Puppy Care 101

Puppy Care 101

Who doesn’t love an adorable, curious, playful and sweet little puppy? As some of the cutest things ever made, puppies are a source of love, joy and companionship—but it’s not all fun and games. It’s important to remember that with great power comes great responsibility—your new doggie friend will be very dependent on you; therefore, we’ve created a convenient guide that will help you take care of your puppy.

The first few months you have with your puppy will be very important and will lay the foundation for your canine’s future health and behavior. A puppy is a major lifestyle adjustment, and you can expect many accident cleanups to counterbalance the joy of a baby doggie. However, if you follow the below guidelines, you can ensure a happy and healthy life for your pup.

Take Your Puppy to the Vet Immediately

During this vet visit, ask any and all questions you may have. Your vet will also make sure to:

  • Set up a vaccination plan for your dog
  • Go over internal and external parasite control options
  • Discuss signs of illness to look out for during your puppy’s first few months
  • Talk about spaying and neutering

Shop for High-Quality Food

Your puppy’s body will grow and grow, therefore you’ll need to select a food that’s made specifically for puppies instead of one made for adult dogs. Check any potential food packaging for a statement from the Association of Animal Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) which should be visible somewhere. This ensures that the food is nutritionally complete.

Depending on your dog’s breed and size, they will have different schedules which we will discuss during your visit. You should however always make sure your puppy has plenty of fresh and clean water available to them at all times.

Establish a Potty Routine Early

Housetraining your pup is very important early on. You’ll need positive reinforcement, patience and planning to be successful, not to mention plenty of cleaning supplies because accidents will unfortunately happen.

Until your puppy has had all of their vaccinations, you need to find a place that is outdoors and inaccessible to other animals to help reduce the spread of viruses and diseases. Positive reinforcement goes a long way, so whenever your pup does their business outside, praise them—just as important though, is to refrain from punishing them for indoor accidents.

Some common times to take your pup out include:
  • When you wake up
  • Right before they go to bed
  • Immediately after they eat or drink a lot of water
  • When they wake up from a nap
  • During and after physical activity

Be Aware of Early Signs of Illness

During your puppy’s first few months on this earth, they are more susceptible to sudden illnesses that can turn very serious if not treated early. Contact the vet immediately if you notice these symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Poor weight gain
  • Vomiting
  • Painful or swollen abdomen
  • Pale gums
  • Eye discharge or swollen, red eyes
  • Nasal discharge
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Inability to pass stools or urine
  • Breathing difficulty

Obedience Training

Puppies will be puppies, but teaching your baby dog good manners early on will set them up for a successful life of positive social interactions. Training them will also forge a strong bond between you and your pup.

Essential commands such as sit, stay, down and come will be beneficial in many scenarios. There are also obedience classes available to puppies, which usually accept pets from around age four to six months old. While training your dog, remember to use positive reinforcement which is much more effective than punishment.


Along with obedience training, socialization during puppyhood is imperative to a successful, well-behaved dog. When puppies are around two to four months of age, they begin to accept other animals, places, people and experiences. Socialization with other dogs, cats and situations will enhance their worldview and make them less excited and anxious in their everyday life.


At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. If you have any additional questions about puppy care 101, please give us a call at our following locations:

Chillicothe: 309-273-1909

Dunlap: 309-439-9522

Dunlap II: 309-413-0527

Anaplasmosis and Dogs

Anaplasmosis is a bacterial disease that comes in two forms for dogs—Anaplasma phagocytophilium, which infects white blood cells, and Anaplasma platys, which infects a dog’s platelets. While anaplasma occurs in many places in Canada and the U.S., the places with the highest concentration of canine anaplasmosis are:

  • Northeastern states
  • Gulf states
  • Upper Midwest
  • California
  • Southwestern states
  • Mid-Atlantic regions

How Does Anaplasmosis Get Transmitted?

Anaplasma phagocytophilium can be transmitted through the western black-legged tick and the deer tick, while Anaplasma platys gets transmitted through the brown dog tick. Since the western black-legged tick and the deer tick are carriers of other diseases, there is a chance for dogs to be co-infected with other tick-borne diseases including Lyme disease, Rocky Mountain spotted fever and Ehrlichia.

While there is no evidence to suggest that canines can transmit Anaplasma bacterium to people, Anaplasmosis does occur worldwide in different mammals such as dogs, cats and people.

What Are the Symptoms of Anaplasmosis?

After an initial tick bite and transmission, symptoms often show within one to two weeks and they vary depending on which organism infected the canine. Anaplasma phagocytophilium is the more common form of anaplasmosis—symptoms for this are generally vague, which makes diagnosis difficult. However, reported symptoms include:

  • Lethargy
  • Loss of appetite
  • Lameness and joint pain
  • Fever
  • Coughing (less common)
  • Seizures (less common)
  • Vomiting (less common)
  • Diarrhea (less common)

For Anaplasma platys, signs include the body’s inability to properly stop bleeding as well as bruising, nosebleeds and red splotches on the gums and belly.

