Chocolate labradoodle Sage

Puppy Health Care Assistants

This is my big healthy girl, Sage.  We love her shaggy look but as you can see she is almost ready for a  visit to her groomer. 

When you have a beautiful shaggy dog like Sage, or me for that matter, you will have a harder time finding lumps, bumps, small creatures or even hidden bald spots on your big puppy. 

It has been my groomer who has discovered lumps on  my friend, Annabel which at that time turned out to be treatable but cancerous growths.  This gave Annabel the gift of another happy two years of running around the fields at home.  The growths were in an odd spot and no amount of petting or even brushing disclosed them.

I had a friend who had nasty little mites which made a bald patch on his head.  He had so much glorious coat that nobody noticed until the groomer discovered the problem and his family trotted him off to the vet.

If you are your puppy’s groomer you will be using clippers and combing and brushing fur carefully right to the skin.  You are being your own veterinary assistant because other than a hairdresser that is in fact what your groomer can be. 

We don’t usually have veterinary check ups every couple of months but if we go to the groomer that frequently problems won’t go unnoticed.

Our annual vaccine is a time when the doctor can do much more than simple poke us in the rear end with a nasty looking needle.  Our doctor brings out her stethoscope and listens to our heart, looks in our eyes and feels about to see what is what inside us.  Even if you don’t have vaccines every single year it is a very good idea to go to the vet for a check up. 

We doggies don’t say much and if we are just a little out of sorts sometimes you won’t know.  This why a little assistance from a professional assistant is such a good thing.

Golden Labradoodle puppy Anka

Little Snacks For Little Puppies

We all like to snack.  I have to confess that I do and I think it is terribly unfair that since I had a little accident with my leg  I am not quite as active and seem to be on a perpetual diet.  Those little cookies they offer me for coming and sitting nicely are always pitiful and small.  

However there are healthy snacks for dogs such as myself and small puppies that won’t wreck the diet plan.  Vegetables!  I know that  human children would usually prefer a  chocolate chip cookie  to a carrot stick, but puppies are  not usually that fussy.  A little piece of raw vegetable can be quite an attractive offering.

The best veg for puppies are carrots, yams, zucchini, beets and green or yellow beans.  Some veg such as potatoes are not as good.  Pieces of apple and pear are also a nice treat.  My friend Sophie will wait for hours just to be given the apple core left by some human apple eater. 

When puppy comes home he should be able to eat dry kibble. If he can eat this easily he can eat pieces of vegetable.  Make sure he isn’t eating so fast that he tends to choke.  Sometimes a big carrot to chew on is actually better than a small piece.  When puppy is five months old it shouldn’t be a choking problem but I am always careful with young puppies.  

Often even organic produce is coated with yucky waxy stuff.  Make sure you wash the fruit and vegetables for puppy just as you would for people. 

Now I think I’ll go and see if somebody will give me a snack, maybe a piece of yam or zucchini (I could do with a piece of cheese if the truth be known).


Labradoodle puppies sitting at attention

Greedy Little Puppies

Puppies love to eat!  Like babies sometimes I believe they think with their little mouths. They will happily eat dust specks from the floor, old kleenex, stringy bits from a toy, cookie crumbs and dirt.  
Puppies will also eat their breakfast quicker than an Olympic runner sprints to the finish line. Sometimes, if I am not careful one puppy will eat two breakfasts if his brother is not paying attention.  

Not only are puppies devoted to their meals they can sometimes over eat.  I have noticed that humans have this tendency as well. My puppies would ask for more food so expertly that if one is not hard hearted one could over feed the little darlings and that will cause the dreaded diarrhea.

More food than the little tummy is accustomed to will often cause a loose bowel movement. Often when we give puppies a little more food at a meal because they are growing and it is time for a little more in the bowl I notice right away that the poop becomes a little runny.

 For this problem we add a little tinned pumpkin to the next meal.  A heaping tablespoon to a quarter cup of food is about the right amount.  We do this for several meals and the problem usually disappears. Plain tinned Pumpkin is our doggie miracle drug and puppies seem to like it as well as they like everything else.  I must say that as a grown dog I too can over indulge and the pumpkin does settle my tummy.  

Of course, diarrhea can be a sign of illness so it is important to pay attention. If the diarrhea gets worse and becomes a squirty puddle or if it smells particularly bad it is time to call the vet. 

Black labradoodle puppy

A Nice Clean Puppy

As a dog I have a very different standard of clean than my human family.  It seems I finally find some lovely slime to roll in and they want to bathe the perfume away. 

As humans will persist in this doggie bath thing there are a few pointers I have to share.

My puppies don’t mind showers.  Some of them really rather enjoy them and splash around like they were at the beach.  Baths are a little more stressful but the worst is the blow drier.  The sound is very scary.  If you want the process to be fun rub them in a towel and then run around leaping and shaking all over the house to dry.  Save the fluffy blow dry do for the groomer.

Don’t do what my mum did and think you are doing puppies a favour by using expensive human shampoo.  Many years ago before I was born she didn’t have doggie shampoo in the house when Annabel the standard poodle was ready for her shower.  Mum used some of her very expensive people shampoo from the hair dresser.  Then she added some conditioner!  She thought it was so terrific she used it several times on Annabel’s long coat.

One day Annabel’s curls began to fall out one by one.  As you can imagine Annabel was very distressed.  The curls began to fall because the shampoo is too harsh.  Even special human shampoo is too harsh for we more delicate creatures.  Stick to a good doggie shampoo and all will be well.

A collection of labradoodles with colourful collars

Pretty Little Collars

Here we all are at home….fresh from the groomer.  You can hardly see Lexi, Savannah is on the left, old poodle Dundee in the middle, me with a very short hair do after puppies, and then there is little Sophie.  As you can see we are all wearing collars and scarves.  Very chic. 

      When your puppy is too young for the groomer but wears a stylish collar be very careful of her little neck that is growing every day.  It seems obvious but you would be amazed at how easy it is to overlook the pretty collar’s size.  It seems to be shrinking as puppy grows.  One day poor puppy wakes up to find that he is in a very tight, miserable collar.

       Every few days put a couple of fingers in between the puppy collar and the little neck. Fingers should slide in easily.

      A loose collar is a health hazard as well.  I can remember a puppy howling in circles because his little bottom jaw got caught in his collar.  Poor little fellow.  The collar should be just able to accommodate your two fingers but no bigger.

     A big collar seems comfortable but puppy could become frightened by something and back out of the collar faster than the speed of light.

      I like to see my puppies in harnesses when they are on leash.  The harness is safe and if it fits nicely they can’t escape when they are frightened by something like a passing truck.

    Dress your puppy well.  I like my collars sporty, some like diamonds.  To each her own.

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