I must admit I didn’t know this stuff. I see adorable, squirming little bundles of fur and just love them up. But it’s important to know, if you are thinking of a new dog, what it means to keep them healthy and how to do it.
Charlie Bear here — interjecting into Mom’s post. You can tell I’m bored. See that big yawn? When are we going to get back to talking about ME! I love my Charlie Chat posts, and now that I’m two, and we’ve decided to do new posts called Y2K (Year 2 Know-it-all), I’d like to know when we will do the first one? Come on, Man, you’re killin’ me!
Mom Peep back here — Charlie, hold your horses. I promised we’d do a four-part series and this is the third one. Sometimes, it’s important for us pet lovers to understand this stuff. Even if we don’t need it right now, we may in the future. Your turn will come. Now, back to getting a new dog / puppy.
From Dr. Jon at PetPlace (he’s a wealth of great information):
Puppies are so tiny and adorable that sometimes you can’t help but wonder how these small creatures fight off diseases. Adult dogs have had time to develop a strong immune system, but what keeps the sickness at bay while a dog is just a puppy? The answer is in the mother’s milk.
For the first 24 hours after a puppy is born, he’s a little eating machine. It seems all that puppies want to do when they’re born is eat, eat some more and sleep. There’s good reason for this. The first 18 to 24 hours that a puppy drinks his mother’s milk, he is absorbing nutrients and antibodies from the milk.
One important key to a healthy newborn is ingestion of colostrum. Colostrum is the mother’s first milk – during the immediate time after she gives birth. Colostrum is rich in nutrients, proteins, antibodies, and other essential elements to good health and allows itself to be easily digested and absorbed by the puppy. Many pet owners believe that the more milk a puppy drinks, the more antibodies they receive, but this is untrue – colostrum only occurs for the first 18 or so hours of a puppy’s life.
You might have wondered why you have to wait to get a puppy immunized. The fact is, it has less to do with the puppy’s size and more to do with this colostrum process. For the first few weeks of a puppy’s life, his mother’s antibodies are still flowing strong in him. These antibodies simply fight off any vaccines the puppy is given, and there is little to no effect from them.
Even though there is a waiting period for immunization shots, sometimes a puppy is vaccinated while his mother’s antibodies are still strong in him. When this happens, a window of susceptibility is formed. This is a period when your puppy’s shots haven’t made him immune to disease, but his own immune system is not strong enough to fight it off on its own yet. This happens at around 5 to 12 weeks of age.
By this time, though, your puppy should be completely weaned and eating solid food. While your puppy is still developing it’s important to feed him a food that’s rich in antioxidants, like Eukanuba’s puppy formulas. Special nutrients called antioxidants, such as vitamin C and vitamin E and certain compounds called carotenoids (like Beta-carotene), in a dog’s diet can help support his immune system.
Once your puppy is weaned from his mother, he depends on you for nourishment. Start his life well by feeding him puppy food that will create the building blocks for a healthy and happy future.
Until next time,
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This is our third post in the series about puppies (the 5 Tips for Christmas Puppies didn’t count — that was a bonus). We have one more to share with you (the surprise one), and then on to Charlie Chats.
Stay tuned, and Woofs & Wiggles to you from Charlie Bear,