Pet Tips Text

Choosing A Puppy

Hello, I’m Dr. David Roberts from Manchester West Veterinary Hospital and I know what you’re going to say. I went and did it now. I got myself a shiny new puppy here.

This is Emilion, she’s named after the famous French wine region called Saint-Emilion in France the Bordeaux, but we dropped the saint because saint she ain’t.

She’s a very good puppy but we’re going to go over a lot of things about puppyhood and how we raise puppies and how we choose puppies.

We are going to have about a five part segment to inform you what we are going to be doing with our pups.

Emi, as her call name…Emi is a Bouvier Des Flandres from the southern part of Belgium and France. And they were cattle herding dogs, and that’s what they were raised for back in the day.

Emi is about 13 weeks old now, but we’re going to start showing you how we take care of a puppy. And it starts with the choosing process.

The first thing that you want to do is make sure that you are choosing a reputable breeder. Even if you’re getting a mixed breed dog you want to make sure that you talk to people at a humane society or a shelter about that pet’s temperament. When we look at breeders in particular, we want to make sure that you get see their facilities. Don’t allow them to meet you in a parking lot somewhere half way between your journey. Make sure you see their facility and hopefully see the mother and the father, the dam and the sire, and see what their temperament is.

The other thing you get to do is look at the rest of the litter and choose from that litter instead of having that breeder choose for you. When you’re choosing a puppy we always say (it sounds like common sense) …but you want to make sure that you’re choosing the puppy that’s not the most rambunctious or play-aggressive, or the bully in the litter, and you don’t want the one that’s cowering, shy in the back. Those can be problems and that’s where you want to make sure that you’re choosing the right puppy. Choose one that is in between, that will allow you to handle them, pick them up, and that type of thing.

Then the next thing you’re going to want to do is you’re going to want to go to the veterinarian. Most breeders, most reputable breeders, want you to do that within three to five days to have a veterinarian, your veterinarian, check to make sure that the pet’s healthy. So the veterinarian is going to through a full physical exam, and they’re going to look in the ears with a novascope, and they’re going to look in the eyes with an ophthalmoscope. That hooks onto our light source here. They’re going to go through a full physical, they’re going to check joints. They’re going to listen to the heart, making sure that there are no heart murmurs. Our breed, Bouviers, they do have an incidence of heart murmurs. Emi does not have one, so everything is fine with her heart. But that is certainly something that you want the veterinarian to perform; a full physical exam. Check the coat for various parasites, fleas, ticks, those types of things, mange.

And the other thing you’ll want to do is bring in a sample of their feces, or a stool sample, to check for intestinal parasites. These are the worms, intestinal worms, but intestinal parasite exams are paramount for a new puppy. Otherwise, you’re going to get started off on a bad foot with housebreaking because you will probably get into a situation with diarrhea and that type of thing.

Your veterinarian will advise on many other things such as food, diets, which diets to use, which ones we don’t like.

They’ll advise you on when to spay and neuter which is around five or six months depending on the breed.

They’ll advise you on microchipping and they’ll advise you on many other things. We spend about 45 minutes to an hour with each new puppy at our clinic to make sure that the owners know everything that they need to know about things like vaccines.

Everyone knows the rabies vaccine. Most people know about the distemper/parvo vaccine. But other optional vaccines are intranasal, this is a nose drop, it’s bordetella. It’s for a dog who’s going to go to an obedience class, a boarding situation, that’s going to be shown, or that’s going to be groomed quite often. They should be protected against bordetella, that’s the kennel cough vaccine.

We also talk a little bit about Lyme disease in our area, in the Missouri are because we see cases of that every year.

We also talk about things like heartworm preventative. Heartgard; starting that at 8 weeks of age, and continuing that on a monthly basis throughout life, even throughout the winter. We talk about flea and tick preventative such as Frontline and again we use that year round in our area because we get some very temperate, some very mild winters. But your veterinarian will also talk to you about other things such as housebreaking, behavioral problems, various things that you might not know about your breed, such as diseases that they might get or conditions that they may have.

So the first visit to the veterinarian is very very important and as we move through our segments we are going to show you different things about housebreaking which will be coming up next.

I’m Dr. David Roberts. Thank you for your attention.

Located In Ellisville, MO

We're located just off Manchester Road (Hwy 100)
one mile West of Clarkson Rd.

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