Bringing home a new puppy
Once you have made the big decision to add a dog to your family, you need to prepare your house for your new pet. Provide a nice, cosy bed in a quiet area away from foot traffic. Consider a crate if you are bringing home a puppy – crate-training can be an effective way to house-train your puppy. This article gives a good summary of the process.
Synthetic pheromones such as Adaptil can make everything feel much safer for a puppy, as they mimic the natural pheromones produced by mother dogs. Use a diffuser in the room they will be moving into, and spray the car before you pick up your new pet. Provide soft toys for puppies, but make sure they don’t resemble anything you don’t want chewed, e.g. a soft toy in the shape of a shoe gives the wrong idea to your puppy. If you buy balls, make sure they are not small enough to fit completely in the puppy’s mouth. Electrical cords should be bundled and fastened out of reach of puppies. Remove poisonous plants, rat baits or other poisons, and make sure cupboards containing medicines or cleaning products are closed. Floors and low tables should be removed of small items that could be swallowed, such as rubber bands, jewellery, Lego, etc. Keep washing machine and dryer doors closed at all times.
Make sure you purchase a good quality puppy food. This must be specially formulated for puppies to make sure their unique nutritional needs are met. If they were eating something different previously, try and have some of this on hand so you can make the transition to their new diet gradually. Puppies will get upset tummies very easily with an abrupt change in diet.
When you bring your new member of the family home, make sure that introductions are made in a calm way, one person at a time, and everyone limits handling for the first few days while your new pet adjusts.
After a couple of days, take the puppy to the vet for a check-up. The vet will check the pet’s weight and general health, and examine for ear mites and fleas. They may treat for fleas and worms if the animal has not been treated recently.
What vaccinations do puppies need?
You can ask your vet about vaccinations at this visit. If your breeder has had the animal vaccinated once already, they should have given you a vaccination card which you can show to the vet. Puppies need 2-3 vaccinations 2-4 weeks apart to be fully protected. All dogs should be vaccinated against the most common diseases such as parvovirus, leptospirosis, canine hepatitis, and canine distemper, and other vaccinations such as kennel cough and rabies can be considered depending on future plans such as whether you are considering boarding or travelling with your dog. Boosters need to be carried out regularly, either annually or at a schedule recommended by your vet.
When to microchip your puppy
Your vet can microchip your pet at any point. Many people opt to have it done during the neutering process while the animal is anaesthetised. By April 2016, it will be compulsory for all dogs to be microchipped and registered, but until then it is the best way to make sure your dog can be identified if he goes missing. A microchip is also necessary if you plan to take your dog abroad under the Pet Passport Scheme.
Worm and flea treatment for your puppy
Flea and worming treatment should be carried out regularly. Your kitten or puppy should be wormed once a month until they are 6 months old, then every 3 months, unless your vet advises otherwise. The frequency of flea treatment depends on the preparation used. It is important that your pet is weighed accurately before they are treated to make sure they are not under or over-dosed.
Neutering is also a very important discussion to have with the vet. It is always the most responsible decision to have your pet neutered. There is a massive over-population of cats and dogs, and adding to the problem by letting your pet breed means more cats and dogs go hungry.
Male dogs that are not castrated are susceptible to prostate and testicular problems, as well as being more prone to inter-dog aggression and roaming. Female dogs can develop mammary tumours or life-threatening womb infections if they are not spayed, not to mention having a messy heat every 6 months.
The neutering operation is very safe, and is most easily done when the animal is under 6 months old.
You should consider pet insurance as early as possible. There are some available that will help towards costs of neutering and yearly vaccinations. If your pet has an accident or develops an illness that requires long-term treatment, it can be very expensive to have this treated if you don’t have pet insurance. Don’t forget, there is no NHS for animals! As an alternative to pet insurance, you could consider a dedicated savings account where you deposit a small weekly sum in case of unexpected vet bills.
Happily Ever After
It is essential to see your vet regularly to keep your pet healthy, however MedicAnimal can help with all the care in between!