750 State Rd, Dartmouth, MA 02747  •  Phone: 508-996-3731 • Fax: 508-996-3750 • Email
Mon.-Fri. 8am-8pm; Sat. 8am-5pm; • Closed Sundays & Major Holidays

Puppy Wellness

The first few months with your puppy sets the stage for a life time of joy and friendship. Puppy wellness visits aren’t just for vaccines: they are an important opportunity to ask questions of the doctors and staff about any health, training or behavioral concerns you have about your new family member.


Vaccines

Vaccines are an important part of starting your puppy's healthcare on the right track. We recommend all puppies have a course of vaccines to protect them from serious disease and infections such as Distemper, Parvovirus, and Rabies.

Distemper/Parvo/Hepatitis/Parainfluenza/Adenovirous: This vaccine provides protection against canine distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, parainfluenza and adenovirus. Without vaccination dogs are vulnerable to both distemper and parvovirus, which are serious viral infections with a high mortality rate. We recommend that all puppies be given this vaccine at 8, 12 and 16 weeks.
Rabies: Massachusetts State law requires all dogs be vaccinated again rabies. Rabies can be spread through saliva or blood of infected animals. Pets can be exposed through wildlife such as raccoons, bats, and foxes. We give your puppy’s first rabies vaccine at the 16-week puppy visit.

Lyme: Lyme is a tick-borne disease which is common in New England. Even with regular flea/tick preventive your pet can be exposed to Lyme. We recommend puppies be given their first Lyme vaccine at their 12-week puppy visit, it is then boostered in 3-4 weeks.

Canine Influenza: Canine influenza has become more common in the United States and increasing each year. Although dogs and people cannot spread the disease to each other, dogs do have similar symptoms to people and can range from a cough to a high fever. We offer a vaccine for both major strains of canine influenza. We recommend this vaccine for puppies who spend a lot of time around other dogs including going to the dog park, puppy training classes, visiting the pet store, or any other location where they may be exposed to other dogs. It may also be required if you want to take your dog to a groomer or you need to board them overnight. Talk to your veterinarian to see if the canine influenza vaccine is right for your puppy.

Bordatella: We recommend the bordatella (kennel cough) vaccine for puppies who spend a lot of time around other dogs including going to the dog park, puppy training classes, or visiting the pet store. It may also be required if you want to take your dog to a groomer or you need to board them overnight. We administer an intranasal vaccine on your 12-week puppy visit.

Leptosporosis: Leptosporosis a serious disease that can be passed to humans. It can be transmitted to your dog from wildlife, such as mice, squirrels, and raccoons as well as farm animals through infected urine in puddles or on the ground. We recommend this vaccine for all pets because of the risk of exposure in the area.

Internal Parasites
We recommend www.petsandparasites.org for more information


Intestinal Parasites: Puppies are often exposed to parasites which can be passed to humans, to ensure their health and safety, as well as your own and your children, we recommend that all puppies have their stool examined. Fecal examination entails Giardia testing, and microscopic examination of a direct and flotation preparation of feces to check for worm ovum (eggs) and coccidia.

Heartworm prevention: Heartworm is a serious parasite infection which is transmitted by mosquitoes. Once mature the heartworms invade the right side of the heart and large vessels of the lungs. It is very difficult to treat this infection, but it can be prevented by giving your dog year-round heartworm preventative. We recommend starting your puppy on heartworm prevention at 12 weeks to ensure they are protected. Puppies under 6 months of age do not need to be tested prior to starting heartworm prevention.

Fleas/ticks: Many diseases, such as Lyme, can be transmitted by tick bites. To provide the best protection for your dog we recommend giving your dog a flea and tick preventative year-round. Always check any flea and tick product label for safety based on age. Some products are not safe for young puppies.

Microchipping

We strongly recommend microchipping your new family member. This is a quick and easy procedure which can be done at any of your puppy’s wellness visits, or at time of spaying/neutering. Microchips help reunite lost pets with their owners. If your pet ever does get lost having a microchip significantly increases the likelihood of them finding their way home as most animal hospitals, shelters and animal control officers have a universal scanner and will be able to identify your pet. We use Home Again microchips, their first year of service is included in the implantation fee.

