Your New Puppy

Congratulations on bring your new puppy into your life!  If cared for properly, you can expect to experience the joy and companionship of your new canine friend for many years to come.

Before you bring your new puppy home, you must make sure that you and your home are prepared for it's special needs.  Your new puppy will look to you to ensure it's health and safety by providing a proper diet, environment and veterinary care.

Your puppy will require a diet specially formulated for it's growing needs.  Large breeds need a different diet formulation than smaller breeds to allow their bones and body tissues to grow at the proper rate to help avoid certain musculoskeletal conditions.  Tiny breeds may need a smaller kibble size to match their smaller muzzles and teeth.  There are many brands available, from premium to generic quality, with price ranges to match.  You need to choose the best quality puppy food that your budget can afford to supply your puppy's nutritional needs.  Whichever brand you choose, we recommend that the major portion of the diet consist of dry kibble, with perhaps the occasional dollop of canned food.  Treats should be limited as they tend to be high in calories, but can be used as a training aid.

Your new puppy will require to be housebroken as well as obedience trained.  Remember that young minds have very short attention spans but training should get easier as your puppy grows.  Small breeds will mature faster than larger breeds so don't expect the 4 month old Labrador to be as trained as the 4 month old Toy Poodle.  Also be warned that some individuals of smaller breeds may resist your training efforts...unless it concerns their training of the owner.  Positive reinforcement works far better than any form of negative discipline and working in small steps for small accomplishments is preferred to tackling the giant mountain all at once.  Before long, all those small steps will add up to reach the milestone.  Having older pets that are already trained can help you train the new puppy, but be advised, any bad habits your older pet has will also most likely be learned by the new addition.  Old dogs CAN learn new tricks so training your new puppy in proper behavior may also be a good time to re-train your older pet.  Please see our discussion on crate training in the FAQ section of our website.

Puppy Vaccination Schedule

Just like with humans, your new puppy needs to be vaccinated against multiple diseases that could potentially infect him or her.  Puppies will obtain maternal antibodies against these diseases if the mother has been vaccinated and the puppies drink the colostrum (first milk) after they are born.  These maternal antibodies will protect the puppy until they disappear and the puppy's own immune system takes over.  Since there is some slight variation as to exactly when this happens, as with humans, your puppy will require booster vaccinations spaced at appropriate intervals to ensure complete protection.  We recommend the following vaccination schedule for all puppies:

6 - 8 weeks of age - DAPP  (distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, parvovirus)

9 - 13 weeks of age - DAPLP (distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, leptospirosis, parvovirus)

14 - 16 weeks of age - DAPLP & Rabies (distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, leptospirosis, parvovirus, rabies)

We do not recommend vaccinating puppies younger than 6 weeks of age unless it is known that they did not obtain any maternal antibodies.  Their immune system is not able to produce it's own antibodies to fight disease at that time and the challenge to the immune system caused by vaccination would use up those maternal antibodies, leaving the puppy without any protection.

Puppy vaccinations MUST be administered no less than 2 weeks and no more than 4 weeks apart.  Too close together and the immune system can not "keep up" and provide protection.  Too far apart and the immune system has "forgotten" the prior vaccination and must start "from scratch".

The rabies vaccine does not require a booster to be effective due to the age administered (if given younger than 14 weeks, it must be boostered) in addition to the vaccine being a "killed" vaccine versus a "modified live" vaccine.

Florida state law requires all puppies sold within the state to be at least 8 weeks of age, to be vaccinated by a licensed veterinarian, and to have current Health Certificate issued by the veterinarian.  Puppies needing a Health Certificate are required to be given an additional vaccination against Bordetella, usually administered at 8 weeks.  The Bordetella vaccine, being a killed vaccine, does not need to be boosted in 2-4 weeks, although some breeders and veterinarians may do so as a precaution.  Additional requirements on the Health Certificate include being free of intestinal parasite on a fecal examination, have a general dewormer administered and any other notes found by the veterinarian concerning health issues, such as retained testicles, cleft palate, over or under bite, etc.  Health Certificates are only valid for 30 days.  On dogs older than 6 months, a heartworm test must also be performed.

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