Bringing a puppy into your family is an exciting time. We're here to help you make it a success.
Unless you are concerned about your new puppy we would recommend letting him/her settle in their new home for at least five to seven days before bringing them in for their primary vaccinations and health check.
This gives them time to adjust to their new surroundings and lifestyle before subjecting them to another new and slightly daunting experience of coming to the veterinary surgery.
Your puppy should be vaccinated against parvovirus, leptospirosis, distemper, parainfluenza and canine infectious hepatitis.
Ideally, the first vaccination should be at eight weeks old followed by the second at 12 weeks of age. The course can be started later than this if need be, still keeping the vaccinations four weeks apart.
To keep your dog’s level of immunity at the optimum level, a yearly booster vaccination is required. This is just one injection, and your dog will then be protected for another year.
The vaccination that we use against leptospirosis covers four strains of the virus compared to older vaccines that only immunise against two strains. The newer strains have become more prevalent in recent years and we have seen cases in the local area.
When you bring home your new puppy, it is advisable to continue the feeding regime started by the breeder for a couple of weeks. This reduces stress and there is less likelihood your puppy will suffer from diarrhoea.
If you are changing your puppy’s food it is best to gradually introduce the new diet over a week, ideally feeding ¼ new food, ¾ present diet for two days, then ½ and ½ present diet for two days, then ¾ new food and ¼ present diet for a further two.
Once on a diet, it’s best to keep to it, as changing it too much can cause digestive upsets. For this reason when trying a new diet, try it for a minimum of 10 days before considering changing again.
Getting your puppy into a routine is vital and you should start as you mean to go on. For example it may be advisable to crate your puppy at night downstairs, and if you do this you must stick to it. Having them upstairs on the bed with you for the first few weeks can get the puppy in an unwanted routine!
Unfortunately your puppy may whine at night and it can make you feel responsible but remember they have just been taken from a safe and calming environment, they have left their littermates and most importantly their mother.
Try giving them a teddy or a warm hot-water bottle (wrapped in a towel) for comfort. You can also use an Adaptil collar to help when first settling your puppy in, which releases a copy of the calming pheromones released by its mother.
It can be very useful when socialising your puppy and introducing them to new things, as well as helping them settle at night. Ask a member of staff for more details.
We strongly recommend insuring your puppy, the earlier you take out a policy the better.
We can issue you with four weeks free cover from PetPlan if all is well when we do the first health check. This cover starts immediately.
Please note that as a general rule you cannot claim for a condition within the first two weeks of the policy beginning.
Worms and fleas
Treating your puppy for worms and fleas is essential.
Sometimes they have been treated by the breeder before you collect them but you should always check this and if possible, have evidence of this in their paperwork given to you.
Recommendations for treating for worms in your new puppy is generally every two weeks until they are 12 weeks of age, every month until six months of age and then every three to six months throughout their rest of their lives.
We recommend using a spot-on that also treats lungworm, which is administered every month.
Puppies should be fed little and often so their small stomachs don’t become overloaded.
As a guide it is advised to feed four meals daily up to four months of age, three meals daily up to six months, two meals daily up to one year and then one or two meals daily for the rest of their lives.
Monitoring their growth is vital, as if your puppy grows and puts on too much weight too quickly it puts stress on their immature bone structure causing problems for them.
It can be very confusing and a little bewildering to make a choice on dog food.
Essentially premium diets contain better quality ingredients and tend to be better for your puppy as a rule. They seem to offer a smaller portion size compared to the cheaper alternatives, which is true due to the higher quality ingredients being used. In actual fact the cost doesn’t differ too much at all.
Both dry and wet food are complete diets and so are nutritionally balanced for your puppy. They contain the right combination of ultra-digestible proteins, carbohydrates, fats, vitamins and minerals.
Feeding wet or dry food is up to individual preference but there seems to be a lot more dry diets on the market now and there isn’t any reason why wet food should be fed over dry food.
Wet food can spoil quickly and attracts flies particularly in the warmer months whereas dry food is more hygienic can be purchased in bulk and stored easily.
Dry foods are specially formulated for age, breed and size of your dog.
It shouldn’t be necessary to supplement your puppy’s diet at all when feeding with a complete diet. Neither is it essential to give milk as your puppy will receive enough calcium in their food, although you can of course feed a specific puppy milk if you wish.
Giving treats as incentives are good for training purposes but should never be more than 15% of their dietary intake.
Chews are good for puppies especially during teething as well as for oral hygiene purposes throughout their lives but do not exceed the recommended feeding guide. Some dental chews can be high in fat so be aware of this.
As you are probably aware taking on a puppy is a big responsibility and there are many subjects that can be covered. We can offer you advice at any time and we also provide ‘Puppy Playschool’ evenings in which we cover a variety of useful topics.
Many behavioural problems seen in older dogs could have been prevented if the dog had been given the opportunity to learn social skills, manners and communication by the age of 16 weeks.
Taking your puppy to training classes will allow them to meet other puppies and people of all shapes, ages and sizes in a fun and rewarding environment for both you and your puppy!
Training with your puppy will also help you build an incredibly strong relationship with them.
Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions