Puppy care

Avalon Poms Puppy Care Sheet

(Please also see our Pom Care page for further information on caring for your Pom)

Copyright 2017, all rights reserved. (This information may be reprinted with permission as long as the content is not changed or taken out of context and proper credit is given to the authors.)

Congratulations on the purchase of your Pom puppy! Pomeranians make loving, enduring companions. They are beautiful, intelligent, and love to please. Please read this care sheet completely before your puppy arrives. We offer ongoing support for puppies purchased from us. If you have questions about your Avalon Pom, feel free to e-mail or call.

Some cautions and suggestions are as follows:

1) Be sure that your puppy has clean, fresh water and a food supply at all times during the day. As he/she gets older, you may switch to scheduled feedings to aid in housebreaking. (See the important information on hypoglycemia below as well!)

2) Be sure to feed your puppy a premium dog food without artificial preservatives or colors. For picky eaters or small puppies, it works well to start with a specialty toy puppy food such as Royal Canin Mini Puppy or Eukanuba Small Breed Puppy. For the long-term, we recommend food that is wheat, corn, and soy free (e.g., Diamond Naturals Small Breed, Taste of The Wild/Nature’s Domain, Blue Buffalo, Hi-Tek Naturals, Natural Balance). Poms eat very little, so it’s not expensive to feed the best food. (Note: Please do not feed cat food to puppies.) Until your puppy is at least 3 months old, we suggest feeding a heaping tablespoon of premium canned food mixed with a tablespoon of plain yogurt with dinner. The yogurt will help establish a healthy intestinal flora which can be compromised at times of stress. NOTE: To avoid hypoglycemia, it’s very important that your puppy be allowed to nibble throughout the day and that you see him eagerly eat at least one serving of canned food each day. If your puppy is not yet eating kibble well, you’ll need to offer several servings of canned food throughout the day. As your puppy matures, you can wean him/her off of the canned food mixture as long as he/she is eating kibble well. Chew sticks are recommended to help clean your puppy’s teeth, and will help save your furniture.

3) Diarrhea is a common stress reaction that can be caused by vaccinations, changes in food and water, relocating to a new home, etc. You can treat the diarrhea with over the counter Pepto Bismol or Kaopectate, 1 cc per pound every 6 hours. If the diarrhea persists more than 48 hours, or contains blood, see your veterinarian. If constipation occurs, give a 1/2″ strip of Nutri-Cal every 6 hours until the stools normalize.

4) DO NOT feed your puppy table scraps. Small dogs like poms are especially sensitive. If fed table scraps, your puppy will be doomed to tooth problems, health problems and will likely become overweight. Spicy foods like sausage can make a Pom puppy very ill. If you’d like to give a reward, a bit of liver, cheese or occasional healthy dog biscuit is O.K., but don’t overdo. A very good way to make good doggie treats is to boil liver, cut it into small bite size pieces and then keep it frozen in a zip lock freezer baggie. This makes a wonderful healthy treat or training reward. Canned food is fine for puppies, but not recommended for adult dogs. Your dog’s teeth will be healthier with dry food. Again, give chew sticks often. Do not give milk. If you decide to switch food, introduce the new food gradually mixing it with the old food. Quick diet changes can cause diarrhea. Persistent diarrhea, a pot belly, or thinness can be a sign of worms. Take your puppy to the vet or worm with Nemex II. (Take your puppy to the vet for a fecal if symptoms do not improve after worming with Nemex).

5) Your puppy may whine or cry at night at first. He has been separated from his mother & litter mates, and will be lonely. Unless the cries are sharp indicating pain or illness, do not pick up the puppy. If you do, he will continue to cry every night. Place the puppy in his crate, and then go and reassure him periodically. He will soon learn that nighttime is for sleeping, not crying. I also suggest giving your puppy a small stuffed toy right away. It will comfort your puppy when you are away. Be sure that the toy has no pieces that could be chewed off and choked on. Avoid yelling at your puppy. A sharp “no” is all that is needed when he does something wrong. Yelling at or hitting your puppy will give him a low self esteem, and he will not obtain his full potential.

