Bringing Your New Dog Home

So, you’re considering adopting a dog from The Dog Liberator.  If it is one of the puppies that I foster, we’re going to spend some time talking, and I’m going to share with you a lot of tidbits that I have learned over the years.  And then you’re going to get home with you puppy and not remember any of them!  And that’s okay; it is my expectation and my hope that my adopters will contact me with questions.  But just in case you are adopting a dog that isn’t one of my fosters, or you’re too embarrassed to call, here is a summary of some of my tidbits.

Cost: First and foremost, can you afford a dog?  Let alone a puppy?  They cost more than just the adoption fee and a bag of Old Roy dog food (more about that later).  Any dog will require both flea and heartworm preventive, each running around $50 every six months.  With a puppy, you’ll probably have to finish out the series of puppy shots plus a rabies shot at four months.   And then what happens if the dog gets sick?  It is very common for puppies, and even adult dogs, to become ill the first month in their new home due to all the stresses.  Indeed, coccidea (primary symptom sever diarrhea) most commonly appears in the first 21 days after a dog has changed owners or residence.  If you’re scraping together the money to pay for an adoption fee, you’re not ready for a dog.  Wait until you are in a more financially viable situation.  And consider pet medical insurance from a company such as ShelterCare.  It isn’t as expensive as you might think and can more than pay for itself.

Crate Training: Crates didn’t come in to common use until around 20 years ago.  They will make your life much easier.  First, you may see it as a cage, but your dog will see it as a den, its “safe” place.  Put the dog in the crate at night.  With my puppies, I go a step further and cover it with a sheet.  Don’t put the crate in your bedroom; every time you roll over, you’ll wake up the dog who will then wake up you!  While housetraining, put the puppy (or dog) in the crate when you are busy and don’t have “eyes on” it.  Crate the dog when you are gone for the first year.  You know that the dog is home forever, but the dog doesn’t.  When you leave, he doesn’t know you are coming back.  He may panic and destroy your great-grandmother’s chair.  Additionally,  puppies, like children, can go through fear stages; you don’t want to come home and find out that your 7-month-old dog had an anxiety attack and ate your couch.  Get a folding, wire crate, so you can easily take it with you when you are invited to your friends beach cottage for the long weekend; put the dog in it when you are at the beach all day so it doesn’t eat your friends couch and so mark the last time you are invited!  Most importantly, put your dog in a crate if a hurricane comes through.  You need to know it is safe (my friend who runs Used Dogs rescue in New Orleans still has Katrina dogs 5 years after the hurricane).  If your dog is used to its crate, its anxiety will go down.  If it hasn’t been in a crate in years, then its anxiety level will go up and you will spend a fortune in dog therapy for years!

Housetraining: Even housetrained adult dogs commonly have “accidents” the first few days in their new home.  Sometimes it is marking, but most commonly it is just stress.  If you focus in on housetraining for three days, you should be just about done.  It is a pain for three days, but is worth it.  Here’s what you do for a puppy; use a variation on the theme for an adult dog:  Day one, set the timer on your stove to go off every hour.  Every hour take the puppy outside through the same door and tell it, “hurry up.”  The next day set the timer for every 90 minutes.  The third day set it for every two hours.  Also, every time the puppy goes near that door, let it out.  By the third day, the puppy will know that if it has to go out, to go to that door.  It might only give you 10 seconds to notice, but you are well on your way!  Put a little towel or such at the door to catch accidents.  Don’t leave the water bowl down until the puppy is housetrained. Only give the puppy water when you are ready to go out for 30 minutes ~ puppies piddle 3 times within 30 minutes of drinking.  Don’t give water or food after 6pm, so the water has time to work its way through its system.  When you can’t pay attention to the puppy during the housetraining phase, crate the puppy ~ you don’t want it to find a secret spot behind the piano to piddle!  Remember, use the same door and the same command during this time.  You can give a small treat for proper performance, but you’ll learn quickly that your puppy will start to pretend to piddle just to get a treat!!!  Once the puppy is fully  housetrained, then you can give free access to the water bowl.

Note:  I have never played tug-of-war with any of my dogs, adult or puppy.  It’s just not a good game to start playing.

Baths:  If your dog has recently been spayed or neutered, you should not give your dog a bath until the stitches have been removed and your vet indicates that you can.  Usually you can bathe your dog 10-14 days after surgery.

