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Always make sure you have good ID tags on your dog’s collar. You can make them at Pet Supplies Plus, Petsmart or PetCo on 159th and Lagrange Road. You can make a tag with 4 lines per side. On one side put (1) your name, (2) your pet’s name, (3) “Big Reward” and (4) “On Special Meds”. On the back of the tag put 3 to 4 phone numbers. Anyone who finds your puppy will not want to go to a vet and spend money to find out what “special meds” your dog is on and will most likely opt for the “Big Reward”. Just a trick, but it might help you get your dog back.

Microchip your pet. This is the biggest no-brainer in veterinary medicine. The technology is terrific. We have a hundred stories we could tell. Do not listen to people who say “it hurts, wait until your dog is neutered”. This is the worst advice I have ever heard. The microchip is inside a needle, which is, admittedly, bigger than a vaccine needle, but the insertion is quick and relatively painless. Why wait months for “neutering time” when your dog could get lost this afternoon after you get home?

If you have never raised a puppy before you really should consider investing a small amount of time at puppy training classes. The foundation you lay while your dog is young will stay with him or her forever. Places we recommend are in the folder.

Avoid macadamia nuts, they make a dog “drunk” but do not kill. Avoid grapes and raisins, these are toxic and will kill a dog. Avoid letting your dog eat anything with xylitol, the new artificial sweetener. Xylitol can be found in chewing gums, certain peanut butters and baking products. This product is highly toxic. One penny, minted in l983 or later, contains 2.5 grams of zinc which is toxic for a small dog. And for you all that also have cats, never, ever, give a cat Tylenol. Read labels.

Always keep a fresh, small bottle of hydrogen peroxide in your medicine cabinet, then when your pet eats something it shouldn’t have and the vet directs you to give peroxide, you won’t lose time driving to the drug store or running across the street hoping your neighbor is home and has peroxide.

Your new puppy should be on a heartworm preventive year-round. Heartworm disease is transmitted by infected mosquitoes. It is your responsibility to give your dog the preventive medication as prescribed. The best way to reduce the risk of heartworm infection in your dog is to give preventive medication year-round. We will help you decide which is the best heartworm preventive for your pet. 

We consider the following vaccines to be core, or essential, vaccines: Distemper, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis, and Rabies. We consider Lyme vaccine to be non-core, its administration to be based upon the dog’s lifestyle. If the dog is never exposed to ticks then the vaccine is not necessary. It’s up to you to make sure there are no ticks around your dog. There are certain areas of Palos Park where we consider Lyme vaccine to be mandatory. If there is a reason to use tick preventative then there is a reason to vaccinate for Lyme disease. Flu vaccines are only recommended for high-risk dogs – dog daycare centers, frequent use of dog parks, etc. To be properly immunized, both the old vaccine and the new vaccine each have to be administered twice.

We recommend puppies be dewormed every 2 to 3 weeks until they are 16 weeks of age. So does the CDC.

Consider neutering the female dog around 6 months of age, before her first heat. Our goal in doing so is to reduce the incidence of breast cancer as she ages. Neutering the male dog has recently been shown to not reduce the incidence of prostate cancer as we had previously thought. I now recommend not neutering the male dog unless his behavior dictates that he should be: aggression, excessive roaming, marking his territory in the house, etc. If you plan to neuter the male dog consider waiting until at least one year of age and to at least one and one-half years of age for very large dogs. This is to allow for more full bone development.

Table food. Consider a variety of whole fresh foods. There are several good articles on this topic in your folder. Raw meat and bones are not recommended. You must reduce the amount of dog food you feed to control the total calorie intake when you supplement with fresh and whole foods.Take a look at BalanceIt.com for help in making great homemade diets.

Consider using Fromms dog foods. This long-time company is in Mequon, Wisconsin (a suburb of Milwaukee) and services a number of Midwest states. However, it is a small enough company that when it comes to purchasing 500-pound canisters of the white powdered vitamin/mineral premix, which all very large pet food companies buy, Fromms does not have to source from China. The very large dog food manufacturers have no choice but to buy from China because of the volume they need to buy. This is the reason we recommend Fromms. It is a quality food and has nothing from China in it.

Consider using a dog crate for house-training. Many people hang a bell on the inside of the (only) door that the pet will use to go out to pee and teach the pup to ring the bell.

You can easily trim your dog’s nails at home. You have a lifetime of doing this chore so you might as well learn with us and start doing it at home. Most dogs hate nail trims so start them young.

Most dogs do not have to have their ears cleaned every week! We see a lot of people who over-clean their dog’s ears and irritate them to the point where infection occurs. You can wipe out your dog’s ears with a cotton ball or Kleenex. Most importantly, start to smell your dog’s ears now and learn what “normal” smells like. Put your nose right in the dog’s ear! You can pick up on an infection by the odor before we could ever see it with a scope. There are many good cleaners on the market; the general cleaner that we like is EpiOtic Advanced. This particular cleaner has something in it that makes it hard for bacteria to attach to the skin in the ear. 

You should brush or comb your dog every day. If you have a snub-nose faced dog you should clean the area between the nose and eyes daily to prevent the typical foul odor and infection/inflammation. We recommend the Optixcare products or just tap water on a Kleenex. To make taking care of your dog more fun consider buying a grooming table off of Amazon. I got a very nice sturdy 30" model for about $39. I use it to comb them out, brush their teeth, and clean their eyes.

You should at least try to brush your dog’s teeth daily. Almost all dogs will come to enjoy this if you are persistent and use a good flavored product like CET (Virbac Company, Canine Enzymatic Toothpaste). This particular toothpaste contains an enzyme, that when left on the teeth after brushing, will continue to attack the plaque. Take up the water bowl for ½ hour after brushing. If you can’t, or won’t, brush your dog’s teeth at least put some of the paste on your thumb and forefinger and smear the paste on the teeth. This, too, will do a lot of good.

Dog parks are fine. Be aware that any nice dog can bite your dog; We’ve all seen eyes damaged, and certainly many bites, so just be aware of how they are acting around each other. Don’t ever believe anyone who says his or her dog won’t bite.

We recommend giving your puppy fish oil for good brain development. Continue this through life. There are many reasons to give fish oil daily (and to take it yourself). We carry capsules and a liquid form of fish oil to give your pet, just give us a call and we can recommend the best product for your pet. 

Contact Us

Prairie State Veterinary Clinic


100 Ravinia Place Orland Park, IL 60462

Clinic Hours

Mon-Tues: 9AM-6PM
Wed: 9AM-3PM
Thurs: 9AM-6PM
Fri: 9AM-3PM
Sat: 9AM-3PM
Sun: Closed