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5 Medical Requirements Every Puppy Needs in Their First Year

5 Medical Requirements Every Puppy Needs in Their First Year

Welcoming a puppy into your home is an exciting time, full of joy, playtime, and unconditional love. As a new dog parent, you’ve taken on the rewarding responsibility of caring for another life, which comes with great pleasures and challenges.

However, one of the challenges you should expect is ensuring your pup receives proper medical care during its critical first year of life. Because while being a dog parent is incredibly fulfilling, it’s also a big commitment. Puppies require significant time, energy, and resources, especially regarding their medical needs.

That’s why your first step after owning a puppy is to find a veterinarian you not only trust but can also develop a positive, long-term relationship with. Your vet will be your trusted advisor and partner in keeping your puppy healthy, so don’t hesitate to ask lots of questions and voice any concerns you may have when looking for the right one.

With their expertise and your dedication, you’ll be well-equipped to handle these major medical requirements your new best friend needs during their first year.

Preventive Care

One of the most valuable things you can do for your puppy is to prioritize preventive care. This involves taking a proactive approach to their health and well-being rather than waiting until issues spawn out of control.

Preventive care starts with regular check-ups at your vet. During these routine check-ups, your vet will monitor your pup’s growth and development, check for potential problems, and provide guidance on care and training.

These routine visits also allow your vet to administer important preventive treatments. For example, they may recommend products to protect your puppy against parasites like roundworms, hookworms, and whipworms, which can cause serious health issues if left untreated.

Your vet can also advise you on flea, tick, and heartworm prevention, which we’ll cover in more detail later.

Vaccines

Vaccinations are an essential factor in preventive healthcare for puppies. These vital immunizations help protect your furry friend against several potentially deadly diseases, such as parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis, and rabies.

According to Laveen Veterinary Center, a renowned parvo treatment facility, depending on your pup’s breed, age, and lifestyle, she should be able to receive her first round of vaccinations between 6 and 8 weeks old. This will be followed by a series of boosters every 3–4 weeks until she’s around 16 weeks old. After that, she’ll need certain vaccinations annually or every few years, depending on the specific vaccine and your vet’s recommendations.

While the vaccination schedule and requirements can vary based on factors like your puppy’s underlying health condition and breed, your vet will guide you through the process and ensure your pup is fully protected.

Diet

You are what you eat; the same is true for your puppy. A proper diet is the most important thing for their growth, development, and overall health, making nutrition one of the most crucial medical requirements during their first year.

Puppies have vastly different nutritional needs than adult dogs. They require a specialized puppy formula that’s catered to their special growth rate and higher energy demands. So, meet your vet to recommend high-quality puppy foods that meet your pup’s dietary requirements based on their breed, size, and activity level.

According to WebMD, you should feed your puppy three times a day on a consistent schedule. As she approaches her first birthday, you can begin transitioning her to adult dog food gradually over a week or two to avoid stomach upset.

Spay/Neuter

If you haven’t done this already, then it should be at the top of your to-do list. This routine surgical procedure offers numerous benefits for both your pup and you as their owner.

From a medical perspective, spaying/neutering can help prevent certain reproductive cancers (like breast cancer in a female pup) and infections later in life. It can also curb undesirable behaviors like marking, roaming, aggression, and the constant drive to seek out a mate.

For female dogs, it eliminates the possibility of going into heat and the associated mess and behavioral changes that come with it. For males, neutering prevents unwanted litter and reduces the urge to mount objects, people, and other animals.

The procedure is typically performed when puppies are around six months old, though your vet may recommend doing it sooner or later based on factors like your pup’s breed and size. Recovery is generally quick, and most puppies return to their playful selves within a week or two.

Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medicines

Flea and tick prevention is about more than just avoiding the nuisance of itchy bites. These parasites can transmit serious diseases and, in the case of ticks, cause life-threatening conditions like Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain spotted fever. Fleas can also lead to allergic dermatitis and tapeworm infestations.

Heartworms, on the other hand, are transmitted by infected mosquitoes. According to the FDA, they can cause severe, potentially fatal heart and lung damage in any dog if left untreated. So, working with your vet to prevent heartworms from infecting your pup is far easier and safer than treating the infection they bring.

Your vet should be able to recommend safe and effective flea, tick, and heartworm preventatives based on your puppy’s age, weight, and risk factors. These may come in monthly topical or oral medications, collars, or long-lasting injections. Whichever route they recommend, being diligent about administering them on schedule will help keep your pup protected.

Wrapping Up

The first year with your pup may seem demanding, but it will be well worth it if you ensure she receives the medical care she needs to thrive. She will grow to be a strong, obedient, and loving friend that you’ll be happy to have around you any time of the day.

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