• Puppy Love Dog Cloud Beds Podcast

Dog Pod Episode #11

Puppy Love

How to Care For New Puppies

Listen in as we discuss…

– The Power of Positive Reinforcement
– The Truth About “Alpha Dogs” and Why FEAR is NOT a good training tool
– The Serious Danger of Parvo Virus… and Why?
– Are Puppies Safe in Public After #2 Vaccination and Before #3 Vaccination?
– What’s the Correct Age for Adopting a Puppy? 6 weeks or 8?
– Vaccinations Explained
– Importance of Socialisation in Puppies – But HOW When NOT Fully Vaccinated???
– Which Breeds are more susceptible to Parvo Virus?
– 2 Secrets to Stop Puppies Biting
– What to Watch in Young Children & Puppies
– What Plants Are Highly Toxic to Puppies?
– Can Dogs Eat Chocolate? – Finally the Truth!!!

Learn all this and more on this special episode on Puppy Dogs

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Follow Dr. Kevin Cruickshank

Gold Coast Vet Surgery
Instagram @goldcoastvet

Full Dog Pod Transcript : Episode 11

Scott Groves: Well, hello and welcome to another episode of Dog Pod. We’re here with an award-winning vet again. Dr. Kevin Cruickshank from Gold Coast Vets Surgery. Welcome back, Kevin.

Dr. Kevin Cruickshank: Thanks, Scott. Good to be here.

Scott: Right here in a nice part of the world here this morning. New location.

Dr. Kevin: Absolutely. I’m sure the listeners can see us. It’s lovely down here by the creek.

Scott: So we’re outside again. We love being outside. Where everyone’s out and about with their dogs and to follow on from last session will probably pick up a little bit of windy heads. A bit breezy this morning but to follow on from our last session on Dog Pod. We spoke a bit about elderly dogs. And this time we thought we would go full circle with the other end of the spectrum being the puppies.

Dr. Kevin: Absolutely.

Scott: And some of the puppy care that we talked about, so.

Dr. Kevin: It’s a very fun part is probably the best one of the best parts of my job. And now, we seem, they normally coming in because they are healthy and we are looking at getting started with a lot of their preventative care guiding people. Some people might be very experienced with dogs. Other people might be 20 years since they’ve had a puppy and things have changed in that as well. So always a pleasure to chat about puppies.

Scott: That’s me. As you know, because we’ve got our new puppy Lunar which I’m starting to think is short for lunatic.


Scott: If it was actually named after sort of the moon or whatever it might be. And so we’ve had the pleasure of coming to see you obviously first with the puppy check that you do and I thought this might be a really good starting point. But I thought throughout this one, I thought it’d be really good to talk about some of the common things that happen. Common injuries that puppies can suffer from just lots of very practical things because I’m in that category of, you know, I mean my last dog that I got at six weeks of age was I worked out I think was 23 years ago.

Dr. Kevin: Yeah, there you go.

Scott: She lived till 18 years of age and it’s been a few years gap with kids and stuff since. But so I fit that category exactly where it’s a little bit like raising children. You forget what the hell you did the first time around and a lots changed though in 20 years.

Dr. Kevin: Absolutely. We understand the whole lot of new different concepts or different ways and quite amazing to see how like a big one that is probably really changed in the last few years as an understanding of behavior.

And that the old model of thinking of a hierarchy is now been proven to be not correct. It was based on studies sort of in wolves and whilst there’s a lot of similarities between dogs and wolves. They don’t necessarily live in the same pack structure. So the idea that you need an alpha dog and the top dog and show them who’s boss because otherwise, they’ll never respect you has actually been disproven.

Dr. Kevin: So yeah, we’ll certainly chat about some things that we know are very important in those early stages to set the basics for their behavior in particular with their early exposure to various things that so what we’ve referred to as socialization.

Scott: Yeah, let’s talk about it now because I grew up in a sort of very country part of Victoria. And I was probably that classic sort of country kid and it was a bit like that and in those days. It was you were the Alpha Dog you showed him who’s boss all that stuff and I know that the podcast we did with Katie Brock who’s a world-famous trainer uses food rewards.

Dr. Kevin: Absolutely.

Scott: And it’s all about positive reinforcement now.

Dr. Kevin: Reward-based training and positive reinforcement. Absolutely. And you know food is the starting point with that and what you often do use to achieve but you achieve the results in the early stage of training. But a lot of the time that I can actually be substituted with other things.

