1500 East Boston Post Road o Mamaroneck, NY 10543

Judith S. Johnessee, MS, DVM
Diplomate, American College of
Veterinary International Medicine



Your puppy will receive vaccinations for Distemper' Anti-virus, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus, Coronavirus, Rabies, and possibly Bordetelia (Kennel oouah - required by most boarding kennels). Vaccinations are given every three weeks. It is not the number of vaccinations which is important, it is the age of the puppy at the last vaccination. The last Distemper must be given at 15-16 weeks, the last Parvo at 18-20 weeks. Rabies can be given any time after 12 weeks. That is why we must know the puppy’s date of birth if possible. Until the vaccination series is completed puppies should not go to public parks or be around stray dogs. They can go outdoors in your yard, or to puppy class where the other puppies are likely being seen regularly by their own vet, or be around your friends' dogs which are well vaccinated.

Intestinal Parasites:

All puppies are born with intestinal parasites. When the bitch is pregnant her rising progesterone levels cause immature worm larvae in the bitch's muscles to awaken and swim right through the uterine wall into the puppy before it is even born. By two or three weeks of age puppies are shedding worm eggs and infecting each other. As deforming only removes adult worms in the intestinal tract, not the immatures in the muscles, and it takes eight litters to clean out a bitch, it is impossible for even the best and most hygienic breeder to eliminate worms. As children can infect themselves with worms through fecal oral contact we discourage you from letting your dog lick you on the lips, and we encourage frequent deforming which can be done by injection or powder daily for three days. The modern de wormers do not cause vomiting and diarrhea like the old ones used to. The newer heart worm prevention’s (discussed below) also help control worms and help keep your yard free of worm eggs. Whenever your puppy has diarrhea we will probably want to de-worm it.

Heart worm prevention (Interceptor):

Unlike intestinal parasites which live in the bowels, heart worm is carried by mosquitoes and the adult 6" long spaghetti-like worms live in the right heart and pulmonary arteries where they obviously can cause significant damage. Twenty years ago there was little heart worm in this area. Today the highly mobile human and dog population has spread the disease throughout most of the world. As the only treatment is a form of arsenic, which is obviously highly toxic, we prefer to prevent the disease by giving a medication which prevents infection after a bite from an infected mosquito. Preventative medicine can be given daily or monthly. Most people prefer the monthly pill which also has additional medications which help prevent infection with intestinal parasites. The only two months of the year heart worm prevention can be stopped are January and February, and some people travel south with their dogs in the winter so we just recommend giving the preventative once a month all year round. When the yearly vaccines are done we take a blood test to check for heart worm to make sure the preventative medication was effective, and so if there were an breaks with the medication we pick up infection and can institute treatment early before much damage has occurred. If the monthly pill was missed for any reason it takes 6 to 9 months for the infection to become detectable in the blood. The monthly pre-ventative is safe and has not been shown to impair fertility in breeding animals.

Flea Prevention (Front-line):

One of the nicest new products for flea & tick control in years is Front-line. Front-line Top Spot's active ingredient is fipronil. When applied to the skin and hair coat fipronil dissolves in the oils on the skin and actually spreads over the pet's entire surface, concentrating in the hair follicles and oil producing glands of the skin. It is not removed from these protected areas by swimming or routine bathing, although the use of a benzoyl peroxide shampoo like Oxydex can remove it, if needed. Front-line can be used safely on IO week old puppies and 12 week old kittens, unlike the Break through and Advantage, and will kill ticks for a month or more and fleas for one to three months after one application. As the molecule is located on the surface of the skin and hair coat, a blood meal is not necessary, making this product ideal for flea allergic animals. Optimal protection is provided by monthly application as this prevents tick bite exposure to Lyme and other tick borne diseases. This product is safe, effective, and convenient. It is currently not licensed for use in pregnant or nursing animals or on ferrets, although it has been successfully used on ferrets by employees of Rhone Merieux, the company that makes it. 1-800-934-4447


Puppies should be fed good quality name brand food. We usually recommend you start with what the breeder uses and then you can gradually switch over to what you prefer. Abrupt diet changes can cause diarrhea so food changes must always be done gradually. Table food and additives must be kept to a minimum or the calcium and protein ratio of the dog food will be dangerously altered. Calcium and Vitamin D supplements should never be given. Although some breeders still recommend them we know that these supplements actually contribute to bone problems. If your puppy's hips do not palpate normally, feed in a of a low protein diet with a specially adjusted calcium: phosphorus ratio like Purina Puppy Chow may be recommended. Exercise and keeping the puppy nice and lean is also very helpful.

Young puppies should be fed three times a day. We prefer breakfast, your dinner time and an hour or two before bedtime. This allows the puppy time to have a final walk outdoors before bedtime and go to bed with a full stomach so he doesn't get you up too early because he is huncty. As he grows the bedtime meal is reduced to just a snack. As an adult he can be fed once or twice a day, depending upon what you and your dog prefer.


Housebreaking and general training is accomplished most easily by adherence to as strict a schedule as feasible as dogs are very much creatures of habit. Use of a crate helps enormously because the puppy can use it as a den and safe haven where he can sleep undisturbed, eat ( I put the food in the back- of the crate and leave the door open), and where he can have his toys. The crate is never used as punishment, but keeps the puppy safe from chewing electrical cords and eating things that might cause problems like garbage and foreign objects like kids socks or toys. Since puppies sleep a lot and probably are asleep most of the time you are gone, cratina is not cruel and actually reduces the amount of correctionsa puppy needs because when he is out of the crate you are there to show him what is allowable and what is not. Puppies need to go out the minute they wake up, right after they eat, and after about an hour of play. As they get older they can hold it longer, and usually holditovernightbyabout4months. Take the puppy to the same spot outside each time, do not play with it until it does its business and praise it lavishly when it goes. If the puppy has an accident in the house and you see him doing it, you should, as one breeder said, "make like a wild Indian " thus effectively communicating to the puppy that what he did was wrong. If you find the accident later, taking the puppy to it and rubbing his nose in it is not effective. Even though he may look guilty and upset, he is only reacting to your distress, he doesn't know what it is he did wrong. If you are consistent and use a crate, housebreaking should not be difficult.

Obedience training is excellent for every dog. Most of us do not care about having obedience champions, but we all want a dog that can be taken to the kids' games, go in the car with out hysterics, act civilized on a leash even when there is heavy traffic and lots of other people, and is Generally well mannered and nice to be with. A dog allowed to do whatever he wants is usually not a ctreat companion. Obedience training also helps dogs learn to concentrate and develop some mental control, and I think starting at a young age is excellent. I am a firm believer in kindergarten classes especially for the bigger breeds. The younger they start, the better. Trying to start training a 6 month old 65# hyperactive lab is a little difficult! Very young puppies are admonished when they do something wrong but not punished. As they get older corrections are instituted, at first very gently and then with increasing severity. Ph)rsical spankings are usually not effective and in fact are often construed by the puppy as invitations to play. Your tone of voice is one of the most effective training tools. Two excellent books on basic dog concepts of dog training written by Carol Lea Benjamin are Mother Knows Best, and Surviving Your Dog's Adolescence.

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