Congratulations on your New Puppy!
The first step to take when you get a new pup is to allow a few days for it to adjust to its new surroundings and also for you to become acquainted with your new pup's health status. After a few days, you should bring your puppy to your nearest Veterinary Hospital to be checked by the Vet. At this stage you will be advised on all aspects of your puppy's welfare and health care. This is the most important stage of your puppy's life as the way you start your health care is the way you should plan to continue. Below are brief descriptions of the essentials that you need to be aware of when beginning with a new puppy. Further information can be acquired simply asking any one of our staff, after all that is what we are here for!
The vaccination course for puppies can start at anytime from 6 weeks of age and usually ends at 14 weeks of age with their adult shots. Puppies should be kept indoors until 2 weeks after their final vaccination to ensure suitable immunity is reached.
They are vaccinated against Parvovirus, Distemper, Parainfluenza, Leptospirosis, and Hepatitis. Annual boosters should given thereafter to maintain this immunity. It is also recommended that your dog visits the vet at least once a year to have a full health examination. The annual booster is given at the same time as this check up.
These are all fatal diseases, which are very much present in Ireland, and vaccination is the only effective prevention. Remember these diseases are in the environment and don’t require your puppy to meet other dogs to contract the diseases.
Almost all puppies have Roundworms. The most obvious sign of this is a puppy with a potbelly. These worms are harmful to children and can cause blindness.
We recommend that you treat puppies every 2 weeks until 3 months of age, then once a month until 6 months of age. Once they are over 6 months of age, treatment should be given once every 3 months.
Flea treatments come in a variety of ways. Topical treatments (aka Spot Ons) should be applied every 4-6 weeks for prevention of fleas. Some treatments are more comprehensive than others, so be sure to research the brand you are applying to ensure it covers all ecto-parasites. Avoid pet shop/supermarket brands are these do not contain medicinal ingredients and are usually not effective.
The product we recommend is Advocate – this is the most comprehensive treatment available and prevents fleas, mites, lungworm, lice, ear mites, heartworm, roundworm, hookworm and whipworm. There are new oral treatments available now that last up to 3 months called Bravecto, which prevents fleas and ticks. How you choose to give a flea treatment to your puppy is up to you. Some people prefer topical however you must not apply it 3 days before or after washing your dog.
This is a vital aspect of your puppy's health and is important to start on a right footing from an early stage. There is a huge range on foodstuffs available both tinned and dry, of variable quality. We strongly advocate the feeding of dry foods over tinned food.
The quality of the food that you choose is very important and will determine your puppy's overall health and development. High quality food = High quality health. Avoid supermarket or commercial brands like Pedigree, Bakers and Gain as these are high in fats and low in meat – which isn’t ideal for a healthy, growing puppy.
When in doubt, pop in to see our Veterinary Nurse who can advise you on what to feed, how much your puppy should be fed, how big your puppy will grow and monitor your puppy’s weight gain for you – free of charge!
REMEMBER – being overweight is just as harmful to your puppy as being underweight.
This is now a legal requirement for every dog in Ireland. Your puppy should have been microchipped by the breeder before sale, sadly, however this law isn’t often followed. A microchip is a small inert object inserted under your dog’s skin by an injection. It is a very quick, once off procedure which is a permanent means of identification of your pet. It cannot be removed without surgery and will ensure that your pet will be reuinited with you should he/she ever become lost or stolen.
If your puppy is microchipped already be sure to make sure it is correctly registered on a government approved website – Fido.ie – some breeders use cheaper microchipping sites (e.g. Animark) but this can often mean your pets details may not be found. Fido database is a globally recognised website – meaning you will be reunited no matter where they go!
There is a lot of misinformation about neutering. This should be discussed with the Vet at the time of vaccination. It is important to be fully and correctly informed as to the effects of neutering.
We recommend, if you don't intend breeding, that all bitches be neutered either before their first heat or 2-3 months after their first heat. The time of first heat ranges from between 6 - 10 months. There is no evidence of temperament change, although neutered bitches (especially larger breeds) can put on weight if their diet and exercise is not properly monitored. Neutering your bitch will reduce the incidence of breast cancer to 0.5%, eliminate womb infections, false and unwanted pregnancies. Their life expectancy is also extended.
Neutering male dogs reduces aggression, wandering, mounting and urine marking. The incidence of prostate, testicular and anal tumours is also reduced. It also increases their life expectancy.
Lack of socialisation lead to behavioural problems later in life. Get your puppy used to as many different situations as possible – traffic, children, wheelchairs, people wearing hats, bicycles, balloons, absolutely everything! The more they are introduced to at an earlier age the less likely your puppy will become aggressive or fearful later in life.
The most sensitive period for socialisation is under 16 weeks of age however the socialisation should continue right into adulthood.
Puppy Classes are a fun and safe way your puppy can socialise with other young puppies. Enquire at reception to sign your puppy up for the next class!
And as always, enjoy yourselves!
Having a puppy is a new and rewarding experience for everyone.
A dog may be just a part of your life, but to them, you are their whole life.