Preparing for your New Puppy
Think carefully before giving a home to a puppy. There are lots of things you need to consider and they are often hard work!
You need to consider
- Breed and the Puppy's History
- Socialisation and Settling In
- Worming and Flea Treatment
Breed and History
- Firstly, what breed would best suit your lifestyle / family? There is a big difference between a Chihuahua and a Great Dane!
- If you are buying from a breeder, always ask to see the parents and make sure they have had the necessary checks such as hips and eyes.
- If re-homing a rescue puppy, ask the rescue centre for everything they know about the puppy’s history and, if possible, ask to see its mother.
Socialisation and Settling In
Collect your puppy as young as possible – ideally at 8 weeks.
The puppy will probably whine on its first night away from its Mum. Resist the urge to go ande reassure it as this will reinforce the fact that crying gets attention.
This period in a puppy’s life is called “the socialisation period”, when it approaches new things with curiosity rather than fear. •
During this time, a puppy should be introduced to as many new things as possible such as the hoover, washing machine and other scary noises and objects – including children!
Ask your veterinary team about DAP plug-in diffusers or a DAP collar. These give off dog appeasing pheromones and will help to calm your puppy.
- Most vets will do a free puppy check at 8 weeks and will advise you on worming, flea treatment, diet, vaccinations and neutering. The puppy must not be taken for walks until it is fully vaccinated.
- It is normally advisable for puppies to be given the first vaccination at 8 weeks old, the second at 12 weeks old and then "walkies" can begin at 13 weeks old.
- These should then be followed by a booster vaccination on an annual basis.
- The viruses which puppies can be vaccinated against are (a) Parvovirus, (b) Distemper, (c ) Canine Hepatitis, (d) Leptospirosis, (e) Kennel Cough (infectious bronchitis), (f) Adenovirus and (g) Para-Influenza.
- Most reputable kennels will not accept a dog that is not fully vaccinated including vaccination for Kennel Cough.
Worming & Flea Treatment
- The puppy will need to be wormed every month until it is 6 months old.
- It is important to speak to your vet for advice on the most suitable flea treatment for your puppy.
- Not only do fleas cause skin problems, they are also a source of tapeworm.
- Most puppies will be on 3-4 meals a day and ideally should be fed on a balanced puppy food rather than a mixture of human foods.
- Your vet can give you advice on the dietary needs of your puppy. Also find out more on the Hill's Pet Nutrition site here.
- Fresh water should always be available.
- Unless you seriously want to breed from your puppy, puppies can be neutered from 6 months old.
- The benefits of having your male dog castrated are behavioural as well as physiological.
- Having your male dog castrated can prevent testicular and prostate cancer.
- Female dogs will benefit from spaying.
- Spaying a female reduce the risk of developing mammary cancer and can prevent a female suffering from a serious condition called Pyometra.
- As soon as your puppy comes home, start training it!
- Toilet-training should start as soon as possible.
- Take your puppy out regularly after feeding and playing and praise it and reward it when it "goes" outside.
- If it does have an accident indoors, don't punish it, just pop it outside again - it will soon learn.
- Microchipping is highly advised. It is very important that a lost dog can be identified.
- A stray dog brought into a vets, the local authority etc can be scanned and if a microchip is found, can be reunited with its owner very quickly as opposed to being sent to the local rescue centre.
- Microchips have an advantage over collars and tags because they cannot fall off or be removed.
- Legally, however, all dogs should also wear a collar and tag in public areas. The tag should have the owner's address and surname on it. If a stray dog is found not wearing a tag with this information, the owner can be fined quite heavily!
- Now is the time to get your puppy insured as claims in the first year are common!
- The cost of treatment of a serious accident or illness can be less stressful financially if the dog is insured.
Taking on a new, cute, little puppy is a huge responsibility but also a lot of fun and the rewards are great – but remember that they don’t stay that size for long!