So things like, you know, just simple praise and attention can you’ve got that wherever you go. You’re not necessary always going to have your treat so your food pouch with you, but you train them early on. And then link it over to cues and that that you give as well. So, why the you know, it’s certainly is very true that that Dominance Theory what was so well accepted and understood. And those with that was the behavioral training I had it in my University career and that sort of thing. And it works because the dogs do it because they are scared.

Scott: They fear.

Dr. Kevin: And so invariably so you often can seem to get very quick results as well. And but it mostly works when you’re present. And if that because they’ll fit a scared of the consequences if they don’t do what you ask what expecting of them.

And whereas we rather want them to do it because they want to please us or because they inherently want to do that behavior because they associated with a positive outcome in the future. And so it can take a bit longer to get those pathways established in their psychology and that sort of thing as well.

But once it is established, it’s ingrained for a lot longer than they’ll do that behavior whether you are there or not as well.

Scott: Yeah. I’ve found that challenging again and I sort of wonder what I was getting myself into again. But I mean, obviously, we have a love for dogs about dogs my whole life but we’ve just bought a new house. We’ve redone the timber floors all for a dog to come in and pee and poo all over. That the new timber floors.

Dr. Kevin: And look that’s also something it’s not to say that there’s any training technique that is immediately going to resolve. That is more about toilet training and something that we can chat a bit about as well. I guess just as we wrap up on the behavioral side of things. It’s all about rewarding what the behaviors that you want to have.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: And ignoring the negatives or trying to distract and introduce a better behavior or rewarding calm behavior. But when we looking at things like toilet training. Yes, certainly, no dog is born knowing it. They don’t see any difference between urinating indoors or outdoors. And the biggest part is that they don’t yet have that understanding that feeling of a full bladder or that sensation is that oh, “I’m about to need to pee.”

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: And so there’s this immediately as, “I feel it. Okay. I’m going to go and urinate now.”

Scott: And then they get excited with young kids.

Dr. Kevin: Yes.

Scott: Which we have got as well and it’s a whole another sort of unique challenge that you run a really popular puppy school too. So I wanted to ask just on the behavioral stuff, what would be, and maybe there’s a top five or whatever but it got me thinking about a Blog topic as well too.

Dr. Kevin: Yes.

Scott: But what would be the early commands that you think are best to teach a puppy?

Dr. Kevin: I think your fundamental that you start with, is Sit. But in the beginning of any command or any training that you’re doing with them. You actually don’t use any words.

It’s one of the key techniques is to learn a technique called luring and so often with a food reward.

So difficult to explain without my hand signals that are going wrong here, but you basically take your treat and you let them know that you’ve got some treats. So you literally if you just get their attention you’re giving them that. They looking at you. So then they’ll keep looking at you for more and in a way you actually hold on to that sit.

Dr. Kevin: They will eventually do of their own accord even without you asking for it. And then you give the reward. I think that is very quickly to a, “Oh when my bum hits the floor, I get a treat.” It needs to be instantaneous.

Scott: Yes.

Dr. Kevin: But then you can also to encourage that movement of the bum going down dragging the treat just over the top of their nose and as they looking lifting their head up looking for it. Naturally, they are going into a Sit position. So they don’t even realize that they sitting. They are following where you leading them or luring them with the treat and then they are sitting.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: And that’s a very natural and quite an easy one to get down path and it can become your sort of go-to for everything. Before you go into then teach them to lie down. You’ll first put them in the sit position and then still with the treat you then lower the nose down. And either you lure it down in front away from them or some of them actually as you pull it down closer into their chest will go more down to the lying position. So no forcing their bum down or their whole body down. It’s really just getting them to do it almost by accident, but you lure them into that.

Dr. Kevin: And then as soon as they do it by accident you reward them. And only later on once that is very firmly established that that’s the behavior you want them to do. Link a word to it. And you also need to be consistent. You got to pick your words. So you’ve got to decide whether down means stop jumping up and get down or get off the counter or does it mean lie down. And you can’t use them interchangeably.

Scott: Yes.

Dr. Kevin: So, down or lay, you choose your term. I like down for lying down and you can use off for jumping up and that sort of thing. But be consistent in the whole family all using the same terminology as well.

