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I was trying to decide what my next post would be about when I thought about all the questions I had when I got a new puppy.
Those questions never stopped. In fact, as my dog became a senior it brought on new and different questions.
So today I compiled the answer to some of your biggest questions.
How to calculate how big is your puppy is going to get?
I don’t know how many times I’ve asked this question to a veterinarian until one told me “Uhh, there’s no way to know that. It’s the best guess for any veterinarian as it is for us as owners.”
Puppies and certain breeds grow at different rates. The rule of thumb is an adult dog will weight about twice as much as they did at 4 months. Large breeds (Great Danes, St. Bernards, etc) will double their weight at 5 months.
How to estimate a puppies size
The easiest way is to use some of the older veterinarian’s ways to compute the adult weight of your new puppy.
- Toy to Small breeds you’ll take their weight at 6 weeks X 4 = adult weight of your puppy.
- Medium to Large Breeds takes their weight at 14 weeks X 2.5 = adult weight.
- Large to Giant Breeds multiply weight at 16 weeks X 2 – adult weight.
Generally, a puppy will about 2/3 to 3/4 of its adult weight by the time it reaches 6 months of age.
- Certain breeds can determine the adult size of a puppy.
- For mixed breed puppies, most are not larger than their biggest mom or dad.
When should I have my puppy spayed/neutered?
A good age for spaying or neutering your pet is about six months. Some male dogs if neutered by six months will even learn not to raise their legs to go potty and will squat like their female counterparts.
- Spaying can help with many health issues. It might help to prevent cancer, reduces breast cancer and infections in the uterus. The best time to spay is before the first heat cycle.
- Neutering helps prevent the potential of testicular cancer, reducing the risk of prostate cancer and cancer that forms around the rectal area of male pets.
Another benefit of neutering is it will slow down the need to roam less or get involved in territorial fights.
What should I feed my puppy or dog?
A high-quality diet needed for growth and development of your puppy and for a happy, healthy adult.
There are many options available today.
Kibble – With all the varieties of dry dog food out there it can be a headache searching for them when there’s so many to choose from nowadays.
Cooking your dogs food – I love to cook my dogs’ food. There are many times we eat the same meal for dinner. I supplement with vitamins in my dog’s food. She loves it. You want to see a dog scarf down their food with an excited and happy face, make them their own food.
It doesn’t matter if your dog is a brand new puppy, a dog with health conditions or a senior pet making your pet’s food is the healthiest option available. You should always talk to your vet before switching from dry dog food to cooked food. Especially if there are dietary or food allergy restrictions. Here are some of my favorite recipes.
Raw feeding – My dogs love eating raw as much as they do having their meals cooked. I know that some people think it’s disgusting to feed a pet raw meat, but dogs are very similar to animals in the wild, wolves, etc. They’re okay with meat being cooked or raw.
You’ll want to check with your veterinarian, but when feeding raw I recommend adding supplements. I will add in sardines for Omega Vitamins and fish oil, spirulina, and lots of fresh vegetables. If I’m in a crunch, I will use frozen unthawed vegetables. Click here for some homemade dog food recipes.
Plain table food, scraps, and cat food are not adequate to maintain the long-term health of your canine companion.
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How often should I bathe my dog?
Bathing and general grooming are important for a great looking coat and skin health.
How often to bathe will depend on coat length and type, your pets activity level, the environment, and your pets overall health.
Whenever you want your buddy to be clean and smell fresh, have them hop into the tub. You’ll want to be careful not to use harsh or drying products when bathing. These can cause dry, flaky, or itchy skin.
This is my favorite shampoo and conditioner that my mom uses on me:
How can I trim my dog’s toenails?
- It’s best to train your dog to sit still for nail trimming from as early an age as possible. In the beginning, I do this on a regular basis.
- I always make it a happy experience. I offer lots of praise and their favorite treats when sitting for a nail trim.
- If you start this they get used to having their toes and nails touched. This makes it a lot easier as your pet gets older.
- Always invest in a good nail trimmer. Dog and cat nails contain nerves and blood vessels called the “quick.”