Spaying/Neutering

Spaying and neutering decreases or eliminates the risk of developing certain life-threatening or costly diseases in our beloved pets. For this reason, we recommend spaying or neutering your dog at 6 months of age. If you have questions or concerns about this procedure, or are thinking about breeding your puppy, please talk to the veterinarians at one of your puppy’s wellness visits to determine what is right for your individual dog and household.

Adult Wellness

Yearly wellness exams are important for your adult dog, even if they appear generally healthy. Having your dog examined at least once a year allows the veterinary health care team to monitor your pet’s health and look for conditions such as obesity, arthritis and dental disease. This allows us to work with you to formulate a plan for your individual dog to treat any concerns before they become a serious issue. If our veterinary care team finds your dog has a chronic issue, we might recommend wellness visits every 6 months to ensure any problems are treated in a timely manner. Remember dogs age much faster than we do, so yearly visits are equivalent to us going to the doctor every 7 years!


Vaccines

Distemper/Parvo: This vaccine provides protection against canine distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, parainfluenza and adenovirus. Without vaccination dogs are vulnerable to both distemper and parvovirus, which are serious viral infections with a high mortality rate. At your dog's first visit we administer a 1-year Distemper/Parvo vaccination. On subsequent visit we recommend switching your dog to a 3-year distemper/parvo vaccination schedule. The 3-year schedule has been proven effective and reduces the number of vaccinations your pet needs to receive to be protected.

Rabies: In Massachusetts all dogs must be vaccinated again rabies. Rabies can be spread through saliva or blood of infected animals. Rabies can be found in mammals and pets can be exposed through wildlife such as raccoons, bats, possums and foxes. In accordance with Massachusetts State law at your dog’s first visit we administer a 1-year rabies vaccination. After the second vaccination we can your dog to a 3-year rabies vaccination schedule. The 3-year schedule has been proven effective and reduces the number of vaccinations your pet needs to receive to be protected.

Lyme: Lyme is a tick-borne disease which is common in New England. Even with regular flea/tick preventive your pet can be exposed to Lyme. This vaccine should be boostered yearly for the best protection.

Canine Influenza: Canine influenza has become more common in the United States and increasing each year. Although dogs and people cannot spread the disease to each other, dogs do have similar symptoms to people and can range from a cough to a high fever. We offer a vaccine for both major strains of canine influenza. We recommend this vaccine for puppies who spend a lot of time around other dogs including going to the dog park, puppy training classes, visiting the pet store, or any other location where they may be exposed to other dogs. It may also be required if you want to take your dog to a groomer or you need to board them overnight. Talk to your veterinarian to see if the canine influenza vaccine is right for your puppy.

Bordatella: We recommend the bordatella (kennel cough) vaccine for dogs who spend a lot of time around other dogs including going to the dog park, training classes, or visiting the pet store. It may also be required if you want to take your dog to a groomer or you need to board them overnight. We administer this as an intranasal vaccine.

Leptosporosis: Leptosporosis a serious disease that can be passed to humans. It can be transmitted to your dog from wildlife, such as mice, squirrels, and raccoons as well as farm animals through infected urine in puddles or on the ground. We recommend this vaccine for all pets because of the risk of exposure in the area.

Other Vaccines: If your dog would benefit from some of the other vaccinations available, either because of travel history or specific health needs, we will discuss this with you at your dog’s wellness visit.

Internal Parasites
We recommend www.petsandparasites.org for more information

Intestinal Parasites: Dogs can be exposed to parasites in the environment, which can be passed to humans, to ensure their health and safety, as well as your own and your children, we recommend that all dogs have their stool examined annually. Fecal examination entails Giardia testing, and microscopic examination of a direct and flotation preparation of feces to check for worm ovum (eggs) and coccidia.

