Are you considering buying/adopting or have you recently bought a new puppy? This blog gives you some advice on what you need to know about the early stages of their life and what to do to set them up for a happy, healthy life with you and your family.
How do you know if your puppy is healthy? The first step is to bring them to City Vet to have them checked over from nose to tail to ensure they are in good health and free from any inherited conditions such as hernias, retained testicles and to check for any external parasites such as ear mites, fleas or lice. He/she will receive a full clinical examination and the vet will answer any questions you may have about how to best care for your new pet.
So what vaccines does a puppy need? Your new puppy will need to be vaccinated to keep them in the best health. Puppies can be vaccinated from 8 weeks and it is very important that they get two vaccinations two weeks apart or else they will not receive the full immunity they need to help them live a healthy life. Before vaccination your puppy will receive a full clinical examination. A correctly completed vaccination card signed and stamped by a vet is the only sure way to know your puppy has been properly vaccinated.
How often do you need to worm a puppy? It is very important for puppies to be wormed with an effective wormer every 2 to 3 weeks up to 6 months of age. After that you should continue worming treatment every 3 months with an effective wormer.
Microchipping of all puppies before they leave their place of birth or before they reach 12 weeks of age has been required by law since September 1st 2015. If your puppy has been microchipped before you get him/her, it is very important that you update the registered details of their microchip to your details. From 31st March 2016, all dogs will be required to be microchipped by law and their owners will be required to keep the registered details up-to-date and to have a certificate from an approved database with the registered details recorded on it.
City Vet recommends feeding your new puppy a high quality food such as Hills Science Plan Puppy or Hills Vet Essentials Puppy until he/she becomes a mature adult (approximately one year old, depending on breed). Consult & follow the feeding guide on the pack when feeding your puppy and carefully measure out the required amount. Feed your puppy three times daily initially, leaving the food down for 10 minutes and removing it afterwards. Your puppy will have eaten enough in that time. Make sure he/she has a quiet time after eating to digest their meal. It is also best to remove him/her from the kitchen when preparing & eating food.
It is best to start off as you mean to go on when training your puppy. You may find puppy training or socialisation classes helpful also. Dave Brunnock of Brunnock Canine Solutions in Limerick says ” Puppy training is about giving your puppy an education rather than correcting them. This is the perfect time to build a lifelong bond with your puppy.” He recommends starting training at an early age saying “The peak period of socialisation for your puppy is between seven and sixteen weeks of age. Many behaviour problems found in dogs stem from a lack of proper socialisation during this vital period.”
For more information on Dave and the services he offers for puppies and adult dogs visit his website here.
Toilet training can be a source of frustration for some owners. Puppies should be encouraged to go to the toilet outdoors and the use of puppy-pads avoided as these train the puppy to soil indoors and trying to re-train him/her to go to the toilet outdoors later in life can cause him/her unnecessary confusion. Routine is important when toilet training your new puppy. Bring your puppy to its designated toilet area hourly and after each meal. When he/she goes, praise him/her. Once the training begins to be successful, the intervals can be increased.
Remove food and water from 6pm and continue to bring your puppy out to the toilet area hourly until bedtime. Remove stool from the toilet area daily. Do not allow your puppy to soil in public places, and if he or she does, clean it up and dispose of the stool properly. Crate training also improves the success of toilet training.
Spaying or Neutering at 6 months
When should a puppy be spayed or neutered? City Vet recommends spaying or neutering of your puppy at about 6 months of age. Spaying is the removal of the ovaries and womb of a female dog to ensure she cannot come into heat and become pregnant. Neutering is the removal of the testicles of a male dog. Both surgeries are carried out under general anaesthetic. Spaying or neutering your puppy is the safest way of controlling their breeding. Neutering prevents the birth of unwanted puppies. Approximately 12 unwanted dogs are destroyed in Ireland on a daily basis!
Neutering your puppy reduces the risk of him/her developing certain cancers. Spaying your female dog before her first heat reduces the risk of her developing cancer by 50%. It also makes her 2,000 times less likely to develop mammary tumours or breast cancer in later life. Castrating your male dog reduces the risk of him developing prostate disease and completely eliminates the risk of testicular cancer in later life.
For more information on caring for puppies or to avail of our new Puppy Healthcare Package phone City Vet on 061-419760.