Keeping your puppy healthy

Keeping your puppy in tip top healthHealthy puppy

You're the best person to keep your puppy bouncing with health and vitality. Not only are you responsible for his day-to-day health care, but you're also the person who knows him best of all. This makes you the ideal 'eyes and ears' of your vet between visits.

Mouth and Dental care

Dental disease is common in dogs so one of the best things you can do for your puppy is get into the habit of regular teeth cleaning. You can buy canine toothbrushes from your vet as well as special toothpaste.  The latter is important. For a start, your puppy will prefer the flavours (think meat rather than mint). Secondly, human toothpastes foam too much.

Problems you should report to your vet include bleeding gums or foul 'dog breath.'

Adolescent chewing is different to teething chewing since it occurs once all the needle-like puppy teeth have fallen out. Adolescent dogs often have an uncontrollable urge to chew and there are different theories as to why. Whatever the cause, if you want to safeguard your slippers, it's a good idea to provide your puppy with things he's meant to chew!

Ear care

You should wipe the insides of your puppy's ears once a week using a separate piece of cotton wool for each ear. Don't use cotton buds which can easily damage the ear. Your puppy's ears should be free of excess ear wax or discharge and should not have an unpleasant smell.

If you suspect your puppy has any ear problems such as an infection, canker or ear mites, don't hesitate to take him to your vet.

Signs of a healthy puppy

A healthy puppy has bright eyes, a shiny coat and is full of energy.

Remember your puppy can't tell you if he's poorly, so it's up to you to keep a close eye on him. Worrying signs include a sudden loss of appetite, changes in behaviour, rapid weight loss or gain, any unusual lumps or bumps, vomiting or diarrhoea, or any problems with your puppy's eyes or ears. Trust your instincts and always call your vet if you're in any doubt.

Puppy stress

It may not be a physical condition but seeing your puppy exhibiting signs of stress can be equally distressing.

It's normal for a puppy to cry and whimper the first few nights he's in your home.

Once you're past the initial stages, other factors can also stress your puppy. Separation anxiety is a common problem, for example. Once again love and reassurance are the best medicine and if the problem continues or seems severe, talk to your vet.

Prevention is better than cure

Your puppy should have started on a course of vaccinations before he came to you and your breeder or rescue centre should have given you a vet's certificate to prove this. Keeping up your puppy's vaccination schedule is one of the most important things you can do to keep him healthy. A regular worming programme is also important, as is flea control.

And, of course, one mustn't forget the role of exercise and a healthy diet. Hill's Science Plan Puppy food is specially formulated to meet the needs of growing puppies and give them an excellent start in life.

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