Parvovirus is a dangerous infection that claims many puppy lives each year. It causes serious symptoms, like vomiting, fever, diarrhea, and dehydration, and even with proper veterinary care, many puppies do not recover. So, it's very important that you know how to protect your little puppy from this dangerous illness.
Vaccinate your puppy.
Parvovirus is one of the primary diseases against which puppies are vaccinated. Your vet will likely recommend giving your puppy his or her first parvo vaccine at about 6 weeks old. He or she will then need several booster shots over the coming months. No vaccine is 100% effective, but the parvo vaccine will greatly reduce your puppy's risk of contracting this deadly infection.
Keep in mind, however, that your puppy won't achieve peak immunity against parvo until he or she has had the past parvo shot. This last shot is typically given around 4 months of age. In the meantime, before your puppy gets this last shot, you'll need to take the other precautions below to protect your puppy.
Don't take him or her to dog parks.
Dog parks are great for building puppies' social skills, but it's best to keep your puppy away until he or she gets that last parvo shot. Parvo can be spread through feces and saliva. Older dogs can carry the virus even if they don't show symptoms, so you really don't want your puppy interacting with other dogs, even if they appear to be healthy.
When you take your puppy for walks outside the home, do not let him or her touch noses with other dogs you pass on the sidewalk or path. Also, don't let your puppy sniff any dog feces you pass along the way.
Don't bring used dog items into your home.
Many dog owners purchase used dog items, like bowls and beds, in an effort to save money. However, the parvo virus can live on these items and infect your puppy when he comes into contact with them. Stay away from used dog items unless they are hard items (like bowls) that you can fully sanitize by soaking them in a bleach solution.
To learn more about parvo and how to protect your puppy, talk to your veterinarian. He or she can give you tips that are specific to your lifestyle and your puppy's own needs. If your puppy ever starts showing signs of parvo, like diarrhea and vomiting, contact vet services or an emergency clinic as soon as possible.