Scott: Yeah, found that as well very quickly in the first and that we’ve had Lunar a couple of weeks now and she’d learned to sit probably in a day or two. She was really quick at it and very smart dog and we put the time into. I mean, that’s the key right you got to put the time in but I quickly caught myself because puppies put everything in their mouth.

Dr. Kevin: Yes.

Scott: Using the word down when I should be saying drop.

Dr. Kevin: Yes.

Scott: And then I caught myself out and I think so even just sitting down pen and paper just writing. I actually made a list of the top ten commands. I just want to teach her first. It’s probably why I was asking and thinking what have I left out and look she’s already shaking paws and rolling over alone.

Dr. Kevin: Brilliant:

Scott: And you know, she’s laying down and on your bed. And on your bed I found good and I found I know if this is the right thing or not and it was good question for you and probably someone like Katie Brock as well. But I found using my voice and a hand gesture at the same time, really effective.

Dr. Kevin: I think it’s brilliant. I think a hand gesture you’ve then can also later on control the more from a distance where they can’t necessarily hear you so well. If your dog ever becomes deaf, you’ve got those hand gestures already established throughout their lives.

Sometimes, there might be a circumstance where you just not wanting to make much noise and you can control them with a hand signal. It’s brilliant. I think they follow hand signals very very well. So you can link anything and this is the basis we might have heard of a concept of clicker training as well. That’s just the equivalent of the word command or the hand signal but it’s a clicker and you start off first with food as your reward and then you transition them onto the other you link those or what we call it a bridge to that. So.

Scott: Yeah. Great.

Dr. Kevin: Yes, I think–

Scott: In addition to Sit maybe just quickly another three or four things you would teach.

Dr. Kevin: So down and then some of them get harder to do. So a very useful one is wait, you know, getting them to stay in that sitting position when you a bit of a distance away from them is very very helpful.

Scott: Sit and stay.

Dr. Kevin: And teach them to walk by your side to heel very helpful and useful. And yes, letting go of something that they’ve got in their hand. Not in their, in in their mouths. [laughing] They’re letting go of something that they excited about. And the whole idea there, is you need to offer some sort of other alternative of higher value at the beginning. So that they see that if they give up this, it might be some food or something, if they give up that they actually going to get replaced with something else better. So that later on if you out on a walk and they pick up an old bit of bone and you don’t want to that you might not have anything then to replace it with. But they’ve become accustomed to the fact that if you take something off them, it’s okay.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: They going to they’re not going to lose out altogether. So they’ll be tolerant of your handling.

Scott: Early days, it’s very much replacement. Isn’t it?

Dr. Kevin: Absolutely.

Scott: Replaces with the dog toy that they love more.

Dr. Kevin: Exactly. They doing your favorite trainers or something like that. Well that, you know biting chewing mood. Yeah. This is what’s acceptable. So you also learn about what’s called a positive interrupter. So something that will get grab the attention and it might be a high-pitched bit of a call, or “Tsk, tsk, tsk.” or something like that. That will just distract them break them from the what they currently doing. And then again, if even if it’s something negative rewarding them for letting go or stopping doing that and taking on with the other thing that they going to then follow through with.

Scott: What about biting? What do we do to deal with biting?

Dr. Kevin: Yeah. It is a hard one. Definitely. I think firstly having that interrupter and it’s so that they then have your focus and attention and looking at something.

It’s a natural puppy behavior to do so something that is acceptable for them to bite and chew giving them that instead you in a biting mood.

In extreme cases, sometimes you need to have a little bit of time out. Okay, you know, so the punishment is you not getting my attention because that’s what they love the most. So you’ve got yourself really wound up. We’re either gonna get you to have calm behavior.

So a lot of our puppy preschool is all about encouraging and in teaching calm behavior so that when we don’t put them in that sort of time out it.

Mat training is something that helps a lot so they associate calm behavior with their mat.

So they go to lie on the mat in a quiet place where they’re not being sensitized.

Dr. Kevin: But also sometimes it’s with like you were saying with children. Encouraging children not to run away from them because that’s often why they’re biting. They are stimulating a little bit of doggie tag.

Scott: Yeah. That’s how we shot it and then we have a five year old. He’s getting a bit scared of her. Yeah, the little nips are hurting and teeth are very sharp.

Dr. Kevin: They are.

Scott: And then the kids are very sensitive and then they think everything’s a game. That little five-year-old raises the foot and suddenly the shoe is now a toy and poor thing gets a little kick in the head. Or it’s just like this.

