Have you recently got a new puppy? Then here's all the information you need to get you going in the right direction.
Your puppy can become seriously ill from meeting other dogs or walking in areas where other dogs have been. Regular vaccination is important in minimizing this risk. We recommend vaccination of all puppies against the following diseases: Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenzavirus and Leptospirosis. Your puppy will need a primary course consisting of two injections 3-4 weeks apart to be given from 8 weeks of age. Full protection from the vaccine occurs 2 weeks after the second injection. Thereafter, he/she will need regular boosters every year. At each vaccination/booster, the vet will also give your puppy a thorough health-check and answer any questions you may have about his/her health.
Apart from the above-mentioned vaccinations, we also recommend protecting your puppy against Kennel Cough; this vaccine is given as a squirt of liquid up the nose. While not usually fatal, Kennel Cough can cause a fever and coughing that persists for many weeks, which can be unpleasant for your puppy. Kennel Cough passes easily between dogs and your puppy can catch Kennel Cough from meeting other dogs, going out on walks or to shows, or staying in kennels etc.
Fleas & Worms
Puppies are often born with some worms (from the mother during pregnancy) and can also catch worms and fleas from other dogs – including from their mother and siblings. Worms can cause bloating and poor weight gain, and fleas can cause skin problems and can even bite people. As such we recommend the following treatments as standard:
We have prescription-strength tasty tablets, spot-ons and long-acting tablets/flea collars available to suit your puppy’s individual needs and preferences. The vet will weigh your puppy in order to calculate the best dose for its treatments. Do ask your vet for more details.
The Government is introducing compulsory microchipping for all dogs over 8 weeks of age from 6 April 2016 to help reunite owners with lost or stolen pets, relieve the burden on animal charities and local authorities and protect the welfare of dogs by promoting responsible dog ownership. If your puppy has not already been microchipped by the breeder, we offer microchipping at vaccination appointments and also while your pet is asleep during neutering or other surgical procedures. After microchipping, you will need to ensure that your contact details are kept up to date with the microchip registration database.
Your puppy will benefit the most from eating a good quality complete puppy food which is specially formulated to give your puppy all the nutrients it needs for growth. Dry biscuits and/or wet food are equally nutritious – just be sure that the food you buy is a ‘complete’ food and is for puppies. Puppies should be eating solid food and should not need any extra milk after 6 weeks of age – however, you may wish to add a little water to dry food to soften it so it is easier to chew. Follow directions from the food manufacturer as to how much to feed, and feed four meals a day until the age of four months, then three meals a day until six months old. After that, you can feed just two meals a day. For your puppy’s first few days at home, feed the breeder’s food, then, if you wish to change the food, slowly mix in the new food over a week so the puppy gradually gets used to it. Changing food too quickly can cause diarrhea.
Neutering – spay/castration
We recommend that your puppy is neutered at 6 months of age. In females, spaying (removal of the ovaries and uterus) prevents unwanted pregnancies, false pregnancies and pyometra (womb infections) and also greatly decreases the risk of mammary tumors (breast cancer). In males, castration prevents testicular cancer and reduces prostate enlargement and infection in old age. Most puppies cope very well with spaying/castration, but some owners worry that neutering may change the behaviour of their dog and can increase the risk of some diseases. It is generally agreed that the benefits of neutering outweigh the risks, but if you have any concerns, your vet will be happy to discuss them with you.
Recent advances in veterinary medicine and surgery mean that more treatment options are now available for sick pets. Whilst vaccination can prevent certain diseases, other injuries or illnesses could occur at any time. A good pet insurance will go a long way in helping you to afford the best treatment for your pet. When looking to buy an insurance policy, it’s really important to read the details, paying particular attention to any time or financial limits of the cover and any exclusions. As a PetPlan practice, we recommend PetPlan insurance and are able to offer a four-week free trial of PetPlan insurance to your puppy.
Like human children, puppies are not born with the social skills that they require to live with their family. Socialisation is the learning process that a puppy must undergo in order to learn key life skills to ensure that it is happy and confident in its environment, and can communicate effectively within its social group. This involves having pleasant social interactions with adults, children, vets, adult dogs and other animals, as well as careful exposure to different situations in the environment like traffic, crowds, travelling in the car, vacuum cleaners and any sights and sounds it will have to cope with in life. It is critical this is done thoroughly and correctly from birth up to 16 weeks of age, when your puppy is young enough to happily accept new things. The Kennel Club recommends the Puppy Socialisation Plan which can be found on their website – please ask your vet for more details.
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