Why does my puppy have hiccups?

For a puppy, hiccups without regurgitation are generally not a sign for alarm. Puppy hiccups are usually a harmless, involuntary contraction of the diaphragm experienced by all breeds and sizes, with episodes lasting just a few minutes. Some unborn pups even hiccup inside their mother’s womb! Hiccups are harmless, however, regurgitation, which is the act of suddenly upchucking undigested food or water with hardly any effort by the puppy is a cause for concern and should be checked out immediately by your veterinarian.

How important is heart-worm prevention?

Heart-worm disease is a potentially fatal disease that is now found in most areas of the country. It is transmitted by infected mosquitoes, and if you live in an area that has heart-worm and you don’t give your dog prevention, it is very likely that your dog will become infected. It takes six months for a heart-worm to grow to maturity, and since blood tests can only detect adult worms, heart-worm disease is undetectable in puppies younger than six months of age. It is important to get your puppy on prevention as soon as possible.

What kind of vaccines does my puppy need?

Generally speaking, your puppy needs a series of boosters between the ages of 8 and 16 weeks. Typically your puppy receives a booster at 8 weeks and then boosters every 3-4 weeks after until 16 weeks of age, when they receive their rabies vaccination. Core vaccines include a multivalent vaccine that protects against Distemper virus, Parvovirus, Adenovirus, and Parainfluenza virus. Most puppies also receive a vaccine against kennel cough, and having your puppy vaccinated against rabies virus is not only important for protection against the disease, it’s the law and required for registration with your local county.

Do all puppies have worms?

Intestinal worms, such as hookworms and roundworms, are very common in puppies because they are passed through the mother’s milk. A puppy that has a large worm burden generally looks unthrifty and has a large pot belly, but even healthy looking puppies can have worms. Your veterinarian will test a stool sample to look for eggs, but since worms don’t shed eggs all the time, and the disease can be passed to humans, it is routine practice to deworm puppies.

How often should I feed my puppy?

Puppies 8-12 weeks need 3-4 meals per 24 hours, and after 12 weeks, you can feed your puppy every 12 hours.

When should I get my puppy spayed or neutered?

For large breeds (60 pounds or larger adult weight), we recommend waiting until the puppy has finished growing to ensure proper closure of growth plates. For small breeds, if you desire to have them spayed/neutered earlier it is not as critical to wait, but delaying spay/neuter past the first heart is becoming more accepted to help prevent health problems down the road. If your puppy has undesirable behaviors associated with being intact (humping, aggression, marking, roaming, etc.) then talk with your veterinarian about getting the procedure done sooner than later to help prevent your puppy from cementing those behaviors.