So, you have chosen a pup, you have had a lot of fun shopping for a bed, blanket, toys, other supplies and treats and the time has now arrived for you to bring your new furry friend home. But, have you taken all the necessary steps to make your furry friend feel at home and safe?

Your Pup’s New Home

When you bring your pup home, it is important to provide him or her with a special place where they can eat, sleep and do their “business”. It is also important to allow your pup some alone time to explore and familiarize him or herself with their new surroundings and to get used to their new home. It is important that your pup feels safe and happy.

Your Pup’s First Veterinary Visit

In order to ensure that your pup is healthy and happy, you should take your pup to your local Veterinarian as soon as possible. Upon this initial visit, the Veterinarian will examine your pup, which will allow him or her to provide you with good advice on your pup’s diet and basic care. But, what can you expect from this first visit?

• A thorough physical examination, which will help the Veterinarian to determine your pup’s state of health.
• The Veterinarian will check for ticks, fleas and/or other external parasites, such as lice or ear mites.
• Your pup will receive treatment for internal parasites, such as roundworm and/or tapeworm.
• Your pup will receive his or her initial vaccination and the Veterinarian will advise you on all other types of vaccinations required and when your pus should receive them.
• If your pups has not already been sterilized, the Veterinarian will discuss sterilization with you, as well as when this should be done.

This initial visit will provide the Veterinarian with valuable information about your pup’s state of health and will assist them in monitoring and managing your pup’s health during all future visits. However, apart from taking your pup to the Veterinarian, you can also do basic health checks at home.

Your Pup’s Eye Care

A healthy pup’s eyes should be bright and clear and also free from dirt, any discharge and/or inflammation. It is important to pay special attention to your pup’s eyes, so you should do regular checks to ensure that your beloved pooch’s eyes are in good health. Here are some common symptoms of illness, which you should be aware of:

• If the inner eyelids appear red
• If the eye surface appears dull
• If there is a discharge stuck in the corner of the eye
• If the eyeball appears cloudy
• If there appears to be excessive tears or an unusual discharge
• If the “third eyelid” appears to be across the eye
• If the fur around the eye appears “tear-strained”

Common eye problems include “dry eye” (Keratoconjunctivitis Sicca) which occurs when the tear glands do not produce enough tears. This causes chronic or recurrent conjunctivitis, which refers to persistently sore eyes. If not treated, this may ultimately lead to blindness. Conjunctivitis is inflammation of the membrane, which covers the white of the eye and the eyelid and this is generally caused by allergies, infections or inadequate tear production.

Corneal Ulceration can also occur and this happens when the shiny surface of the cornea is damaged or scratched. Another aliment is Epiphora, which refers to “weeping” eyes, or when the fur around the eye constantly appears “stained”. One should also look out for Glaucoma and Cataracts. When the amount of fluid draining from the eye decreases, it causes pressure on the interior of the eye, which results in glaucoma. Whereas cataracts cloud the lens inside the eye and this is one of the most common causes of blindness in dogs.

Your Pup’s Ears

Apart from the eyes, you should also check your pup’s ears as often as possible. Healthy ears will appear clean, pale pink in color, they would be odour free and there would be a minimal amount of wax in the ears. There are some common signs of ear disease, which you should be aware of and these can be described as follows:

• An unpleasant odor
• When your pup’s ears are sensitive to touch
• If your pup constantly scratches his or her ears
• If your pup constantly tilts or shakes his or her head (mostly to one side)
• If the ear flap or canal appears red or swollen
• If your pup shows signs of loss of balance or hearing
• If there is an accumulation of dark brown wax
• A black or yellow discharge from the ears
• If you notice bleeding from the ears

Dogs with allergies and dogs with a lot of hair inside the ear flaps and dogs are at risk of contracting ear disease. However, some breeds are more prone to contracting ear disease than others. One such disease is Otitis Extrema (inflammation of the middle ear), which is cause by yeast and/or bacteria. It can also be caused by malted hair, debris in the ear or by an accumulation of wax in the ear.

Ear mites can be passed on from one pup to another and can also cause much discomfort. They create crumbly, dark debris that look similar to coffee grinds. Aural Haematoma can also occur, which is an accumulation of blood in the ear flaps. This can be caused by trauma to the ear, or excessive scratching or shaking, which results in damage to the blood vessels.

Deafness is generally brought on by loud noise, trauma, infection or old age. However, this can also be a hereditary condition.

So, to ensure that our beloved furry friends are healthy and happy at all times, it is our responsibility as loving pet parents, to take special care of our beloved fury friends. This includes regular health checks, Veterinary visits, exercise and grooming. But, do not forget to add a great amount of love and attention!

Love, The PetsWell Team

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