Congratulations on your new puppy! Welcoming a puppy is an exciting time for everyone in the family, but you may feel you have a lot to learn. We hope this page will help answer some of your questions, but if you are unsure about any aspect of your puppy’s care, please don’t hesitate to contact us.
Vaccinations are given to prevent Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Infectious Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Parainfluenza and Leptospirosis. Puppies require two vaccinations initially as the antibodies that they acquire in their mother’s milk can interfere with the vaccination. The first vaccine is generally given between 6-8 weeks of age. The second vaccine is given 2-4 weeks later when puppy is at least 10 weeks old.
Puppies can go out a week after their second vaccination when their levels of immunity should be high enough to protect them from disease.
Prior to their second vaccination puppies can mix with other dogs as long as they are vaccinated, healthy and in a safe area such as your own garden. For more information, visit Vaccination.
Roundworms are very common in puppies and can be passed to the puppy before birth or in the mother’s milk. Puppies are often wormed with the breeder but still generally require more doses of worming.
It is especially important to worm puppies that are in contact with young children as certain types of roundworm are zoonotic, which means they can cause disease in humans; children are particularly susceptible.
We recommend using Stronghold at the time of your puppy’s first vaccination. This is a spot on treatment which treats roundworm as well as a selection of skin parasites and also ear mites.
Puppies may also carry tapeworms. These are most commonly picked up through ingestion of fleas. These can sometimes be seen in the faeces as segments of the worm are shed. These segments will have the appearance of rice grains.
At the time of the second vaccination we recommend use of Milbemax which is a combined wormer and treats both roundworm and tapeworm infestations.
Provided there are no problems we then recommend worming with Milbemax every three months.
If your puppy has not been wormed by the breeder we recommend more frequent worming, usually monthly, until the puppy is 6 months old.
If your puppy eats slugs and snails we would recommend a different parasite control regime which includes Advocate to protect against lungworm, fleas and other parasites and Drontal as a multi-wormer (Milbemax can not be used with Advocate).
Puppies can be infected with other parasites such as fleas and mites (particularly ear mites). Stronghold (see above) treats these infestations.
We can ID chip your puppy at any time, though tend not to advise doing so at the first vaccination. It is normally done at the time of the second vaccination or when your puppy is anaesthetised for neutering. Find out more about ID chipping.
Please note that it is a legal requirement for any dog to wear identification of some description (generally a tag attached to the collar).
It is important to feed your puppy a good quality, balanced and complete diet. If this is the case your puppy should not need any supplements. Dry foods are generally recommended. Follow the instructions on the packet regarding how much to feed. Remember these are guidelines only and vary between individuals. If you are concerned about feeding, contact your vet.
Feeding human food should be avoided as your puppy may start to refuse dog food if it gets used to being given other foods.
If you decide to change your puppy’s diet from what they have been fed with the breeder this should be done gradually as sudden food changes can lead to diarrhoea.
The socialisation period for dogs is between four and 12 weeks of age. During this period a puppy will tend to accept new experiences and therefore not be fearful of them later in life. During this time, allowing your puppy to have good experiences while meeting a range of people and other dogs (as long as they are fully vaccinated and healthy) as well as hearing sounds around the house will hopefully mean that your puppy will accept them for life and not be afraid.
It is important to make sure socialisation is carried out in an appropriate place where your puppy is not at risk of being exposed to disease as during the socialisation period your puppy will not be fully vaccinated.
It is also a good idea to get your puppy used to being handled when he/she is young. Gently looking in his/her eyes, ears and mouth and feeling his/her legs and tail helps in bonding with your puppy and will hopefully allow your puppy to feel more relaxed on visits to the vets/groomers.
This is also a good time for your puppy to get used to being left alone for short periods, gradually building up to longer periods of time.
It is generally a good idea to enrol your puppy in training classes. A few tips to remember when training include:
Toilet training should be fairly simple but can require a lot of patience. Puppies tend to need to urinate every 1-2 hours initially so should be taken into the garden regularly, particularly as soon as they wake up and soon after food. Going into the garden with your puppy means that you can reward him/her as necessary.
Chewing can be a problem in puppies, especially when they are teething. Providing plenty of suitable toys for chewing can help. Make sure that your puppy is not left in a place where he/she could damage items or him/herself.
It is also sensible to get your puppy used to wearing a collar and lead as soon as you get him/her home (to save embarrassing moments when out in public!). Initially put the collar on, give a treat and then take the collar off. Repeat this regularly so that your puppy learns to associate the collar with nice things. The next step is to attach the lead and allow it to drag along behind puppy (never leave unattended with the lead attached). Eventually, you can gently pick up the lead without applying any tension. This will hopefully mean that by the time puppy is ready to explore the outside world he/she will be used to wearing a collar and lead.
Once your puppy has had its first vaccination, he/she will be invited to a puppy party at the practice which allows him/her to meet other puppies in a controlled environment and allows owners to talk to the nurses. Find out more about our puppy parties.
Neutering is generally performed from six months of age. For more information please see Neutering.
6 – 8 weeks
We hope you have found this information useful, but remember, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact us for advice.