The Ultimate Guide To Puppy Health Care – Everything You Need To Know!

Are you currently dealing with some health problems with your new puppy? Do you feel lost and frustrated because you don’t know what to do? If so, read on! This guide will provide you with everything you need to know about puppy health care, so that you can start taking care of your furry friend the right way from the get-go. From vaccinations to feeding, this article has it all! So don’t wait any longer, and start getting the help you need to take care of your puppy properly today!

Well, you’ve really gone and done it now, haven’t you?  You just had to have a new puppy.  If you are a veteran of the puppy rearing scene you surely can recall the excitement and enthusiasm you felt when you brought that furry little bundle home for the first time.  And if this is your very first pup… there may be just a bit of “What have I done?” anxiety about this major moment in your life.
And well you should be just a bit anxious… owning and caring for a puppy is a huge responsibility.  And with a bit of luck and good health care you should see that little rascal live well in to it’s late teens. ThePetCenter is here to help you all along the way!

In this section about Puppy Health Care we will provide you with links to articles in ThePetCenter that you will want to read, give you guidelines about vaccinations, worming, and training and link you to our Pet Product Department where you can order all your puppy equipment and food online!  The electronic age allows us to make immediate decisions about buying pet products, ordering and paying for them, and having them delivered right to your door overnight!

Puppy Health Care


Take a look at the table below and you’ll see an explanation of the different diseases that veterinarians can help protect your puppy against.  A few of these are quite common, some are very deadly and an understanding of these diseases is important in puppy health care.  You and your veterinarian can talk about which vaccinations should be given, how many times the vaccine should be administered to insure good protection, and when “Booster” shots should be done. (A “Booster” shot refers to giving a vaccine more than one time.  The follow-up vaccinations will BOOST the immune level up higher and the patient will be even better protected from the disease.  The word “SHOT” is rather slang.  Injection is the better term.)

Multivalent Vaccine

Most puppies will get a combination vaccine, called a MULTIVALENT vaccine, which protects against more than one disease.  This combination vaccine allows the puppy to be vaccinated via a single injection rather than having to receive four or five separate inoculations.

Multivalent vaccines are those that have more than one disease antigen combined into one injection.
A typical multivalent vaccine is the DHLPPCv vaccine for dogs.  Instead of giving six different injections, all these “vaccines” or antigens can be given in a single small volume injection.  Certainly this is easier on the dog than getting six separate injections.

DHLPPCv stands for:

D… Canine Distemper Virus… a dangerous viral infection.   “Distemper” is an odd name for a viral infection and this disease has no relationship to nor connection with a dog’s temperament.
H… Hepatitis…a viral infection caused by two related viruses that mainly affects the liver.
L… Leptospirosis… a bacterial infection affecting the kidneys.  This class of bacteria can infect humans, cows, dogs, pigs and other mammals.
P… Parainfluenza… a virus that along with the Hepatitis virus can cause upper respiratory infections.
P… Parvovirus… a severe and often fatal virus affecting the lining of the intestinal tract.
Cv… Coronavirus… is very similar to the Parvovirus, can be very severe, but has a somewhat different effect on the intestinal tract and generally is not fatal.


What are “shots”? The best advice is to call your veterinarian before you pick up that new member of the family and ask to have the puppy examined as soon after you become the owner as possible.  On your way home from the breeder/seller is actually a good time to have the pup seen by your veterinarian, and if you are able to you should bring in a stool sample from the pup for analysis for worms. Getting rid of any intestinal parasites is the first step in having the pup’s nutritional efficiency at an optimum level.

During the examination the veterinarian will look at the pup’s medical/vaccination history.  If the breeder has given vaccinations just recently, and your veterinarian is confident that it was done properly, a recommendation will be made regarding when to come in for the next “booster” injection of vaccine.  If the pup is healthy and unvaccinated, your veterinarian will suggest vaccinating right away.  One or more of the vaccines listed in the table above will be administered and a suggestion made as to when the next visit should be scheduled.  To see what is involved in a good physical exam look at  this page.

Vaccination Schedule

This is just one veterinarian’s general schedule of vaccinations for puppies. Your veterinarian’s may be different.

6 to 7 weeks of age
:   Give first combination vaccine.  (Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza, Coronavirus)
9 weeks of age:  Give second combination vaccine.
12 weeks of age:  Give the third combination injection and possibly a LYME Vaccine inoculation.  Generally a LYME vaccine is then repeated two weeks later, then once a year.
16 weeks of age:  Give the last combination vaccine.
12 to 16 weeks of age:  Rabies vaccine is given.  (Local and State laws apply regarding Rabies vaccine since this can be a human disease, too.   Your veterinarian will tell you the proper time intervals for booster vaccines for Rabies.)

If you are thinking about giving your pup the vaccinations yourself, there are few things you should know first.  Be sure to read The Pet Center’s advice about vaccinating your own dogs.

Puppies need vaccinations, too. Why so many?   Good question! The reason is that no one can be sure that the pup will actually mount a good antibody response to the disease just from one vaccination.   The age of the pup and just how much immunity it has received from its mother will complicate the “probability of protection”.  So… if the pup has lots of immunity (called PASSIVE IMMUNITY) that was borrowed from the mother during early nursing, this immunity will actually interfere with the pup’s ability to make its own immunity from the vaccine challenge.  The idea is to get the vaccine into the pup just as soon as the mother’s passive immunity wears off (NOW the pup is very susceptible to sickness if it is exposed to the disease!) so that the pup can make more lasting immunity of its own.  The precise time when a pup can respond well to a vaccine is variable… it might occur at 6 weeks of age or might be 12 weeks.  So to be as safe as possible, why not start vaccinating at 6 weeks and end at 16 weeks?   Almost 99 per cent of puppies will develop a good immune level to the various disease from a vaccine schedule similar to the one above.

CAUTION!  If your puppy has any trouble breathing after a vaccination, or seems weak, staggers, has pale gums or seems at all unresponsive… get back to your veterinarian immediately!

On very rare occasions any animal or human may have a reaction to a vaccination.  These are just like the reactions that can occur after an insect sting or medication hypersensitivity.  This kind of reaction can be very serious and life-threatening and thankfully is very uncommon.  If your pup simply seems a little tired or slightly uncomfortable where it was vaccinated, that is an entirely different and mild response to the vaccination.  If you are not sure that your pup is OK, call your veterinarian for advice.

We couldn’t help but write a blog on puppy health care as it’s one of the most important things you should be aware of when it comes to raising a new dog! From vaccinations to diet, and everything in between, we have covered everything you need to know about puppy health care and how to provide it for your furry friend. Be sure to let us know what you think about our blog in the comments below!

Frequently Asked Questions

How do you assess a puppy’s health?

There are a few things you should look for when assessing a puppy’s health, and the first is a clear coat. This will help to keep them cool and protected from the elements. Additionally, you should look for signs of parasites, Kennel Cough, or Giardia infection. If you are worried about a specific puppy, it is best to take them to a veterinarian for a check-up.

When should a puppy be health checked?

Within the first few weeks of their lives, the puppies should have been examined by a veterinarian to rule out any health problems. Puppies should be weighed on a regular basis to confirm that they are growing at the expected rate.

What should you feed a puppy?

A Timeline for the First Year. Approximately 6–12 weeks: Puppy food, a carefully developed diet to suit the nutritional needs for proper development, should be offered to growing puppies. Adult food deprives your puppy of essential nutrients. Nutritional requirements are normally met with four feedings each day.

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