Puppies and Dogs

Canines: common queries answered

How should I care for my new puppy?

As well as vaccinating your new puppy, he/she will require regular treatment for worms and fleas. The breeder should have started the program of worm and flea treatment from just a few weeks of age and you will need to continue this to ensure that your puppy grows into a fit and healthy dog. We recommend that you use prescription worm and flea treatments to ensure that the treatments are both effective and safe.

You should also consider the following issues:

  • Diet; what food, how much and how often
  • Identification in case of straying or loss
  • Somewhere safe and quiet to sleep
  • Insurance in case of accident or illness
  • Breeding or neutering
  • Training

Our nurses are always happy to meet you and your new puppy for a chat about puppy care.

When should I vaccinate my puppy?

There are several dangerous diseases that affect dogs in the UK and vaccination is the only safe way to provide immunity against all of these diseases. Puppies are protected during the first few weeks of life thanks to immunity passed through their mother’s first milk (colostrum). This immunity fades within a few weeks of being born and leaves the puppy susceptible to disease at which point vaccination can take over from the mother’s natural immunity in providing protection. Your new puppy will require two sets of vaccinations to give him/her full protection. Puppies can start their vaccination course from 8 weeks of age and the second vaccination is given four weeks after the first. Your puppy should not be allowed access to public places or be allowed to mix with unvaccinated dogs until a week after the second vaccination. Thereafter you dog will require a booster vaccination once every twelve months to maintain immunity levels.

We routinely vaccinate against the following diseases:

  • Canine Parvovirus
  • Canine Distemper
  • Infectious Hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Parainfluenza

In addition we strongly recommend annual vaccination against Kennel Cough which is a highly contagious cough spread between animals in close contact in kennels, at the park, at dog shows or any other venue where lots of dogs meet.

What should I feed my puppy?

We recommend feeding a complete dry/’biscuit’ diet to puppies during their vital growing period. This way you can be sure that you are feeding a balanced diet to meet the needs of your puppy. Buy a high quality puppy diet that is suitable for the size of your puppy. We supply a wide range of Hill’s and Royal Canin diets and can get most other makes in stock with 24 hours notice. Follow the feeding instructions on the food and always weigh or measure the food you give. Also weigh your puppy at least once each month – all vet surgeries have scales for accurately weighing puppies and dogs – ask what wieght your puppy should be and how fast he/she should be growing.
Most puppies reach adult weight by just one year making this first year a very fast and demanding growth period.

Young puppies need at least three meals every day and this can be reduced to two meals at about six months of age.

Don’t make sudden changes in the type of diet you are feeding. If a change of diet is required, gradually change from the old one to the new one over a period of about 10 days.

Don’t forget that plenty of clean drinking water must always be available for your puppy.

Should my puppy mix with other dogs?

Puppies should not be allowed to mix with unvaccinated dogs or be allowed free access to any public area frequented by other dogs until a week after their second course of vaccinations usually at between 10 and 12 weeks of age. However, puppies need to be well socialised and learn to be confident with other dogs, people and environments. The most common cause of fear and agression is lack of suitable socialisation.

Puppy socialisation involves meeting and having pleasant encounters with many adults, children and dogs starting during their early weeks of puppyhood and continuing until adulthood.

Our nurses will be happy to meet you and your new puppy to discuss puppy care issues at the surgery, please contact the surgery for an appointment.

How often do I need to worm my puppy?

Worming your new puppy is essential to protect their health and also your family’s health. Some worms such as Toxocara can cause illness in people and children are especially at risk if they play in soil frequented by dogs and then put their fingers in their mouths. However, it is quite easy to keep your pet and family safe by following a program of regular worming with your puppy. There are two main types of worms, these are Tapeworms (look like grains of rice) and Roundworms (look more like spagetti).

We receommend that you use an all-round wormer such as Milbemax which will protect your puppy against tapeworms and roundworms. Milbemax is available as a chewy, palatable tablet to be given with or after some food and is safe to give from just two weeks of age.

Your puppy should be wormed once a month until he/she is six months old and then typically once every three months throughout the dog’s adult life.

We stock a very wide range of worm prevention treatments and all our staff have up-to-date training in the pro’s and con’s of each treatment so we can advise the best one for your individual pet. If you have any queries, speak with one of the vets or nurses.

How do I know if my puppy or dog needs treating for fleas?

We stock a very wide range of flea, tick and mite prevention treatments and all our staff have up-to-date training in the pro’s and con’s of each treatment so we can advise the best one for your individual pet and household. If you have any queries, speak with one of the vets or nurses.

What are the pros and cons of neutering my dog?

The Neutering process involves castration for a dog or spaying for a bitch.

Generally we recommend that dogs and bitches are neutered from about 6 months of age. Large breed bitches should generally not be spayed until after their first season.

Unless you intend to breed from your dog or bitch we recommend neutering as routine. Neutering is likely to make your puppy a more affectionate companion and can also increase their life-span for the following reasons:

  • Reduces the risk of testicular cancer in adult males
  • Reduces the risk of adult males straying and the associated risks of road accidents
  • Reduces uterine infections, which can be fatal, in adult females
  • Reduces the occurence of mammary tumours in adult females

The neutering procedure requires an operation under general anaesthetic and usually involves a one-day stay in the surgery. Full recovery at home usually takes five to ten days during which time strict rest is required to allow the wound to heal.

Please contact our vets or nurses if you have any further queries on these procedures

Is it worth insuring my puppy?

We strongly recommend that you insure your puppy as soon as possible after he/she comes home with you. Once you have your puppy home he/she will soon become very inquisitive and playful and unfortunately accidents do sometimes happen. Conditions and illnesses can also appear during the first few months of a puppy’s life and if you wait to insure your puppy these conditions are likely to be permanantly excluded from your insurance cover.

There are different types of insurance policy which cover different amounts of vets fees for varying amounts of time. Some policies will exclude a condition after twelve months of treatment while others cover conditions for life. Some policies have a fixed amount of cover for a condition while others will have an agreed amount which is topped up every year. It is vital that you compare all of the features of insurance policies as well as the premium price before selecting a policy for your kitten/cat. We can provide you with further advice and guidance if required.

How can I stop my puppy getting lost?

Puppies are particularly at risk from getting lost just due to their inexperience and inquisitive and mischievous nature. A microchip is the simplest and safest option for both puppies. A microchip is a tiny implant which carries a unique identification code. It is injected under the loose skin at the back of the neck and can be used in almost any pet of any age. From April 2016, all dogs in England will have to have a microchip by law.

A lost animal will usually find its way to a vets, a dog warden or a rescue centre of some sort where it will be harmlessly scanned to detect the microchip. A permanently accessible database is then used to match the details on the microchip with your details and you will be contacted immediately to reunite you with your pet. Puppies and dogs should also wear a collar and identity tag carrying contact phone numbers. However, remember that collars do come off and get lost and should not be relied on as the only form of identification.

Buying a new puppy

This link will open a link to the BVA AWF / RSPCA Puppy Contract. 

It is strongly advised that anyone buying or selling a new puppy should follow the guidance offered by this site and that each pup have his or her own Puppy Contract.

Useful links

Dog Breed Health - What you should know before buying a puppy or a dog.

The Dogs Trust