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Puppy Wellness

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Congratulations on your new puppy! Thank you for choosing us to help protect and care for your new addition to your family.

Prevention is the basis of what we try to do at STAC. Preventing diseases is the easiest way to keep our patients healthy and happy. This document outlines what STAC recommends to keep your puppy happy and healthy.   


    • DH(A)PP/DH(A)LPP-Lyme: This is the "puppy" series of vaccines that protects against Distemper, Hepatitis/Adenovirus, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza, and Leptospirosis. THE IDEAL VACCINATION SCHEDULE WOULD BE 6, 9, 12, AND 16 WEEKS OF AGE. 
      • The lepto vaccine will be started in puppies 12 weeks of age and older - this is a disease with potential zoonotic repurcussions (meaning it is transmissible to humans) and it causes liver and kidney failure. Yearly booster vaccines are required for continued immunity.
      • Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease that is becoming increasingly more prevalent in our area. It is characterized by joint pain and general malaise (not feeling well), with the worst case scenario being Lyme nephritis (kidney disease that is almost impossible to treat). This disease can be prevented with adequate tick control and vaccination. THIS VACCINE CAN BE STARTED AT 12 WEEKS OF AGE AND NEEDS A BOOSTER VACCINATION 3 WEEKS AFTER INITIAL ADMINISTRATION. Yearly booster vaccines are required for continued immunity.
    • RABIES: This disease is coming closer and closer to Ohio, with pet cats dying in recent history in Pennsylvania and West Virginia after exposing humans to this almost 100% fatal disease. This vaccine legally cannot be administered until 12 weeks of age. STAC ADMINISTERS THIS VACCINE AT THE TIME OF THE FINAL DHLPP-Lyme VACCINE. The first Rabies vaccine is good for 1 year and every Rabies vaccine after that is good for 3 years.
    • BORDATELLA/KENNEL COUGH: STAC offers 2 types of this vaccine: intranasal and oral. Intranasal starts working quicker and provides added immunity against other diseases, like parainfluenza. The intranasal vaccine is simply harder to administer. The oral vaccine carries a higher disease load and is easier to administer but only vaccinates against Bordatella. THIS VACCINE CAN BE ADMINISTERED AS YOUNG AS 8 WEEKS OF AGE AND REQUIRES YEARLY BOOSTERS.

Parasite Preventives

  • HEARTWORM PREVENTION: Heartworm disease is a disease caused by parasites spread by mosquitoes. Since our area of Oho does not have a "mosquito season," we do not have a heartworm (HW) preventative season. STAC RECOMMENDS YEAR ROUND ADMINISTRATION OF A HEARTWORM PREVENTATIVE. HW PREVENTATIVES CAN BE STARTED AS EARLY AS 8 WEEKS OF AGE. If you miss more than 60 days of preventative, a HW test will be required to re-start. A puppy over 6 months of age will need a HW test in order to start preventatives. A yearly HW test is required at STAC. Talk to a staff member to find the preventative that is appropriate for your pet.
    • Treating heartworm disease is expensive and painful. It requires months of doxycycline administration and injections of an arsenic based medication into the back muscles, followed by 16 WEEKS OF STRICT CAGE CONFINEMENT. Prevention is easier and cheaper and carries the added benefit of monthly de-worming.
  • FLEA AND TICK CONTROL: It takes a solid 3 months and maybe longer to break the flea life cycle. It is important to reiterate - PREVENTION IS TREMENDOUSLY EASIER THAN TREATMENT!!!!!!!!! Fleas can carry blood parasites and an over-abundance of fleas can cause flea anemia, which may require a blood transfusion. Ticks carry serious diseases, like Lyme disease, Ehrlichia, and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. Ticks have to be attached for over 24 hours to spread Lyme disease to the pet. Once again, PREVENTION IS TREMENDOUSLY EASIER THAN TREATMENT!!!! Talk to a staff member to find the preventative that is appropriate for your pet.

Spay and Neuter

  • WHY SPAY AND NEUTER: Spaying or neutering your pet carries numerous health benefits beyond population control. STAC RECOMMENDS SPAYING/NEUTERING YOUR PET AT 6 MONTHS OF AGE. In male dogs of certain breeds, mainly giant breed dogs, some sources recommend waiting until physical maturity to castrate to prevent damage in bone growth. Waiting may lead to an owner's desire for a scrotal ablation to eliminate the scrotum since it is less likely to shrink in older dogs.
  • SPAY: Spaying a female dog prior to her first heat cycle decreases her risk of developing mammary (breast) cancer by 95%. Spaying also eliminates the risk of a condition called pyometra, which is a pus/infection-filled uterus that warrants an emergency spay in a potentially unstable patient.
  • NEUTER: Castrating a male dog 100% eliminates the patients risk of testicular cancer while greatly reducing the risk of rectal tumors and an enlarged prostate. Also, the vast majority of hit-by-car and dog-attack patients are intact male dogs.

