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I just got a new Labrador Retriever puppy. When do I have to bring him in for his first visit?
Puppies should be brought in for their first visit between 6-8 weeks of age. Your veterinarian will do a complete physical exam and request that a fecal test be done to check for intestinal parasites. You will be able to discuss what is best for your pup in regard to a vaccination protocol. Nowadays, each pup is evaluated for health status and expected lifestyle when a vaccine schedule is developed. Not all dogs are the same. The more active dogs, which spend more time outside, are at greater risk for certain diseases. So they would require are more comprehensive protocol. Your veterinarian will then tell you when your pup is due for their next visit. Typically, every pup comes in for 3-4 “Puppy Visits”.
My dog keeps shaking his head and scratching at his ear. There is a lot of dark brown discharge in his ear. I think he has ear mites. What can I do?
Ear mites make up less than 10% of dog ear problems. 90+% of the time they are infections involving yeast, bacteria, or a combination of both. We recommend that your dog is examined and tested for any of the above infections. Your veterinarian will most likely run a cytology swab to check for the involved organism. Once they determine what the problem is, they will prescribe the proper medication. Follow-up appointments may be necessary, depending on the situation.
Should I brush my dog’s teeth?
Proper dental hygiene is important for our dog’s health and longevity. Dental disease often leads to illness involving other parts of the body such as heart, kidneys, and liver. Periodic dental cleaning, under anesthesia, by a veterinarian is important to remove the buildup of plaque and tartar. Regular brushing will slow down the buildup of tartar. We recommend at least 2-3 times per week. If your pet does not tolerate a toothbrush, there are dental sprays, chews, and diets available to aid with your pet’s oral health.
How often should I bathe my pet?
Healthy pets without skin issues should not be bathed more than once a month. Bathing you dog more often could lead to dry, itchy skin. For routine baths, be sure to choose a mild, shampoo such as the aloe and oatmeal varieties. Don’t forget to clean their ears with a mild ear cleaner after the bath, in order to prevent an ear infection due to getting water in their ears. For pets with skin issues in need of medicated baths, please follow your veterinarian’s advice, as every situation calls for a specific plan.
My friend’s dog was just diagnosed with Lyme’s Disease. How can I prevent my dog from getting it?
Lyme’s disease is a bacteria that is transmitted to dogs through the Ixodes Tick, also known as the Deer Tick. There are three important parts to the prevention of contracting Lyme’s Disease. The first part is avoidance. Depending on your location, you need to avoid areas known for heavy tick populations during Spring, Summer, and/or Fall seasons. Second, you need to use a high quality flea and tick preventative. There are a few good brands out there, and are available in topical and oral forms. Third, if you have a dog that has a very active outdoors lifestyle, it is important that you include the Lyme’s vaccine in with his vaccine protocol. This three-pronged approach will significantly decrease your dog’s chances of contracting Lyme’s Disease. Please refer to your veterinarian for the best plan for your dog.