All dogs in the St. Louis area are at risk for fleas, the most common external parasite of dogs. If frequenting areas with tall grass and a lot of trees, your dog also will be exposed to ticks.
Fleas can not only cause extreme itching and skin disease in your pets, but they can also carry tapeworms (intestinal parasites). Pets can bring fleas into your home, causing problems for your entire household! You can read more about those pesky free loaders here.
Ticks can also carry serious diseases in pets and people, including Ehrlichia, Lyme disease and Anaplasmosis. Again, pets can carry ticks into your home, where they could re-attach to people, so prevention is best for everyone! For more information about ticks and diseases they may carry, visit this link.
We offer several flea and tick preventatives to keep your pet covered year round. Preventatives are based off of weight, so as puppies we recommend only buying one or two doses at a time until full grown in order to ensure your puppy gets the correct dose as they grow.
All new puppies are sent home with a complimentary dose of Nexgard, a once-monthly, oral chewable flea and tick preventative and is a great product to continue lifelong.
Have trouble remembering to give that monthly pill? Bravecto may be for you once your dog is grown. Bravecto is a chewable oral flea and tick preventative that lasts for 12 weeks. We even remind you when it’s time to get your next dose! However, Bravecto is only labeled for 8 weeks for one of the tick species (lone star tick). If your pet has a high exposure to ticks, Bravecto may not be the best choice as the lone star tick can carry tick borne diseases.
While we prefer oral preventatives for their ease of administration, in some cases topical preventatives may be recommended instead (i.e. pets with food allergies/sensitivities or reactions to other preventatives). We carry Frontline and Revolution for those pets who the chewable preventatives are not an option for.
Can’t make it into the clinic to pick up your preventatives? All of our preventatives can also be found on our online pharmacy and shipped directly to your door!
Cleaning your puppy’s ears is an important step of grooming. Anytime your puppy gets wet from bathing or swimming, their ears should be cleaned afterwards to prevent infection as yeast and bacteria thrive in dark, moist environments. We recommend EpiKlean ear cleaner that can be purchased over-the-counter at any time. The drying agent will help get rid of any residual moisture. A medicated cleaner from the veterinarian may be necessary in some cases of infection or recurrent infections. Feel free to ask our veterinarians for a recommendation at any time.
The best time to start acclimating your puppy to having its ears cleaned are while they are young. Start by simply handling their ears by petting them, lifting the ear flap, and gently sticking your finger in the canal entrance. Once your puppy becomes comfortable with having its ears handled, you can start cleaning them by pouring the ear cleaner on a cotton ball and wiping the ear canal as far down as you can comfortably reach. Continue to wipe out the ear with additional cotton balls until little to no debris is seen. Q-tips are only recommended to clean out the small crevices at the top of the canal where you can visually see- do not stick q-tips down your dog’s ear canal.
It is important to provide positive reinforcement such as high reward treats during and after these sessions to encourage your puppy to view ear cleanings as a positive experience.
Ask our technicians to demonstrate ear cleaning on your pet anytime!
Crate training is an important part of training your puppy. Crate training helps keep your puppy safe from dangers in your home- like falls, electrical cords and destroying toys or furniture that can lead to serious GI issues. In addition, your pet’s housetraining process will improve and they’ll be more comfortable if they’re ever confined for boarding or hospitalization in the future. Best of all, it gives your pup their own “safe space.”
We recommend a tough, wire crate with a locking mechanism. Make sure the crate is large enough for your puppy to lay down, stand up, and turn around in, but not much more. You can often purchase a divider if you’d like to have a crate that can “grow” with them while still providing a small area as puppies. If the crate is too large, the puppy can go to the bathroom in it while easily laying down away from it. They don’t like to lay in their messes, and are often able to learn to “hold it” this way. You can offer food and water in the crate, and a chew-resistant bed for padding.
For more information on crate training, check out this great article and video from Fear Free Pets here, or download our Confinement and Crate Training PDF handout here.
Bringing home a new puppy means bringing home a lot of new supplies, too!
Here is our checklist for everything you’ll need to get your puppy off to a great start! Everything on this list has been owned and tested by our doctor and staff for our own pups
While any food or water bowl will do, we recommend staying away from plastic bowls. These tend to harbor more bacteria, food residue and smells, and can be harder to clean long term. Stick with stainless steel, ceramic or glass (if your pet can be trusted!).
Taking your food and water game to the next level? If you’d like to keep your pet on a strict schedule and measured feedings, you may want to consider an automatic programmable feeder like this one. You can also try a water fountain to keep the water fresh and circulating-we like this one and can even go in the dishwasher.
If you’ve got a fast eater who inhaled their food, puzzle bowls are great ways to slow them down and prevent food bloat. We’ve tried these and these.
Even if your pet spends most of their time indoors, it’s important to keep a collar on them for safety and identification purposes. Bonus points if it’s got reflective elements for seeing your pet in the yard during those late-night potty breaks! We like Martingale-style collars like this one since these help prevent your pet pulling out of their collar. Of course, your pet should always wear their identification tags as well, like one with your contact info, their rabies tag and their microchip tag. Hate the sound of jingling tags? Check out this tag silencer.
Under no circumstance should you get a retractable leash! We see many injuries each year due to these leashes- whether secondary to the small diameter cord or more often, to the leash breaking or not being strong enough to prevent a dog from pulling away and getting into traffic or a dog fight. Please avoid them at all costs! Look instead for a wide, flat leash with a sturdy collar hook and a comfortable handle like this one.
