1. Breed, History and
Take time to consider which breed would best suit your lifestyle and family situation. There are obvious size differences between breeds, but also significant differences in the amount of exercise required. Also some breeds are predisposed to certain problems – ask your vet if you’re thinking about getting a pedigree dog.
By law the puppy that you acquire must already have a microchip implanted by the breeder . Since April 2016 it has been illegal to sell a pup without a microchip. There are no exceptions to this rule , ensure the pup you get has already been chipped.
If you’re buying from a breeder, always ask to see the parents and ensure that they have had the necessary checks such as hip scores or eye exams.
If you’re rehoming a rescue puppy, make sure to ask about the puppy’s history and see the mother if possible, it will give you an idea what size the pup will grow up to be.
2. Socialisation and Settling In.
Try to collect your new puppy when it
is as young as possible, ideally at 8 weeks of age. On its first night away
from its mother it is likely to whine, this is normal; try to resist the urge
to reassure the pup as this will reinforce that crying gets attention.
The first 15 weeks of life is known as the socialisation period , during this time-frame a puppy will approach new things with curiosity rather than fear. It is thus best to introduce the pup to as many new things as possible: - the vacuum cleaner, washing machine and other scary noises and objects – including your children / other pets.
If you’re struggling, ask us about Adaptil plug-in diffusers and/or collars. These work by giving off pheromones which will help to calm your puppy.
At Forest Vets we offer a puppy vaccination bundle (£50) which includes the initial puppy health check, both puppy vaccinations, flea and worm treatment, four weeks’ free insurance with PetPlan, and if necessary microchipping. We will also give you advise on feeding, worming, neutering and toilet training as necessary.
Puppies should have their first full vaccination at between 6 to 8 weeks of age ; and the second at 10 weeks of age . The second vaccine must be given 14 to 28 days after the first vaccination, but cannot be given before the pup is 10 weeks old . Your puppy must not be taken outside for walks until one week after its second vaccination. The standard puppy vaccinations provide cover against Parvovirus, Distemper, Hepatitis, Adenovirus, Para-influenza and Leptospirosis.
If your puppy has already had its first vaccination with the breeder, then please ring us as soon as you get your puppy to ensure that the vaccine it’s had is a full first vaccination and that the type used is compatible with the ones we stock.
It is important to remember that your pup will need annual booster injections throughout its life – the puppy vaccinations do not last a lifetime .
Other vaccinations are available against kennel cough and rabies – please ask your vet about these. Most local kennels will not accept a dog that is not fully vaccinated against kennel cough. Vaccinate your dog a minimum of 2 weeks before going in kennels. Annual kennel cough boosters will be required, but can be done at the same time as the normal booster injections.
The pet passport / rabies vaccination must be completed at least 22 days before travelling.
4. Flea and Worm Treatment.
Your puppy should be wormed every month until it is 6 months old. After this you can either use a wormer pill every 3 months or a combination flea-wormer liquid spot-on once a month. In addition, it is important to speak to your vet for advice on the most suitable flea treatment for your puppy. Fleas can not only cause skin problems, they are also a source of tapeworm.
Puppies should be on 3 to 4 meals a day when they first arrive. Try to feed a simple balanced puppy food, rather than a mixture of human foods. We can give you advice on the dietary needs of your puppy. As a practice we sell Hill’s range of puppy and dog foods. Remember your dog should always have access to fresh water.
At Forest Vets we recommend neutering male and females at 6 months of age. For females this is usually before their first season. The benefits of spaying bitches include no puppies, no womb infections (pyometra), no bleeding whilst in season, no unwanted attention from male dogs, no false pregnancies and if neutered before their first season, a lower chance of mammary cancer later on in life.
For males the benefits of castration are decreased libido (unwanted sexual behaviour Inc. territory marking / interest in females/aggression towards males), no testicular cancer and a much lower chance of prostate disease.
The only negatives of neutering are that the metabolic rate is slowed down by 10%, so you must feed your dog 10% less calories after neutering to prevent obesity.
Start toilet training as soon as your puppy comes home . Ensure that you take your puppy out regularly after playing/feeding and praise/reward him or her when they toilet outside. If there is an indoor accident, don’t punish your puppy, just take him/her outside again, they will soon learn.
The best time to get your dog insured is early on in life, as claims in the first year are common. Also if problems are found before your dog is insured then these problems will be exempt from any future insurance claim . The financial cost of treatment of a serious accident or illness will be less stressful if your dog is insured.
The taking on a new puppy is lots of fun and highly rewarding, but also a big responsibility – try to ensure that you make a well informed decision on which puppy to choose, if you have any questions please ask us, before buying!