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Health & Care

Health & Care

Health & Care

Taking some simple steps to protect your puppy will help make sure that they stay happy and healthy. In this section we explore some of the problems, which can impact you and your puppy’s life, and how you can prevent them.

Expert Answers

Our expert vet team posts answers to the more common questions. Some questions you may be interested in are :

Any dog can have smelly ears, but especially floppy-ear breeds where the ear flap covers the ear canal and traps moisture inside. On the other hand it can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health disorder such as ear mites, a yeast infection or a bacterial infection. You should get your veterinarian to do a check for you. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to clean your dog's ears properly. Using Q tips for example may cause trauma and compact debris in the ear canal, making any underlying infection worse.

Generally, you should only bring your puppy out for a walk at least 2 weeks after it has had its last puppy vaccination. This is because there are many viruses out there that your puppy may pick up while on walks in public areas.

All sorts of dogs are walked in public areas, both vaccinated and unvaccinated. The unvaccinated dogs may shed some viruses that stay in the environment for many years, and these viruses, if exposed to your puppy before it receives its full course of vaccinations, may make your puppy very sick and many do die from these diseases. There is no cure available for these viruses, similar to many childhood viruses in children.

However, it is important to start socializing your puppy, but it should only be done in safe environments - such as puppy preschools at veterinary clinics, friends and relatives' homes with healthy vaccinated dogs etc.

Puppies ears should be cleaned regularly to ensure the ears are kept clean and to accustom your puppy to having his/her ears touched and treated. It is especially important to clean ears if they get very dirty. The dirt inside the ears can be due to a normal waxy discharge, or abnormal discharges due to an underlying infection (e.g. earmites, bacteria, yeast). If your puppy is shaking its head very frequently, scratching at its ears and appears distressed when you try to touch its ears - it may have an infection. In this case, your puppy will need to see a veterinarian for the appropriate treatment.

Do not wash the ears with water as this can actually lead to an infection. Be careful when you are bathing your puppy as well, to make sure water doesn't get into the ears. If you wish, there are special ear washes available from your veterinarian to ensure that your puppy's ears stay clean and healthy. These can be used after swimming or bathing.

If your puppy has hairy ears, which is common in some breeds (e.g. poodles), plucking the hairs out of those ears is not recommended at all, unless there is already an infection at the time. In a normal ear, if the hairs are plucked out, this will lead to oozing and bleeding (and is painful for your puppy too!). The oozing and bleeding can actually lead to an infection due to the moisture present in the ears. However, if your puppy's ears are infected, then the hairs may be removed to get all the discharge out of the ears and help get the medications into the ears properly. If in doubt, speak to your local veterinarian for advice.

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