Note: if you’d like to use a harness with your pet, we recommend a soft, wide, easy to put on harnesses like those by the Puppia brand. If you’re using a harness to teach your dog not to pull on a leash or walk/heel better, we recommend the Easy Walk harness or a Gentle Leader.
Crate training is an important part of keeping your puppy safe, and giving them a safe place. We like this one, though there are many. Look for chew-resistant bedding (avoid soft towels and comforters that can be easily ripped apart by sharp puppy teeth) like this crate pad.
While crate training is great for when you leave the home or are sleeping, you may also run into the need to keep your puppy out of certain areas of your home, like stairs, kids rooms, or even just confine them to the kitchen during the potty training process.
Several of us have used this gate, and we like it because the door is easy to walk through (rather than taking down and/or trying to jump over it every time), and the cat door at the bottom makes it perfect for multi-pet houses. This allows you to keep a room open for your cats to escape to and a great way to keep dogs out of litterboxes!
Plan to invest in a variety of chew toys your puppy’s first year! You’ll want to provide different textures and shapes, and also rotate them out to keep your puppy interested.
Trusted and tough brands are Kong and Petsafe. Soft/fluffy toys and toys with squeakers should only be given under direct supervision so that your puppy doesn’t ingest any of the contents if they’re able to tear them apart! Here are some of our favorites:
PetSafe Busy Buddy Bristle Bone Dog Toy (refill rings here)
PetSafe Busy Buddy Kibble Nibble Meal Dispensing Dog Toy
PetSafe Twist ‘n Treat Dog Toy, Use with Food or Treats
PetSafe Busy Buddy Chuckle Dog Toy
KONG Classic Dog Toy
KONG Scrunch Knots Squirrel Dog Toy
KONG Snugga Wubba Dog Toy (great for the very baby pups!)
Get your pet used to a grooming routine early! You should only bathe your pet in a dog-specific shampoo, never human shampoo as it is far too drying. Oatmeal based shampoos are best and very gentle for even young puppies. A gentle, rubber tipped brush should be used for puppies. We like this gentle massager/brush for puppies and adults alike! It’s also important to start working with your pet’s feet and nails right away. Play with their feet daily, and start trimming their nails (even just one a day!) to get them used to this lifelong basic maintenance. We use these nail clippers here at the hospital!
In addition to their crate, you may want to offer your pet a soft bed elsewhere in your house. This is a great way to give them their own space and safe spot in your living areas. While your pet bed will depend on your pet’s size, puppies often like the beds with raised sides that they can really snuggle up in (and look even more adorable).
Keeping Your House Intact:
It’s inevitable, and understandable, that your pet may have an accident in your house. Use an enzymatic cleaner like Nature’s Miracle to break up the smell and prevent pets from returning to this spot. To keep pet’s from licking or chewing on items in your home like cords or furniture, try the Bitter Apple spray as a deterrent.
Hopefully this gives you a good start on products we recommend and trust for your puppy. There are lots to choose from, and we’re always here to help give you help and guidance any time.
Pet insurance options and coverage has improved drastically over the past few years. The decision to enroll in pet insurance is up to the pet owner, and can be very personal depending on desired coverage and budget.
We strongly recommend pet insurance especially for high-maintenance breeds like pugs, English bulldogs, cocker spaniels, and very large breeds.
When considering pet insurance, it’s important to determine if your coverage is for simply treating problems when they arise or if it also offers preventative care coverage (like prophylactic dental cleanings and blood work screenings). You should be aware of reimbursement vs direct payment options, what the claim process entails, and what deductibles are a part of your pet’s plan.
Trusted insurance companies are Trupanion, Nationwide and Embrace. Trupanion has extended a special free 30 days for our new puppies, and we will email you with an enrollment certificate after your first visit. If you have questions about pet insurance, please let us know!
Choosing an appropriate food for your dog or cat is an important decision that can maintain and improve your pet’s lifelong health. With so many options available, it may seem overwhelming to pick the best diet for your pet. Each pet’s nutritional requirements are unique based on their age, activity level, lifestyle, and any existing medical conditions. The veterinarians at City Paws Veterinary Clinic recommend completely balanced diets which are formulated by veterinary nutritionists, have undergone extensive food-trial safety testing, and verified by AAFCO (Association of Animal Feed Control Officials).
Proper nutrition is vital in supporting healthy development of growing puppies and kitten. During stages of growth, puppies require a different balance of vitamins and minerals in comparison to adult animals. In general, we recommend feeding puppies a diet made for growth for the first full year of life. However, a veterinarian can make specific suggestions based on the individual needs of your pet.
Below are a few suggestions of balanced diets formulated by nutritionists and have undergone extensive safety testing:
This list of recommendations does not encompass all the appropriate diets available for your pet. Each pet is unique and may require additional considerations. In some cases, home-made diets are desired. These diets should be formulated specifically for each individual pet by a certified veterinary nutritionist to ensure that they are completely balanced and meet the required standards of vitamin and mineral balance.
Dog and cat foods are constantly evolving and changing. New dietary options are available weekly and choosing the proper diet may feel like a difficult decision. The staff and veterinarians at City Paws Veterinary Clinic would be happy to assist you in making the proper choice for your pet. Please do not hesitate to contact us with your questions and concerns.