Introducing Puppy Care 101

Sad, but true, many puppies never live to see their first birthdays. Some succumb to infections diseases such as distemper and parvovirus, while some loose their lives due to parasites such as hookworms and heartworms. A vast majority of of the puppies are relinquished to animal shelters due to behavioral problems such as house soiling, aggression and destructive behavior.

What saddens me even more is that all of the above problems are preventable with vaccinations, parasite control and obedience training. After 30 years of practicing veterinary medicine, you would think I would eventually see a decline in the diseases, parasites and behavior problems, but alas, the truth is I have actually seen an increase in cases of distemper, parvo, heartworms and abandonment, partly due to the economy and tighter budgets and perhaps partly due to ignorance of what puppies need to survive their first year.

With the help of my internet friends who have been coaching me this last year, I have finally been able to assemble a web site geared to help solve and prevent many of these problems. Today, I am extending an invitation for you to explore my new website,

Although it is named puppy care, the dog training and health articles are great for any dog owner of any age dog. has a complete dog training course inside with helpful tips on:

  • house training
  • crate training
  • barking solutions
  • jumping up on people,
  • separation anxiety
  • submissive urination
  • walking on a leash
  • pet tricks
  • staying out of the garbage
  • eating “poop” also has information on your puppy’s health

  • vaccinations
  • parvovirus and distemper
  • parasite control
  • heartworms
  • spaying and neutering
  • pet insurance
  • dental care
  • flea and tick control
  • skin care
  • allergies

Each week more information will be added for you to read at your leisure. I am hoping to add enough material to go even beyond your puppies first year.

For the next week, I am offering a trial membership of the website. I encourage you to check it out and I will welcome any feed back of the website. I want to know what you like about it and tell me of any topics that you would like to see addressed.

Go now to and register for our free 7 day email mini-series on dog training just for visiting.

SPCA ,City of Arlington and North Texas Humane Society Control Seize over 12,000 Exotic Animals

Raid at Exotic Animal Complex in Arlington found hundreds of snakes, rodents, lizards and other exotic animals dead, starving or in deplorable conditions. Many were still stacked on top of one another in shipping crates without food or water. Estimates of over 20,000 animals including small primates, rodents and spiders were housed at the complex.

As of this morning 12,000 animals were recovered by the SPCA, City of Arlington Officials and members of the North Texas Humane Society. One respondent reported over 2000 iguanas were already dead and there were still more to be found.

A hearing will be held in 10 days to determine if the animals will be returned to the owner or left in custody of the animal shelters. Read more from the news by clicking the link below.


Kennel Cough

Kennel coughInfectious Canine Tracheobronchitis, more commonly known as Kennel Cough, is a contagious disease that affects the respiratory system. Like similar illnesses in people, it can be caused by a variety of organisms.

How Dogs Get Kennel Cough
Kennel cough is spread mainly by airborne viruses and bacteria expelled when infected dogs cough. People can inadvertently spread it on their hands, shoes, or inanimate objects.

The organisms most often implicated in cases of Kennel cough are Bordetella bronchiseptica, Canine Para influenza Virus, and Canine Adenovirus. Kennel cough spreads readily in places where many dogs are housed in close confinement, such as kennels, animal shelters, grooming parlors, and dog shows.

Not every dog exposed to the organisms that cause Kennel Cough will get sick. Stress, health status, and respiratory irritants like dust or smoke also play a role.

What the Disease Does
Most dogs with Kennel Cough are only mildly ill. The main symptom is a dry, hacking cough, sometimes accompanied by poor appetite. Most dogs recover within a few weeks. However, very young or highly stressed dogs can get seriously ill, progressing to bronchopneumonia. They may have a fever, greenish nasal discharge, and a productive cough.

How Kennel Cough is Diagnosed
Diagnosis is based on medical history and physical examination. Dogs with this illness usually cough when the windpipe is palpated. Accurate information about vaccination history is valuable, because the veterinarian must make sure that coughing is not caused by Canine Distemper.

Treatment for Kennel Cough
Dogs with mild illness may not require treatment, but cough suppressants and anti-inflammatories can help them feel more comfortable. More severe infections are treated with antibiotics and bronchodilators.

Preventing Kennel Cough
The combination vaccination routinely given to all dogs gives partial protection against two of the organisms that cause Kennel Cough, Canine Para influenza Virus and Canine Adenovirus. Dogs at higher risk include show dogs and those that are boarded or groomed professionally. They should be given a comprehensive Kennel Cough vaccine. One dose of vaccine is given initially, and is safe for puppies as young as two weeks old. Re-vaccination is recommended annually, although some boarding facilities require more frequent boosters. Both injectable and intranasal (nose drops) vaccines are available. The intranasal type is more effective, but the injectable type is helpful for dogs that dont tolerate nose drops. The injectable vaccine requires two doses initially. Vaccinated dogs sometimes still get Kennel Cough, but the vaccine reduces its severity.

Dogs with Kennel Cough should be isolated from other dogs since the disease is contagious. Contaminated objects should be disinfected with a dilute bleach solution. It is possible, although uncommon in household situations, for Bordetella bronchiseptica to be passed to cats, rabbits, and guinea pigs.

Neutering Your Cat

neutering your catNeutering, or orchiectomy, is a surgical sterilization procedure that can provide major health benefits for cats. Here are some important facts you should know before getting your cat neutered.

The Neuter Surgery
Orchiectomy is a surgery that is performed under general anesthesia. Your cats scrotum will be shaved and cleansed, and an incision will be made. The veterinarian will remove both testicles and tie off the spermatic cords. The skin incision is closed with stitches or surgical adhesive. Following neuter surgery, your cat will no longer produce sperm and he will have lower testosterone levels.

