You’re the proud owner of a new puppy! How exciting! There are lots of things to think about when getting a new family member so this blog is just a little summary of the main things that you need to think about.
The most important thing you can do for your new puppy is get them vaccinated, as some of the diseases we vaccinate for are fatal.
The vaccination protocol we recommend following (based on the World Small Animal Association Guidelines) is:
1st Vaccination at 6-8 weeks of age: Parvovirus, parainfluenza, hepatitis & distemper
2nd Vaccination at 12 weeks of age: Parvovirus, parainfluenza, hepatitis, distemper and leptospirosis +/- kennel cough
3rd Vaccination at 16 weeks of age: Covers against parvovirus, parainfluenza, hepatitis, distemper and leptospirosis
Once the initial course is complete, annual vaccinations are needed to ‘top up’ your protection.
Some pets can have reactions to vaccines so it’s important to monitor them for signs of lethargy, swelling at the injection site or a puffy face. Contact the vet who gave the vaccine so they can advise on treatment and also report this reaction to the vaccine companies.
Puppies have lower immunity than adult dogs so are more susceptible to worms. Worms may cause your puppy to have poor body condition and diarrhoea. Large infestations in young puppies can even be fatal.
We recommend the following de-worming protocol:
2 to 12 weeks of age: Every 2 weeks
12 weeks to 6 months of age: Once a month
6 months onwards: Every 3 months for life.
Any dog not on a year round flea control plan will carry at least 1 or 2 fleas if not more. Fleas are everywhere and cannot be avoided.
It is not always possible to find fleas on your pet as they run away from light as you part the hair to look for them. Fleas breed quickly particularly in summer and in warm carpeted homes. One flea can lay up to 50 eggs a day therefore it does not take long for a flea problem to develop, so if preventative measures are not taken flea populations rise rapidly.
Flea treatment should be given monthly unless the packaging advises that it lasts longer e.g. 3 months or 6 months. It is important to read the packaging as some flea treatment is not suitable or licensed for young puppies.
Feeding your puppy
Puppies have increased nutritional needs compared to adults and require a specific ratio of some of the vitamins and minerals e.g. calcium and phosphorous to help their bone development. The best diet for a puppy is a balanced commercial food like the Hills and Royal Canine Science diet or Eukanuba.
Puppies have small stomachs and are best fed little and often, we suggest:
6 to 12 weeks of age: feed 4 meals daily
12 weeks to 6 months of age: feed 3 meals daily
6 to 12 months of age: feed 2 meals daily
12 months onwards: once or twice daily depending on your lifestyle/dog’s preference