Animal Hospital of Statesville |

of Statesville


“Where Pets are Family, Too”



Pet Health


Puppy HealthThough all puppies are incredibly cute, not all are a good fit for your lifestyle. With the proper research and preparation, you can find a dog who will be a great addition to the family.

The decision to adopt is far too important to be based on puppy-love-at-first-sight. The incredible range of breeds, exercise needs and temperaments makes it imperative that you do your homework. All puppies eventually grow to be adults, so choosing a dog who fits your lifestyle is the best way to ensure that your decision won’t end in regret. After taking the time to research and compare dog breeds, you’ll have a better sense about which puppies are likely to grow up to be couch potatoes and which might make good jogging partners.

Do Your Research

If you are curious about different breeds, start by getting a book that provides an overview about dogs both big and small. Ask experts to share their take on breeds you are interested in. Veterinarians work with various breeds every day and have vast insight into which ones may be suitable for your lifestyle. Dog trainers are another excellent source of information about the needs and behaviors associated with different breeds.

Consider Size, Breeds and Needs 

Animal Hospital of Statesville - Different dog breeds have different needsThough Great Danes love to cuddle, they quickly grow too large to sit in your lap and can clear off a table with a flick of a tail. Due to his short legs, a Dachshund may have trouble keeping up with you on a jog. It’s important to consider how a puppy will fit into your lifestyle when he becomes an adult.

Grooming and exercise needs should be another critical part of the decision. Dogs in the herding group typically require lots of exercise and attention. Other breeds, such as dogs with very long hair, have some fairly intense grooming needs.

In your research, you’ll find that some breeds are predisposed to certain health issues, like hip dysplasia. Mixed-breed dogs may be less likely to have these types of issues than purebreds, but this isn’t always the case.
If you’re considering a particular breed, ask your veterinarian which medical conditions you should know about.

Do a Background Check

Finding a reputable breeder or rescue group is essential to locating a healthy, well-socialized puppy. If you’re searching for a purebred dog, ask your vet or local breed club to point you in the right direction. Breed-specific rescue organizations are also a great source for adopting a purebred dog.

If possible, you’ll want to meet the puppy’s parents and siblings, and see the breeding facility. It’s well worth the time and effort to learn about your puppy’s background and confirm that he comes from a healthy environment.

Where pet store puppies are concerned, it’s often impossible to check up on a particular puppy’s parents or background. Unfortunately, a percentage of the doggies in pet store windows come from puppy mills.

Adopting a puppy from a shelter or rescue organization can be extremely rewarding, though it may be impossible to learn much about a rescue puppy’s background or medical history. But these types of organizations typically offer other important benefits, such as health screenings, microchipping and vaccinations.

Know What to Look For Animal Hospital of Statesville - What to look for when buying a puppy

It’s important to have your puppy examined by a veterinarian as soon as possible. Ideally, this should be done before you bring your new family member home for the first time. Fortunately, breeders, shelters and rescue groups often provide paperwork verifying that your puppy’s been examined by a veterinarian, treated for parasites and has had at least one round of vaccinations. Here are a few things to check for when you meet your puppy:

  • Make sure your puppy looks alert and aware, not lethargic.
  • Check for a little fat around your puppy’s rib cage. He should be well fed.
  • Inspect his coat. There shouldn’t be any bald patches or dry, flaky skin.
  • Watch your puppy walk. A healthy puppy should walk and run normally, without limping.
  • Check the eyes, ears and nose. They should be relatively clean with no discharge.
  • Toss a toy or ball. His eyes should follow the toy.
  • Watch for coughing, sneezing or difficulty breathing. These could be signs of illness.
  • Clap your hands. Your puppy should turn to look at you when you make a loud noise behind him.
  • Observe your puppy’s personality

Choosing a puppy with a good disposition can help ensure a lifetime of happiness and friendship. By knowing what to look for and paying close attention, you can learn a lot about your puppy’s temperament during a short visit.