- In lighter colored nails the quick is visible as a thin pink line. It’s hard with black nails so you’ll want to trim tiny pieces at a time from the end of the nail. Hitting the quick is painful for your pet.
- You can buy styptic powder to put on the nails if you hit the nails too short and they bleed.
- If you’re uncomfortable, have a groomer trim your pet’s nails.
What vaccines does my puppy or dog need and how often?
Vaccines protect against illnesses.
They help protect against fatal diseases plus keep your pet happy and healthy.
The following vaccines are normal vaccines your pet will receive in your veterinarian’s office.
- Distemper/Parvo Combination: This vaccine protects against several fatal diseases.
These vaccines are recommended and can prevent very serious diseases:
- Rabies: This disease is fatal for all mammals, including humans.
- Bordetella:( Kennel Cough): This vaccine helps prevent or reduce the severity of this serious respiratory infection that can lead to pneumonia.
- Corona Virus: This is an intestinal virus that can cause serious disease.
- Lyme Disease: This is the same tick-borne disease that can infect humans.
Young puppies are given several sets of vaccination boosters to give them with as much protection as possible.
Adult dogs should be vaccinated yearly.
My dog has fleas, what should I do?
Oh, I feel you. Why is it that some flea seasons worse than others?
Start a complete flea control program as early as possible. Fleas live by sucking the blood of your pets and you. Fleas cause anemia, skin allergies, spread disease, and transmit tapeworms. Yuck!
Spare your pet the discomfort of a continued infestation.
When starting an effective flea program you have to address 3 points:
- Treat the pet.
- Treat the house and car if they have been going for rides with you
- Start by vacuuming the entire house or car. Be sure to get everywhere, under furniture, lifting cushion, etc. Throw out the bag or empty the bagless into a separate bag that gets closed and taken to the garbage to stop fleas from crawling back out.
- When you’re done vacuuming, use professional bombs. Take your pets out of the house according to the manufacturer’s directions when setting off bombs. Treat all areas of the house, even the areas your pets have not frequented. not in.
- I run the vacuum over everything one more time after the bombs have been set, and the house aired out from the bombs.
- Treat the yard.
- Treat the yard with professional flea spray and follow the label directions. Be sure to treat areas where your pet spends time, including decks or dog houses. Fleas like to hide in bark dust and leaf litter.
- Repeat everything every 2 weeks for a month. This picks up the fleas that have now hatched.
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What can I use for my dog’s dry skin?
This is no easy answer because it depends on what’s causing the dry skin.
You may need to consider a veterinary examination to make sure your pet is not suffering from a medical condition that may require specialized treatment.
- For mild “dandruff” there are several steps that may help:
- Diet influences overall health, skin and coat condition.
- Premium diets contain specific, balanced, fatty acids ratios that will improve skin conditions to help reduce dry skin.
- Always use mild grooming products, applying both shampoo and condition.
- Don’t over bathe, this causes significant skin dryness. Sometimes, a shampoo that loosens excess skin flakes may be necessary.
- Brushing and coat trim may help. You may notice dandruff for a few days after grooming because bathing and brushing, loosens surface skin flakes.
My dog is shedding, what should I do?
Shedding is normal for most breeds. There are a few breeds such as Poodles, Golden doodles that do not shed as much.
- Shedding increases in spring and fall. It can also increase with stress or illness.
- Consistent brushing and grooming can reduce the hair your pet leaves on furniture and on you.
- There are coat products that may be effective in reducing shedding.
- If the problem continues, there are medical conditions that can increase shedding so see your vet.
What can I use to stop my dog from itching?
- It depends on why your pet is itchy. Many skin conditions cause itching and scratching.
- Fleas, dry skin or pets coats which need grooming are the common reasons for dry itchy skin. However, if your pet has skin redness, sores, or scabs you’ll want to consider a veterinary exam.
- Dry skin is very itchy. Caused by dandruff or skin flaking. Adding Omega 6 and Omega 3 in your pet’s food will help your pet’s itchiness.
- Always use a mild shampoo and conditioners. Click here to learn how to make your own dog shampoo