Health Care and Your Puppy

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Vaccinations

It is essential to protect diseases at 6-8 weeks of age, at 12-14 weeks of age, and at 16-18 weeks of age. Your puppy is fully protected 2 weeks after the third vaccine. Only after this final vaccination should your puppy be allowed outside your property or to socialise with other dogs. A single vaccine is then required annually. Your puppy against the major infectious diseases of dogs; canine distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus and canine cough. Puppies have a course of three injections to protect against these

Intestinal Worming

All puppies get intestinal worms from their mother, either before or after birth, and both puppies and adult dogs are commonly infected with internal parasites. All dogs need worming regularly to control roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms. This is especially important if you have children, as the majority of these worms can be transmitted to humans, especially to young children, and are a potential health hazard.

Puppies should be wormed every 2 weeks until 3 months old, then every month until 6 months old. After that, all dogs should be wormed every 3 months for life.

Heartworm Disease Prevention

Heartworm is a type of worm that lives in the heart and blood vessels. It is spread when mosquito’s bite and infected dog, take up heartworm larvae (microfilaria) with the blood, these larvae develop in the mosquito and then the mosquito inject these into another dog.

To protect against this potentially fatal disease you can give your dog a monthly heartworm prevention tablet or your dog can have a yearly injection from your local vet.

Diet

When you collect your new puppy initially stick to the same diet for the first few days, to enable it to become accustomed to its new home with as few changes as possible, as this is a very stressful time for a young puppy. Any diet changes that you make should be gradual (i.e. Over the course of a week). Puppies’ stomachs are small and cannot hold much food initially, but their energy requirements are high, because they are growing and developing at a very rapid rate. Consequently, they should eat small, frequent meals of a diet balanced and nutritionally complete, especially formulated for puppies. We recommend high quality commercial diet such as Hills science diets. These vet endorsed products cater for all life stages of your dog.

Milk

Once your puppy has been weaned, and provided his diet is complete and balanced, there is no need to provide milk. Many puppies are lactose intolerant, and feeding cows milk may cause diarrhoea.

Ensure your puppy always has a good supply of clean fresh water.

Dental Health

Although commercial diets provide correct nutrition for your pup they do little to keep your dog’s teeth clean.

Kong soft rubber puppy toys.

There are a number of toys on the market designed for chewing. These not only help keep your dogs teeth and gums healthy, but can provide hours of fun and prevent boredom. These include edible treats such as pigs ears, cows ears and specially designed chews (which can also be used as treat rewards when training your new puppy) or more lasting toys such as Kongs, ropes and squeakies. Puppies usually teeth at 12-14 weeks of age when they lose their deciduous teeth and adult teeth erupt. This can be quite painful for your puppy and they particularly enjoy toys for chewing on at this time.

Dogs may chew on raw marrow bones but never feed your dog cooked bones, these become brittle and can splinter, potentially piercing the gut or causing a bowel obstruction.

Fleas

Most puppies come to their new homes with some free-loaders – fleas! These can multiply very rapidly (each female can lay 50 eggs a day). So one or two fleas can become an infestation in a short time particularly in the summer.

We recommend two products for fleas: Advantage and Frontline. Both are safe and effective, and are applied to the back of the neck once a month. They kill adult fleas, larvae and eggs. If you plan to bath your dog frequently, Frontline is the preferred product as it is more waterproof.

Grooming

All dogs benefit from grooming, even short-coated breeds. It is best to introduce grooming at a young age. Each breed has different grooming requirements so we stock an extensive range of brushes, combs, shampoos and professional electric clippers. Long-haired breeds require more frequent grooming. If old hair is not removed, it can tangle in the new hairs growth, forming thick matts, especially under the belly and behind the ears. Prolonged periods without grooming may require clipping of these matts as they can be very painful.

Identification

It is required by law that all dogs are registered at your local council after the age of 3 months. Your dog will then be issued with a registration tag. It is also advisable to provide your dog with an identity tag for your dog to wear on their collar including your name, address and telephone number.

A form of permanent identification is a microchip implanted between your dogs shoulder blades under the skin.  All councils, pounds and pet shelters such as the RSPCA have scanners which can read these chips. This allows for quick and easy identification in case your pet is lost.

Neutering (Desexing)

Unless you plan to breed with your new puppy, there are many advantages to desexing your new pet.

Entire female dogs (bitches) come into season approximately every 6 months after 6-12 months of age. A female dog that is not desexed has a very high chance of developing mammary tumors, and the risk increases the older they get (there is a one in four chance of developing mammary tumors if not desexed by 3 years of age). She may also become susceptible to developing life-threatening uterine infections.

Entire male dogs are more likely to wander and can be more aggressive. They may develop a habit of lifting their leg and urinating on trees, posts and anywhere that another male has marked.

Desexing has no harmful effects on your dogs personality. Some weight gain occurs in some bitches, this is usually due to her energy requirements decreasing with age and no corresponding decrease in her amount of food.

Your local veterinary clinic will further be able to advise you about neutering your pet, which may be performed at about 6 months of age. We hope this information is helpful in welcoming your new puppy to your home and your family.

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