  1. Watch your puppy as he plays with his littermates. This is a good way to determine how your puppy may get along with other dogs later in life. A puppy who shows a healthy interest in playing, yet eases up when a littermate yelps, will most likely socialize well with other dogs.
  2. Gauge how your puppy interacts with people. Ideally, you’ll be able to observe him as he encounters people of differing ages and sexes. Puppies should be curious and interested in people. A puppy who cowers or urinates in fear may be poorly socialized and difficult to train.
  3. Roll your puppy on his back for a minute. Puppies who struggle excessively or become aggressive may have dominance issues. A well-adjusted puppy may wiggle a little but will eventually relax and become submissive.
  4. Hold your puppy, touching his ears, mouth and paws. Puppies should be comfortable with being handled. If your puppy becomes aggressive or tries to get away, he may not be the kind of dog who likes to lie with you on the couch or allow you to trim his nails.

These are just a few of the indicators that can help you gauge whether a particular puppy is a good fit for you.

Puppies are without a doubt some of the most adorable things on the planet. Parenting a new puppy, however, is no walk in the park. Here’s a guide to help you care for the new addition to the family.

When the time comes to finally bring your new puppy home for the first time, you can pretty much count on three things: unbridled joy, cleaning up your puppy’s accidents, and a major lifestyle adjustment. As you’ll soon learn, a growing puppy needs much more than a food bowl and a doghouse to thrive. And while it may be a lot of work initially, it’s well worth the effort. Establishing good and healthy habits in those first few sleep-deprived weeks will lay the foundation for many dog-years of happiness for you and your puppy.

1. Get a Good Start

The first place you and your new puppy should go together is straight to the Animal Hospital of Statesville for a checkup.  This visit will not only help ensure that your puppy is healthy and free of serious health issues, birth defects, etc., but it will help you take the first steps toward a good preventive health routine.


2. Make the Most of Your First Vet Visit 

Animal Hospital of Statesville - What to ask at your first vet visitYour puppy’s first visit to our hospital is very important.  At this visit, our technicians and doctors will provide important information concerning nutrition, feeding schedules and portion sizes – all individualized for your puppy’s particular breed and weight.  Basic care will be discussed, as well.

We will start your puppy on a vaccine protocol which should be carefully followed in order to keep your puppy healthy.  Your puppy’s stool will be examined under a microscope in order to determine if he or she has intestinal parasites.  We deworm young pups at 6, 8 and 10 weeks, whether we see evidence of parasites or not.  We will inform you what signs of illness to watch for in your puppy’s early stages.  Your puppy’s environment is vital to his/her health and wellbeing.  Our technicians will give you tips on precautions you should take, including puppy-proofing your home to guarantee his safety.  Lack of housetraining is a major reason that many puppies end up in shelters.  We feel it’s very important to give you information on how to crate train your pet to optimize your housetraining success, which promises a better, less stressful relationship between you, your family and your new puppy.  Each  puppy visit is tailored to your individual puppy’s development and issues, as well as any issues you are having as a new “parent”.   By the time your puppy has finished our puppy series, you should have learned all you need to know to make your puppy a responsible, loving and beloved member of your family.

3. Shop for Quality Food

Your puppy’s body is growing in critical ways, which is why you’ll need to select a food that’s formulated especially for puppies, as opposed to adult dogs.  Look for a statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) on the packaging to ensure that the food you choose will meet your pup’s nutritional requirements.  Of course, we will be happy to make recommendations as to our food preferences, and those that might be the best for your puppy’s needs. 

Small and medium-sized breeds can make the leap to adult dog food between 9 and 12 months of age.  Large breed dogs should stick with puppy kibbles (preferably large breed specific kibble) until they reach 18 months of age.  Make sure your puppy has fresh and abundant water available at all times.

