It’s a very exciting day when you first pick up your puppy. It seems obvious that you’ll have to feed her, and give her lots of love – but what else is involved in keeping your puppy healthy? A lot. That’s the simple answer. So lets start from the beginning.

You should never take a puppy away from her mother too early – anything much under 8 weeks is really not giving a dog a best chance in life. Sometimes the puppies in pet shops come from their mothers at six weeks – and in that case they won’t have the full immunity given by the mother’s milk.

You should always take your puppy to the vet for a checkup when you first purchase her. You need to have her ears checked, and her nose should be wet and not runny. Her eyes should be clear. Assuming all of that is good, then your vet may explain the two main issues with your pup – vaccinations and flea control.

Depending on where you live, and the laws in your state, the vaccinations required will differ, but sometimes your puppy will need a series of vaccinations and won’t be ready to be fully socialized until 12 weeks old. Do not take your puppy to play with adult dogs if you are not sure the adult dog has been vaccinatied.

Once your puppy has been vaccinated then you need to make an annual trip to the vet to keep the vaccination up to date. Many boading kennels won’t take dogs unless this is the case, so if you plan on having a holiday away from your pets at any stage, it will be vital to keep the vaccinations current.

Flea and tick control, and the control of heartworm will all depend on the weather of the state you live in. It’s hard to give accurate advice to every puppy owner but asking any dog owner in your local dog park will probably be your best bet. You’ll need to know how often they use products that kill or prevent fleas from living on your puppy.

Some dogs will also have allergies – to grass, or to flea bites so you will need to see if your dog scratches too often, or is chewing at parts of her fur. If you start to see bald patches then you may need your vet to do allergy testing. In this case flea control is probably even more important.

If you can have a dog groomer teach you how to care for your dog too. You need to know how to keep the coat healthy, the nails trimmed and the ears of your puppy clean too. Feeding good quality dog food is vital for a healthy life.

There are a few other things you shouldn’t forget as well – never letting your puppy near traffic, having a fully fenced in yard, and even consider microchiping – if it’s not legally required it’s a great way to make sure your beloved pet will always be returned to you if she gets lost

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