Dr. Kevin: So sometimes it’s a management of the children and the dog. And so just separating interrupting that before it gets too carried away. We know with children you hear them, you know, getting more and more boisterous. You think this is going to end in tears.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: You can just see that happening with the puppy as well. So trying to distract before that even happens. If it is on an adult and there’s a lot of biting actually a high-pitch screech as if you’ve been really hurt because that’s what they do to them. Say to each other in a little, you know there might but you might hear a sudden high screech in here. Or somebody broken a leg and no just let the other puppy know that what they did hurt them.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: You can also instead of trying to pull your hand away. Push your hand further or your fingers further into the back of the throat so that nobody likes that sort of impact coming down. So makes it a negative experience. The biting.

Scott: It’s either let it go limp all or stick it down their throat a bit. Doesn’t it?

Dr. Kevin: Yes.

Scott: It’s uncomfortable, but I found that high pitched squeal and let your hand go really limp. They very quickly back off and just start licking you and, ” Are you okay?”

Dr. Kevin: They feel bad that they hurt you. Yes.

Scott: Yes. So yeah, and then it’s just a matter of how long this takes. Right?

Dr. Kevin: Yes. It does take a while. But yes inevitably like also with toilet training there will grow out of it. Toilet training, I guess some of the things are to anticipate when they’re going to need to go to the toilet. So when they’ve just woken up when they have been playing a lot you’ll suddenly see them stop and start sniffing.

I’m sure you recognize that sniffing now and then taking them to a consistent place. If you’re lucky enough to be in a house where there is a yard then taking them outside. It’s such a different environment to inside. So they understand that that’s an acceptable place to go to the toilet.

Dr. Kevin: Much harder for people in apartments and that sort of thing but they can still use as long as it’s there is a safe bell can hear. It might have a bit of artificial grass or so, is their toileting spot.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: I find that a lot better than say putting newspaper down just in a corner of the living room. They don’t see that corner is any different the rest of the living room. And also if they learn to go on on newspaper, well another time you might have the Sunday paper that you haven’t yet read and they see it on the floor and, “I know what to do with this.” And, oh, there goes your Sunday paper.

Scott: Yes. Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: So you can now get like puppy pads which are absorbent pads that you can use. I find that there’s a tractors that you can buy in pet stores sort of to make them want to know for the scent or so. I don’t think they’re very reliable and it’s more about anticipating reading their behavior after they’ve eaten and drunk a lot. They often will want to toilet as well.

Scott: And then just sit them on it. Wait.

Dr. Kevin: And when they do it, then it’s like the most exciting thing they’ve ever done in the world. Lots of cheering. If you can have a food treat around just to give them so that you again positive reinforcement. If you come home and find a paddle or you even see them doing it in the wrong place, don’t punish. Certainly, if you come home they have no association.

They if you literally anything you got to catch it within seconds of what they doing good or bad to reward them.

But if you start punishing too much or arousing on them. They’ll start to want to hide and you might find that then they’re going behind the sofa to go to the toilet or something.

Just because they scared that they’re going to get found out on they don’t really understand going to the toilets and normal natural behavior.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: And it’s actually very much a human thing that we don’t want them going in the house. So they don’t understand why they’re being punished for doing a very to them and normal behavior.

Scott: Yeah. That’s great. Excellent advice. Let’s talk about vaccinations a little bit because there’s a few very valid reasons why with dogs especially vaccinations are important.

Dr. Kevin: Absolutely.

Scott: And I think you guys run with this like a series of three. Do you want to see if maybe explain what happens in the first one? What’s different in the second and third one?

Dr. Kevin: So vaccinations are quite a complex topic and the way that they work in Immunology because there is also some transference of immunity from the mother to the puppy depending on her vaccination status and her age and that sort of thing.

So, in a very young age they have some temper protection from the mother, but that actually interferes when we give a vaccination. And what that is, a form of the disease that can’t cause the disease but the body stimulates its immune system and response to that. So if they’ve still got a lot of protection from another when they get the vaccine, then the body actually doesn’t mount a very very strong response.

Dr. Kevin: And that’s actually why we have to do multiple doses at as a young age. And they might we don’t know they may not have very much protection from mom. It might be waning and almost completely gone by six weeks and it might last until 10 or 12 weeks. So they get their first vaccination normally at three weeks of age. It’s safe. My pony at six weeks of age. They get three doses and that is again something called a C3 typically. So parvo, distemper and hepatitis.

