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New pet for Christmas? Let Vineyard Kennels help you get started 

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Submitted by Vineyard Kennels

–No doubt some of you were blessed by a new puppy for Christmas, and others have reached out to a new pet through adoption. Or maybe you’ve taken in that lost, lonely stray who’s been kicking around? Whichever category you fall into, if you have a new canine family member – or ‘fur friend’ as we like to call them – let Vineyard Kennels help get you started.

First off, begin with the right vaccination series, and maintain it according to your veterinarian’s recommendations. Standard vaccinations will include rabies and DHPP (distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza and parvovirus). If your dog enters into any social setting, i.e., dog parks, boarding kennels, veterinarian offices, or public walking areas, then you should also obtain the canine cough vaccine — also known as bordetella and kennel cough. Like the human flu vaccine, the canine cough vaccine is designed to catch a broad range of contaminating agents, but is not 100-percent effective. Although dogs who are given the bordetella vaccine do have fewer severe symptoms if they do contract canine cough, and generally a faster recovery.

We have been in discussions with our consulting vet regarding canine flu in recent months and they have now opted to carry and offer a new vaccine for canine flu. Note: parainfluenza vaccine is different from a canine flu vaccine. Canine flu cases are reported to a national database, and monitored throughout the country. Mostly seen in compact urban areas throughout New York and Connecticut, cases have now been reported in the Los Angeles and Bay Areas. The canine flu vaccine is offered in two parts, with about a 2 -week waiting period between inoculations. For more information on canine flu vaccine, please follow the link on our website to our consulting vet, under Health and Safety. www.vineyardkennels.com.

After completing all necessary vaccines and waiting periods, you may want to find a suitable daycare and boarding facility. We believe that every canine relationship is unique, and that you should strive to find the right fit and appropriate place for your pet. At Vineyard Kennels, we offer free Acclimation Visits for newcomers. This is done by setting an appointment for a tour, establishing your file by filling out a boarding agreement and offering current vaccination copies. After answering important questions about your pet’s disposition and known tendencies, you can leave your pup with us to sniff around and ‘kick tires‘. This is an important opportunity for us to get to know your pet, and for them to develop some familiarity with the facility. When you pick your pet up from the visit, we can give you a report on how they did, answer any questions, then discuss whether or not a follow-up visit is appropriate. By having these important pre-visits, your pet will recognize the facility (and us) on your return for boarding or daycare. We believe this reduces potential abandonment stress by not suddenly dropping them off in an unfamiliar environment for an extended period of time. Give us a call to make an appointment today, (805) 238-1330.

To board puppies they will need to be at least 5 months old and have completed their initial vaccination series. Also for boarding, we can and will identify at-risk breeds for conditions like bloat, and take what precautions we can to prevent this, like: special feeding and exercise timeframes, anti-bloat feeding systems, and knowing what symptoms to watch for. More information on bloat is available on our website.

Some pet owners discover — whether due to the number of animals to care for, or having livestock and plants in addition to dogs — that an in-home sitter is a better solution. We recommend Julie at TLC For Your Fur Babies for in-home care, (805) 296-2458. Other health items to consider for your new pet are a teeth cleaning regiment, the appropriate diet and feeding amount/schedule, a proper exercise regiment, and basic dog training. Good quality, high protein, no filler, and grain free diets are usually preferred. For training, we recommend Kathy Kropp of Good Dogs, (805) 237-9985. www.tcsn.net/gooddogs/.

After finding the right caring facility for your new dog, be sure to book well in advance for summer and holidays seasons. Boarding facilities tend to run at capacity during those times, and we don’t want you in a pinch when it’s time for your vacation!

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About the author: Access Publishing

Scott Brennan is the publisher of this newspaper and founder of Access Publishing. Connect with him on Paso Robles Daily News on Google, Twitter, LinkedIn, or follow his blog.