Puppy Health Care
Our family adopted an eight-week-old beagle we call Lady. We had a dog when I was child but I still do no know what to do for Lady. We want her to live a long and happy life – and we want a healthy pet around the family. Can you give us some advice to get us started on a health care routine?
It sounds like Lady has won the family over. Beagles make great pets and love children.
From your comments, Lady must be a new arrival. That’s good because puppies do best when they stay with their litter and mother for eight weeks. During the last two weeks, pups learn how to interact with their mother and litter mates. This teaches them how to socialize with other dogs – and ultimately how to be a better pet. We call the process “imprinting”.
At Lady’s age roundworms and hookworms are potential problems. These intestinal worms can cause diarrhea, dehydration, and anemia. Lady may have already been dewormed by the breeder since pups often are wormed at three weeks old and again before they are sold. Even if her stools seem normal, have a sample checked by your veterinarian to be certain. He/she will examine the specimen under a microscope for telltale eggs. Puppies can get worms from their mother’s milk or stools or from the ground.
Lady is also old enough to start her vaccinations. Distemper virus and parvovirus are just two of the potential troublemakers. Vaccines are used against those viruses and bacteria which cannot always be treated successfully once they have infected the pup. Lady received immunity from her mother’s milk and after weaning she may have received a puppy vaccination which is only temporary. She will need subsequent vaccinations as recommended by your veterinarian. Remember also to make sure she has a rabies vaccination.
Diet is important. Be sure Lady’s on a high quality puppy food. Dry varieties are most common and easiest to use.
As Lady settles into the household you will learn to know her day-to-day behavior and habits. By being observant, you can note unusual behavior that may be an early sign of ill health. Your veterinarian should thoroughly examine Lady each time he/she sees her as a pup.