Heartworm Testing: We recommend testing for heartworm on an annual basis. The heartworm test is a fast and simple blood test we can perform while you wait. The test detects the presence of heartworm disease, a potentially fatal mosquito borne illness, and three serious tick-borne diseases including Lyme disease.

Heartworm prevention: Heartworm is a serious parasite infection which is transmitted by mosquitoes. Once mature the heartworms invade the right side of the heart and large vessels of the lungs. It is very difficult to treat this infection, but it can be prevented by giving your dog year-round heartworm preventative.

Fleas/ticks: Many diseases, such as Lyme, can be transmitted by tick bites. To provide the best protection for your dog we recommend giving your dog a flea and tick preventative year-round. Always check any flea and tick product label for safety based on age. Some products are not safe for young puppies.

Microchipping

We strongly recommend microchipping. This is a quick and easy procedure which can be done at any of your dog’s wellness visits. Microchips help reunite lost pets with their owners. If you pet ever does get lost having a microchip significantly increases the likelihood of them finding their way home as most animal hospitals, shelters and animal control officers have a scanner and will be able to identify your pet. We use Home Again microchips, their first year of service is included in the implantation fee.

Dental Care

Dental health is an important part of your dog’s overall health. Maintaining their oral health can help prevent infections and help protect their immune system. We recommend good oral hygiene for your dog and offer a complete line of at home dental care products ranging from tooth brushes and paste to rinses and chews. We examine our patients’ mouth and teeth as part of our routine yearly exams. This is a good time to discuss dental disease with your pet’s doctor and determine if any dental procedures are necessary.

Senior Wellness

Senior pets require specialized care, and regular wellness exams are an important part of maintaining their health. Annual wellness exams allow the veterinary health care team to monitor your pet’s health and look for conditions such as obesity, arthritis and dental disease. This allows us to work with you to formulate a plan for your individual dog to treat any concerns before they become a serious issue. If our veterinary care team finds your dog has a chronic issue, we might recommend wellness visits every 6 months to ensure any problems are treated in a timely manner. Some patients might require laboratory testing to monitor organ function or drug levels at more frequent intervals.

Senior Health Screening

As your pet ages they may require more specialized health screenings. We will work with you to determine which tests are best for your pet. Here are some of the tests we may recommend for your pet.

Laboratory Testing: We recommend blood testing for senior pets at least once a year. Basic screening for senior dogs includes a complete blood cell count (red and white blood cells, platelets and hemoglobin), general chemistry panel (BUN, creatinine, Alk Phos, Glucose, ALT, total protein, calcium, phosphorus, albumin, amylase, total bilirubin and cholesterol), thyroid. In addition to blood tests we also recommend a complete urinalysis. Regular laboratory screening allows us to diagnose diseases in your dog much earlier, which enables us to treat any underlying conditions much more successfully.

Tonometry: Glaucoma is a very common eye disease that can lead to pain and blindness if not diagnosed early. As part of a comprehensive senior wellness program, we recommend regular measuring of your dog’s intra-ocular pressure. This provides us with baseline information, and if your dog’s pressure rises, it enables us to begin treating for glaucoma much earlier—before your pet is in pain or loses vision.

Blood Pressure: Hypertension can be a problem in older dogs. Your veterinarian may recommend testing if there is any suspicion of hypertension.

ECG: Some dogs develop cardiac problems with age. An electrocardiogram is one of the tools we use to diagnose heart disease.

Radiographs: Our older canine companions are more prone to arthritis, cardiac disease, pulmonary issues and cancers. Sometimes radiographs/x-rays can help rule out these serious conditions or help our doctors assess the severity of your dog's problems so appropriate treatment plans can be made.

In addition to the senior specific health screens we recommend the same course of vaccinations and parasite prevention as adult dogs.

