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Puppy Health Archives

common skin problems in puppiesPuppies are more vulnerable to skin infections than older dogs. Owners must be able to spot the early signs of skin infections on their puppy so that treatment can begin as soon as possible. Early detection and treatment are key for a speedy recovery for your puppy.


Puppies are very susceptible to fungal infections on their skin, the most common being ringworm. Ringworm is not a worm at all, it gets it’s name from the circular patches of pink on the puppies coat and hair loss. Ringworm is contagious to other dogs, cats and humans. When handling a puppy with ringworm it is recommended to use latex gloves and afterwords sterilize your skin, floors and bedding with a bleach solution (1 cup bleach to 2 gallons of water).

Symptoms include skin bumps or lesions, itching of the affected area, and round pink areas of hair loss. Treatment usually includes bathing for 12 weeks with anti-fungal shampoo, anti-fungal topical cream and oral medication (commonly Terbinafine).

Yeast Infections

Yeasts are the spore-like forms of fungi: Malassezia dermatitis is a fungal infection of the skin. Yeast infections are very itchy, crusty, and smelly. It can start with a rash on your puppy, but you will see that the skin becomes thicker and takes on an “elephant” skin appearance. The itch becomes extreme and the odor worsens. Parts of the body or the entire body can be affected.

Yeast are normal and happily live in balance on the skin and in the ears of your puppy. For a yeast infection to occur, conditions on the skin surface change to favor the proliferation of the yeasts. Yeasts in small numbers are harmless, however when the yeasts are present in larger numbers, infection will result.

Treatment can be topical, oral, or both. For localized small areas of infection, a topical treatment works best. Oral medication is better for larger areas. If the infection is recurrent or if you want to supplement oral medication, then a combination of topical and oral treatment can be used.

Puppy Dermatitis

Puppies have a higher risk of developing a bacterial infection when they have a fungal infection or an endocrine disease such as hyperthyroidism, or if they have allergies to fleas, food ingredients, or parasites.

Impetigo is a mild surface skin infection that can occur in puppies under 1 year of age. It presents with pus-filled blisters on the hairless parts of the abdomen or on the groin. The blisters rupture, leaving thin brown crusts. Puppies housed in unsanitary quarters are most likely to be infected by this.

Treatment is usually a topical therapy involving bathing the puppy with a benzoyl peroxide shampoo (such as Pyoben or OxyDex) twice per week for two to three weeks. Unsanitary areas where your puppy lives must be cleaned and sanitized.


Mange is a skin disease caused by tiny mites. Some mange mites are normally found your dog’s skin and hair follicles, while others are not. All mites can cause mild to severe skin infections if their numbers grow and become out of balance.

Localized mange occurs when mites proliferate in a few small and confined areas. You will see isolated bald patches that are scaly, usually on your puppy’s face. Localized mange is a common ailment for puppies.  Approximately 90% of localized mange cases will resolve by itself with no treatment.

Generalized mange, however, affects larger areas or even the puppies entire body. Secondary bacterial infections cause very itchy and smelly skin conditions on your puppy. This form of mange could also be a sign of a compromised immune system, hereditary problem, endocrine problem or other underlying health problem. Treatment depends on the age at which the puppy developed the disease.

Your vet may prescribe anti-parasitic medications, as well as medication to help relieve the itching, inflammation and secondary skin infections and accompany mange. Plan on 4-6 weeks of treatment.

For all types of skin infections it is recommended to take your puppy to your vet for a proper diagnosis.
Puppy Training Guide

When is a Puppy Fully GrownDifferent dogs take longer to grow than others. Generally, the size of the breed determines how long it takes for the puppy to be full grown. A toy puppy, for example, will be full grown at a year. A larger breed, such as a retriever, will be full grown at two years. It all depends on the size of the dog, but most dogs are fully grown by two years old.

If you have a mixed breed or mid sized dog, it might be difficult to determine when it is fully grown. Usually, by one year, a dog may still act like a puppy and get into trouble here and there, but for the most part, they are through with using your house like a toilet. By a year old, a dog should be using the designated bathroom spot in which to do his business, no matter what size breed.

A larger breed dog may still jump and act like a little puppy. This can be a problem because he will be big in size but small in brain. He will still think like a puppy but with the body of a dog. It is important to train the puppy and make sure that he is not only going to the bathroom in the designated spot, but also able to behave himself around humans.

