Puppy Care: Caring for Your New Puppy

Puppy Immunizations

The number of pet vaccinations your puppy needs depends upon his or her age. Generally, a puppy is vaccinated at three-week intervals, beginning as early as six weeks of age and continuing until he or she is four months old. The medical team at University Animal Hospital vaccinates against diseases such as:

  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Parainfluenza
  • Parvovirus
  • Bordetella (kennel cough)
  • Rabies
  • Lyme Disease
  • Leptospirosis
  • Canine Flu

If the vaccination schedule is not followed or completed, your puppy may be susceptible to many of these diseases, which are commonly observed in the NYC area. New York State law requires that all pets receive an initial rabies vaccination no later than four months of age, and the second vaccination within one year of the first vaccination.

All dogs that travel outside of the city to surrounding areas (including Westchester, New England, Upstate New York, Long Island, etc.) should receive a Lyme Disease vaccination. Leptospirosis can be a deadly disease for dogs. All NYC dogs traveling to wetlands and wooded areas should be vaccinated against leptospirosis.

Puppy Boosters

The veterinarians and staff of University Animal Hospital assess your pet’s susceptibility to diseases not considered part of the core immunization standard of care. These include:

  • Lyme Vaccination – This should be considered for any dog that travels outside of New York City and surrounding areas (for example, Westchester, New England, Upstate New York, Long Island, etc.). Lyme disease is easily preventable, and we strongly recommend taking steps to protect your dog.
  • Canine Influenza – Similar to the H1N1 (Swine Flu) virus found in humans, this disease is highly contagious. Dogs that interact with other dogs (in daycare, at a dog run, in a grooming salon, or even on the street) are susceptible to this disease. We strongly recommend vaccinating all dogs against this deadly virus.
  • Leptospirosis – Recently, this deadly disease has received a lot of attention. We recommend vaccinating all dogs traveling to wetlands and/or wooded areas and all dogs who swim in fresh water. In 2009, an outbreak of Leptospirosis was reported in New York City dogs. We strongly recommend vaccinating your dog against this deadly disease.

Heartworm Disease

Heartworm is a serious threat to all dogs. The disease is spread through the bite of an infected mosquito that is carrying heartworm larvae. All dogs should be placed on a preventative drug such as Sentinel, a monthly oral tablet that prevents the disease and helps to stop the infestation of fleas. This pill also controls intestinal parasites and should be given throughout the year.

Intestinal Parasites (Worms)

To check your pet for intestinal parasite eggs, we can provide you with a special container to obtain a stool specimen. You may see worms in your puppy’s stool, particularly after giving a dose of Sentinel. This is normal as it means worms are leaving your pet’s body. This is not an emergency, but we do ask you inform our office so we may dispense additional de-worming medication, depending upon the type of parasite you report. Worms are generally not a serious problem and can usually be eliminated with one or two treatments.

Spay and Neuter Procedures

Spaying your dog prevents serious medical problems, such as uterine infections and breast tumors, and less serious problems such as blood staining (when in heat) and false pregnancy. The best age to spay your puppy is at six months (before she goes into her first heat). It is not recommended to spay a dog during her heat cycle. Heat is associated with a swollen vulva and initial bloody vaginal discharge (before true heat or estrus), followed by a clear vaginal discharge (estrus). An infectious discharge (pus) indicates a vaginal or uterine infection. If signs of infection are present, this may be an emergency and you should call University Animal Hospital as soon as possible.

Male dogs are neutered to avoid behavioral problems such as urine marking and aggression. Neutering also prevents problems associated with older dogs, such as prostate disease, anal tumors, testicular tumors, and perineal hernias.

Flea & Tick Control

We recommend a once-a-month topical lotion or chewable tablet as a part of our puppy services to protect your puppy from fleas and ticks. We carry a variety of flea prevention products. A staff member can discuss with you which flea and tick treatment is best for your puppy.