There are many diseases and ailments that can affect young puppies, but few are as worrisome as parvovirus. This condition causes serious lethargy, vomiting, fever, and a lack of appetite, and almost all puppies who come down with the disease pass away or are euthanized. How can you protect your puppy from this serious disease? Start by following these five tips.
1. Have your puppy vaccinated
You can typically have a puppy vaccinated for parvo at about six weeks of age. He or she will then need booster shots every few weeks until four months of age. It takes time to build immunity after these vaccines, so do not assume your puppy is automatically protected from parvo until he or she has had the final booster shot.
2. Keep your puppy away from public places
Do not take your puppy outside of the home until he or she has been fully vaccinated. Parvo can live on surfaces for months, so even if there are no other dogs around, there could be parvovirus lingering from dogs who were previously in the area. You should especially avoid places like dog parks, kennels, and pet stores where dogs abound.
3. Do not invite other friends' dogs over
You may want to socialize your puppy and get him used to interacting with other dogs, but it is best to wait to do this until after your puppy has been fully vaccinated for parvo. Even though other dogs may be vaccinated, in rare cases, they can still be carriers of the disease. So, do not allow friends to bring their dogs to your house, and do not take your puppy to other people's homes. If you need to go out of town, have someone -- without a dog -- stay in your home with your puppy.
4. Disinfect any previously used dog item you bring into the home
It's best to buy new toys and beds since these plush items cannot be cleaned effectively. However, if you buy used kennels, dog dishes, or other items, you should be careful to fully disinfect them first. Use a mixture of bleach and water, soaking the item for a few minutes. Let the item air dry; do not rinse it. The bleach will kill the virus and then evaporate away.
To learn more about parvo and how to protect your puppy from this terrible illness, talk to your veterinarian. For more information, check out a website like http://www.emergencypetclinics.com.