No one wants a dog jumping all over them the minute they walk in a door, no matter how much they love animals. A big dog can cause a lot of problems and can actually knock people down. This is why it is important to start puppy training as soon as you bring your puppy home.

Understand now that it will take a year before your puppy can be trusted to be around the house and not have an accident. However, even when full grown, your puppy will have the mentality of a two year old child. They will be able to understand simple commands and respond well to love and affection.

When your puppy gets older, he or she will calm down a bit and not seem so “hyper.” You do have to also do some research on the breed to determine how highly strung the breed normally is. Some dogs are always going to be rather highly strung and others will be relaxed. Pure bred dogs are usually a lot more maintenance and higher strung than mixed breed dogs.

If you adopt a puppy from the pound and are not sure if he is full grown, you will usually be able to tell by his actions as well as some physical characteristics. Puppies lose baby teeth just like humans, so if you take a look in the mouth of the puppy, you should see adult sized canines. This will give you an indication that the puppy is full grown or close to being full grown.

There are other characteristics, too. A female dog will grow nipples and become able to breed at six months. Male dogs will begin humping different objects at about six months to a year. This is a sign your dog is actually a teenager and about to enter adulthood. If the animal has been spayed or neutered, you will not be able to determine the age of the dog by this characteristic.

Rule of thumb is that a small dog will be considered full grown at one year old and a larger dog generally by two.

Puppy Training Guide

Puppy ColicPuppy colic is similar to baby colic. It is gastronomical disorder that is usually caused by too much gas in the system. It does resolve itself over a period of time, just like in humans.

A puppy who has colic has an uncontrollable urge to move his bowels soon after eating. He may have more than the usual number of bowel movements in a day.

One way to treat puppy colic is to feed your puppy prescribed puppy food that is for dogs with weak stomachs. Just like a doctor will tell you to change a baby formula, you have to be prepared to change your puppy food. Once you settle on a food that agrees with the puppy, stick to it.

Make sure that your puppy does not eat any human food that can aggravate the condition. There are also some medications that your vet can prescribe if your puppy is experiencing puppy colic.

One thing you want to be aware of is that your puppy cannot help feeling this way. He is a helpless creature with the mind of an infant. Yelling at him and screaming or hitting is not going to do any good. It is going to upset the dog and make you feel bad about yourself.

Have some patience with a puppy with puppy colic. As the dog grows, the digestive tract will become stronger and the colic will subside. Continue feeding your dog foods as prescribed by your vet and on a certain schedule. Some vets will suggest that you feed the puppy more often when he has puppy colic, and smaller amounts, so that he can better digest his food.

You should still work on training your puppy despite the puppy colic. Teach him to go outdoors or in the litter box, if that is your method, after eating. Your puppy will most likely have to go to the bathroom right away after eating if he has puppy colic, so be prepared to accommodate him.

Make sure that he drinks a lot of water. This is crucial for a puppy who has diarrhea that sometimes accompanies puppy colic. A puppy, just like a baby, can easily get dehydrated. You do not want that to happen so be sure to offer water.

Puppy colic will go away on its own usually by the time the dog is a year old. Your vet will have medications and suggest different foods that may be easier on the digestive tract for the puppy. Remember that the poor creature is in pain with the colic due to the gas build up in his intestines and have some patience. Yelling at the dog is not going to make the colic go away.

Once your puppy gets over puppy colic, he will be a normal and healthy dog. The days of puppy colic will be a long ago memory and you will be rewarded for your patience with a loving pet.

Puppy Training Guide

Newborn Puppy CareNewborn puppy care is something that should not have to concern most humans.

This is because newborn puppy care is performed by the mother of the pups. However, there are always sad cases in which a mother dies or abandons her puppies. In such cases, people have to take over the role of caring for newborn puppies or else they will die.

If you ever have the responsibility to care for a newborn puppy, here are some things that you need to do:

Bottle Feeding

Newborn puppies normally suckle at their mother for the first six weeks of life. As the mother is not available, you will have to feed the puppy yourself from a bottle, very much the same way that you would an infant. The puppy will have to get a formula that you can get at your local pet market. A veterinarian should also be consulted in such a matter for help. He or she will instruct you on which type of formula to use. The formula will satisfy all of the nourishment for the newborn puppy until he or she is six weeks old.

