Caring for Your New Puppy

by Merck Animal Health


Congratulations, you have a new family member! The next years are going to be filled with tons of fun and unconditional love. There are also many things to consider as you start this adventure. Nutrition, behavior, and preventative care are so important in maximizing your pet’s life.


There is a lot to learn! Remember, the most important first step is to make an appointment

with your veterinarian. Your veterinary team will review your pet’s lifestyle and make recommendations for preventative care that is the very best for your new friend. Your veterinary team is your partner in helping your pet live a long and healthy life!


Learn here about the different infectious diseases of dogs and cats that can be prevented through vaccination! Below is a very brief review to help you better understand your pet’s care.

  1. Make an appointment to see your veterinarian – ideally within the first 48-72 hours of bringing your pet home.

  2. Take a fecal sample and all records

  3. The veterinarian and staff will recommend all appropriate preventative care and testing that we will discuss below

  4. A complete exam will be done to identify any health concerns such as congenital or infectious diseases

  5. Testing recommendations

  6. Puppies – fecal exam and depending on age possible a blood test to screen for tick and mosquito borne diseases

  7. Vaccines

  8. Canine Distemper

  9. Caused by Canine Distemper Virus

  10. Highly contagious

  11. Occurs naturally in a wide range of animals (fox, coyotes, minks, racoons)

  12. Transmitted via inhalation of the virus particles

  13. Wide range of symptoms – respiratory and nervous system

  14. Parvo

  15. Caused by Canine Parvo Virus

  16. Transmitted by direct contact with virus containing feces or indirectly with contact with fecal contaminated environment or equipment

  17. Attacks the lining of the digestive tract

  18. Causes severe illness that can result in death

  19. Hepatitis

  20. Caused by adeno virus

  21. Transmitted by ingestion or inhalation of virus particles from urine, feces, respiratory secretions

  22. Wide range of symptoms from mild fever to acute death

  23. Parainfluenza

  24. Caused by Parainfluenza virus

  25. Transmitted by inhalation of the virus

  26. Causes damage to the cells lining the upper respiratory tract

  27. Lyme

  28. Caused by the bacteria Borrelia Burgdorferi

  29. Transmitted by a bite from the Black Legged Tick

  30. Leptospirosis

  31. Caused by a spirochete bacteria

  32. Spread by contact with urine or water, soil or vegetation contaminated with urine from infected animals

  33. Causes liver and kidney disease – can be fatal

  34. Can be transmitted to humans

  35. Bordetella

  36. Caused by the Bordetella bacteria

  37. Transmitted by inhalation of the virus

  38. Attack the lining of the respiratory tract

  39. Canine influenza

  40. Caused by two strains of the Canine influenza virus

  41. Transmitted by inhalation of aerosolized particles

  42. Rabies

  43. Caused by Rabies Virus

  44. Transmitted by bite of an infected animal

  45. Can be transmitted to humans


This post written and sponsored by Merck Animal Health


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