Your puppy's health is your responsibility and there are several easy steps you can incorporate into daily life to protect him and monitor his health. Some steps are more obvious than others, but by following these guidelines, you can ensure his good health and protect him from possible dangers.
- Set up regular appointments with your veterinarian for checkups.
- Be sure to follow the schedule of vaccinations. Puppies do get some antibodies from their mothers, but vaccinations and follow-up boosters are essential to protect them from serious diseases.
- Your vet will probably recommend steps you can take to prevent diseases such as Lyme disease and Heartworm. These usually include topical repellents for fleas and ticks and chewable medication to protect against heartworm. Help yourself remember when to administer these by marking it on your calendar.
- Two-month-old puppies typically eat three times a day and should be fed high-quality puppy food. The package will have guidelines on how much to feed your puppy, but also check with your vet.
- Give your puppy plenty of exercise. He needs the mental and physical stimulation that comes from playtime and walks.
- Puppy-proof your home to keep dangerous items, such as cleaning supplies, out of reach. Even some plants are toxic for dogs. As part of puppy-proofing, keep small items, like jewelry and toy parts, off the floor so he can't swallow or choke on them.
- Brush and groom your puppy regularly. This is a good opportunity to check for ticks, fleas, and debris and to reduce shedding.
- By two months of age, your puppy will have his deciduous teeth --"baby teeth." It's not too early to introduce him to a toothbrush. Starting a teeth-cleaning regimen early will help prevent decay and set up a good routine for years to come.
- Learn the health risks that are specific to his breed. Your vet will advise you on how to prevent them and to recognize the onset of any diseases or conditions.
Here's a quick daily checklist that will help you maintain your puppy's good health:
- Check his skin and coat by running your hands over him. Check for ticks, fleas, other insects and, in general, anything that's not supposed to be there.
- Notice if he's scratching or rubbing his ears excessively.
- Check his paws for cuts or abrasions.
- His eyes should be clear, with no discharge or redness.
- Look at his feces for anything undigested or for a change in consistency or frequency. Many symptoms of illness could be something serious or just a minor upset. As a general rule of thumb, the following should be monitored and, to be safe, checked by your vet:
Along with the joys of owning a puppy comes the responsibility for his health and well-being. Taking a few minutes each day to check your puppy's health should be part of your daily routine and can save a lot of heartache down the road.