Parvovirus is probably the main one that we are concerned about and that the risk of that varies a little bit geographically. Where we are in quite a built-up urban area and there’s a high level of vaccination fortunately because of that very widespread and good protection. We see few cases.

Dr. Kevin: But sometimes in some other areas, parvovirus can be really rough. So really important.

Scott: Why is Parvo, why is it so dangerous?

Dr. Kevin: It’s a disease that causes a hemorrhagic diarrhea and it’s a virus.

Scott: I think, bleeding.

Dr. Kevin: Yes. So blood in the stool the first symptoms are that they go very quiet and subdued. Quite often then go off their food and then soon it follows to have both vomiting and diarrhea.

And it’s a foul-smelling diarrhea because it’s got a lot of blood in it. And very very quickly puppies can unfortunately die from it because of the loss of the protein and the blood in their diarrhea and also severe dehydration and not eating well.

But if they caught early, they can be treated with a lot of supportive care. There’s no one sort of drug or antidote. So you far either protect them. The parvo vaccine is highly effective.

Scott: Right.

Dr. Kevin: So they get that normally that’s normally done with the breeder. And then the–

Scott: The six week one.

Dr. Kevin: At the six-week one and then most puppies should be going to a new home preferably rather at eight weeks. That’s something that has changed over the years. It used to be sort of six weeks of age. But now we know it’s more important from a social upbringing point of view that they stay with their mother till about eight weeks.

…most puppies should be going to a new home preferably rather at eight weeks.

Scott: Okay.

Dr. Kevin: The earliest that they can have that second one is normally at nine weeks of age. Although a lot of vaccinations certificates will just have it down to be four weeks or a month after the first one. It’s a little bit depending on the brand of vaccine, but it can be done at as early as nine weeks of age. That one they get the C3 again. So the Parvo, distemper and hepatitis. And then they are introduced to two other diseases that are not as life-threatening but much more common. And there are two causes of canine cough. Something called Parainfluenza and Bordetella. And then three to four weeks later, they get their another C5. So that one it’s at the second one is called a C5 just having five components to it. And the C stands for canine. No need to be–

Scott: And that often kennel cough. Is that right?

Dr. Kevin: That is also the old name was kennel cough but they can get that even if they don’t go to kennels. So it’s now more referred to as canine cough.

Scott: Cough. Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: And so they get the five in one at 9 or 10 weeks of age. And then three to four weeks after that they get the last one. The idea to try and get it completed as early as possible is so that they because they are only really have reliable protection and this comes back to the possible interference of the antibodies they have from mom. Might interfere with those first certainly at least the first two ones, and a lot of dogs at they don’t get a strong immunity.

The vaccine will make up for any immunity that they don’t have and gives them protection. But it wanes very early. It drops off after about six weeks. But once it’s been boosted with that third and final vaccination, then it should give them 12 months of protection.

Scott: Right.

Dr. Kevin: In certain breeds, so the black and tan breed. So Rottweilers, Dobermans, and probably also German Shepherds are a bit more susceptible to Parvovirus for one other reasons. So very often it’s recommended that they even have a fourth shot against Parvovirus. And that’s very dependent on the geographical area. We don’t typically do that here on the Gold Coast.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: But in higher risk areas, it’s strongly recommended that they have that. So there shouldn’t be going out in public spaces until at least a week or in high-risk areas two weeks after the third vaccination.

Scott: Right.

Dr. Kevin: So the sooner we can get that third vaccination completed if we can get it completed at 12 weeks of age versus say 16 weeks of age they able to get out and be socializing and experiencing things that they need to be experiencing in a positive way so much earlier.

And that’s the advantage of that to the point that sometimes it’s even now being looked at. Well, can we mitigate the risks and keep them as low as possible and even start letting them have a little bit of outdoor activity and socializing before they’ve had that third and final puppy vaccination. That’s contentious and very dependent on the risks in the area. So for us here, it’s an acceptable risk, I feel. But in other areas. It’s going to be far too risky from a Parvo point of view.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: But attending thing–

Scott: Can I ask you about that because I was chatting with a friend who done some design work for us at Dog Pod and she’s got a puppy. Her vet which is not you, said, “Oh, it’s okay to let them out after and start to take him on walks.” And after their second one, but before their third, I immediately sort of recoiled a little bit thinking that probably is a bit risky. We’re not going to do that. We’re going to wait until as recommended by you a week after the third or so.

