Puppy Care

For puppies, we like to do a series of

THREE EXAMS

that are 3-4 weeks apart. This is of course depending on the age of your puppy or kitten. In these series of exams, your pet’s doctor will be able to follow the growth of your furry-friend and ensure that they are developing correctly while also building their immunity to life-threatening diseases through a series of vaccines.

EXAM ONE

Your pet’s first exam with us is when you initially bring them in. Frequently we will see puppies/kittens around 8 weeks old, but as long as your pet is younger than a year old, it will still count as their first exam.

Puppy Vaccines

EXAM TWO

Our recheck exam is usually for pets near 12 weeks old and is an important exam to assess the growth of your pet.

Puppy Vaccines

EXAM THREE

The next exam takes place when they are 16 weeks old. Your doctor will assess their growth and health, finalize their immunization, and begin discussing the next steps as your pet becomes an adult.

Puppy Vaccines

How do I potty train my puppy?

HOW DO I SET A POTTY TRAINING SCHEDULE?

  • First thing in the morning
  • Last thing at night
  • After spending time in a crate
  • Upon waking up from a nap
  • After eating or drinking
  • Time between potty brakes
    should be no more than 2-4 hours 

HOW DO I CRATE TRAIN MY PUPPY?

  • Dogs like clean “home” areas and are less likely to have accidents
  • Place crate near exterior door for quick relief
  • The crate should be big enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around, and lay down

WHEN SHOULD I REINFORCE GOOD BEHAVIOR?

  • Don’t scold your puppy for having an accident
  • Praise them for doing the right thing
  • Reward them with treats, pats, and attention

How do I get my puppy to stop bad behavior?

WHAT CAN MY PUPPY CHEW ON?

  • Chewing is a calming mechanism for puppies
  • Keep chewing toys around the house; when they start to chew on toys instead of household objects, give them praise 

HOW DO I STOP MY PUPPY FROM BARKING?

  • Scolding your puppy when they bark can make it worse; instead, ignore barking and praise quiet
  • Training your dog to sit helps them fight impulsive barking when they want something 

HOW DO I STOP MY PUPPY FROM BEGGING AT THE TABLE?

  • Feed them first before you eat
  • Create a cozy “go-to” spot near the table where they can be comfortable
  • Praise them with treats when they don’t beg 

How do I feed my puppy?

HOW OFTEN DO I FEED MY PUPPY?

  • 6-12 weeks: 4x a day
  • 3-6 months: 3x a day
  • 6-12 months: 2x a day
  • After a year: 2 half portions a day
  • Watch your puppy to gauge if they are eating healthy 

WHAT FOOD SHOULD I FEED MY PUPPY? 

  • Look for AAFCO guidelines
  • Look for age and health specific formulas
  • Ask your vet for tailored recommendations 

WHAT ARE HARMFUL FOODS FOR PUPPIES?

  • Dairy, chocolate, grapes, and sugary foods, snacks, or desserts

More Common puppy care FAQs

The following questions should be asked when deciding where to board your pet:

  • Are tours of the facility offered?
  • What is the ratio of boarders to staff members? Is there overnight staff?
  • Is food and water consumption monitored and documented?
  • Is urination and defecation monitored and documented?
  • Can my pet eat his or her regular food and keep the same feeding schedule?
  • What, if any interaction will my pet have with other animals?
  • Is there a veterinarian on staff? What is the protocol in case of a medical emergency?
  • What vaccinations are required prior to boarding? What about a fecal test?
  • Is the facility temperature controlled?

*Below is a list of some boarding places that have been recommended by our clients. Shawsheen Animal Hospital does not recommend nor endorse any particular one. You are encouraged to do research, call around, and visit facilities prior to making a decision.

Jennifer Clark & Kelly Burns
Jennifer and Kelly are vet assistants here at Shawsheen Animal Hospital. She will provide care for your pets at her home, or she will do home visits at yours. Please call the hospital at 978-851-5558 to speak with her for details.

Best Friends Pet Resort and Salon

394 Middlesex Road
Tyngsboro, MA 01879
Ph: (978) 649-8585

www.bestfriendspetcare.com

The Dog Nanny

112 Tewksbury St.

Andover, MA

978-475-1114

thedognannyonline.com

Crazy Canines

Tewksbury, MA

978-230-1544

www.crazy-canines.com

Pet Companions Bed and Biscuit

271 Main St.

Reading, MA

781-944-5445

www.petcompanionsinc.com

The following questions should be asked when deciding where to have your pet groomed:

  • Are there vaccination requirements? (beware of facilities that do not have any!)
  • Are tours of the facility offered?
  • Are dogs left unattended in tubs or on tables?
  • Care dogs cage dried or table dried?
  • Are they licensed and insured?

*Below is a list of some groomers that have been recommended by our clients. Shawsheen Animal Hospital does not recommend nor endorse any particular one. You are encouraged to do research, call around, and visit facilities prior to making a decision.

Diamond Dog and Cat Grooming

481 Boston Rd.

Billerica, MA

978-670-6061

Groomingdales

651B Boston Rd.