6) Be sure to give your puppy plenty of attention and love. Poms adore their masters and need to receive petting and attention as reassurance every day. Avoid leaving him/her alone for extended periods of time. Make sure to allow him plenty of exercise. Check that there are no small objects around your home that can be choked on or electrical cords that can be chewed. Also make sure that any puppy pens or fencing have small enough bar spacing so that your puppy cannot get his head through and strangle himself. CAUTION: Poms are easily hit by cars. Walk your dog only on a lead. Do not allow him to play where there is traffic or where he can dart into the street. Poms tend to panic when they see an oncoming car, and usually do not move out of the way. Use good sense to avoid the tragedy of your pet being killed. Also, watch large dogs. Poms can be killed by large dogs. Be careful not to drop your puppy or allow small children to carry him around. Poms sustain internal injuries easily.

7) Practice good grooming. A Pom is easy to groom and only needs brushing every few days. Before brushing, lightly mist the coat with a good quality grooming spray (my favorites are Sea Dew Tangle Tamer and Aromatic Pest Away Mist from Time Laboratories).  Sea Dew Tangle Tamer is excellent for a healthy, shiny coat and to prevent damage to the hair while brushing. Aromatic Pest Away Mist contains natural essential oils which discourage fleas and other pests. Use a pin brush or rolling comb for long hair and a soft slicker brush for behind the ears and to remove mats. Brush in sections, against the grain (from tail to head) so that the coat will not lay flat. To avoid mats, brush all the way to the skin carefully removing all loose undercoat. If you are using a slicker brush, be gentle so as not to scratch the skin with the bristles. Clip nails once a month. Clip carefully to avoid cutting the quick. Once a month or so, bathe with a good quality shampoo and conditioner (my favorites are Sea Dew Shampoo, Special Formula D, Aromatic Pest Away Natural Pet Shampoo, and Sea Dew Conditioner). Sea Dew Shampoo, Special Formula D is especially good to prevent and treat skin irritation, flaky skin, and cradle cap (infantile seborrheic dermatitis) which is common in puppies. Aromatic Pest Away Natural Pet Shampoo contains essential oils which naturally discourage fleas and other pests. Sea Dew Conditioner is excellent to ease the brushing out of tangles and mats, and to promote a shiny, healthy coat. CAUTION: Brush your Pom thoroughly BEFORE bathing. If your dog is blowing undercoat, and you do not brush it out before bathing, the water and shampoo will cause your dog to mat severely. In cool weather, dry your dog completely so he will not chill. After bathing, carefully clip the hair between the toe pads for sanitary reasons and tidiness. Clip up to the first joint of the leg and around the edges of the feet so that they look like tidy “cat’s feet.” Clip the unruly hair from the top of the ears by protecting the ear leather with two fingers and cutting straight across the top of the ear with the other hand. Use caution until you are experienced with this or you may cut the ear leather. Also for sanitary reasons, clip a small circle around the anus regularly. Check the anus regularly for fecal matter that may have become hardened. A blocked bowel will cause infection and death within a couple of days. At approximately 12 weeks of age, most Poms begin a stage called “puppy uglies.” As the baby coat begins to transition over to adult coat, your puppy will look rather scruffy and gangly. Depending on the puppy, he will begin to coat up and his features soften again at 6-9 months. During this stage it is important to keep your puppy well groomed, particularly exercising care to brush out all loose undercoat to avoid matting.

8) Be sure to keep your puppy’s vaccinations current. Common dog illnesses are generally easy to prevent, but very hard to cure. Your puppy will have been wormed and given his first shots (Parvo plus a puppy combo).  Maternal antobiodies may interfere with early vaccinations, so it’s important that follow up puppy vaccinations be given every 3 weeks until after 16 weeks of age. You should also have a stool sample checked periodically for worms. If your puppy is listless or refuses food for more than 24 hours, take him/her to a veterinarian immediately. If your puppy has a sharp, persistent whine indicating pain, experiences a drastic weight loss, exhibits signs of dehydration, has diarrhea for more than 48 hours, or is injured, please consult your veterinarian. (Please see special page on hypoglycemia and intestinal infections).

