Parvo is a serious concern for those that have recently brought a puppy into their family. This virus can be deadly, particularly to young dogs. Symptoms of parvo include fever, vomiting, diarrhea, and lethargy. Puppies are generally exposed to it through other dogs, such as on walks, at dog parks, at grooming or boarding facilities, or through contact with other pets in the household. Fortunately, there is a vaccine for parvo, so it is generally only a concern until your puppy has completed their parvo vaccination series. The following tips can help you keep your puppy healthy in the interim:
Tip #1: Keep to the vaccination schedule
The most important thing you can do is know and stick to the recommended vaccination schedule for your puppy. Generally, the first parvo vaccine is administered at 6 to 8 weeks, but keep in mind this initial dose will not provide full immunity. You will need to take your puppy in for boosters every couple of weeks until they are four months old. Then, they will need to have additional boosters annually for the rest of their lives to ensure they maintain their immunity. Keep in mind that vaccination schedules can change, so defer to your vet when determining what schedule to follow.
Tip #2: Deep clean your home and yard
Parvo can survive in the environment, without a host, for months or even years. If you have previously had a pet with parvo or if you have recently moved and do not know if the previous residents of your home had pets that may have been exposed, you will need to deep clean your home and yard before bringing your new puppy home. A diluted bleach solution will kill any parvo viruses around the home, as will washing fabric items in hot water and placing them through a hot dryer. Floors, furnishings, walls, and pet items like food bowls should be disinfected.
Tip #3: Minimize exposure
Finally, minimize exposure to the virus. When taking your puppy to the vet or groomer, either carry them in your arms or keep them in a pet carrier so they aren't exposed to other animals or any germs within the waiting room. If you are around other animals, you should fully wash your hands and change your clothing before coming in contact with your puppy. You should also avoid walking your pup in areas frequented by other dogs, such as dog parks or busy greenways. Hold off on obedience training and other activities where exposure can be high until after your puppy has completed their final course of puppy vaccinations.
With a little forethought and planning, you can keep your puppy healthy so that they are able to live a long life. Contact an animal hospital in your area if you have more questions about parvo or pet vaccinations in general.