A newborn puppy must be fed every few hours, much like a newborn baby. You can gradually increase the time periods between feedings as the puppy gets older. If you have an entire litter of puppies, this can get time consuming, but is necessary for the litter to survive.


Normally, a mother will teach her puppies to clean themselves by cleaning them often. She will lick them with her tongue. Since the mother is not around, you will have to clean the puppies so that they can learn to clean themselves. No, you do not have to lick them with your tongue. But you can use a damp towel or sponge to wipe them down every so often. Make sure that you dry them as well. They will get used to this feeling and try to emulate it as they get older.

Vet Care

You will have to take the puppies to the veterinarian after two weeks for shots and check ups. If you have a litter of abandoned puppies, do what you can to keep them alive and enlist help from other animal lovers. Do not be too devastated if one of the puppies in a newborn litter dies without its mother as this sometimes happens in nature. Make sure that you do your best to take care of the helpless animal or animals for the first six weeks of life, the time when puppies are usually with their mother, so that they can then thrive into healthy dogs.

Puppy Training Guide

Do not look at a new puppy as getting just a pet, but a member of the family. Puppies each have a personality and mind all of their own. In order for your puppy to grow into a fine dog, you need to know how to take care of a puppy properly.

Many times people who profess to love animals do not train the animals and simply let them run amok. This is not doing the puppy any favors. Your puppy depends on you to train him to become a good dog. If something should happen to you, it is unlikely that anyone will want to take on an out of control, untrained and disobedient dog. By taking proper care of your puppy from the start, you can teach him how to become a well trained pet.

Feeding Your Puppy

If you have never before had a dog, you should know how to feed the pet. You will need a food and water dish and dog food. You should always leave fresh water out for your dog, otherwise he or she will be tempted to drink out of the toilet, which can be unhealthy. However, you should only feed your dog a few times a day. Puppies are generally fed three times a day and dogs are fed twice a day.

A dog will keep eating until he bursts, so it is important to feed the puppy the proper portions. Your puppy depends upon you to give him the right food and allow him to grow into a healthy dog. Just as humans can be obese, so can dogs. And it shortens their life span. You want to make sure you feed your dog enough but not too much. The size and breed will determine the amount of food you should feed your dog at each sitting. This can be determined by your vet.

You should have a veterinarian who you can trust and bring the puppy in for a well puppy visit as soon as you get the puppy. He should have shots for distemper and be checked out by the vet for fleas or any other problems. Once a year, your dog should have a rabies vaccination. You will receive a tag that you should keep. If your dog ever bites an individual, you will have to produce proof that your dog has been vaccinated against rabies or the animal will be put to sleep.

In addition to vet care and feeding, you will also have to have a crate that will be home for your puppy. This should be large enough for the puppy to move around but small enough that he will not find a place in the crate where he can go to the bathroom. Puppies do not like to go to the bathroom anywhere near where they sleep or eat. This is the basic concept that you will use when training your puppy to go to the bathroom outside. Keeping your puppy in a crate may seem cruel to some people, but puppies are dogs and dogs are wolves and wolves love dens. A puppy will feel secure in his little crate and will probably go in there on his own when he wants to go to sleep.

Learning how to take care of a puppy can be fun and enlightening. You need a lot of patience and genuine love for animals. If you have both, you can easily raise your puppy into fine dog.

Puppy Training Guide

How to Clip a Dog's NailsYou are going to have to clip the nails of your puppy or dog every month or so in order to make sure that they do not get too long and scratch surfaces as well as skin. Just like a human, dog nails need to be clipped. Here are some tips on doing this right:

Get good clippers

Although there are discount dog clippers available, do not throw good money after bad by opting for cheap dog nail clippers.

Invest in some good dog nail clippers right from the start. There are different size dog nail clippers. They are made for different dog breeds. Smaller dogs, naturally, use smaller dog nail clippers.