Worms: Puppies have worms.  Period.  Because of the life cycle of a worm, they are dewormed and then dewormed again three weeks later.  But expect them to test positive for worms every time you take them to the vet.  Don’t panic ~ it’s just standard in puppies.  Watch for the signs of worms.  If you see what look like pieces of rice on the outside of their poop, that is tapeworms.  The worm itself is very long (12” or more), but is segmented, like pieces of rice lined up.  What you see in the poop is segments that have broken off.  Dogs get them by ingesting fleas.   If you see a long solid worm in the poop that forms a kinked circle when you pick it up (yuck) this is a roundworm, called round because they tend to form circles with their bodies.  Hookworms and whipworms are too small to be seen, but bloody diarrhea is an indication.  Again, your vet will probably do a fecal test each time you take your puppy in just to be safe.  Adult dogs are less inclined to worms, perhaps because heartworm preventives treat them as well.  The exception to this is tapeworms.   I treat tapeworms with a dewormer I buy in the pet section of Publix grocery store, saving me  a vet visit.

Heartworm Preventive: All dogs need to be on a monthly heartworm preventive, obtained from your vet.  Heartworms are  passed through a mosquito bite, therefore a severe problem in the south.  Puppies younger than 6 months are not tested for heartworms because the heartworm must be 6 months old to show up positive.  I recommend Heartgard for the first 6 months since the active ingredient, Ivermectin, not only prevents heartworms but kills them as well, therefore it will kill any juvenile heartworms that a puppy might have.  That being said, if you adopt a collie, use it with caution: about 45% of collies lack the gene that prevents Ivermectin from passing into the brain.  This can cause a reaction varying from mild to seizure, coma or even death.  Watch your dog for a reaction (your vet can test for the gene as well).  If necessary, switch to an Ivermectin-fee alternative such as Revolution, Sentinal or Interceptor.  Be aware that Ivermectin is also the common treatment for “puppy mange”, generally  brought on by stress.   You may need to use an alternative treatment such as as sulpher dip.  If you have multiple dogs and they do not have an ivermectin sensitivity, you may want to save money by buying Ivermectin in the liquid form from a feed store.  A bottle costing less than $50 can last years.  Generally, the recommended dosage is 0.1cc per 10 pounds of dog, but be sure to discuss this alternative with your vet.

Food: I estimate that at least 10% of dogs have food allergies.  I suspect that it is much higher.  The better quality food you get, the less likely you will have to deal with this.  Get a food that doesn’t have additives, fillers or grains.  Watch for food allergy symptoms: loose bowels, lack of appetite, itching, hair loss, coughing, mange, ….  Trust me, it is more than worth it to invest in a quality food!  Oh, and when you first get home, expect the dog to not have much of an appetite the first day or so, a normal reaction to change in environment, especially if this is the first time away from littermates. If, on the other hand, the dog gobbles its food, you may want to help slow it down by scatter feeding (scattering the kibble on your deck for him to hunt up) or wetting it, packing it into a Kong, freezing it, and then giving it to him.   If you already have a dog, be prepared for some food guarding at first too.  If such is the case, you may want to feed the new dog in its crate until everyone understands that they won’t go hungry, then slowly move the food bowls into the same room. One more thought: always keep a can of pumpkin (not pumpkin pie filling) on your shelf.  If your dog develops diarrhea or constipation due to stress or something it ate, mix the pumpkin into its regular food.  There is something about canned pumpkin that helps stabilize their systems.

Chewing: Puppies chew.  Adult dogs chew.  And they always seem to chew your favorite things.  First, don’t let them chew on your hand, ankle, etc.  Correct them and put something allowable in their mouth instead (“no” is not enough; you have to give them a substitute).   My number one recommendation to help with chewing is that you go to the butcher section of your store and get a packet of marrow bones.  Freeze the extras for later and give the dog the raw bone.  He’ll eat the marrow right out of it in no time flat.  Dogs have an enzyme that allows them to eat raw meat, and the marrow is very good for them.  Then allow them to keep chewing on the bone.  Don’t throw them away.  Wolves don’t lose their teeth because they chew on raw bones.  My back yard looks like a dinosaur burial ground, and my house looks like a scene from a horror flick, but my furniture isn’t chewed!  Dogs seem to prefer marrow bones over anything that the pet store wants to sell you.  The first time you are gone for an extended time, put the dog in its crate with a new marrow bone (still frozen is fine).  It’ll keep him busy and happy.  Very rarely dogs get their lower jaw stuck inside the circle of the marrow bone.  To avoid this, you might want to pick bones that are either too big or too small, or have the butcher cut them into semi-circles.