Dr. Kevin: Yeah, so it’s a small risk, but in fact what we look at is a greater risk of them having behavioral problems from not having that early socialization or those potentials for behavioral problems can be mitigated by because there’s a fairly narrow window.

Once they sort of under 16 weeks of age for that early socialization and interactions to happen. And also what we’re looking at with socialization that actually means experiencing things but in a positive way as oppose to just exposure. So we’re not only talking about mixing with other animals but just walking on a concrete footpath. Compared to the grass.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: Walking over a metal grid. Hearing noises, a car door slam, a fire engine, a loud bangs that sort of thing. So experiencing them is one thing but actually socializing is when those things happen to actually reward them from not overreacting or saying good dog just not make a big thing of it but a little bit of a treat if they’ve had something a little bit frightening or they were tentative to walk over the grass or something like that. They’ve walked over giving them a treat. That turns it into socializing rather than just walking over and ignoring what they’ve done.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: Okay, they were exposed to it, but they didn’t have a positive exposure necessarily. So I don’t think that it’s completely foolish especially if it’s based on a vet’s advice that the vet will know their local area. The risk factor is involved.

Scott: Yeah. If the risk factor of Parvo is extremely low. Probably okay.

Dr. Kevin: Because that second vaccination does give them temporary protection. That protection might say for argument’s sake be 80% if the risk of being exposed and that is fairly low. You should have a good chance that that will be enough protection that they don’t come down with further.

Scott: We’re all familiar with covid-19 and it stays on surfaces and stuff, you know up to three days on hard surfaces, like plastic, cellos and so forth.

Dr. Kevin: Parvovirus is so much more tenacious. It’s one of the toughest viruses to kill.

There’s only certain virus either drugs and all chemicals that will sell and you have to use it at a certain concentration to kill and disinfect Parvo. And out in the environment even in the sun in the rain it can last for up to 11 months.

Scott: Wow!

Dr. Kevin: So you could be walking your dog and not have seen another dog. They don’t have to come in contact with another dog. And a dog may have had some diarrhea three months ago. You can’t see any trace of it. It’s been washed away by the rain and that sort of thing, but just your dog sniffing and licking at those plants that may have some of those virus particles on it. Can be enough for them to pick that out.

Scott: Wow.

Dr. Kevin: So the 11 months is the extreme that it sort of known to be but certainly you know, so if you think even just one month it’s alive and living. If people have had parvo in their own dog, we advise waiting a year before getting another puppy even from their backyard and that sort of thing.

Scott: Yeah. Okay. Well, there you go. Are there parts of the world that you know of that are particularly I suppose still prevalent with parvo? Is there?

Dr. Kevin: The whole world.

Scott: I feel that is just so–

Dr. Kevin: Lower socio– you cannot yet. There’s still a lot of Parvovirus here in Australia.

Scott: Okay.

Dr. Kevin: Where I grew up in South Africa. Unfortunately, especially in low socio-economic areas. It’s really rough.

Scott: Okay.

Dr. Kevin: Like in our vet school. We had a whole ward just for these Parvovirus cases. So sort of 20 cases at a time that ongoing and it’s yeah.

Scott: Importance of vaccinations.

Dr. Kevin: Southeast Asia and that sort of thing. It’s rough. America everywhere. It’s prevalent, you know.

Scott: If you got a quick couple of tips perhaps what could help with socialization? Because we know how important it is for dogs. And one thing we did was just next-door neighbor.

Dr. Kevin: Yes.

Scott: Are you dogs vaccinated? Are they all fine? So we let Lunar, you know, jump the fence in.

Dr. Kevin: So that sort of thing is perfectly fine and to be encouraged, you know. If you’ve got friends who have got dogs who are healthy and up-to-date with vaccinations having them coming to your place.

Scott: I need it because you said it was okay to do.

Dr. Kevin: Exactly. So having them come to your place or you go to there’s is great.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: Other ways that is less direct contact, but still sort of reduces the risk. If you go to a park somewhere taking a big rug or blanket and having, keeping them on, carry them in your arms and then having them on that but then other people are going past a bicycle. You might sit fairly close to the footpath. Dogs walking by. If your puppy is sort of ignoring them and not certainly not getting scared and that sort of thing.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: Giving them a little reward. They not necessarily directly meeting them, but they seeing them. Hearing them yap and bark. Seeing a bicycle come zooming by and not getting terrified of that.

