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At Home New Puppy Care
The addition of a young puppy into your life is a time of great happiness and excitement for the whole family. With this comes a large responsibility to provide the best care for your new puppy, a responsibility which may last 10-18 years!
New pet owners are often overloaded with advice from many different sources, much of which is often conflicting and confusing. To help you and your new puppy to get off on the right foot, we have discussed the main areas of healthcare for your puppy in the following pages.
There are several treatments available for heartworm prevention.
The most convenient is a yearly heartworm injection that is often given at the same time as the annual vaccination.
The heartworm injection is given at 12 weeks of age (at the same time as vaccination), 6 months of age (at the same time as desexing) then just once a year with the annual check up and vaccination. There is no risk of lapsing with prevention as a reminder is sent out annually.
Most owners are happy that they no longer have to remember to give monthly prevention!
Advocate is a liquid that is applied to the skin at the back of the neck every month. It also provides protection against fleas.
Heartgard is a monthly meat flavoured chewable which many dogs regard as a treat.
Sentinel Spectrum is a flavoured tablet that is given once monthly which also protects against fleas and all four types of intestinal worms.
The four types of intestinal worms that infect puppies and adult dogs are roundworm, hookworm, tapeworm and whipworm.
Roundworm infection is very common and most puppies are infected from a very young age from their mother. Infection may cause vomiting, diarrhoea, bloated abdomen and ill thrift.
For this reason, all puppies need to be wormed every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age, then monthly until 6 months old and then every 3 months for life. An allwormer such as Popantel, Drontal, Milbemax or Canex that target all four types of intestinal worms needs to be used.
There are several very effective easy to use products available to eliminate fleas on your pet. Most of these products are safe to be started at 8 weeks of age.
Advantage is applied to the skin between the shoulder blades once a month and is available for both dogs and cats.
Revolution is a liquid that is applied to the skin between the shoulder blades every month. It also protects against heartworm as well as sarcoptic mange and ear mites in dogs.
Dental Care for Puppies
Puppies get their first set of teeth or their temporary teeth in the first few weeks of life. Their permanent or adult teeth are usually all through by 6-7 months of age. When puppies are teething, they like to chew and it is not uncommon to find temporary teeth that have fallen out!
Dental disease is a major problem in adult dogs, so teaching your puppy early to look after their teeth can have major benefits. Puppies should be encouraged to chew on dental aids such as rawhide bones, pigs ears etc. We can give more advice on dental health care needs for your puppy.
Grooming your Puppy
Regardless of your puppy’s breed, grooming can be carried out on a regular basis by all members of the family. Even the very youngest child can be taught how to brush the puppy under adult supervision.
Any puppy which will need to have regular, professional grooming when they are older should be introduced to puppy clips as early as possible. A puppy clip normally involves a groomer clipping the face, paws and tail of the puppy to get them used to the sights and sounds associated with a grooming salon.
When grooming your puppy at home make sure you use a soft brush which will not cut or tear at the puppy’s skin. A bad experience with brushing at this stage in the puppy’s life will only serve to make grooming an unpleasant experience for everyone as the pup gets older.
When grooming your pup it is the ideal time to check them over for any injuries or infections that they may have picked up during the course of their day. Check your puppy’s ears to ensure they are clean and pleasant smelling, check the feet for cuts and grazes, check the eyes to ensure they are clear and bright and check the bottom to be sure it is clean. Attention to these areas on a regular basis can often save you trips to the vet.
Don’t forget that the main purpose of grooming at this age is not to keep your puppy immaculate, but to allow them a chance to get used to being brushed and handled by you. Any puppies who get distressed at being groomed should be handled gently and only by an adult.
Children and Puppies
Having a dog within the family has been shown to generally have a positive effect on children, improving their self-esteem and sense of responsibility whilst giving them both a playmate and a confidante. It is important however, that all children are taught to treat a new pup with kindness and respect. A puppy is not a toy and children should never be allowed to treat them as such.
Below are some pointers to help your child develop a good relationship with their new puppy.
Never allow even the very youngest child to hit or chase your puppy as habits learned early in life can be carried through the childhood years and beyond. A puppy will quickly learn to fear your child and may even respond by biting.
Encourage children to help with feeding the puppy as this will help to establish them as higher in the family hierarchy than the pup, whilst also teaching them responsibility.
It is generally only a good idea to give children full responsibility for feeding when the puppy has learnt basic commands such as sit and stay and will respond to the child’s command. Giving young children this responsibility too early on in the pup’s life may create anxiety within the child, causing them to retreat from the responsibility rather than enjoy it.
All puppies need a place to retire to when they wish to be left alone. This is particularly important when there are children in the house. It is essential that all children within the family are taught to respect this area and that they are not allowed to pester the puppy when he or she retreats here. Whilst saying this, it is also necessary that the puppy will accept removal from this area by an adult should the need arise.
While your puppy is still quite small it is a good idea to show children how to pick them up correctly. Start by standing facing the side of the puppy. Place one arm around the front of the pup’s chest and follow this by scooping the other arm under the pup’s bottom and lifting him or her into your arms. When holding the puppy make sure they are held against the body as this tends to give the puppy a feeling of security.
Taking your puppy for a walk once it is old enough is one of the many joys of pet ownership. Allowing your children to participate is beneficial to both them and the puppy. The important thing to remember here is that young children should always be supervised when walking the puppy. Let them take the lead in ‘safe’ areas such as a park, but be sure to keep a firm hand on the lead yourself when walking near busy roads. All too often children get pulled off their feet by a boisterous pup and the last thing you want is for this to happen where there is a danger of anyone being run over.
As you are probably aware it is illegal for you to allow your dog to defecate in public places without cleaning it up. Teach your children right from the beginning that going for a walk includes having to pick up any faeces. By the time they are old enough to take the dog alone cleaning up will be a natural part of the walk.
Always try to involve the children in obedience training. Most obedience clubs will encourage children to participate and if you find that the club you go to doesn’t, perhaps you need to find a club that does! Children need to learn that obedience training is a necessary part of owning a puppy and they should be encouraged to join in under supervision.
Here at the Hospital we have two hydrobaths for making dog washing a lot easier!
Two options are available for use of the hydrobaths.
Owners can choose to use the hydrobaths themselves to wash their own dog. The nurses can give a demonstration on how to use the bath which is easy to learn.
Alternatively, one of the nurses can wash and dry your dog for you. Your dog will need to stay with us for a couple of hours until they are dry enough to go home.
We can also trim your dog’s nails for you if you are having trouble doing this.