When you bring home a new puppy, it can be difficult to not fret at every little cough, every little whimper, and every little whine. Puppies are like small children in that they are susceptible to so much, yet our minds seem to create even more of an issue with their health than what they are probably already experiencing. Good puppy parenting is about finding a balance between paranoia and concern, and knowing the difference between problems you can solve on your home and those that require the care of a veterinarian.
To help get you started, here are a few of the most common problems that your puppy may experience that you don’t have to seek veterinary care for.
Cuts and Scrapes
Cuts and scrapes are part of the life of a puppy; just like children, they tend to get into everything and part of learning what is safe and what is not is getting into things that are not the best idea. This means that cuts, scrapes, and scratches will occur in the life of your pet, and it is your responsibility to discern between what things are safe to have in your small dog’s environment, and what things are not.
Whether your dog stays in the house all day or they spend a majority of their time outside, it is going to be difficult to pick up any and everything that could potentially draw blood from their delicate skins. Sharp objects, rocks, and even other pets can cause cosmetic damage to the skin of your pet, but remember that it is just that—cosmetic. They won’t kill your pet, and if you clean them right and do the right thing you might not even have to worry about a scar later on down the line.
In this case, some warm water and antibacterial soap is the best thing to have around. Your dog’s skin heals a lot like yours, so keeping the wound clean and bandaging it if necessary can make all of the difference in the world.
Again, remember that your puppy is new to the world and they are going to have to find out a lot of things the hard way. Chances are that whether you have them inside or out, they are going to stick their noses—and their paws—where they don’t belong. This means that somewhere along the line they may end up with an object or a piece of an object in their delicate little paw pads.
While your little guy may be wailing like there is no tomorrow, don’t let that fluster you. This type of thing happens all the time but as dogs get older the skin on their paw pads gets tougher, as do they. You may see a bit of blood, but what is important is removing the object (usually with the help of a pair of tweezers) and cleaning the area as you would any other wound. Paw pads go directly on the ground, so it may be harder for them to keep this area clean than other wounds they may incur. Be careful to pay close attention to the area and make sure that it looks clean and that is as comfortable for them as possible.
Another part of puppy-hood is contracting internal parasites. They can come from a variety of places, and they can be pretty nasty at that. If not treated, worms and other parasites can do harm to the inside of your dog’s body and so it is your responsibility to make sure that your pet is de-wormed and ready to go. Luckily, this does not require the services of a veterinarian, at least in common cases.
Worms can be cured with a simple pill that can be bought over the counter, or picked up from your vet’s office. After they take the pill, the worms will likely be flushed out of the body; they should be fairly apparent in your pup’s waste material.
Of course, getting your dog to swallow the pill is half the battle. In most cases rolling it up in a piece of cheese or lunch meat or hiding it in a glob of peanut butter should do the trick just fine—your little guy probably won’t even notice!