.  They may even ask for references, such as your current veterinary clinic.

2.  Do they do “meet and greets” where current pets and the new pet get to meet, or home visits to see how the pet interacts with the family?

3.  Do they work with you for training issues, behavioral issues, or offer to take the pet back if it does not work?  Again, they should have the pet’s best interest at heart, so if it does not work out, they should be willing to help make it work or find another home for the dog.

Breeders:

1.  Do they screen or test for heredity conditions?  They should know if their pets are carriers for certain diseases and take care not to breed these pets.  Blood tests, eye exams, and/or joint tests should be performed to ensure healthy parents.  Temperament should also be taken into account with breeding, and aggressive animals should not be bred.  Inbreeding and accidental breeding should be avoided as well.

2.  Breeders should not have more animals than they can care for in high quality.  Fresh water, high quality food, shelter, veterinary care, and exercise and socialization should all be attended to.  If you’re planning on keeping the pet in the house, having the animal be raised in a house is a good first step.  Having them be exposed to children, other animals, etc. is also good, but since young animal’s immune system is not fully matured, care to keep strange people and animals to a minimum should be taken.

3.  Breeding should be done with consideration for mom’s health, age, and condition.  The goal should not be as many litters as possible per year, but rather to have good, healthy litters and to allow mom to recuperate between.  Mom should not be too old nor too young.

Breeder’s should also do some of the same things as rescues, asking about owner’s expectations, lifestyle, help with behavior and training, and have some sort of return policy.

Lastly, you should check that breeder’s follow all laws for their area, all veterinarian recommendations for their animals, and whether they allow you to see where the animals are kept, etc.  If pets are purebred, do they register with their breed association?

Overall, you should make sure that you feel comfortable with the people you are working with to get the pet, and have the pet checked by your veterinarian soon after adoption to ensure they are in good health at that time.

Hopefully with these guidelines, you can find a pet that fits well with your family and comes from a reputable source!