Illustrated Articles

Care & Wellness

  • During the first three weeks of life, puppies require little care from the owner, provided the mother is doing her job. Weaning describes the transition of the puppy's diet from its mother's milk to the solid growth diet of puppyhood. A good quality, veterinarian-recommended premium diet is essential for the proper development of your puppy. At the time of weaning, they should be fed small amounts often.

  • Although the majority of dogs will give birth without the need for human or veterinary assistance, certain problems can arise which require veterinary attention. It is important to closely monitor your pet during birthing and seek veterinary care if you have any concerns. If intense contractions have been occurring for twenty to thirty minutes without a puppy being born, it is important to contact your veterinarian.

  • Puberty or sexual maturity in the female dog usually occurs around six months of age. The smaller breeds tend to go into estrus or "heat" earlier and some females can have their first "heat" cycle as early as four months of age. On the other hand, the large and giant breeds can be up to two years old before they come into heat for the first time.

  • Pregnancy in dogs, also called the gestation period, normally ranges from 57-65 days with an average of 63 days. It is important that she be in good physical condition before she is mated. During the last three weeks of pregnancy, your dog's food intake should increase by up to one and a half times the normal level, by feeding smaller meals more frequently.

  • Many owners find the companionship of their dog so rewarding that they feel they would like to breed their dog, to continue the bloodline and/or to keep a puppy. Others, especially first time dog owners, will acquire a female dog with the intent to breed her when she is old enough.

  • During the last week of pregnancy, the female often starts to look for a safe place for whelping. Some pets appear to become confused, wanting to be with their owners and at the same time wanting to prepare their nest. It is a good idea to get your pet used to the place where you want her to have her puppies well in advance of whelping. Some dogs like the owner to be with them the whole time they are in labor. Others prefer to have their puppies in seclusion.

  • Your interaction with your new kitten begins on the ride home. Cats should always be transported in some kind of carrier in the car. By teaching your kitten to ride in a confined location you are providing safety as well as starting a routine that you can maintain for future car rides.

  • The sole is the insensitive protective undersurface of the horse's foot in which are the highly vascular (rich in blood supply) and sensitive (rich in nerve supply) tissues (laminae) that connect the hoof to the pedal bone.

  • More than half of all cats over the age of three have periodontal disease. Brushing three times a week is the minimum recommendation to help remove plaque and prevent tartar accumulation. In order to be successful at brushing your cat’s teeth, you must make it a positive experience for both of you. Do not use human toothpaste or baking soda. A list of dental products and diets that have been accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Counsel can be found at vohc.org.

  • It is estimated that over two-thirds of dogs over the age of three have periodontal disease (infection of the tissues surrounding the teeth). Brushing three times a week is the minimum recommendation to help remove plaque and prevent tartar accumulation. In order to be successful at brushing your dog's teeth, you must make it a positive experience for both of you. Do not use human toothpaste or baking soda. A list of dental products and diets that have been accepted by the Veterinary Oral Health Counsel can be found on www.vohc.org.