How is Anaplasmosis Treated?

Anaplasmosis can be treated with doxycycline, an antibiotic—the earlier the treatment, the better the outcome. Canines are usually treated for a full 30 days, but improvement often shows within the first few days of treatment.

How Can I Prevent Anaplasmosis?

The best way to prevent anaplasmosis is to keep up on tick prevention. There are many different treatment options, including oral medications, tick collars and spot-on treatments. It is also important to check your canine for ticks every day, and to pay attention to places like between their toes, under their collar, behind their ears and in their armpits.

Anaplasmosis doesn’t get as much coverage as other tick-borne diseases like Lyme disease and Ehrlichia, however it is a significant disease which has seen an increase in frequency. It’s also important to note that if your dog has one type of tick-borne disease, they may have other ones as well.


At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. If you have questions about anaplasmosis, please contact us at our following locations:

Chillicothe: 309-273-1909

Dunlap: 309-439-9522

Dunlap II: 309-413-0527

What is Ehrlichiosis?

Canine monocytic ehrlichiosis occurs after a dog has been infected with Ehrlichia canis bacteria, which gets transmitted to dogs from the bites of brown dog ticks. These pests are especially prevalent in warmer climates, therefore ehrlichiosis is most frequently diagnose in these places.

What Are the Stages and Symptoms of Ehrlichiosis?

After being bitten by a tick carrying the E. canis bacteria, dogs can appear normal for up to three weeks. If the canine has not fought off the infection, they will enter the acute phase, where they can display several symptoms including:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Lymph node enlargement
  • Chronic eye inflammation
  • Unusual bleeding and bruising
  • Neurologic abnormalities
  • Occasional lameness

If left untreated, the above symptoms may last for two to four weeks. Some dogs will then appear to become better—this is called the subclinical phase of an ehrlichia infection and can last for months to years.

Some dogs don’t progress out of the subclinical phase, and others may eventually enter the chronic phase, which gets hard to treat.

What is Canine Granulocytic Ehrlichiosis?

Canine granulocytic ehrlichiosis (CGE) is caused by the Ehrlichia ewingii bacteria, which gets transmitted through the bites of lone star ticks. These ticks are primarily found in the Midwestern, Southeaster and Eastern parts of the country.

Symptoms of CGE include:

  • Lethargy
  • Fever
  • Lameness
  • Diarrhea
  • Vomiting
  • Neurologic abnormalities

How is Ehrlichiosis treated?

A common treatment of ehrlichiosis is a prescription of the antibiotic doxycycline, which is usually given once a day for three to four weeks. There may be other medications depending on different situations.

When given treatment in a timely manner, a dog’s condition will usually improve rapidly. In severe instances, additional treatments may be necessary, which include blood transfusions, immunosuppressive medications or intravenous fluids.


At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. If you have questions about ehrlichiosis, please contact us at our following locations:

Chillicothe: 309-273-1909

Dunlap: 309-439-9522

Dunlap II: 309-413-0527

Canine Bartonellosis

Caused by the gram-negative bacteria Bartonella, Bartonellosis is an emerging infectious bacterial disease in dogs which affects cats and humans as well. For humans, this infection is also known as cat scratch disease, though this doesn’t necessarily mean that it was acquired through a cat’s bite or scratch.

For dogs, the Bartonella bacterium gets transmitted through fleas, sand flies, lice and ticks. Hunting and herding dogs are at a higher risk due to their increased exposure to these vectors. Of note to this disease is that both dogs and humans share a common range of clinical symptoms.

Bartonellosis is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be transmitted between animals and humans. While it is not fatal for humans, it does pose great risks to immunocompromised patients such as those with AIDS or those who are undergoing chemical treatment.

What Are the Symptoms of Canine Bartonellosis?

  • Vomiting
  • Diarrhea
  • Fever
  • Lameness
  • Enlargement of spleen and liver
  • Swelling and inflammation of lymph nodes
  • Inflammation of eye
  • Irritation of nose
  • Cough
  • Arthritis
  • Seizures
  • Nasal discharge

What Are the Causes of Bartonellosis?

  • History of flea or tick infestation
  • Bacterium Bartonella infection
  • Dogs who live in rural environments have an increased risk
  • Transmission in dogs can be through sand flies, lice, flea exposure and ticks
  • Transmission from dogs to humans is suspected to be through bites

How is Bartonellosis Treated?

For dogs, there is not one well-established antibiotic protocol. Depending on the canine’s symptoms, a selection of different antibiotics will be made by your vet on a case-by-case basis.

How Can I Prevent Bartonellosis?

The most efficient way to prevent bartonellosis in your dog is to minimize their exposure to fleas, ticks, sand flies and lice.


At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. If you have questions about bartonellosis, please contact us at our following locations:

Chillicothe: 309-273-1909

Dunlap: 309-439-9522

Dunlap II: 309-413-0527

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