A Yellow Lab gets his ears inspected

Puppy Care

Caring for your puppy

Congratulations on welcoming a new puppy into your family. Owning a dog can be an extremely rewarding experience, but it also comes with a lot of responsibility. Below you will find information about caring for your puppy such as what vaccines your puppy needs.

If you have any questions please give us a call at 928.445.2190

The Puppy Plan & Core Vaccinations For Dogs

For the first few months of life, puppies are protected from disease by antibodies they received through their mother’s milk. Over time, this protection fades and they need vaccines in order to continue being protected from diseases such as parvovirus and distemper.

Vaccines stimulate the puppy’s own immune system to recognize and fend off certain diseases, but it takes multiple vaccines (boosters) to get them fully protected. Puppies need to have their shots repeated several times at regular intervals to make certain they build good immunity.

In general, most puppies start their vaccine series when they are 6-9 weeks old.

Overview of the vaccine series and puppy plan:

DAPP is a vaccine that protects against Distemper, Adenovirus, Parvovirus and Parainfluenza.

Bordetella is a vaccine that protects against kennel cough.

6-9 weeks: Exam and DAPP #1
9-12 weeks: Exam, DAPP #2 and Bordetella #1
12-16 weeks: Rabies, DAPP #3, Bordetella #2

Often puppies are not 6-9 weeks old at their first visit, or they may have received vaccines while they were with the breeder. If this is the case, your veterinarian will adjust the vaccine schedule to fit your puppy’s specific situation and explain any changes to you during your appointment. Depending on the breed, your veterinarian will also discuss if your pet is at a higher risk and should receive additional vaccines.

Puppies are not considered protected until they have finished their entire vaccine series.

Canine Licensing Requirements

How do I know if I live in a city/county/town limits? Check with the Yavapai County Assessor’s Office or your City or Town Hall for the most accurate and up to date information. In most cases, if you receive city trash or city/town water you are located within the city/town limits.


All dogs 4 months of age and older must be licensed with the City of Prescott within 60 days of being in the city. All-City of Prescott dog licenses expire on December 31 each year. View the complete City of Prescott ordinance.

Licensing Locations:

You may license your pet in person at Prescott City Hall at 201 S. Cortez Street in Prescott. Please bring your pet’s rabies vaccination certificate and spay/neuter certificate (if applicable) with you.

You may license your pet in person for Yavapai county and the city of Prescott at our hospital.

Required Paperwork:

  • A current rabies vaccination certificate is required if the rabies vaccination on file has expired. Please check your certificate for correct address and pet information. Rabies vaccinations must be valid through October 1 in order for a license to be issued.
  • Proof of spay/neuter, such as a signed statement from a veterinarian or an invoice for services is required if the pet has been altered since the last licensing period and you are applying for the lower spayed/neutered license fee.
  • If requesting the discounted fee for a puppy that is 12 months of age or less, please include the pet’s date of birth or age.


The Arizona State Statute 11-1008 Doc license requirements for the unincorporated areas of Yavapai County are: “Dogs 4 months of age and older must be vaccinated for the rabies virus by a DVM and wear a current Yavapai County dog License. (Dog licenses are available annually.)”

County dog licenses may be purchased at Humane Societies and Sheriff’s offices with documentation of current rabies vaccination and spay or neuter status. Learn more on the Yavapai County Website


Please see your town hall for tags and licensing requirements. You will receive a rabies certificate at the time of your dog’s vaccination to assist with obtaining the license.


Please see your town hall for tags and licensing requirements. You will receive a rabies certificate at the time of your dog’s vaccination to assist with obtaining the license.

Parasite Prevention

Do all puppies have worms?

Intestinal parasites are very common in puppies. Puppies can become infected with parasites before they are born or later through their mother’s milk. The microscopic examination of a stool sample will usually help us to determine the presence of intestinal parasites. We recommend this exam for all puppies. Even if we do not get a stool sample, we recommend the use of a deworming product that is safe and effective against several of the common worms of the dog. We do this because our deworming medication has minimal side-effects and because your puppy does not pass worm eggs every day so the stool sample may not detect worms that are present. Additionally, some of these internal parasites can be transmitted to humans. Deworming is done now and repeated in about three weeks. It is important that it be repeated because the deworming medication only kills the adult worms. Within three to four weeks, the larval stages will become adults and need to be treated. Dogs remain susceptible to re-infection with hookworms and roundworms. Periodic deworming throughout the dog’s life may be recommended for outdoor dogs. Heartgard preventative given once monthly prevents hookworms and roundworms.