Crate Training

STAC recommends crate training for your puppy as our preferred method of potty training. 

  • WHY CRATE TRAIN: Crate training teaches your dog to spend time in a kennel or crate.  Dogs are naturally den animals, meaning that their natural instinct is to find a quiet area where they can escape when needed, rest, and recuperate from the day. By providing a crate to sleep and eat in, you are giving your dog the perfect den. Most dogs won’t eliminate where they sleep and eat, so crate training can be a big help with housetraining. A crate also provides a dog with a safe place to go when scared or nervous. Plus, crates can be a great way to keep a dog out of trouble when you are not at home or are unable to provide proper supervision. Staying in a crate can prevent your dog from finding his way into your closet and eating your favorite shoes; having a feast in your garbage can; or urinating in a less than ideal place in the house.
  • TIPS:
    • Crates, especially when you are beginning training, should be just large enough for dogs to sit, stand, lay on their side, and turn around comfortably. For large breed puppies, select a crate that can be sectioned off so that as they get bigger you can increase the size of the crate area. If a crate is too large, your dog may try to potty in one area and sleep at the other end.
    • Aim to make the crate one of your dog’s favorite areas of the house. You can feed meals in the crate as well as use the crate for bedtime and naptime. You may also want to give your dog a special chew toy that can only be enjoyed while in the crate. Make sure this is a toy that can be safely played with while unsupervised. Avoid using the crate as a place of punishment, such as time-outs for bad behavior. You don’t want your dog to associate special den with times of stress or fear.
    • To get your dog comfortable with spending time in the crate, start by firmly saying a command or cue word, such as “crate” or “kennel,” and placing your dog in the crate. The cue word will help your dog to eventually associate the word with going into the crate alone, so that over time he will go into the crate without being physically put there by you. Give your dog a treat and lots of praise immediately, and close the crate door for about 5 minutes. Praise your dog again once you let him back out. Over several days to weeks, gradually increase the amount of time your dog spends in the crate.

House Training

  • PUPPY DEVELOPMENT: Puppies start learning to leave their family and den area to use the bathroom between three and 12 weeks of age. This means that some puppies may not be fully capable of learning where and when to use the bathroom before the age of three months. For those puppies that are ready to learn, they may not be able to hold their bladder for more than a few hours (typical of puppies less than 4 months of age). Why is that important to know? Owner expectations and the puppy’s ability to learn are not always in sync. Housetraining can be a lengthy and sometimes frustrating process. Housetraining an adult dog can also be difficult because she may have been going wherever and whenever was desired up until now. You will have the troublesome task of teaching your dog that previous bathroom methods are no longer appropriate, and on top of that, teaching brand new methods for elimination.
  • Housetraining tips 
    • Puppies and dogs will provide you with many opportunities for successful trips to go potty. Remember that what goes in will eventually need to come back out again. To help make timing bathroom trips easier, feed your dog on a consistent schedule, ideally two to three times a day. This way, 15 to 30 minutes after eating or drinking, you know it is time for a trip to the elimination area. Dogs, especially puppies, also tend to go right after playing or sleeping. A good rule of thumb during the beginning of housetraining is to take your dog out every two hours for the first couple weeks, plus after sleeping, eating, drinking, or playing. Be sure to take your dog out right before bed time too.
    • Use a cue word such as “bathroom” or “potty” every time you take your dog to the bathroom area, so the dog will learn to associate the word with what you want achieved. Try to take your dog to the same area each time. In the beginning, you will need to go with your dog and make sure she actually poops or pees. If successful, immediately reward your dog with treats and praise. It may be helpful to lead your dog with a leash instead of carrying her to the elimination area so that going straight to the appropriate spot becomes a habit.
    • Constant supervision is important when you begin housetraining your dog. You need to catch your dog in the act of going in the wrong place in order to correctly redirect your dog. If you find pee or poop on the floor, the dog will not understand and make the connection with why you are actually upset.  Catching your pet in the act of a mistake will help them correct it in the future. Rubbing your dog’s nose in hours-old pee, however, is probably just plain rude.
    • If your dog does eliminate in the house while you are watching, interrupt immediately (such as with a squeaker sound or a sharp clap noise), and take him to the elimination area. Use your cue word. If your dog finishes going in the right area, give treats and/or praise.
    • Keep an eye out for clues or signals that your dog needs to eliminate. Circling, wandering off alone, whining, or going to the door you typically use to go to the elimination area are common signals. If your dog is demonstrating any of these signals, stop what you are doing immediately and take him to the bathroom. If he uses the bathroom when you take him to the designated area, be sure to reward your dog with praise and/or treats so he will continue to provide these signals.
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