Give the dog a bath first

If you bathe your dog prior to clipping his nails, they will be softer and more pliable. You will not have to struggle so hard. The entire grooming process should take place once a month with you giving your dog a bath, checking his ears, clipping his nails and putting on doggie powder. You should also brush his teeth at this time as well, although that should be done more often.
Hold firm to the dog

If you have a large dog, you will have to hold on to him very firmly. If you have a puppy, get him used to getting his nails clipped on a regular basis and talk soothingly to him as you are performing this action. Some dog groomers actually have to muzzle their dog in order to clip their nails. Remember each dog is different. You are better off to talk soothingly to your dog and hold him firmly.

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Clip what you can

If your dog gives you a lot of trouble and gets away, do not fret. Clip what you can. Each time you try this, he will get better. Again, the secret is to make it as pleasant an experience as possible for him while you are clipping him. Talk to him. Dogs cannot understand the words you are saying, but they understand tone and simple commands. By talking soothingly to him, you can calm him down in order to get his nails clipped.

Clip only the tips square

Do not attempt to clip the entire nail and do not go down too deep. This can possibly even cause an infection on your dog. Just as you would clip your own nails, do the same with your dog. Just clip the tips. Dog nails grow similar to the rate of human nails, so clipping the tips each month will keep them in good shape. If you clip too much, it can possibly give your dog discomfort. Then the next time that you clip his nails, he will be afraid.

Practice makes perfect

The more you practice clipping dog nails, the easier it will become and the faster the process will be. Soon it will be like a routine. The first few times you attempt this may be difficult, but the more you continue, the easier it will get for both you and your dog. Obviously this will differ from dog to dog as they all have different characters and temperaments.

Puppy Training Guide

Stop Puppy ChewingIf you don’t take care of your puppy or dog’s teeth you could be storing up a whole host of problems.

Poor dental hygiene in dogs can cause problems such as: inflammation of the gums, periodontal disease (in which plaque builds up and begins to separate the tooth from the gum), abscesses, tooth loss and infections.Also, bacteria from the mouth can get into the dog’s blood stream and affect certain organs such as the liver, kidneys and the heart. The way to avoid these issues is to brush your dog’s teeth regularly (ideally on a daily basis). So the question, how to brush my dog’s teeth? is a very important one.

You should start to brush your dog’s teeth at as early a stage as possible. Puppies who have their teeth brushed regularly soon get used the process.

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It’s advisable not to pin your dog or puppy down and start trying to give their teeth a thorough brushing. It will be easier for you in the long run if you can get your pet to willingly engage in having his or her teeth brushed. Be warned though – this may take time!! The key to this is gradually increasing the time you spend attending to your dog’s teeth.

The first stage is to put dog tooth paste on your finger and let your dog lick it. You can then try and put your finger into your dog’s mouth and rub his or her teeth. When your dog is ready to accept you putting your finger into his or her mouth, you can then start to use a dog finger brush. You can put some dog tooth paste on this and rub it across your dog’s teeth. Although a finger brush is effective, you are likely to get a better result using a dog tooth brush.

Once you are at the point where you can get a toothbrush (or at least a finger brush) into your dog’s mouth, you can start getting into a dental hygiene routine.

So, here’s some tips:

  • Aim to brush your dog’s teeth on a daily basis (failing this, as regularly as possible);
  • Deal with the teeth in 4 sections – back left, back right, front left and front right. Quickly brush all 4 areas using the recommended amount of dog toothpaste. As your dog gets used to the teeth brushing process, you can start doing each area more and more thoroughly;
  • Give your puppy or dog loads of praise and affection throughout the teeth cleaning session. This will, hopefully, lead to your dog seeing tooth cleaning as something positive and fun;
  • Have a good look at your dog’s teeth whilst you are cleaning them. Look out for any problems such as: excessive plague build up, sore looking gums and loose teeth (in dogs who have all of their adult teeth);
  • Be prepared to take your dog for veterinary teeth cleaning whenever there is a big build up of plaque. During this process dogs are usually put under general anesthetic so that all the plaque can be scraped off their teeth.

So, in answer to the question, how to brush my dogs teeth? Teeth brushing is crucial part of overall dog care and it is quite easy to do if your dog complies with what you’re trying to do! It’s, therefore, really important to gradually get your pet accustomed to having his or her teeth brushed. If you provide your dog with regular teeth brushing sessions, you are likely to avert any serious dental problems (especially if your dental routine begins at the puppy stage).

Puppy Training Guide