Tapeworms are one of the most common intestinal parasites of dogs. Puppies become infected with them when they swallow fleas; the eggs of the tapeworm lives inside the flea. When the dog chews or licks its skin as a flea bite, the flea may be swallowed. The flea is digested within the dog’s intestine; the tapeworm hatches and then anchors itself to the intestinal lining. Therefore, exposure to fleas may result in a new infection. Tapeworm infections can occur in as little as two weeks.

Dogs infected with tapeworms will pass small segments of the worm in their stool. The segments are white in color and look like grains of rice. They are about 1/8 inch (3 mm) long and may be seen crawling on the surface of the stool. They may also stick to the hair under the tail. If that occurs, they will dry out, shrink to about half their size, and become golden in color.

Tapeworm segments do not pass every day or in every stool sample; therefore, an inspection of several consecutive bowel movements may be needed to find them. We may examine a stool sample in our office and not find them, and then you may find them the next day. If you find them at any time, please notify us so we may provide the appropriate drug for treatment.

What are heartworms?

Heartworms are parasites, especially in certain climates. They live in the dog’s bloodstream and cause major damage to the heart and lungs. Heartworms are transmitted by the bite of mosquitoes. Fortunately, we have drugs that will protect your dog from heartworms. These drugs are very safe and effective if given regularly. We can help you choose the best product for your pet’s needs and lifestyle.

Heartworm preventatives are dosed according to your dog’s weight. As the weight increases, the dosage should also increase. Please note the dosing instructions on the package.

Fecal Analysis Guidelines

It’s very important to bring your pet’s fecal sample (bowel movement) to Prescott Animal Hospital for analysis as an initial check for worms (at your puppy or kitten’s first or second visit).

How do I bring you a sample?

Collect a fresh fecal sample within 12 hours of an examination. It is also very important to keep the samples cool or refrigerated. Place the sample in the container provided or a plastic bag or container will do.

What do you do with the sample?

A microscopic examination of the fecal sample will be performed to identify if your pet has worms or worm’s eggs (ova sites and parasites) present. If your pet has diarrhea your veterinarian may choose to run additional tests.

What if my pet does have worms?

If your pet does have parasites treatment will begin once the specific parasites are identified. It’s important to realize that different parasites will require different medications. Upon completion of treatment, a recheck or follow-up fecal will be requested to verify treatment was successful.

Why does my pet need a fecal analysis every year?

An annual fecal check is recommended as good preventive medicine. Pets do not always show signs of internal parasites and can be asymptomatic (not showing signs). Some parasites can infect people most commonly children, elderly and those with weak immune systems.

Feeding Your Puppy

There are a lot of choices of dog food. Which one do I choose?

Diet is extremely important during the growing months of the dog’s life. We recommend a veterinary recommended name-brand food made by a national dog food company (not a generic or local brand name) and a diet made for puppies. This should be fed to your puppy from eight to eighteen months of age, depending on its breed and size. We recommend that you only buy food that has been certified by an independent organization as complete and balanced. In the United States, you should look for food that has been certified by AAFCO, an independent organization that oversees the entire pet food industry. It does not endorse any particular food, but it will certify that the food has met the minimum requirements for nutrition.

Table foods are not recommended. Because they are generally very tasty, dogs will often begin to hold out for these and not eat their well-balanced dog food.

We enjoy a variety of things to eat in our diet. However, most dogs actually prefer not to change from one food to another unless they are trained to do so by the way you feed them. Do not feel guilty if your dog is happy eating the same food day after day, week after week.

Dog Food Commercials

Commercials for dog food can be very misleading. If you watch carefully you will notice that commercials often promote dog food on the basis of taste. Nutrition is rarely recommended. Most of the “gourmet” foods are marketed to appeal to owners who want the best for their dogs; however, they do not offer the dog any nutritional advantage over a good quality dry food, and they are far more expensive. If you read the labels of many of the gourmet foods, you will notice that they do not claim to be “complete and balanced”. If your dog eats gourmet food very long, it will probably not be happy with the other foods. If your dog needs a special diet due to health problems later in life, it is very unlikely to accept it.

How often should I feed my puppy?

There are several “right” ways to feed puppies. The most popular method is commonly called “meal feeding”. This means that the puppy is fed at specific times of the day. A measured amount of food should be offered three times per day for five to twelve-week old puppies. What is not eaten in 30 minutes is taken up. If the food is eaten within three to four minutes, the quantity is probably not sufficient. Puppies fed in this manner generally begin to cut back on one of those meals by three to four months of age and perhaps another one later. If a certain feeding is ignored for several days, it should be discontinued.

“Free choice feeding” means that food is available at all times. This works well with dry foods and for some dogs. However, most dogs tend to overeat and become obese.

Puppy Vaccines in Prescott, AZ

To schedule an appointment for your dog to get their vaccines, give us a call at (928) 445-2190.

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