9) House training: Poms are very smart and easy to house train if you are strict and persistent in your method. Do not allow the puppy to wander the house unless someone is watching him every second. When he cannot be watched, place him in his crate. No, this is not cruel. Dogs do not resent being in a crate for the night and for limited times during the day. In time, your puppy will actually enjoy his crate as his den. Take him outside in the morning, after meals, and after naps. Praise him when he eliminates correctly. If you see him squatting or hunching his back to eliminate in the house, tell him loudly and sharply, “NO!” Take him outside and praise him when he eliminates correctly. If he does manage to eliminate in the house, clean the spot with an enzyme cleaner or he will be attracted to it again. See potty training information for further details.

10) Breeding: It is not recommended that you breed your dog unless you intend to devote a lot of time and research to this endeavor. A litter is time consuming, and can be very costly if something goes wrong. Pomeranians often have trouble in whelping. Inexperience on the part of the “breeder” can result in loss of the litter, mother, or both. Once a litter is whelped, it should not be left for more than a few hours at a time. A healthy puppy can suddenly experience hypoglycemia, have a blocked bowel, or be injured. Constant attention is required. The mother will also shed her nice coat after a litter and will not look as attractive. Your male dog will make a much better pet if he is not allowed to breed. Male dogs that are used for breeding are very difficult to house train because they have the natural instinct to mark their territory with urine. They will also wander more often. Having a healthy litter can be very rewarding, but can also be tragic if the proper precautions are not taken. It is recommended that pet dogs be spayed or neutered.

11) Companionship: Although it is not necessary, Poms do enjoy having another Pomeranian around for company. It is  better to obtain the companion while your dog is still young. (Although a Pom of any age will usually accept a new puppy, as long as the original pet still gets attention). Yes, dogs can be quite jealous. Introduce the new dog while you are petting your original dog. While still petting the original dog, let him/her smell and get to know the new dog. Usually this works quite well and your pet will accept the newcomer without a problem. Adult females that have not been spayed will not always accept another adult female for company. Likewise adult males that are not neutered will sometimes fight a new male. Buy your new Pom from a reputable breeder who gives the puppies plenty of attention and socialization. Be cautious of “good deals.” They may leave you with an unhealthy, neglected, or genetically defective dog. Avoid pet stores for a new puppy. Pet store puppies often come from puppy mills, and have problems with temperament and health.

12) Above all, ENJOY YOUR PUPPY! He wants to please you and will learn quickly how to do so if you give him the chance. If you plan to show your puppy, start his training early. Give him plenty of attention so that he will have a good self esteem. Good luck!

Hypoglycemia (MUST READ)

Hypoglycemia or low blood sugar is a potential problem with all toy breed puppies. Because the symptoms of hypoglycemia mimic other diseases and conditions, veterinarians who don’t have a lot of experience with toy breeds may misdiagnose it as a neurological problem, encephalitis, hepatitis, etc. As a toy breeder or pet owner, it is important to recognize the symptoms of hypoglycemia and know how to treat it. Hypoglycemia is easily treatable in the early stages, but fatal if allowed to progress. Far too many toy puppies are lost needlessly to hypoglycemia because of ignorance on the part of their owner or veterinarian.

The first sign of hypoglycemia is the puppy slowing down, and then acting listless or wobbly. The puppy will then begin to tremble or shiver. This is a reaction caused as the brain is starved for glucose. The trembling is followed by a blank stare and the puppy lying on his side. He may also experience convulsions. If untreated, the puppy will become comatose. His body will be limp, lifeless, and the tongue and gums will be a grayish/blue color. The body temperature will be subnormal. The puppy may even appear to be dead.

If caught in the early stages, treatment is simple. Rub Nutri-Cal, Nutri-Stat, Dyne or Karo Syrup on the puppy’s gums, under the tongue, and on the roof of the mouth. Use a heating pad or heating blanket and slowly warm the puppy to proper body temperature. If the puppy responds, all is well. Feed a premium canned food right away and then monitor the puppy to be sure that the condition does not recur. Be sure to eliminate the stress that caused the episode if at all possible.

