DOG E-news for December, 2004

Vaccinations, choosing a vet, a new first puppy and a dog for Christmas?

Annual vaccinations come under scrutiny

Protocols for vaccinations have undergone recent changes as researchers have discovered new information about the vaccines themselves and the effect they may have on a dog's immune system. We have updated this article to reflect the current thinking about annual vaccination programs.

When planning a vaccination scheme for your pets, keep in mind that practices often lag behind research and that boarding kennels, training clubs, and groomers may continue to require annual vaccinations until the evidence passes reasonable doubt. Also keep in mind that a restructuring of vaccine protocols in no way indicates that vaccinations are unnecessary; it is the use of annual boosters and injection of vaccines against diseases that the dogs are not exposed to in their environment that are the focus of research, not the initial vaccination of puppies or the use of periodic boosters.

For more see "Annual vaccinations come under scrutiny: Are changes in the wind"

Choosing a veterinarian

Life is full of choices, some easy, some not so. Some choices mean little - they are merely a matter of personal preference with little or no long-term consequences. But some, like choice of a dentist, a physician, or a veterinarian, can be critical to the family health and well-being.

Veterinarians are medical doctors for animals and should be chosen with as much care as a family practitioner or specialist. Fortunately, there are many good veterinarians to choose from, so there can be no excuse for not providing a dog with top-notch preventive care or treatment of illness or injury.

Check out the DOG suggestions for choosing a veterinarian who will meet your budget and your pet's health needs in "Choosing a veterinarian: Your vet should be chosen with as much care as your family doctor...."

The First Lady has a new dog!

Sometime in December, Miss Beazley will join the pet corps at the White House.

Miss Beazley is a Scottish Terrier puppy given to Laura Bush by the President for her birthday. With the national focus on Scotties (Barney, the current White House dog, is also a Scottie) we thought that this would be a good time to update the breed profile in our archives. So, take a look at "Independent and self-reliant, the Scottie is a spirited companion" if you want to know more about the breed chosen by the First Family or are considering a Scottie for yourself.

All I want for Christmas is a puppy

The kids want a puppy, and Mom and Dad are seriously considering the request. Before taking the plunge, however, consider these points about getting a winter holiday puppy:

  1. Families are busy, busy, busy during the holidays with school plays and concerts, parties, shopping, cooking, and getting ready for family dinners and gift swaps and puppies can easily get lost in the shuffle.
  2. Housetraining is not as easy in cold, snowy weather as in more hospitable times of the year.
  3. Short-coated puppies may have a difficult time keeping warm outdoors in winter.

If your heart is set on a Christmas puppy, Dog Owner's Guide has these suggestions for active families:

  1. Consider waiting until after Christmas to bring puppy home. If you want to give a puppy present under the tree, wrap a leash and collar, food and water bowls, and a basic dog training book so the kids have something to open Christmas morning.
  2. Since many good breeders do not have November or December litters, consider a 'gift certificate' that allows the family to choose a puppy from a reputable breeder. Then use the Dog Owner's Guide article "Help with finding a dog: Go to the source, directly to the source, to get that special puppy" ( to help find a reputable breeder. After you decide on a breed, you can locate reputable breeders by calling veterinarians or groomers for suggestions or referrals and by locating national club contacts in the Dog Owner's Guide breed profiles or by browsing the AKC website (

These DOG articles will also help you make a decision and prepare the family for the task of socializing and training a puppy:

Norma Bennett Woolf

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