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Massanutten Animal Clinic

Puppy Standing Outside on Concrete

Puppy Care

Here at Massanutten Animal Clinic, we understand that it is a big responsibility taking on a new puppy! We are here to provide some tips and tricks you can use with your new pet, including information about vaccines. Use them as a reference for any problems or questions you have regarding your puppy or kitten. Feel free to call us if you have any questions!

Puppy Playing with a Teddy Bear

Spaying or Neutering

It has been traditional in the U.S. to recommend spay or neuter procedures for all pets. The primary reason for this is to combat the problem of pet overpopulation. Despite all the efforts to control this problem, the number one cause of death for pets in the U.S. remains euthanasia at shelters.

In addition, there are some health and behavioral benefits as result from spaying and neutering:

  • Decreased rates of breast cancer in female dogs spayed before the first heat

  • Decreased rates of testicular and certain other cancers in neutered male dogs

  • Decreased inter-male aggression in both cats and dogs

  • Decreased roaming behavior in both males and females (pets leaving home to search for mates)

Owner Opening Package Giving Dog a Treat

Foods You Can't Feed Your Pet

There are many foods we enjoy that can be dangerous to our animals. It's best to stick to pet food but if you have to feed them table food here are a few of the most toxic foods for your pet:

  • Avocados

  • Grapes and Raisins

  • Nuts

  • Onions

  • Beer

  • Chocolate

  • Candy

  • Caffeine

Dog Licking Peanut Butter on its Nose

Foods You Can Feed Your Pet

Good news! There are a few things you can give to your furry pal. Although these foods are normally harmless, some animals have sensitive gastrointestinal tracks. Keep in mind that these and other "extras" should NOT make up more than 5-10 percent of the pet's daily caloric intake.

  • Vegetables- Carrot sticks, green beans, cucumber slices, and zucchini slices are all OK

  • Fruit- Apple slices, orange slices, bananas, and watermelon are all OK. Make sure the seeds have been taken out; seeds are not good for your pet!

  • Lean Meats- Any cooked lean meat should be fine for most dogs. High-fat meats, chicken skin, and fat from steaks, roasts, and ham are NOT recommended.

Never give your pet meat with bone in it. Animals can choke on the bones and they can splinter as well.

7 Steps to Proper Play

Teaching your new puppy the right way to play

Provide plenty of exercise

New puppies are bundles of energy, so give them productive ways to expend that energy such as going on walks.

Provide mental stimulation

Rubber toys that can be filled with treats, such as Kong (Kong Company) or Busy Buddy puzzle toys (Premier), offer puppies a chance to chase and bite the toys and obtain a food reward.

Play with your pup

Playing fetch or throwing a soccer ball for your pet to push around will sap some of your pup's energy

Teach and review basic obedience commands

A well-trained dog is more likely to follow orders when behaving inappropriately

Conduct leadership exercises

Follow three rules to maintain overall order:

  • Nothing in life is free - Ask your puppy to respond to a command such as "sit" before it receives anything it wants or needs.

  • Don't tell me what to do - It's ok to give your puppy love and attention it needs, but if it becomes too pushy about getting attention such as by nudging, whining, barking, or leaning, pull your hands in, lean away, and look away. Walk away if your puppy is too difficult to ignore. Once the puppy stops soliciting attention for 10 seconds, ask it to sit and give it attention.

  • Don't move without permission - Anytime you begin to move from one area of the home to another, ask your puppy to sit and stay for a second or two before you give it a release command to follow you.

Don't sit on the floor with your pup

This tends to get puppies excited, puts family members in a vulnerable position, and makes it more difficult to control the puppy

Promote socialization

Puppies must have frequent, positive social experiences with all types of animals and people during the first three or four months of life to prevent asocial behavior, fear, and biting. And continued exposure to a variety of people and other animals as the puppy grows and develops is an essential part of maintaining good social skills.