Congratulations on your new puppy. Just as your house is about to be turned upside down by your new arrival we have the following recommendations to try make life a bit easier for you!
We recommend that you should not take your new puppy home until he\she is at least 8 weeks old. Ideally your pup should be viewed in his\her home environment before purchase and should always be seen with its mother (and father, if both are at the same house) and litter mates.
There are a number of potentially fatal diseases which we routinely vaccinate dogs against. These diseases can be picked up in the environment and due to this it is extremely important that you do not bring your pup out walking, outside your home or allow to mix with other dogs until they have received their full course of vaccinations, and are immune to such diseases. Your pup will need 2 course vaccination – 1 at 8 weeks followed by once 4 weeks later. It takes 1 week after their 2nd vaccination to be fully immune. This is then followed up with yearly booster vaccinations.
If your new puppy may be going to boarding kennels he\she will also need to be vaccinated against kennel cough. This is a nasty respiratory condition which can take a long course of antibiotics to treat. This vaccine needs to be given at least 10 days before going to boarding kennels and we would recommend only using kennels who insist on your pet having this before staying with them.
Unfortunately, virtually all pups are born with worms (regardless of how well their mother was wormed). As a result, it is very important that regular worming is carried out. Ideally this should be started by the breeder from 2 weeks of age, and carried out at regular intervals depending on the brand of wormer used. Children are also susceptible to worms carried by pups. It is therefore very important that you stress the importance of good hygiene to your children after getting a new pup\dog, with hand washing after handling recommended, and never letting your pup lick your child’s face.
Only 1% of the flea life cycle actually lives on your dog and the rest of the time they are present in the environment (bedding, your home!). Due to this fact it is important to realise that just because you cannot see fleas on your pet it doesn’t necessarily mean they are not present. As a result, preventative flea control is highly recommended.
It is now a legal requirement that all dogs in Ireland must be micro chipped. A microchip is a tiny chip which is inserted under the skin of your dog. In the event of your dog being lost or stolen this chip can then be scanned when your dog is found, and its number will be linked to your details on a database. This allows your pet to be returned to you. It is an invaluable means of ensuring lost pets are returned home to their families and do not end up in local pounds or rehoming centres.
It is advisable that unless you intend breeding that all dogs are neutered. This has numerous health benefits for your dog including reduction\elimination of certain types of malignant tumors, preventing life threatening infections, preventing stressful hormonal changes experienced during heat, reducing unwanted litters and also preventing unwanted behavior, urine marking and some forms of aggression. With the exception of some large\giant breed dogs it is recommended that dogs be neutered from 5-6 months old.
Looking after your new pup’s nutritional demands in conjunction with the above points is one of the most important things you can do to try ensure you have to visit the vets as little as possible!
Puppies have very specific nutritional demands compared to adult dogs, and indeed pups of different breeds also can have massively varied nutritional demands. For example, a Yorkshire terrier puppy will need a completely different diet than that of a St. Bernard puppy. For this reason, it is recommended that you invest in a food which is specific to your pups breed and size. Investment is a good term here as good feeding in certain breeds in the early stages can help slow down the progression of joint related diseases seen later in life or help reduce development of skin or dental disease for which medical treatment (sometimes costly) is usually required. By feeding a good quality diet and giving them a good foundation this hopefully will try and keep your new family member out of the vets as much as possible, apart from their yearly vaccinations and health checks.
The last point on nutrition is to note that it is important to keep your puppy on a puppy food for the optimum time. Small breed dogs may progress to adult feeding diets from 6 months whereas some giant breed dogs may need to be fed a puppy\junior diet up to 18 months of age due to a longer period taken to reach maturity.
Proper socialisation of puppies is hugely important as it can help reduce a lot of behavioural problems later in life. The window for optimal socialisation is very small however with the key time for pups to socialise being up to 16 weeks of age. Kennel club.org.uk and Dogs Trust have developed a ‘Puppy Socialisation Plan’ which gives excellent tips and advice. It is very important to try to socialise your pup as much as possible during this period with a variety of other people, pets and experiences (car travel, trips to parks, the vets), as this may reduce unwanted behaviour or aggression later in life. Do remember however not to let your pup venture out\ mix with other pets until they have their full course of vaccinations!
Unfortunately it is a fact of life that some animals do get sick and in some cases may need once-off, or in other cases life- long medical care. We always hope you will never need it but unfortunately knowing the complexity and high costs of some illnesses experienced by pets we always recommend owners to invest in some form of pet insurance. This can take away the financial worry and burden if treatment is needed.
If you are planning on taking your new puppy abroad at any stage they will also require a pet passport, and vaccination against rabies. This can take some time to arrange, as some individual countries also insist on blood testing prior to entry. If you think you may bring your pet abroad in the future, please enquire about pet passports and vaccination at least 3-4 months prior to travelling.
Common poisons of dogs.
Many household items and foods can be lethal for your dog. Here are a list of some of the common poisons worth noting and avoiding at all cost.
- Grapes, raisins, sultanas and currants
- Xylitol (found in chewing gum and artificial sweeteners)
- Onions and garlic (including gravy and sauces\bread containing these)
- Chicken bones, or other bones which can splinter
- Spoiled food
- Human NSAIDs (e.g ibuprofen). and opiods (morphine \ fentanyl patches)
- Ethylene Glycol (anti-freeze)
- Slug pellets (contain metaldehyde)
- Garden weedkillers