If caught in the advanced stages, treatment is more complicated. Always assume that the puppy is alive. Rub Nutri-Cal, Nutri-Stat, Dyne or Karo Syrup in the mouth, and very carefully insert a small amount into the rectum with a dropper or blunt syringe. Slowly warm the puppy to normal body temperature (101-102 degrees F) and keep him warm continuously with light heat. If the puppy still does not respond, carefully eye dropper dextrose solution, Karo water, diluted Nutri-Cal or Dyne into the mouth, a little at a time. Call your veterinarian and inform him that you have a hypoglycemic puppy. He will prepare a warmed dextrose solution to inject subcutaneously and may put your puppy on an IV drip. Request a fecal exam. Your puppy may have intestinal parasites such as worms, coccidia, or giardia that need to be eliminated immediately. A bacterial infection may also be present and antibiotic treatment necessary. If your puppy has been given glucose injections, it is a good idea to treat him with antibiotics so that infection does not occur. Your vet will likely recommend a prescription canned food such as a/d to give as your puppy recovers. You can finger feed the a/d ‘as is’ from the can and add Pedialyte to the drinking water. You must also keep the puppy warm at all times. Of course use prudence, and do not overheat or dehydration will occur. In severe cases you may need to force feed a/d for a time and give Pedialyte with a dropper. Give B vitamins to stimulate appetite. As your puppy improves, he will begin to eat in his own and then you can gradually phase back in his regular food.

Hypoglycemic incidents are almost always preceded by a stress of some kind. Some examples of common stresses include: weaning,  teething, vaccinations, a change in environment, shipping, over-handling, cold temperatures, intestinal parasites, infections, anorexia, finding and eating inappropriate or rotten food from the ground or garbage, playing too hard and then forgetting to eat, etc. Tiny dogs do not have the fat reserves to supply adequate glucose in times of stress or when they do not eat regularly. Hypoglycemia most often occurs when the puppy has not eaten for several hours. This is not always the case, however. A puppy can have eaten recently and still show signs of hypoglycemia if his system is stressed and the food has not been digested and assimilated. It is important to “free feed” toy puppies a high quality food. Toy puppies simply have too high of an energy level to be restricted to scheduled feedings. Most do fine if switched to scheduled feedings when they reach adulthood, but they must have access to food and water at all times when they are puppies. If you like to give your puppy canned food, you can schedule the feeding of the canned, but allow access to kibble at all times.

A summary of important reminders is as follows:

1) Always keep Nutri-Cal, Nutri-Stat, Dyne or Karo Syrup on hand. This is the quickest way to revive a hypoglycemic puppy. We include a bottle of Nutri-Cal, Nutri-Stat, Dyne or Karo with all young puppies we ship. As a preventive measure, please give a dab or dropperful to your puppy upon arrival and then keep it on hand for emergencies!

2) If you ever see your puppy becoming listless, wobbly, or laying on his side acting unresponsive IMMEDIATELY rub Nutri-Cal, Nutri-Stat, Dyne or Karo Syrup on his gums, under his tongue, and on the roof of the mouth. Slowly warm him to normal body temperature with a heating pad. Feed him as soon as he responds. Call your veterinarian if the puppy does not quickly respond.

3) Keep your puppy from chilling, free of parasites, and minimize stress.

4) See that your puppy eats often and maintains a proper body weight. For young puppies, it’s a good idea to give a serving of premium canned food with dinner (you can mix some yogurt in if you would like). If your puppy is not yet eating his kibble well, or has experienced a hypoglycemic incident, you’ll need to give additional servings of canned food throughout the day.

5) Do not over-handle your puppy. Be sure to allow him rest time and alone time. Like all babies, puppies need to have a regular schedule of rest, meals, play and potty.

Potty Training

1) If you are having trouble house training, have a physical exam, fecal, and urine sample checked by your veterinarian. Parasites, urinary tract infections, and other health problems are a leading cause of house training problems.