Feed multiple times a day:

Age 6-12 weeks – 3 meals per day

Age 12 weeks and up – 2 meals per day

4. Establish a Bathroom Routine

Because puppies don’t take kindly to wearing diapers, housetraining quickly becomes a high priority on most puppy owners’ list of must-learn tricks.  Now is the time to initiate crate training which will help you be successful in achieving your housetraining goals more quickly.  Our technicians and doctors are happy to address any questions or issues you have with your housetraining procedure, as this is one of the most difficult issues owners and puppies face early in their relationship.  It’s critical that owners be realistic in their expectations and consistent in their training methods.  According to the experts, your most potent allies in the quest to housetrain your puppy are patience, planning, and plenty of positive reinforcement.  In addition, it’s probably not a bad idea to put a carpet-cleaning battle plan in place, because accidents will happen!

Until your puppy has had all of her vaccinations, you’ll want to find a place outdoors that’s inaccessible to other animals. This helps reduce the spread of viruses and disease. Make sure to give lots of positive reinforcement whenever your puppy manages to potty outside and, almost equally important, refrain from punishing her when she has accidents indoors.

Knowing when to take your puppy out is almost as important as giving her praise whenever she does eliminate outdoors. Here’s a list of the most common times to take your puppy out to potty.

  • When you wake up.
  • Right before bedtime.
  • Immediately after your puppy eats or drinks a lot of water.
  • When your puppy wakes up from a nap.
  • During and after physical activity.

5. Watch For Early Signs of Illness

For the first few months, puppies are more susceptible to sudden bouts of illnesses that can be serious if not caught in the early stages. If you observe any of the following symptoms in your puppy, it’s time to contact the vet.


  • Lack of appetite
  • Poor weight gain
  • Vomiting
  • Swollen or painful abdomen
  • Lethargy (tiredness)
  • Diarrhea
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Wheezing or coughing
  • Pale gums
  • Swollen, red eyes or eye discharge
  • Nasal discharge
  • Inability to pass urine or stool

6. Teach Obedience

By teaching your puppy good manners, you’ll set your puppy up for a life of positive social interaction. In addition, obedience training will help forge a stronger bond between you and your puppy.

Teaching your pup to obey commands such as sit, stay, down, and come will not only impress your friends, but these commands will help keep your dog safe and under control in any potentially hazardous situations. Many puppy owners find that obedience classes are a great way to train both owner and dog. Classes typically begin accepting puppies at age 4 to 6 months.

Tip: Keep it positive. Positive reinforcement, such as small treats, has been proven to be vastly more effective than punishment.

7. Be Sociable

Just like obedience training, proper socialization during puppyhood helps avoid behavioral problems down the road.  At approximately 2 to 4 months of age, most puppies begin to accept other animals, people, places and experiences.   Our Puppy Socialization Classes are an excellent way to rack up positive social experiences with your puppy.  Your puppy’s doctor will evaluate your puppy’s vaccination history in order to determine if he or she is protected enough to participate in our Puppy Socialization Classes.  They are available for puppies from 12 weeks to 20 weeks of age. 


Clinic Hours:

Monday  7:00 am to 7:00 pm

(Closed every Mon. 12pm-2pm for CE training)

Tuesday 7:00 am to 7:00 pm
Wednesday 7:00 am to 7:00 pm
Thursday 7:00 am to 7:00 pm
Friday 7:00 am to 6:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 am to 2:00 pm
Sunday Closed


        Emergency Contact Info


Pet Resort Hours:

Monday 7:00 am to 6:00 pm
(Closed every Mon. 12pm-2pm for CE training)
Tuesday 7:00 am to 6:00 pm
Wednesday 7:00 am to 6:00 pm
Thursday 7:00 am to 6:00 pm
Friday 7:00 am to 6:00 pm
Saturday 8:00 am to 12:00 pm
Sunday Closed

After hours lodging check out Sat & Sun    

        4:30-5pm excluding holidays

Connect With Us

Animal Hospital Of Statesville
181 Mocksville Hwy
Statesville NC 28625

Telephone: 704.872.3625

© 2015  Animal Hospital of Statesville   |   All rights reserved.