Up to this point, your puppy has been fed TLC Whole Life Dog Food adult mixed with raw ground chicken. I do not recommend the pet foods advertised for “puppies” or for “large breeds” or for “large breed puppy”. You want your puppy to grow slowly and develop strong legs and sound joints to support its body when it is mature. After one year, you can switch to any type/brand you want but, for now, it is extremely important that you follow these recommendations.
I recommend Natures Variety chicken blend raw or TLC Whole Life Dog Food adult. www.tlcpet.com This puppy must be kept on this lower protein level until one year of age. The addition of treats, table scraps, bones, rawhides, etc. all contribute to the protein level and care should be taken when feeding these items. When in doubt don’t feed it – e-mail me and I’ll be more than happy to help.
Until the puppy is approximately 4 months old, 3 or 4 meals a day should be plenty. After 4 months of age and for the life of the dog, 2 meals a day are recommended. If you have been feeding 4 meals, reduce to 3 meals and then to 2 meals. Amounts vary based on the amount of exercise, food brand and metabolism of your individual dog. You do not want your puppy/dog fat (especially as a puppy as this contributes to Canine Hip Dysplasia). Once they are 4 months old, you should be able to apply a small amount of pressure while petting the rib cage and be able to feel the ribs but you should not be able to see them.
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The vaccination schedule outlined below is the one that I use. Although, each time a litter is born, I check with my vet and other breeders to see if they have made any changes to the protocol they use. You may or may not choose to use this schedule after consulting with your own Veterinarian. There has been a lot of discussion in recent years regarding over-vaccination and the time-frame in which to wait in between boosters. It recently came to my attention that all 27 veterinary schools in North America are in the process of changing their protocols for vaccinating dogs and cats. The newer protocol is suggesting that a series of vaccinations should be given 3-4 weeks apart up to 16 weeks of age. Another vaccination given sometime after 6 months of age (usually at 1 year 4 mo) will provide lifetime immunity. As you can see, the “life-time immunity” piece of this discussion would mean quite a loss of income for clinics that suggest you vaccinate annually. As I mentioned above, this is something you need to talk over with your vet.
Your puppy will already have its initial set of shots. A combined shot near 7 weeks including Canine Distemper-Adenovirus Type 2-Coronavirus-Parainfluenza-Parvovirus Vaccine modified live. The sticker from the vaccine vial is affixed to your health/shot record. From this point forward the following is still necessary. Your vet may recommend a fourth puppy shot, I do not. I also do not recommend over-vaccinating. If so, the schedule below becomes modified as to when to give the rabies shot.
|Time-Frame||Type of Vaccination|
Approx 7-8 weeks
1st Puppy Shot 5 in 1 (will be given)
2nd Puppy Shot
3rd Puppy Shot
Killed Rabies Vaccine
An annual booster using distemper + hepatitis + parainfluenza + killed canine or MLV parvovirus is given at one year of age. Thereafter, boosters are given every 3 years until old age. Beyond 10 years of age, booster vaccinations are generally not needed and maybe unwise if ageing or other diseases are present. For animals at high exposure risk to parvovirus disease, an additional parvovirus vaccination can be given at the 6-month point but only if killed parvovirus is used. This extra booster is typically not needed if MLV parvovirus was used.
I use only killed 3-year rabies vaccine for adults and give it separated from other vaccines by at least 2 and preferably 3-4 weeks. A booster at one year of age is usually required — followed by every 3 years thereafter — as required by your state (I do hope they will change this as it is a three-year vaccine and the majority of the vet schools are now recommending every 3 years).
Keep in mind your puppy is an Irish Setter and wants nothing more than to be with you. By this I mean you cannot leave them out in the yard and expect them to exercise themselves — they won’t be happy. Even if you have another dog you will miss out on the bonding with your new puppy if you don’t spend a fair amount of time with them. The best way to exercise your new puppy is to play with it in your fenced-in yard. This way the puppy can stop anytime it wants to, change to different speeds and gates and not be doing a constant repetitive movement. Once the puppy is older (over 12 weeks) and to help with socialization and burn off some of that excess energy: conservation areas, soccer fields, friendly farmers fields (ask), training classes and homes of friends/family that may have a dog to play with are great choices. No prolonged form of exercise where the puppy/dog is not allowed to go at their pace and stop when they want. This can create undue stress on growing bones and joints. Use of stairs should be kept to a minimum until your dog is fully grown. If possible, carry your dog up and down long flights of stairs. Once they are too large to carry only use the stairs when absolutely necessary.
