It’s that time of the year when it seems like almost everyone knows someone who has a cold or flu. It seems like it is no different in the canine world, and while there is a new respiratory illness in the atmosphere, we advise caution not panic. Here in the PNW, at the Habibi Bear Hub, we know to take precautions whenever possible and we would love to pass the information on to you, our Habibi Bear Tribe! We know just how precious your Habibi Bear puppy is to you, and it is our mission to spread the love and knowledge so your little furry Habibi guy or gal can stay in tip-top condition for the much anticipated visit from Santa!
- Avoid dog parks, grooming/boarding facilities, veterinary offices and pet stores for the time being. If you are a parent, you probably remember the first year of pre-school when your kid contracted every variation of new sniffles and tummy gurgles that came down the pike. In fact, it isn’t unusual for a child to contract 6 or more illnesses when first going to school. The more children, the more germs your child gets exposed to until their immune system finally has a chance to create all the antibodies necessary to fight most threats. It is the same for your Habibi Bear puppy! The dog parks, boarding facilities, vet visits and pet stores have perhaps hundreds of dogs that have crossed through, leaving potentially huge corresponding germ loads that goes along with such foot (or paw) traffic. Wash your shoe soles as well. While this unknown illness is striking, it is best to err on the side of caution and keep puppy at home.
- If you do walk puppy in public areas with lots of canine traffic, make sure you wash their paws and their nose after each outside trek. There are some online products that you can purchase to wash your dogs paws, but apple cider vinegar and water (1:1) solution will remove most germs and yucky stuff. It works just fine. Wash the soles of your shoes as well.
- Do Not Allow Puppy to Drink from Public/Common Water bowls or Standing sources. This is especially important with any water of unknown origin that is left standing, where there could be an exponential growth of bacteria over a short period of time (Giardia, Cryptosporidium). This doesn’t include the hazards of rain run-off water, which could contain toxic chemicals from automobiles or garden pesticides/fertilizers. We carry a collapsible or foldable bowl in the car, or have an inexpensive squeeze bottle attachment for a water bottle that puppy can safely drink from.
- Wash bedding on a regular basis, just in case they rolled in something unsavory out of your line of sight.
What symptoms do we look for?
The symptoms of the respiratory illness are similar to the common cold, but can quickly turn into pneumonia if left unchecked. The symptoms are : Sneezing, coughing (especially if two days or more), eye/nose discharge, difficulty breathing and listlessness. If your normally cheerful pup is out of sorts or has a runny nose, keep a close eye for improvement or decline and call your vet for instructions.
Parvo symptoms initially include vomiting clear foam, loss of appetite, and rapidly progress to bloody diarrhea and dehydration. Parvovirus can be fatal for puppies within days, so early intervention is crucial for overcoming this serious virus. Recognizing the symptoms can be challenging for many puppy parents, as puppies may vomit without apparent issues. If you observe any of these symptoms, don't hesitate—take your puppy to the vet for testing. If diagnosed with Parvo, hospitalization is essential for any chance of survival.
While it's more common for puppies to contract Parvo due to their underdeveloped immune systems and vaccination status, adults can also be affected. Vaccination is not foolproof, and this unpredictable virus can impact dogs of all ages. Parvo often remains asymptomatic in the first few days, making it challenging to avoid, as an infected dog may not show symptoms while shedding the virus. The typical gestation period is 3-7 days before visible symptoms appear.
The virus is highly contagious and spreads rapidly, with an average exposure period of 3-10 days. Dogs exposed during this time frame may start showing symptoms afterward. After the virus runs its course, it can persist in the environment for up to 7 years. To minimize the risk of outsiders introducing this deadly virus to our dogs and puppies, Habibi Bears implements a closed biosecurity protocol at our home.
The health of your Habibi Bear puppy is also improved by managing stress and maintaining good temperamental hygiene (routine and scheduling), so try to keep to as normal a schedule as possible during the Holiday Crunch time, where things can get a little out of control. Make use of their chew toys, doggy spaces and kennels to give them decompression time and relaxation while you complete your tasks.
We hope that your family and your Habibi Bear puppy have a safe, healthy and Happy Holiday Season. We are always here for you, cheering you on!