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What Your 8-Week-Old Puppy Needs

By: PetPlace Veterinarians

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Your 8-week-old puppy has certain needs to stay healthy! The following is a list of recommended wellness care for an 8-week-old puppy including tips and advise on dewormers, heartworm prevention, flea and tick control, spay and neutering and nutrition.

  • Vaccines – 8-week-old puppies should at least have their first set of shots. The typical vaccine is a "combination" that protects against canine distemper virus, canine hepatitis, parainfluenza, and canine parvovirus (the four viruses are commonly abbreviated DHPP). Many veterinarians also recommend incorporating leptospirosis in the vaccination (DHLPP) and possibly coronavirus (DHLPPC). Additionally, Lyme disease vaccination may be recommended depending on your pet's level of risk.

  • Dewormers – Most puppies are born with worms and therefore should be dewormed by your veterinarian. Fecal examination is the microscopic examination of stools for parasites and may be done to confirm if there are worms or determine which worms are present.

  • Heartworm Prevention – Heartworm prevention is important to puppies that are at risk and should be started before they are 6 months of age.

  • Flea/Tick Control – Depending on where you live and your current flea/tick situation, there are very good preventative medications to control flea and ticks. The best and safest products are prescribed by veterinarians.

  • Spay/Neuter – Some puppies are spayed and neutered at an early age or later, closer to 6 months of age. If your puppy is not "fixed", discuss when is the best time with your veterinarian. Pet overpopulation is a serious issue and by allowing your dog to have litters, you are adding to the problem. Pets that are spayed or neutered are quieter and not prone to roam looking for a mate and tend to be more gentle and affectionate. Also, fixing your pet reduces the risk of developing breast and prostate cancer and eliminates the risk of uterine infections.

  • Diet - Most puppies are weaned at 6 to 8 weeks of age, after which they leave their mothers and eat solid food. Your 2-month-old puppy should be eating four meals per day of a good quality food formulated for puppies of his or her size.

    The energy requirements of a puppy, based on body weight, is nearly double that of an adult. The number of calories a 2-month-old puppy needs varies with their size, activity level and weight. Approximate calorie requirements for the different breed sizes are: 225 for Toys; 400 for small breeds; 530 for medium; 990 for large; and 1220 for giant breed dogs.

    There is no set formula for how much to feed a puppy. Consider your pup's age, weight, and activity level when deciding how much to feed. Weigh your puppy each week. As your puppy ages and his size increases, he will need more food each day. More active pups may burn more calories and require more food. The opposite is true for less active pups. Every brand of food has different nutrients, caloric densities and feeding recommendations. Check the manufacturer's recommendations on how much to feed.

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