Billerica, MA

978-670-1123

www.groomingdalesbillerica.net

Mark’s Dog Grooming

2461 Main St.

Tewksbury, MA

978-657-5157

Absolute Pawfection – A mobile pet grooming facility

978-697-7888

www.absolutepawfection.com

King’s Royal Pet Grooming

91 Main St.

Wilmington, MA

978-967-9172

www.kingsroyalpetgrooming.com

Pretty Paws Pet Grooming – A mobile pet grooming facility
978-684-2202

  • It is strongly recommended that all puppies, regardless of breed or temperament attend at least a basic training class. This will not only help with socialization, which will result in a better adjusted dog, but it will also help you, as an owner learn the best ways to train your puppy at home and avoid many common pitfalls. Your dog will be a member of the family for many years to come. Teaching he or she to have good manners at an early age will only enhance this relationship for the life of your pet.

    The following questions should be asked when choosing a trainer:

    • Is a positive reinforcement method used?
    • Will the whole family be involved in the training process?
    • Are the trainers licensed? (look for APDT certification)
    • What vaccines are required?
    • Can you observe a class prior to enrollment?

    *Below is a list of some trainers that have been recommended by our clients. Shawsheen Animal Hospital does not recommend nor endorse any particular one. You are encouraged to do research, call around, and visit facilities prior to making a decision.

    Nevins Farm-MSPCA

    Methuen, MA

    (978) 687-0056

    www.mspca.org/animal_care/methuen-dog-training

    Waggin’ Tail Dog Training Center

    67 Broadway St.

    Westford, MA

    978-392-0945

    waggintaildogtraining.com

    Gemini Dog Training

    53-B Ayer Rd

    Littleton, MA

    978-486-9922

    www.geminidogs.com

    Crazy Canines

    Tewksbury, MA

    978-230-1544

    www.crazy-canines.com

    Fingers and Paws Dog Training
    Westford, MA
    978-496-7289

Regular ear cleaning is an important part of preventing infection. As a general rule, this should be done weekly for maintenance and always after your dog is bathed or goes swimming.

How to clean ears:

  • Use a veterinary approved product
  • Pour a generous amount of the solution into your dog’s ear
  • Massage the base of the ear canal
  • Allow the dog to shake
  • With a piece of gauze or a cotton ball, wipe out whatever debris comes to the surface

Many people do not clean their dog’s ears aggressively enough for fear of hurting them or damaging the ear drum. The dog’s ear canal is ‘L’ shaped (see diagram below), so disrupting the ear drum is unlikely. Often times, debris and wax will accumulate past the bend in the ‘L’ which is why it is important to flood the ear canal with cleaner and then massage. This will help to break up the debris that cannot be reached by your finger.

Many dogs hate having their nails trimmed, but it is a necessary evil. As a puppy owner, you will need to desensitize your new furry friend to having his or her feet handled and played with. Whenever you do this and he or she does not struggle or fuss, reward the puppy with a treat. The key is to make this a positive experience every time. If you appear nervous or frustrated, your dog will pick up on this and the task will be much more difficult.

The diagram below shows the anatomy of a dog’s nail. The quick contains nerves and blood vessels and is painful when cut. If you do cut your dog’s nail too short and it bleeds, don’t panic. Pack the end with flour or corn starch. If that does not stop the bleeding, call your veterinarian.

If you are not comfortable trimming your dog’s nails yourself, one of our technicians would be happy to do it for you. Please call for an appointment and ask about our rewards card where after 4 nail trims, the 5th is free.

The world can be an overwhelming place for a new puppy. The constant bombardment with new situations, people and handling can lead to a fearful and sometimes aggressive puppy.

The key to having a happy, well adjusted puppy is lots of positive reinforcement paired with new experiences. When you are out with your puppy, always have a pocketful of treats with you and be ready to reward him or her for acting relaxed and happy in the presence of new situations. If your puppy is acting shy or fearful, IGNORE IT! Trying to coddle or soothe your puppy during these times is only reinforcing the fear that he or she is exhibiting.

Expose your puppy to as many new experiences as possible and again, reward happy, relaxed behavior. The vet’s office can be a scary place too, so feel free to just drop in with your puppy to say hi, so that our staff can shower him with love, treats, and attention at a time when we do not have to do exams, vaccines or other things that he or she may not be a fan of.

When you are home with your puppy, get him or her used to having feet, ears, and mouth handled. Give treats and praise for good behavior during these exercises.

During mealtimes, or if your puppy is playing with a toy, briefly take away the food or toy and give him or her a reward for allowing you to do so.

The importance of positive reinforcement cannot be stressed enough. Remember to only reinforce those behaviors which are desirable and that you want to continue. Many unwanted behaviors are unknowingly reinforced by owners.

The behavior tips presented here barely scratch the surface of how to raise a happy, well adjusted puppy. Please refer to the resources included in this puppy pack for more complete information.(Have you done your homework and read this far?? If you have, call us and we’ll give your puppy a free nail trim!)

Get the best care for your best friend.

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