A Puppy Playing with a Toy

How to look after your

New puppy

This is such an exciting time, and your new addition to the family will be super excited too!

Remember to take lots of photos - they grow up so fast!

Before your consultation with the vet, have a read through the following important information, and any questions you still have, can then be answered during your consult.

Congratulations on your New puppy

The first few days in a new home, with all the new sights, sounds and smells, can be very stressful for a puppy. They have left the familiarity of their mother and siblings, and now have to navigate a new, and scary world. 

The good news is that there are lots of steps you can take before and after your puppy arrives, to make this transition from the breeder, to your home, as smooth and easy as possible. 

Give your puppy their own bed, ideally this is in a large crate, which you can keep them securely at night, or when you go out.

A good puppy food and fresh water. Water should be available at all times.

Lots of cuddles! Your puppy has come from the busy environment of the breeder, with their mum and their litter-mates. Now they are all on their own, and will be feeling scared. Combined with the long journey home, this can all be very stressful for them. Your puppy will be tired, so make sure they have some quiet time to sleep.

Don't let them go outside yet, they must wait until a week after their second vaccination. You can carry them outside though, so they can see and smell the outside world.

Carefully introduce them to your other pets. Older dogs and cats may be scared or grumpy with a new puppy wanting to play, and your puppy may be scared too. Take it slowly, and don't leave them together unattended. 

Puppies love to chew! Keep electrical cables, shoes, handbags etc out of the way! Give your puppy a strong rubber toy to chew instead. Choose toys wisely, any toy that can have bits chewed off it, will risk your puppy swallowing the fragments. Don't let you puppy pick up stones, as they will damage its teeth, and don't throw sticks, as stick fragments can get lodged in their mouth and throat. 

Get your puppy used to wearing a collar and harness. A collar is useful for them to wear in case they run off in the future, however a harness is a much better option to attach their lead to.

settling in

Vaccinations

Your puppy may have already had a first vaccination done with the breeder, but this doesn't mean that it is safe to go outside just yet. 

 

This vaccination needs to be boosted by a second vaccination, so you should register, and book an appointment with your chosen vet as soon as you can after your puppy arrives home.

We vaccinate against parvovirus, hepatitis, distemper and leptospirosis (L2 or L4), we can also give kennel cough vaccinations,  and vaccinations required for travel outside the UK.

 
 
 
 
 
 

Worming

Ask your breeder which product has been used, and when it was given.

 

Unfortunately, some puppies are wormed with products which are outdated and ineffective, therefore it is important to find out. 

Once you know, give the worming information to your vet, and they can then give you a safe and effective worming product to use.

 

Worming is particularly important, as there will be a chance that your puppy could pass worms to you and your family, especially with all those puppy kisses going on!

Flea treatment

Fleas are pretty horrible things, and you often don't notice a flea infestation until it is really bad. They bite your pet, and you, (with sore and irritating bites) and they can spread worms.

Fortunately, infestations are easy to prevent with a monthly flea treatment. 

Shop (over the counter) flea products are sadly frequently ineffective, because  many flea populations are resistant to them. Also the drugs within the product have often been in use for many decades.

Your vet will prescribe a safe and effective flea prevention product for your puppy.

Monthly Checks

Just like with human babies, it is really important that we check your puppy's development, and we do this by a monthly weight check up until 6 months old. 

Not only does this help monitor for too much/too little weight gain, but it also helps your puppy get used to coming to the vets, and will help reduce the chance of future fear of the clinic when they are older. 

Food

Your puppy may have been given a good puppy food from the breeder. However this often isn't the case. 

A puppy food is essential, your puppy should not be fed junior food, adult dog food, human food, or cat/kitten food. 

Unless your puppy is fed the correct balance of vitamins and minerals in their early weeks and months, their body will not grow correctly, and this could lead to future health problems.

Ask us for further advice about what to feed your puppy, we will be happy to help you.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

Microchipping

Your puppy should have been microchipped by the breeder, however its important that we check.

Firstly, there may not be a microchip present.

Secondly, the microchip number might be different to the one you have been given!

Ask the vet or nurse to check the chip number, then you can make sure that the chip company has your name, address and phone number, so that if your puppy does get lost, the chance of you being reunited, is significantly increased. 

neutering

We recommend that your dog is neutered (spayed or castrated) as soon as they are old enough. 

Female dogs can get pregnant, and once the mating process has started, it can be dangerous to pull the male and female dogs apart without risking damage. Remaining entire, also puts them at risk of a potentially fatal infection called a pyometra. 1 in 4 unspayed dogs will develop this. 

Male dogs will soon start to exhibit 'male behaviour' under the influence of testosterone. This behaviour will become hardwired after a time, and so even if an older male dog is castrated, this may not remove the undesirable behaviour.

Exercise

It is important not to over exercise your puppy. Too much strain on young joints and bones, can cause a lot of problems, both early on, and as an older adult. 

We will talk about appropriate exercise when we see you for your monthly puppy checks.

insurance

We recommend that you take out insurance for your puppy as soon as possible. You simply never know what is around the corner!

Pet insurance is like house and car insurance, you hope you won't need it, but it's there if you do. 

Look for policies that have lifetime cover, and bear in mind that pet healthcare, just like private human healthcare, can be costly. A repair for a fractured leg after a car accident could be £3000-£5000, and a hip replacement could be £8000 upwards. So look at the policy in detail, and be aware that a low monthly premium, may indicate that policy may only pay out up to a lower limit (eg £500, or £1000 per condition). So look at the claim limit too. 

Your vet can offer general advice about insurance, but can't recommend any particular insurance company or policy.

Please note that an insurance policy, is a separate arrangement with an insurance company, it is not through a vet, and it is not the same as the Healthy Pet Club, as this covers vaccinations and parasite prevention, which are not covered under pet insurance policies.

behaviour

Learning normal puppy behaviour is important. Here are things you can do whilst still social distancing!

Healthy pet club

Most practices will have a Healthy Pet Club.

This is where you sign up to a monthly subscription and get your flea treatment, and wormers and vaccinations at a lower cost by paying monthly for them.

 

Some practices, such as Chertsey Vets and Woodham Lane Vets, have unlimited vet consultations as part of the monthly fee, meaning that you an see the vet as often as you need to, without worrying about the cost of repeated consultations, as you will only pay for any treatment or medications required  (which can also usually be claimed back, if you have pet insurance).

If you already have pet insurance, not having to pay to see the vet each time, will help keep your insurance claims lower, and potentially keep your premiums lower too.

collar or harness

We advise using a padded harness. A collar puts a lot of strain on the neck, and the soft structures inside the neck (such as the airway). 

Training your puppy to walk sensibly on a harness and lead is really important, and your vet can give further advice.

puppy nails

We know that those little puppy nails can be very sharp!

The best way to get your puppy used to their nails and toes being touched, is to get an emery board (the same kind used to file your own nails) and gently file off the sharp tips. You can do this while they are relaxed and sitting on your knee. Proceed slowly, and stop if they get worried or upset.

As soon as your puppy is fully vaccinated, and your vet has given you the all clear to go outside, their nails will be filed down naturally by walking on rough surfaces like pavements. 

The only exception to this is the dew claw, which can be found on the inside of the front paws (and sometimes on the back paws), and can't be worn down because they are not in contact with the ground. This nail will need to be trimmed. Your vet clinic can do this for you. Care must be taken not to cut the nail too short, as it will bleed, and cause your puppy pain.

© WoodhamLaneVets September 2020

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