Vaccines

Distemper/Parvo: This vaccine provides protection against canine distemper, parvovirus, hepatitis, parainfluenza and adenovirus. Without vaccination dogs are vulnerable to both distemper and parvovirus, which are serious viral infections with a high mortality rate. At your dog's first visit we administer a 1-year Distemper/Parvo vaccination. On subsequent visit we recommend switching your dog to a 3-year distemper/parvo vaccination schedule. The 3-year schedule has been proven effective and reduces the number of vaccinations your pet needs to receive to be protected.

Rabies: In Massachusetts all dogs must be vaccinated again rabies. Rabies can be spread through saliva or blood of infected animals. Rabies can be found in mammals and pets can be exposed through wildlife such as raccoons, bats, possums and foxes. In accordance with Massachusetts State law at your dog’s first visit we administer a 1-year rabies vaccination. After the second vaccination we can your dog to a 3-year rabies vaccination schedule. The 3-year schedule has been proven effective and reduces the number of vaccinations your pet needs to receive to be protected.

Lyme: Lyme is a tick-borne disease which is common in New England. Even with regular flea/tick preventive your pet can be exposed to Lyme. This vaccine should be boostered yearly for the best protection.

Canine Influenza: Canine influenza has become increasing common in the United States over the last few years. Although dogs and people cannot spread the disease to each other, dogs do have similar symptoms to people and these symptoms can range from a cough to a high fever. We offer a vaccine for both major strains of canine influenza. We recommend this vaccine for dogs who spend a lot of time around other dogs including going to the dog park. It may also be required if you want to take your dog to a groomer or you need to board them overnight. Talk to your veterinarian to see if the canine influenza vaccine is right for your dog.


Bordetella: We recommend the bordetella (kennel cough) vaccine for dogs who are boarded, go to the groomer or spend a lot of time around other dogs including going to the dog park.

Leptosporosis: Leptosporosis a serious disease that can be passed to humans. It can be transmitted to your dog from wildlife, such as mice, squirrels, and raccoons as well as farm animals through infected urine in puddles or on the ground. We recommend this vaccine for all pets because of the risk of exposure in the area.

Other Vaccines: If your dog would benefit from some of the other vaccinations available, either because of travel history or specific health needs, we will discuss this with you at your dog’s wellness visit.

Internal Parasites
We recommend www.petsandparasites.org for more information

Intestinal Parasites: Dogs can be exposed to parasites in the environment, these parasites can be passed to humans. To ensure the health and safety of both you and your pet recommend that all dogs have their stool examined annually. Fecal examination entails Giardia testing, and microscopic examination of a direct and flotation preparation of feces to check for worm ovum and coccidia.

Heartworm Testing: We recommend testing for heartworm on an annual basis. The heartworm test is a fast and simple blood test we can perform while you wait. The test detects the presence of heartworm disease, a potentially fatal mosquito borne illness, and three serious tick-borne diseases including Lyme disease.

Heartworm prevention: Heartworm is a serious parasite infection which is transmitted by mosquitoes. Once mature the heartworms invade the right side of the heart and large vessels of the lungs. It is very difficult to treat this infection, but it can be prevented by giving your dog year-round heartworm preventative.

Fleas/ticks: Many diseases, such as Lyme, can be transmitted by tick bites. To provide the best protection for your dog we recommend giving your dog a flea and tick preventative year-round.

Microchipping: We strongly recommend microchipping. This is a quick and easy procedure which can be done at any of your dog’s wellness visits. Microchips help reunite lost pets with their owners. If you pet ever does get lost having a microchip significantly increases the likelihood of them finding their way home as most animal hospitals, shelters and animal control officers have a scanner and will be able to identify your pet. We used Home Again microchips, their service is included in the implantation fee.

Dental Care

Dental health is an important part of your dog’s overall health. Maintaining their oral health can help prevent infections and help protect their immune system. We recommend good oral hygiene for your dog and offer a complete line of at home dental care products ranging from tooth brushes and paste to rinses and chews. We examine our patients’ mouth and teeth as part of our routine yearly exams. This is a good time to discuss dental disease with your pet’s doctor and determine if any dental procedures are necessary. It is very common for senior dogs to show signs of moderate to severe periodontal disease. It is important to address periodontal disease, as it can lead to pain, loss of teeth, poor appetite, weight loss, kidney issues and heart disease. Keeping your senior dog's teeth healthy can have a significant impact on their overall well-being and quality of life.

