For a puppy, hiccups are generally not cause for alarm. Puppy hiccups are usually a harmless, involuntary contraction of the diaphragm. Hiccups are experienced by all breeds and sizes, with episodes typically lasting less than a few minutes. Some unborn pups even hiccup inside their mother's womb! While hiccups are harmless, when accompanied by regurgitation, or the sudden discharge of undigested food or water, especially without much provocation, is worrisome. If your pup vomits, especially repeatedly, a veterinary exam is very much in order.
What do I need to know about vaccines for my puppy?
Typically your puppy receives the first round of shots at eight weeks and then additional ‘boosters’ every three to four weeks until four months old. Core vaccines include a multivalent vaccine that protects against multiple diseases, including Distemper virus, Parvovirus and Parainfluenza virus. Dogs should also be vaccinated against the rabies virus, not only important for protection against the disease, but also because it’s the law and required for registration nearly everywhere. To make the best decision about vaccinations for your pup, I encourage you to speak with your veterinarian.
How common are worms in puppies?
Intestinal worms, such as hookworms and roundworms, are unfortunately quite common in puppies, because the parasites are passed through the mother’s milk. Puppies with a large worm ‘burden’ exhibit an unhealthy appearance and a swollen pot belly. That being said, even puppies who look completely healthy can have worms. Your veterinarian will test a stool sample to look for eggs, but since worms don’t continuously shed eggs and the disease can be passed to humans, it is routine to deworm puppies.
How important is heartworm prevention?
Heartworm disease is a potentially fatal disease that is now prevalent across the country. The means of transmission is through mosquito bites. It takes six months for a heartworm to fully mature. Because blood tests only detect adult worms, heartworm disease is essentially undetectable in puppies younger than six months of age. It is hard to overstate the importance of heartworm prevention in the life of your companion animal.
How often should I feed my puppy?
Puppies aged 8-12 weeks need between 3-4 meals every 24 hours. Between 12-16 weeks, you can feed your puppy 2-3 times per day. After four months of age, feed as indicated by weight on the bag, usually twice per day.
Be sure to check the web site for details about our newest product, Life’s Abundance Premium Health Food for Large Breed Puppies. My latest formula is everything you love about our regular formula, but with a new protein mix, reduced calories and an adjusted calcium and phosphorus ratio to encourage healthy, controlled growth rates, as well as strong teeth and bones. For pet parents of small and medium-size breeds, keep in mind that our regular recipe is still perfectly formulated for both puppies and adult dogs.
You have my sincere wish that you and your new puppy will enjoy a lifetime of health and happiness.
Dr. Jane Bicks