Bordetella :I have found that about 20% of puppies develop a mild case of kennel cough after getting their bordetella shot, just as people often get the flu after receiving a flu shot.  If your puppy starts to cough, keep an eye on it.  If it develops other symptoms such as a colored nasal discharge or fever, go to the vet and get an antibiotic like doxycycline.  Most vets do not recommend antibiotics for the cough alone since they will wipe out the effectiveness of the bordetella shot.

Antibiotics: If you live near a Publix, get a copy of the antibiotics that they provide for free with a prescription.  They will honor a ‘script for a pet, so if your dog needs an antibiotic, ask the vet if one of the ones on the list will do the trick.  Why spend money you don’t have to?

Veterinarians: If you do not yet have a vet, please don’t pick one based on convenience of location.  If I have learned one thing, it is that all vets are not created equally, and price is no indication of quality.  Ask friends for their recommendations, but also call the office and ask for pricing.  For comparison purposes, ask for the cost of an office visit, spay, neuter, rabies, annual shots, x-ray, fecal exam and heartworm preventive.  You won’t need all these things, but it will help you gauge what the vet charges.  And you will be shocked at the range that you will get.  Resist allowing a vet to guilt you into an expensive procedure on the spot.  Go home and research  it.  I’ve known way too many people guilted into paying for everything from the repair of an umbilical hernia (which almost always heals itself) to fast-kill heartworm treatment (slow kill is a viable and less expensive alternative).

If you feel like your vet is strong-arming you into an expensive procedure, stop.  Many vets panic when they hear the word “rescued” or “adopted”, and assume there must be something terribly wrong with the dog, not knowing we have already spent a fortune in vetting.  Stress diarrhea is common.  A fecal check, metronidazole and canned pumpkin is all you need.

If your puppy has just received its parvo and distemper shot, he will test positive, not because he is, because he was given the live virus.  If you find yourself in an uncomfortable situation while at your vet, do not panic, just call us!

Training: I strongly recommend that you provide some kind of training for your dog.  It isn’t so much a matter of teaching the dog to sit, as it is assuring the dog that you are in charge.  If a dog knows that its people can be trusted to lead, then it will relax.  If it perceives its family as being weak, it will believe that the protection of the home is on its shoulders and will become more high strung and nervous.  Training is about you, not your dog.

Life: Expose your dog to as much of life as you can.  Take it to Petsmart, to the beach, to Lowes, everywhere that you can.  Introduce it to adults, kids, dogs, cats.  The more new experiences that it has and “survives” , the less fear and anxiety it will have, the more well rounded it will be, and the better it will be able to cope with the changes that you and it will go through in life.

 

WHAT IS GIARDIA?

Giardiasis (GEE-are-DYE-uh-sis) is a diarrheal illness caused by a microscopic parasite, Giardia intestinalis (also known as Giardia lamblia or Giardia duodenalis). Once a person or animal has been infected with Giardia, the parasite lives in the intestine and is passed in feces. Giardia infects older dogs but more frequently infects puppies. Because the parasite is protected by an outer shell, it can survive outside the body and in the environment for long periods of time (i.e., months).

Can humans be harmed by Giardia?

Giardia is a common cause  of diarrhea in people, but dog Giardia is not generally considered to spread from animals to humans. While human Giardia may infect dogs and then be passed on to humans, the majority of human cases are of human origin.

How can I prevent a Giardia infection?

Practice good hygiene. Wash hands thoroughly after handling animals or their toys, leashes or feces. (Be sure to avoid contact with the feces by using gloves, a bag over your hand, or a scooping device.)

Make sure that your dog has safe, clean drinking water. It is important not to allow dogs to drink water from areas where other animals have left their feces.

How is Giardia treated and is it expensive?

Metronidazole is an antibiotic that has been widely used to treat Giardia in dogs as well as in people. This drug has reasonable efficiency against Giardia and has the added advantage of being effective against other parasite protozoa and some bacteria that may also have contributed to the diarrhea. It is also very inexpensive. Recent studies show that pyrantel is also effective against Giardia.

Prognosis:

Giardia is a very treatable condition. Most dogs recover quickly and do not have additional problems. However, if proper preventive steps are not taken, it is common for dogs with a previous history of Giardia to become re-infected.

  • Giardia in dogs can cause diarrhea, vomiting, weight loss, poor condition, or death. However, many infected dogs show no symptoms.
  • People can get giardia, causing diarrhea or other problems, but rarely from dogs.
  • Dogs get giardia from water that has been soiled with feces.
  • The incubation period is usually 1 to 25 days. Some cases can exceed 25 days.