Although neutering is very routine, it still carries the risks associated with general anesthesia and surgery. Your veterinarian takes numerous measures to keep your cat safe, such as checking his heart and lungs before administering anesthesia and monitoring him constantly while he is asleep. You can ask whether your veterinarian recommends any additional safety precautions, such as pre-anesthetic blood tests or administration of IV fluids during the procedure.

The normal behavior of an un-neutered cat is often incompatible with being a household pet. Intact cats tend to wander from home, seeking a mate or defending their territory. This puts them at risk for being hit by a car or being injured in a fight. Urine marking and some types of aggression are more pronounced in un-neutered cats as well. Although neutering may not entirely eliminate these behaviors, it can diminish them by 50-90%.

Intact male cats suffer from a high incidence of inflammation and enlargement of the prostate, as well as testicular tumors. Neutering your cat will greatly cut down on the incidence of reproductive related cancers.

The final benefit of neutering is that its the best way you can help end pet overpopulation. Every year, 3-4 million cats and dogs are euthanized in U.S. animal shelters. None of us wants to contribute to that sad statistic, but we may do so unwittingly. Kittens adopted to apparently good homes may be given away or lost.

Considerations Before Surgery
Consult with your veterinarian about when to schedule your cats neuter surgery. Traditionally, pets are spayed at around six months of age. However, some veterinarians advocate performing the procedure earlier. The night before your cats surgery, remove his food and water before you go to bed. He should not eat or drink anything during the night or the morning of his surgery.Big Cat

Considerations After Surgery
Your cat may go home the day of his surgery, or may stay in the hospital overnight. If he goes home the same day, expect him to feel a little groggy. Keep him indoors, in a warm, safe, quiet room away from other pets. During the first week after surgery, try to restrict his activity level. It may be necessary to keep your cat indoors for several days following the surgery and it will be very important to keep the litter box clean.

If you notice your cat licking the surgical site frequently, ask for an Elizabethan collar. Some cats develop a swollen or slightly bruised scrotal area following neuter surgery. Some swelling is normal, but don’t be afraid to ask your veterinarian if you are concerned about your cat.

The effects of neutering on your cat will not be instantaneous. Testosterone levels wane over a period of weeks or months, followed by a reduction in fertility as well as territorial and mating behaviors.

Puppy Care

Congratulations! Bringing home a new puppy is fun, but it is also a huge responsibility that lasts its lifetime, which can sometimes reach 12 to 18 years or longer. The first six months of your puppies life are the most critical and establishes his health and behavior for the rest of his life.puppy You, as the puppies advocate, must ensure he is protected from disease with a series of vaccinations and effective monthly parasite control. Thousands of inadequately vaccinated puppies never make it to see their first birthday because of diseases such as parvovirus and distemper. Thousands more will die from heartworm disease from the bite of one single mosquito, and even more may succumb to intestinal parasites, such as hookworms, even before they even reach 2 months old.

The majority of dogs relinquished to animal shelters is usually because of behavioral issues, such as dog aggressiveness that results in a dog bite, the inability to house train or unruly and destructive behavior. These are natural tendencies in dogs, and it is your responsibility to learn the how the dog thinks and use the natural, instinctive pack leadership skills to effectively modify both you and your dog’s behavior and solidify a great and rewarding relationship with your new puppy and family

Puppy proofing your home is another safety precaution you must establish. There are several hazards to young puppies you must look out for, such as electrical cords, toxic houseplants, foods that must not be fed, and toxic substances that need to be secured. Providing a safe haven for your puppy, such as a crate, when you are away, will keep him out of trouble and will also hasten house training.

There is so much more that I want to share with you that I have developed a series of newsletters and videos to help you take great care of your puppy and then well into his senior years. Register for my puppy care newsletter and you will also get some bonus e-books.

Recommendations for Puppies

Age 2, 4, 6 weeks of age

* deworm for hookworms and roundworms
* check for other intestinal parasites such as coccidia, tapeworms, whipworms and giardia

6-8 weeks of age

* Wellness Examination (WE) Check eyes, ears, heart, lungs, teeth, and other structures.
* DHPP (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvo, )
* Parasite Check
* Dewormer
* Start Heartworm preventative
* Start Flea medication
* Behavior counseling (crate training)

12 weeks

* Wellness Exam
* DHPP #2
* Bordetella #1
* Leptospirosis #1 (4 way)
* Dewormer
* Heartworm and Flea medication

16 weeks

* Wellness Exam
* DHPP#3
* Rabies
* Lepto #2
* Bordetella #2
* Heartworm and Flea medications

5months and older

* Spay or neuter
* Blood profile to screen for congenital problems prior to surgery
* give heartworm and flea medication every month all year round
* feed high quality pet foods, avoid generic brands
* Start getting your pet used to brushing teeth while they are young.

10months old

* parvo booster
* bordetella booster
* parasite check


* Wellnes Examination
* Rabies
* Leptospirosis
* Bordetella
* Heartworm (Erhlichia and Lyme) test
* Parasite Check
* Lyme booster
* Giardia booster
* If pet has received 2 Rabies Vaccinations exactly 365 days or less in a row, then pet may go to a Rabies injection every 3 years. If the two vaccines are more than 365 days apart, then they must get another vaccine within the year.
* Pets age 7 years for every 1 calender year. Physical exams on a bi-annual basis are a good way to screen for health problems before they become major.

Dr. Debra Garrison
Dr. Debra Garrison