If you have a puppy, you probably already realized that in addition to joy, it is still a lot of work and responsibility. Responsibility, not least for the health of the animal – in puppies with their not yet fully formed immune system, it requires special attention. Add to this their childish curiosity, fearlessness, and late-onset genetic diseases – there are more than enough reasons for concern. What to grab for, where to run, and how to escape? Let’s break it down and look at 5 potential problems new dog owners can face.
Many diseases that the immune system of an adult dog successfully cope with can be a serious challenge for puppies. Among them is enteritis. This infection is transmitted by direct or indirect contact with a sick animal. This virus is not afraid of cold, heat, moisture or dryness, and it can survive in the environment for quite a long time. Although it is not dangerous to humans, we can bring it on clothes, shoes or other items and infect our dog.
In case of loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhea, high or too low body temperature, you should see a doctor as soon as possible – most deaths from this virus occur within 48 to 72 hours after the first signs appear. The best prevention is timely vaccination. But, unfortunately, even she does not give a 100% guarantee, and a small proportion of puppies can still get sick. Therefore, it is so important to maintain good hygiene and clean up your dog on the street, because the virus is most often transmitted through dog excrement.
Plague (Carré’s disease). Unfortunately, this disease leads to death in most cases. Typical symptoms, in addition to diarrhea and vomiting, are thick yellow discharge from the eyes and nose, shortness of breath and coughing, in some cases seizures and other neurological changes. As a rule, plague is not dangerous for people. But we can be carriers of this virus. If you may have come into contact with an infected animal in the past, the puppy should be vaccinated BEFORE it gets into your home.
Another disease that puppies are particularly susceptible to is the bacterium Bordetella bronchiseptica. It is manifested by a specific cough and other problems with the respiratory system. If you have a cough, see your doctor, if your dog is diagnosed with this condition, you may need a course of antibiotics.
As scary as all these diseases sound, timely vaccination in the vast majority of cases helps to protect your pet. Basic vaccinations are given between 6 and 16 weeks of age, and before 17 weeks it is best to keep your pet out of contact with other unvaccinated dogs. Even if your puppy has already received all the necessary vaccinations, his immune system is not yet strong enough and before introducing him to another puppy, do not hesitate to ask a new friend about vaccinations.
Intestinal parasites – nematodes (roundworms) are present in almost all puppies. To combat them, there are special anthelmintic drugs that need to be given to the puppy on time.
As for external parasites – fleas, ticks and the like – you can protect yourself from them with special means. Read labels carefully: sprays, tablets and collars must be puppy-safe. If you have any doubts or questions, consult your doctor. If you notice that your dog has begun to lose hair, a rash appears on the skin, and it often itches – it could be scabies. In this case, it is also better not to postpone a visit to the veterinarian.
Most congenital anomalies are genetically determined. This can be associated with specific “problem” zones of a particular breed, but not necessarily. For example, hip dysplasia is, unfortunately, a fairly common problem in large breed dogs. It can lead to painful arthritis and chromate. In addition to hereditary factors, acquired ones can also play a role in the development of dysplasia – for example, injuries at a young age, significant excess weight, strong loads on the forming joint. If you notice that your puppy walks strangely or starts to limp, see your veterinarian. After the X-ray and diagnosis, the doctor will tell you about the possible treatment options. Depending on the severity and prognosis of the disease, you may be offered both medication and surgery.
Hernia. Most often, umbilical hernia is found in puppies, but there are also inguinal and diaphragmatic hernias. A hernia can be either congenital or acquired as a result of injury or disease. If it is small, then it can be easily overlooked and detected only during the examination by a veterinarian. In fact, a hernia is a hole in the body where it should not be, therefore, in most cases, an operation is required to remove it. It is usually difficult to predict and prevent its occurrence, but it is known that some breeds are prone to certain types of hernias. Shar Pei and English Bulldogs, for example, have a predisposition to diaphragmatic hernia.
Congenital heart disease can be another serious problem. If you notice that your puppy quickly gets tired, coughs, has rapid and labored breathing, you should immediately go to the doctor. If the situation worsens, other signs may develop: ascites (accumulation of fluid in the abdominal cavity), weight loss, blue discoloration of the tongue and the inside of the ears, fainting.
It is important to remember that if your dog or dog has one of the hereditary diseases, they cannot participate in breeding, because diseases can be transmitted to descendants. In this case, if there are no contraindications, it is better to sterilize the animal.
Puppies are full of energy, curiosity and an inexhaustible desire to play. Unsurprisingly, they often become a magnet for troubles that can lead to injury. How can you prevent them?
First, keep an eye on who your dog is playing with. Even a friendly, but too large dog, carried away by the game, can crush a smaller puppy. Do not forget about children: not all of them know how to behave with dogs, and your puppy can suffer from their curiosity or excessive love. They can hit the dog in the eye with a stick, throw sand from the nearest sandbox in its direction, try to sit on the animal, or pinch the dog too hard in an attempt to express their love and admiration.
Second, look at the environment. It should be as safe as possible. This means that the dogs who are playing will not be able to run out onto the road, get hurt by shrapnel or other sharp objects. Even at home, the dog can hit a sharp corner or fall over a loose cupboard. Try to make the apartment as safe as possible, if this is not possible, buy a spacious cage where the puppy will be during your absence. If your dog is injured on a walk or at home, you yourself know where to go (yes, to the vet).
Eating foreign objects
I’ve already written about which foods are dangerous for dogs, but as you know, puppies love to chew on more than food. Sometimes the “chew marathon” can end relatively harmless to the dog, and all you have to do is update your shoes or buy a new sofa. But this is not always the case. Items with small parts and toxic substances are especially dangerous. If it seems to you that the dog has eaten something like this, you notice that it has become lethargic, it is vomiting, or it has problems with stool – go to the doctor right away.
As you already understood, the description of all potential problems here ends with advice to go to the vet. After all, who else but she knows better how to save your pet from infections, injuries and from himself. Remember to see your doctor on time and enjoy life with your new family member.