Your breeder or rescue will encourage you to take your dog to the vet within a few days after the purchase. The initial and routine vet visits should be all that is needed for a healthy Shiba, unless you are planning on breeding. However, if you’re drinking up all of my worldly wisdom, chances are that you are nowhere near ready for that.
Immunizations have been hotly debated of late and I think you should make up your own mind about it. I believe that dogs don’t need their shots as frequently as convention dictates. However, research, research, research. Do NOT expose your puppy to other dogs or most social situations until you know that s/he is sufficiently protected against the common canine diseases.
Check with your vet, breeder and local kennel club if you plan on taking your Shiba to training classes, dog shows or other dog-oriented events; usually they will be able to tell you what immunizations are required for classes and what illnesses may currently be a problem. Also, keep up-to-date on laws pertaining to transporting animals across borders, if you’re planning on that. Always have your dog’s paperwork with you when travelling.
The vet will be your special friend if you can keep track of the following:
- eating/drinking habits – how much, what eaten/drunk, frequency
- feces/urine deposits – color, frequency, etc.
- general disposition
- general appearance
- eyes, nose, coat
- stride when trotting/running
- reaction to various stimuli
- any incidents that might have affected your dog’s health
The above seem really simple, but it’s surprising how many people suddenly notice their dog is poorly when, if they had paid attention to a few minor details, they could have caught the problem much earlier. It makes your vet’s life easier when you can eliminate a lot of guess work simply by knowing what your dog’s last stool looked like or an unusual incident that might pinpoint the reason why Shiba-poo suddenly started screaming in your ear at 3 AM.