Scott: It’s great.

Dr. Kevin: So also what we want to be careful of is ourselves sort of overreacting and if we see a big threat suddenly picking up the dog and say it’s okay. This is a typical one would say a thunderstorm.

You know, you think that yes the dogs probably going to or the puppy is going to be very scared with that. So we over mother them sort of thing and don’t worry, don’t worry and we really fast get them up on the lap. Whereas if our attitude is more, “Oh that was a big clap. That was a big loud bang.” But here’s a little treat, you know.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: And with pride, applause about that then they will take those cues from us that it’s not something to be worried about. Where so if they think was mom freaking out why she picking me up? Why is Dad sort of taking me into the bathroom and closing all the doors? And that sort of thing.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: Putting on some soothing music just to drown out the noise. Closing curtains so that they don’t see the flashes of lightning. Those sorts of things can help as well.

Scott: Yeah. I found just even just playing with the dog during that time–

Dr. Kevin: Absolutely.

Scott: –was just– because we’re thunderstorm season here now.

Dr. Kevin: Indeed.

Scott: Summer approaches here in Queensland but I just found just sitting there and just make it and I did the same with a couple of other things. So you tell me if it’s good advice or not, but I think it is. And not my first rodeo with dogs. But even things like Harley Davidson, new motorbikes which is scary noise.

Dr. Kevin: Very scary noise.

Scott: It’s very unfamiliar. But just to sit there and play through it or to pat through it.

Dr. Kevin. That’s the exact right thing.

Scott: Treating and just all those new experiences. It’s funny because you look at everything through fresh eyes again.

Dr. Kevin: Yes.

Scott: Which is so great and trying to get the kids to do the same thing as you said. Puppies never walked on grass before. Puppies never walked on sand before or whatever it might be or tiles. It just doesn’t know what all these things are.

Dr. Kevin: No that hunch. You’re doing exactly right for them.

Scott: Gives me that fresh eyes thing. I wanted to ask about because as a dad, I’m quite protective of my kids.

Dr. Kevin: Yes. of course.

Scott: As a lot of us have these mild instincts are. I’ve found a lot of this coming out of me again with the puppy being back in the house. You suddenly looking at through childproof eyes again, what are some of the, as a vet, things you see I guess come into the vet? And what are some of the things that we need to be concerned about? I mean, I’m looking at the dog chewing everything. I’m worried about electrical.

Dr. Kevin: That’s what my mind was going to things that they chew up. Yes, so.

Scott: What common injuries and stuff you see on dogs, puppies?

Dr. Kevin: Puppies will chew just about anything and everything. Clothing.

Scott: Catches.

Dr. Kevin: Yes. Kids toys. I remember there was one surgery we couldn’t work out on the x-rays what this dog had swallowed. We knew it was stuck there and what we retrieved was a rectangular piece of artificial dolls soap. It was soap for a doll’s house. A little plastic toy and that was so that puppy had chewed that up.

They love chewing up plastic things even squeak as out of squeaky chew toys and they sort of thing. Bones either just bones that they’ve been set on chewing on. And they’ve chewed off a piece of bit too big and small enough to swallow but then it gets stuck. So we definitely don’t recommend giving bones.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: But sometimes also what happens is especially if there’s two dogs will not necessarily even two puppies, but they get over enthusiastic about chewing it up.

So the other part other dog doesn’t get to them and so they’ll swallow it too big or too soon. So that’s bad. Mango fruits we’re coming into mango season. And so this is slightly bigger dogs, but they’ll sometimes or sometimes the mango fruits are quite small. And they’ll swallow those and they really get stuck quite badly. Unfortunately. The bad one is sort of dogs getting hold of things off the barbecue and if you’ve got some skewers or they’ve stolen a kebab skewer.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: And eating the meat it was covered in meat and then the skewer can cause a lot of problems. We’ve seen stuffies that have chewed up. Garden irrigation, piping and that type of thing.

Scott: Wow. I’m having trouble with every time I let her outside for toilet stuff. She’ll run into the garden. We’ve got a nice little garden with a lot of stuff in there. I mean, she’s disappearing to me, but I found there lying down somewhere. They’re chewing on bark, chewing on sticks.

Dr. Kevin: Those are generally going to be okay.

Scott: She vomit it up a couple of times.