Puppies should not be bathed too often unless they get especially dirty. Twice a month should be sufficient. Choose a warmer day, use warm water and make it quick. A quick shampoo, a good rinse, and a good towel dry. Confine the puppy until it is mostly dry. It doesn’t hurt to use a blow dryer but just on low and not too hot. I use Groomer’s Edge Oat Mella for shampoo. It has to be diluted (16 to 1). Any oatmeal type of shampoo is okay. The most important part is to rinse very well to remove all the shampoo. Once the puppy starts to grow its furnishings a conditioner is recommended. I use Groomer’s Edge Re-Fur-bish. This also needs to be diluted. I put it in a spray bottle and before I brush and dry the furnishings, I spritz it on.
Once the puppy is older and really starts growing coat, baths are recommended on a weekly basis — the cleaner the coat, the longer the furnishings. Realistically, every 10 days is a good monitor. If the weather is cooperating, natural air drying is the best. Just make sure you give a good towel dry to remove the excess moisture and let nature do the rest. Once it becomes colder outside, I usually blow dry most of the moisture out.
Setter’s ears are prone to infection. Keeping the ear clean and dry is the best preventative. A simple check on a weekly basis should be enough until you notice a waxy buildup. I just take a piece of rolled cotton and rub the build-up out. If you can very carefully take a Q-tip and clean the canal, do so, but do not put the Q-tip down far enough that you feel it pressing against anything. If the build-up is very dark or smelly, you need to flush the ear. Flushing is simply putting an ear cleaning solution down into the ear, squishing it around inside, letting the dog shake its head until most of the fluid comes out, and then dabbing and swabbing the ear with cotton. Unless your dog has ear problems use the wash only when you notice an odour. A dry ear stays healthier than a wet one. If after four days or so of flushing the odour still remains, you should run the dog up to the vet and have him recommend a protocol.
Toenails should be clipped weekly. You should not be able to hear the toenails clicking on a bare floor. I have clipped your puppy’s toenails every Monday. They are used to the routine. Until they get older, regular toenail clippers will do (human ones). Once the toenail starts getting thicker, a doggie toenail clipper is best. I use the guillotine style but it is really a personal preference. You need only clip back to where you can see the nail start to curve. The front ones usually grow faster than the ones on the back legs. This is also a good time to check for hair mats in between the toes. They need to be gently cut out.
A puppy coat needs little grooming – there really isn’t any hair to brush except for its ears. The breed is known for its long and silky coat and it will come as the dog matures. When you start noticing that more than a simple bristle brush thru will do, I recommend that you purchase the following grooming supplies:
- A greyhound style comb (gently work out mats in feathering)
- #1 All Systems pin brush (for feathering)
- A bristle brush for the topcoat
- A slicker brush for feet
- Straight edge scissors to trim the feet – especially around the footpads
If you are really interested in doing the dog grooming yourself, I will be more than happy to share all the tricks of the trade with you as the time approaches. Generally, though, try and keep the hair inside the ears from blocking airflow, keep the feet trimmed, and make sure the area around the anus is kept clean and shorter than the rest of the tail. Take care of any mats you find as they can become massive if left unattended.
FLEAS, TICKS, and HEARTWORM
Your vet will recommend the type and timing of the heartworm medication. It is a must. DO NOT USE THE NEW 6 MONTH HEARTWORM SHOT!! A monthly protocol is best for the time being. The best safeguard against fleas is a clean dog – fleas hate clean! If you live in an area with a high tick population, use a flea and tick preventative like Frontline. Remember, that the flea and tick preventatives are a toxin. You are basically introducing a poison into your dogs system to control insect infestation. I use it, I don’t particularly like to use it, and so I tend to apply it when I feel it is very necessary and very rarely as often as suggested (not monthly but every other or every 6 weeks).
Until your puppy has its vaccinations, try to avoid dog parks, pet stores, dog shows, etc. Just be careful when you take him out in public to avoid areas that other pets have used for their “potty” zone. Hold in your arms for any vet visit and bring your own towel for exam table.
When cleaning the pups crate use a mild detergent. Strong bleach or disinfectant is to strong for the puppy to tolerate. Do not use any type of spray fabric freshener. The jury is still out on whether these types of products are harmful. Maybe when the dog is older and you allow the spray to dry completely but not on puppy bedding.
Please feel free to contact me at any time with any questions. No question is a stupid one. I know so many people who have bred setters, owned setters, show setters, etc. that I can find out an answer to almost any question which is breed specific. Use me as a resource, that’s why I’m here.