Companion Animal Parasite Council (CAPC)

Division of Parasite Diseases (DPD)

 

WHAT IS PARVO?

Parvovirus or Parvo, is life threatening virus that affects dogs. It is the most common viral disease in dogs. It primarily affects puppies. The most common age for infection is between 2-6 months of age, but infection can occur at any age. All breeds are susceptible to this virus. Some breeds such as Dobermans, rottweilers, and Labradors are more susceptible to Parvo than others. It is not known why this is.

Parvo is spread through the feces of dogs infected with the virus. The dog does not actually have to come in contact with another sick dog. While Parvo cannot be spread to or from humans or other pets, the virus can be carried in to the dog’s environment on someone’s shoes, or by birds or other animals who have come in contact with infected feces. Parvo can survive in an environment for as long as 9 months. The only disinfectant known to kill Parvo is chlorine bleach. A 1:30 ratio of chlorine bleach in water has been known to be effective for sanitizing contaminated area. Any area known to be contaminated should be thoroughly sanitized.

The disease usually enters the dog’s system by oral ingestion. It attacks the digestive system, inhibiting them from absorbing nutrients. It also causes severe diarrhea and often vomiting, dehydration is common. It also suppresses white blood cells and may attack the heart as well.

Symptoms of Parvo include high fever, loss of appetite, lethargy, and vomiting. There is not cure for Parvo. Veterinarians can help infected dogs by treating the symptoms and dehydration. Most dogs die if they do not receive veterinary attention. With veterinary attention, a dog has a reasonably good chance of survival. Early detection is important. Some vets have been trying antioxins and antiparvo serum with some success.

In some cases, dogs can have Parvo without showing any symptoms. They will not be affected by the disease, but they are capable of spreading it and their feces will be contaminated with the virus.

A vaccine is available for Parvo. The vaccine is usually given with several other vaccines, including distemper. Vaccination usually begins at 8 weeks of age, and repeated every 3-4 weeks until the puppy is sixteen weeks old, and then given annually. There is some controversy as to whether vaccinating too often may actually weaken a dog’s immunity to Parvo. Research is currently being done in this area. Until then, your vet will help you decide what is right for your dog.

Veterinarians can run a titre to determine the strength of a particular dog’s immunity to Parvo. Dogs should be tested for immunity to Parvo before being brought into an area where a previously infected dog has been.

 

WHAT IS THE INFLUENZA (H3N8) VIRUS

 

*This is only treatable with Doxycycline*

 

The Influenza (H3N8) virus causes symptoms that mimic traditional “kennel cough”

 

If a pet puppy/dog exhibits coughing, nasal discharge or fever, the puppy/dog should be put on doxycycline by a veterinarian immediately.

 

  • The H3N8 influenza virus has jumped from horses to puppies/dogs
  • This H3N8 virus causes “dog flu”
  • Initial findings of H3N8 infected puppies/dogs were at a Florida grey hound racing track
  • “Kennel cough” is typically caused by bordetella bronchispetica bacterium
  • Other symptoms of H3N8 infection are nasal discharge and fever
  • Both H3N8 and bordetella are contagious between dogs
  • Approximately 80% of H3N8 infections will be mild
  • A small minority of infected dogs may experience complications such a pneumonia
  • A small minority of infected dogs will also be asymptomatic and will not show any signs of the infection. However, it is believed that asymptomatic dogs are infectious
  • The H3N8 virus has never infected humans
  • H3N8 causes a mortality rate of 5 to 8% in infected dogs
  • There have been verified occurrences of H3N8 in dogs in South Florida shelter, boarding facilities and veterinary clinics

If a pet puppy/dog exhibits coughing, nasal discharge or fever, the puppy/dog MUST be put on doxycycline by a veterinarian IMMEDIATELY.

Doxycycline will also treat “Kennel Cough.”

Traditional medications like Cefa drops, Amoxicillin, and Clavamox WILL NOT help/treat INFLUENZA. If your puppy/dog begins to show signs of “Kennel Cough” or INFLUENZA  and is not put on DOXYCYCLINE  within 1-3 days, the puppy/dog will continue to get worse and will develop pneumonia and/or die.

 

Puppy Worming Schedule

Initiate treatment from your vet at 2 weeks; repeat at 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 weeks of age and then monthly until the puppy is 6 months old. Thereafter, use a heartworm preventive medication that is also effective against hookworms and roundworms.

