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Michael Dym, V.M.D.
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Dr. Michael Dym
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How to Keep Your Growing Puppy Healthy

How to keep your growing puppy healthy

As your puppy begins to grow into an adult dog, he/she may need some help to stay healthy and happy. These products can help keep your pet on track as he/she ages, preventing some common medical problems including heartworms and dental disease.

Preventing common health problems

As your puppy grows up, you'll want to keep him/her protected from an assortment of parasites and bugs. Routine doses of heartworm, flea and tick preventatives will ward off the health problems associated with these pests, including Lyme disease, flea allergy dermatitis and heartworm disease. There are also many chewable and combination products available, making it easy to prevent these pests.

Heartworm prevention: Heartworms are transmitted to dogs when an infected mosquito bites a dog. Your dog can be infected at any time, so it's best to start your pet on a heartworm preventative right away and keep him/her on it year-round. Heartworm preventatives are prescribed by vets, so ask your vet about starting your puppy on a preventative if you haven't already. Many heartworm preventatives also act as de-wormers by getting rid of intestinal parasites.

Flea prevention: A flea problem can quickly spiral into an infestation in your home or yard, so it's best to treat your pet regularly with a flea preventative before it's too late. Fleas can cause health problems in your pet as well, including flea allergy dermatitis, hot spots and tapeworms, so it's best to prevent them.

Tick prevention: Many popular flea preventatives also work to control ticks. Dogs left unprotected against ticks are at a higher risk of Lyme disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. If ticks are a problem in your area, year-round treatment helps to kill any ticks your dog may pick up. If you see a tick on your dog, remove the tick carefully by grabbing it by the head with tweezers. A product such as Resultix can help ease the removal of ticks on your pet.

Support your puppy's growth with supplements

Supplements can keep your dog healthy and happy as he/she grows by supporting the brain, skin, joints and digestive system. There are several types of supplements to support these key body systems.

Joint supplements: Joint supplements support your dog's joints and can reduce inflammation and prevent joint damage. This is especially important for very active dogs and large- to giant-breed dogs, as there can be excessive wear on their joints. Look for products containing glucosamine, chondroitin and MSM for cartilage support and products with Perna Canaliculus to reduce joint stiffness and inflammation. Start your puppy on joint supplements now as a preventative measure before he/she experiences joint pain and discomfort.

Canine multivitamins: Some commercial pet foods lack the right balance of vitamins and minerals which can result in a nutritional or digestive imbalance. Multivitamins fill in any nutritional gaps that your pet's food may leave and also promote your pet's overall well-being.

Omega-3 supplements: Omega 3 fatty acid is an essential fatty acid your pet cannot produce and must obtain through diet and supplements. Many commercial diets do not include an optimal amount of Omega 3, making supplements necessary. Omega 3s reduce inflammation in the body, aiding in the health of your dog's skin, brain, heart, kidneys and immune system.

Dog oral health: Your pet's oral health will impact the rest of his/her health, and poor oral hygiene can result in extensive health issues. Tartar can build up on your pet's teeth, leading to periodontal disease, pain, bad breath and even secondary diseases such as heart and kidney disease. The American Veterinary Dental Health Society also states that 80 percent of dogs will develop some form of dental disease by age 3. It's also much easier to get a young dog used to teeth brushing than it is to introduce it later in life, so the sooner you start your pet's oral health routine, the better it will be for his/her overall health.

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