2) Feed only premium food. Avoid sudden changes in your Pom’s diet.

3) Until he is reliably house trained, never allow your Pom to wander the house unattended. Use a crate or play pen when you cannot personally supervise your dog. Immediately take him for potty when you let him out of his crate. No, this is not cruel unless overused. Your Pom will come to think of his crate as his den and will appreciate having a place of his own.

4) Schedule feedings to 2 or 3 times per day. Remove any leftovers after 30 minutes. (Because toy puppies are prone to hypoglycemia, scheduled feeding are not advisable until your puppy is at least 6 months old.)

5) Take your puppy outside for potty often – especially first thing in the morning, after meals, and after naps.

6) Decide on a verbal cue such as “potty” to use each time you take your dog outside. Say his name first and then “POTTY.” Reward him with lavish praise, a small treat, petting, etc. as soon as he “goes.”

7) If your dog has an accident inside, tell him firmly “NO” and then take him outside. Yelling at or hitting your dog is counter productive and not advised! Clean the accident area with an enzyme cleanser so he will not be attracted to it again.

8) If your dog is a pet, have him neutered (or her spayed). A neutered pet is much easier to housetrain. Male puppies neutered before 6 months of age generally do not lift their legs at all. (Older males often continue to leg lift even after they are neutered.)

9) If you cannot take your dog outside, you can train to puppy pads or newspaper. If you train to newspaper, do not leave your “good” newspaper laying around! Litter box training is not recommended as the litter can be dangerous if ingested.

Intestinal Infections

As long as you feed premium food, normal Pomeranian stools are small and firm and without foul odor. Aside from mild stress diarrhea, a change in normal stools is a red flag that something is amiss. Coccidiosis and Giardia are common protozoan intestinal infection. They can cause severe diarrhea and dehydration in puppies. Symptoms are soft, foul smelling stools that may contain mucous & blood. In severe infections, the stools may look like they are entirely composed of mucous & blood. If you notice these symptoms, take your puppy to your veterinarian for a fecal. It is important to note that protozoa are shed intermittently and may not show up on the first fecal. Coccidiosis is best treated with the drug sulfadimethoxine (brand name Albon) prescribed by your veterinarian. Give Albon liquid suspension – 1/4 cc per pound (double the dose for the first day only) for 21-30 days. The label directions suggest a shorter treatment  time, however my veterinarian (who has a lot of experience treating coccidiosis in farm animals) advises that because coccidia run a 21 day cycle, the best results are achieved by using a longer treatment period. If Giardia is confirmed, many breeders have had good success treating it with *fenbendazole (trade name Panacur or Safe-Guard) 50 mg./kg. given for three days in a row and then repeated at one week intervals until the infection clears (generally 3-4 weeks). Instead of repeating the weekly 3 day treatment, some breeders have had very good success running Panacur treatments for 7+ days in a row for severe cases of Giardia. *Please note: Although University studies have shown that fenbendazole is an effective treatment for Giardia, it is currently licenced for the treatment of worms only.

Whenever antibiotics, Albon, or other medications need to be given, please give a good quality probiotic product during treatment and for a few weeks after treatment is completed to re-establish beneficial intestinal bacteria. 

Worms

For the good health of your Pom, it is very important to keep him parasite free. Parasites such as worms rob nutrients from your dog’s body and make him more susceptible to disease. Take a stool sample to your veterinarian. If worms are present, then you will need to follow a worming program for your Pom.

There are many safe and effective worming products available. A favorite with toy breeders is called Nemex II (pyrantel pamoate). Nemex is available from most pet supply catalogues. Nemex II is active against roundworms and hookworms. If tape worms are a problem, it will be necessary to obtain a prescription medication from your veterinarian. Fenbendazole (brand name Panacur or Safe-Guard) is a safe and effective broad spectrum wormer that is also antigiardial. Fenbendazole for canines is only available by prescription. Safe-Guard 10% suspension labeled for goats is available over the counter. The canine dosing for Fenbendazole 10% solution is 1/4 cc per pound given 3 days in a row. A good source for worming medications is KV Vet Supply 800-423-8211.

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