Training Recommendations

It is important to have a well-trained puppy. Not only does it make you look good in your friends’ and neighbors’ eyes, but it also means fewer accidents for you to clean up. Also, a well-trained puppy means a well-trained grown-up dog.

Here are six important tips to make your puppy's training easier for you and hopefully more successful.

1. Be Patient
If you’re calm, your puppy will be less excitable. Remember you are teaching your dog because they do not know any better, so try not to become frustrated.

2. Positive Reinforcement
We’re talking bribery here, plain and simple. When your puppy does something good, reward the behavior immediately with lots of praise and a delicious, healthy treat. The key to positive reinforcement is to catch the good behavior immediately so your dog will know what the good behavior was. Your puppy will remember what happens when it does something good and will continue doing it.

3. Ignore Undesirable Behavior
Puppies believe the entire universe revolves around them, and one of the best things in life is all the attention they get (and treats, of course). If your puppy does something naughty, do not yell or reprimand; good or bad, it is still attention. Simply move away and ignore it. This method is very effective and is used to show the pup what you consider to be unacceptable behavior. This includes ignoring a puppy for jumping on you and rewarding them with attention when they are calm.

4. Replacement Therapy
A puppy does not know what it can and cannot do until it is told. Instead of punishing your pup when it chews on a shoe, say "no" in a firm voice, and then take the item away, replacing it with one of the puppy’s allowable chew toys. Immediately praise it for chewing on the "good" toy. Soon, your puppy will be conditioned to the rules of the house.

5. Be Consistent
This says it all. Make sure you are consistent with everything you do so your puppy does not get confused. Our dogs are always learning even we were aren't in “training mode”. If you allow them to jump up on you one day and tell them “no” the next they will not know what is the “good” behavior. Dog therapy and anti-anxiety meds for an erratic puppy can be expensive down the road, so better to get the steps right the first time.

6. Talk to a professional
There is no substitute for working with a professional. All dogs can benefit from a basic dog training class. Not only will it help improve their behavior, but it will be fun for you and your dog! Ask us if you need assistance finding a dog trainer.

For more information about training, or finding a professional trainer we recommend www.clickertraining.com

Housebreaking Puppies

This is one of the most important things you will teach your dog. The key is positive reinforcement and consistency. Establish a routine, and know when you are taking your dog outside. Most dogs need to go out after every meal, outside meal time set a timer for every 2-4 hours depending on your puppy’s age and how well training is progressing. When you take your puppy outside do not immediately take them on a walk, wait in your desired potty location until your puppy does their business. When they have finished give lots of praise and treats and then take your puppy for a walk. This will help train your dog to go quickly and to learn that the fun of going outside comes after they have finished their business. A common mistake people make is taking your dog inside immediately when they have finished their potty time, however dogs sometimes learn to delay going so they can spend more time outside. If your puppy has an accident do not punish them after the fact, it will only scare them and will not speed up training. If you see your puppy squat you can interrupt them with a simple “No” and pick them up and take them outside, give them lots of praise when they go outside. Remember puppies will have accidents, stay positive and consistent with your training and your puppy will soon figure out where and when they should potty.

Crate Training

Training your dog to be comfortable in a crate is a great way to help your dog feel more comfortable in your home. A crate or kennel can become the dog’s own space where they can go to relax or get away if they are stressed. To make the crate a safe comfortable place for your dog it is important that the dog is never forced into a crate, and is never placed in the crate as a punishment. Use positive reinforcement to make the crate a place the dog wants to go, feed your dog their meals in the crate (with the door open). Reward them for going in the crate, and start training them to go into the crate on command by saying “crate” before putting treats or your dog’s meal in the crate. If you are consistent with this your dog will do happily sleep in and relax in their crate and your will be able to secure your dog in their crate if needed when you are out of the house.

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