American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA)
925-230-9422

Canine Care Guides

Puppy Stages:

  • Crate train! The most important thing you can work on during the first week you have your new puppy is potty training—the best method is crate training. The crate is their den, and it keeps them safe.
  • Triple reward potty training. When not in the crate, the puppy should be on a leash, taken immediately to his/her potty spot. Stand quietly and say, “go potty.” Once they go potty, come alive and praise them, give them some food and let them off leash to play. Then, its back into the crate.
  • Puppy proof your house and yard. Dogs eat non-food items that can be poisonous or that they can choke on. Know what plants are in your yard. Know what common household items can be dangerous.
  • Vaccinate every 3-4 weeks until 16-18 weeks old. A puppy will usually have a series of 3 or 4 shots.
  • Bring in a fresh fecal sample and deworm every 2-4 weeks. Start on a monthly dewormer/heartworm preventative like Heartgard Plus.
  • Round out your parasite control with oral flea products like Nexgard. Pyrethrin and topical products are not as effective.
  • Feed a good quality puppy food that has been AAFCO food trial tested. Get a large breed specific type for large breed dogs. All life stages foods are not recommended for growing puppies.
  • While you don’t want to take your puppy to public areas such as schools and dog parks, you DO want to socialize with many people and other healthy, vaccinated dogs at your place or theirs.
  • We recommend all pups enroll in a behavior class. You and your puppy will reap the benefits!

Some great websites for dogs include dogstardaily.com (for all things behavioral) and veterinarypartner.com (for things medical and behavioral).

Adult Dogs

  • Exercise can have many health benefits for your dog. Regular exercise burns calories, reduces appetite, improves muscle tone, increases metabolism and improves temperature regulation. It can be a valuable contributor to weight loss and maintenance. Exercise can also help stimulate your dog’s mind, thereby preventing boredom and destructive behaviors.
  • Yearly exams, vaccinations and parasite screening are necessary.
  • Monthly dewormer/heartworm preventative like Heartgard Plus or Proheart Injection which covers six months prevention in one injection.
  • Monthly external parasite control, oral flea products like Nexgard and Simparica. Pyrethrin and topical products are not as effective.
  • Feed a good quality adult food that has been AAFCO food trial tested.

Some great websites for dogs include dogstardaily.com (for all things behavioral) and veterinarypartner.com (for things medical and behavioral).

Senior Dogs

  • Exercise can help improve and strengthen muscle tone and keep pets lean and active-minded.
  • Twice-a-year examinations, vaccines and yearly labwork can help detect early changes in organ function.
  • Joint lubricants can help with mobility. (See our Osteoarthritis hand out.)
  • Feed a good quality senior food that has been AAFCO food trial tested.
  • Monthly dewormer/heartworm preventative like Heartgard Plus, or Proheart Injection which covers six months prevention in one injection.
  • Monthly external parasite control, oral flea products like Nexgard and Simparica. Pyrethrin and topical products are not as effective.
  • Feed a good quality adult food that has been AAFCO food trial tested.

Some great websites for dogs include dogstardaily.com (for all things behavioral) and veterinarypartner.com (for things medical and behavioral).



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