Dr. Kevin: Yes, definitely and you can’t keep them away from leaves and sticks completely.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: You do want to be careful about some types of plants. So Cycads, or they also called Sago palms. If you don’t know what a Cycad looks like do look it up because they are highly toxic and for some reason, puppies do seem to enjoy chewing on them. Or if you’ve been trimming them back and there’s just some garden trimming. So be very careful with a dog around when you are doing some gardening and that. Another plant that is a bit poisonous is Yesterday Today and Tomorrow. So that is also toxic. There’s a number of different foods, but it’s more about what we give them. But onions and large amounts of garlic can be poisonous to them.

Scott: Yeah.

Dr. Kevin: Too much chocolate unfortunately is toxic.

Scott: Is it too much or none at all?

Dr. Kevin: Look, low amounts, they can tolerate and it’s also dependent on the type of chocolate the darker the chocolate the more serious it is. So white chocolate not very serious. Very dark cooking chocolate is the most serious.

Scott: Right. Is it the cocaine content? [joking]

Dr. Kevin: The theobromine and it is part of what caused the toxicity. So we have calculators that we can estimate how much they’ve ingested and their body weight and can estimate how serious a concern it’s going to be for them.

Scott: Right.

Dr. Kevin: Because lots of people have seen a dog have a bit of a chocolate and it may not even get diarrhea. So the symptoms can be just from mild diarrhea to very serious hot conditions. It’s toxic. It’s a funny one.

Scott: What about stairs or incidents with kids?

I had Lunar she just like was literally going up a set of three steps the other day and she sort of tripped and fell. Look like someone rolled their ankle and she was limpy for a little bit. I kind of picked her up kept it very quiet for a good half-hour or so. She kind of come good over the next hour or so, but obviously was a guy so.

Dr. Kevin: They don’t understand stairs that easily and can definitely stumble on them. So it is a good idea when they’re very young to keep them like a baby gate or something like that to stop them adventuring downstairs because they might just too enthusiastic that. But clumsy and not so coordinates.

Scott: And this was going up and just caught a foot going up.

Dr. Kevin: And certain breeds have very frail little bones. Something like a whippet has matchsticks for legs, really. And we’ve literally seen I’ve seen one that over two different incidents as is broken each of its front legs. As a young dog as well just from falling on the stairs.

Dr. Kevin: But just as we probably are at starting to wrap up, another thing we’ve been talking about children and dogs and unfortunately kids love to pick up puppies. And they don’t even have to be that tall but suddenly the puppy scrambles a bit and the child loses control.

We see a number of dogs injuring legs and that with being dropped or kids rolling on them. So they really need to be very supervised when there’s interaction. Not necessarily from what the puppy will do to the child. But what the child may unfortunately also due to a puppy.

Scott: Yeah. Yeah. That’s a great tip. Well, Dr. Kevin, there’s lots to talk about especially with puppies. It’s a big learning curve all over again. But thank you so much for your time. Wealth of knowledge.

Dr. Kevin: It’s a pleasure.

Scott: And if anyone’s to check at. Go to Gold Coast Vets Surgery? And have you any blogs or anything like that might be of use? What is your last thought?

Dr. Kevin: I was just going to comment on the last thought is we’ve spoken about quite a few things that puppies are at risk for and I strongly recommend one of your best ways.

You can’t stop these things happening, but he’s looking at pet insurance right from day one because you these accidents are young puppies are more prone to various types of accidents and problems. And some of them can be very very costly.

You can’t take away the hurt of the problems that they’ve happened but dealing with the financial side of it look into pet insurance. We’re probably doing a whole podcast on Vet Insurance.

Scott: Yeah, yeah.

Dr. Kevin: But just as a parting remark, I would strongly recommend people with puppies, do your research even before you actually getting your puppy so you can be ready to take out that insurance from the very beginning. Because there’s also normally a short waiting period of about 30 days when they not yet covered.

Scott: Great, okay.

Dr. Kevin: Get pet insurance would be my best to a thing you want.

Scott: The last thing that you want to do is spend five grand on a poodle cross and then you break a leg and got a five grand.

Dr. Kevin: Indeed.

Scott: Yeah. Excellent. Dr. Kevin Cruickshank, thank you so much. If anyone wants to leave a question for us jump on a lot of socials and we look forward to seeing you on the next episode.

Dr. Kevin: Fantastic. Thanks, good.