How Your Puppy Gets Hookworms

Hookworms are tiny, threadlike parasites that affect puppies and adult dogs. They are a particular problem in areas with warm, moist, sandy soil. They cycle begins when hookworm eggs are passed in dog’s stool to the soil. Your dog can swallow the young hookworms or they can penetrate its skin, usually through the foot. Hookworms are also passed from females to their young. Hookworms present a slight risk to humans if larvae (young hookworms) in the soil contact skin. Painful skin sores can result.

Signs of Hookworm Infection

Hookworms feed on blood and tissue by piercing your pet’s intestinal lining with tooth-like hooks. As a result, hookworms can cause severe blood loss. As few as 100 hookworms can kill a puppy. Dogs with heavy infections often have bloody diarrhea. Other signs include anemia, dehydration and apparent weakness. Some dogs show no outward signs of infection. This is why it is important to de-worm your puppy at an early age and to have the stool examined when recommended by your veterinarian. The veterinarian will examine the dog’s stool under a microscope and look for eggs. If your veterinarian can catch the eggs before the symptoms appear then your prêt doesn’t have to suffer the symptoms.

How Pets Get Roundworms

Nearly all puppies and kittens have roundworms. In many areas of the country, up to 70% of adult dogs are also infected. Infection usually begins when your pet accidentally swallows roundworm eggs in soil. These eggs hatch into tiny worms that move from your pet’s intestine to its liver and lungs, and then back to the intestine where they mature. The adult roundworm lays eggs that are passed in your pet’s stool to the soil. Roundworms can lay up to 200,000 eggs per day! Female pets can also pass roundworms to their unborn young or through nursing.

Signs of Roundworm Infection

Left untreated, roundworms can cause a potbelly and diarrhea, vomiting, a rough coat and poor growth are other signs. Heavy infections damage your pet’s liver, lungs and brain.  Death is possible.

 

Tapeworms

 

There are four types of tapeworms in dogs. Tapeworms hook onto a dog’s small intestine with its mouth. Tapeworms can be as long as 8 inches to 2 feet long. One unique characteristic of these worms is that they are made up of 1/8 inch segments that break off over time and end up in your dog’s stool. The pieces that break off contain eggs that are released as the broken off segment dries. Pieces look like dried pieces of rice or cucumber seeds. The four type of tapeworms are:

  • Dipylidium Caninum—Most common. Contracted by eating fleas.
  • Taenia Taeniaformis—Contracted by rural dogs show are around farm animals such as sheep, rats and mice.
  • Echinococcus Granulosum—Found in mice and humans.

 

What Causes Tapeworms in Dogs

Tapeworms are most commonly spread when a dog swallows a flea that contains the tapeworm eggs. It usually happens when the flea is biting the dog. Since dogs try and remove the fleas with their mouth, they may swallow some of them. This is how they get dog fleas worms. There is another kind of tapeworm called Echinococcus that is found in small rodents. If a dog bites into or eats an infected annual, they can get tapeworms. Hunting dogs can contract up to 12 varieties of tapeworms.

Dog Medicine Tape Worms

All types of tapeworms in dogs can be treated with tapeworm tabs for dogs (Droncit Canine Cestocide Tablets and Tapeworm Tabs for Dogs and Puppies) cause the worms in the intestines to dissolve. Treatments are very effective and include praziquantel and epsiprantel. Although single doses are usually sufficient, an additional dose may be needed. Since fleas spread the worms, a flea collar is helpful in preventing the problem. Note that pinworms are often confused with tapeworms. While humans can get pinworms, dogs do not.

Human and Dog Tapeworms

Children can get tapeworms if they swallow fleas while playing with a dog or if they come in contact with partially digested fleas in a dog’s mouth. A child may have no symptoms or suffer from diarrhea and itching around the anus. Tapeworm is not passed between adults or children. It must come from an infected flea such as in a sandbox. Treatment is effective using the drug niclosamide.

 

Email us for more information: TheDogLiberator@gmail.com







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Reba McEntire~Adopted

3 Comments

  1. Thank you for this great piece of content. Best Regards

  2. Super! Thank you for so much helpful information!

  3. Michelle Newsom

    10.04.2011

    Would love to meet and bring home Annie!!!!!! We live on 60 acres in Hilliard, and would love to add her to our family….I have one 8yr old Maltese, that I carried around in my purse when I got her and one outside girl we adopted about 11yrs ago.I love animals, but do to allergys am looking for a Poodle…I would much rather adopt a rescue, because it breaks my heart to see these dogs without a home they can call thier own….Really excited Michelle!!!!!

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