There is nothing like a puppy.

One moment is all it takes to go from a civilized human to rolling on the floor, head-over-heels in love. Puppies—and the dogs they grow up to be—quickly become such a part of our lives that we cannot imagine life without them.

A dog’s short lifespan is often described as their only fault, but Boca Midtowne Animal Hospital has 10 powerful tips for adding years to your dog’s life, beginning in puppyhood. 

#1: Let Boca Midtowne be the go-to resource for your puppy’s lifelong needs

Information is more available than ever, but dangerous inaccuracies are rampant. Contact Boca Midtowne Animal Hospital first for all your canine care needs. Whether you have questions about your puppy’s health, need food recommendations, or have a training question, we want to help. Never crowdsource your puppy’s care—always consult your veterinarian. 

#2: Puppy visits lay the groundwork for lifelong health

Puppy examinations are critical to ensure proper health and development. We evaluate your puppy for overall health, as well as congenital conditions that may cause future trouble. Home care, behavior, and training are discussed at each visit as your growing puppy’s needs evolve.

When your puppy is no longer a puppy, adult annual wellness exams can detect diseases early, and address minor conditions before they become problematic. 

#3: Routine vaccinations build your puppy’s immune system and boost adult health

Your puppy begins life with maternal immunity that is only temporary, so they need vaccinations to ensure they can safely develop their own. Puppies are highly susceptible to potentially fatal parvovirus, distemper, and other severe infectious viruses. Vaccines are a safe and effective way to build your puppy’s natural defenses, and future booster vaccinations will ensure their adult protection never fades.

#4: Parasite prevention starts in puppyhood

Most puppies are born with intestinal worms that can impact their ability to thrive, and can infect humans. Fecal testing checks for roundworms, hookworms, and other common puppy parasites. Prophylactic dewormer is recommended for all puppies, because parasites can be shed at different times. Annual fecal testing and monthly heartworm preventive, which often contains dewormer, can ensure lifelong safety for the whole family. 

External parasites can compromise a small puppy’s health. Start your puppy on flea, tick, and heartworm prevention as recommended to prevent vector-borne diseases. Annual heartworm and tick-borne disease screenings are critical to confirm that their preventive is effective.

#5: Spay or neuter your puppy

Spaying or neutering your puppy at the appropriate age lengthens their life by preventing whelping complications, uterine and testicular cancers, and some behavioral issues, such as roaming, territorial aggression, marking, and humping. These procedures will also prevent unwanted litters.

#6: Quality nutrition fuels your puppy’s body and mind

A well-balanced diet formulated for your puppy’s size and growth stage is imperative for future health. Choose your puppy’s food based on veterinary nutritional guidelines, not fads or advertising campaigns. Boca Midtowne Animal Hospital can make brand and calorie recommendations tailored to your puppy’s needs. 

Proper body weight is critical to longevity. A famous study by Purina determined that lean-fed (i.e., portion controlled) dogs live an average two years longer than dogs who were not calorie-restricted. 

#7: Physical exercise is critical for your puppy

Lifelong exercise is critical for longevity, but restrict your puppy to low-impact activity until their growth plates close, to prevent permanent joint damage. Our veterinarian can recommend appropriate exercises for each stage of your puppy’s development.

Exercise should play a consistent role in your dog’s life, not only to extend their life, but also to ensure their comfort. Safe exercise improves joint, cardiovascular, and mental health, and helps your puppy maintain a healthy body weight. 

Obesity affects 50 million dogs nationwide, and drastically reduces life expectancy and quality of life. Excess weight contributes to skin, kidney, orthopedic, and respiratory disease. Obese dogs are also more likely to develop cancer from chronic inflammation. 

#8: Puppy teeth may be temporary, but dental health is forever

Periodontal disease is present in 90 percent of dogs, with 80 percent showing disease signs by age 3. Dental disease affects more than your dog’s teeth, because oral bacteria enter the bloodstream and cause liver, kidney, and heart problems. Start your puppy off right with daily brushing, dental chews, and water additives approved by the Veterinary Oral Health Council. 

#9: Start training your puppy right away

Behavior problems are a common reason dogs are surrendered to shelters, and many of the reported problems stem from poor or nonexistent basic training. Training your puppy automatically ensures a longer and happier life. 

Puppies learn most effectively with positive reinforcement and praise, and should not be punished with harsh corrections. Positive training creates trust, and a reliable dog. Ask us for local trainer recommendations. 

#10: Invest in your puppy’s future with pet insurance

Pet insurance offers peace of mind during an accident or emergency, and can allow your puppy to receive the care they need without draining your bank account. Sign your puppy up early to lock in the lowest monthly premiums, and minimize pre-existing conditions.  

Preventive care can make a huge impact on your small puppy’s life, now and in the future. Don’t simply wish your beloved puppy could live longertake the necessary steps, together with Boca Midtowne Animal Hospital, to give them the absolute best every single day. When you do, you will naturally increase the likelihood of more tomorrows. Contact us to schedule your puppy’s wellness appointment.