Puppy perfect – 7 ways to ensure a healthy start in life

1st January 2018

Bringing your puppy home can be overwhelming when you consider all aspects of their care. The good news is that with the support of our team of experts at Bollington Veterinary Centre we can help to give your puppy the best start in life and help you to enjoy your time together.

Health check – probably the first thing to do with your new puppy is to bring him/her along to see one of our vets for a general health check. We’ll have a good look and listen, checking for signs of good health. If we spot anything abnormal we’ll be able to let you know what to do. At this stage we might find congenital problems, including heart murmurs, hernias and infection.

Vaccinations - these are injections given to your puppy to provide protection from some serious dog diseases. Usually the first injection is given around 8 weeks of age and a second injection at 10 weeks of age, although sometimes the timing can vary slightly depending on when you get your puppy.

Always speak to one of our vets at Bollington Veterinary Centre to get the most appropriate advice. Our receptionists will be able to book you an appointment to fit with this schedule.

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Until these injections have been given it is best not to allow your puppy to go outside or exercise on public ground. You need to give your puppy’s immune system a chance to develop antibodies from the vaccine, which usually takes about 4 weeks from the first infection.

Worms and fleas - unfortunately many new puppies arrive with fleas and worms, even if they come from a good home. Roundworms can be passed from the mother to the puppy in the milk or across the placenta, whilst fleas can be spread at any time especially when animals are in close contact with each other.

At Bollington Veterinary Centre we recommend treating for worms as often as every 4 weeks until 6 months of age. This, like flea treatment, is dosed according to weight. For this reason we recommend you come in to our practice to get your puppy’s weight checked and ensure you use the most appropriate dose of treatment.

Feeding - the choice of puppy foods on the market is vast. It is important that you choose a good quality food for your puppy’s first year as this is obviously when all its growth is taking place and at Bollington Veterinary Centre we can recommend a few that we have trialed ourselves. Different breeds and lifestyles require very different feeding plans so don’t hesitate to ask us for our recommendations.

Remember not to make sudden changes between different diets as this can upset your puppy’s digestion and cause diarrhoea.

Insurance - all our vets recommend you have insurance cover for your pet’s health using a recognised good insurance company. Having appropriate insurance in place will give you peace of mind throughout your puppy’s life. Don’t rush to take out the fist one you come across – ask us for our advice.

Microchipping - it’s now a legal requirement that all dogs in the UK are microchipped. It’s also an excellent means of identifying your pet permanently in the event of being lost. We can let you know the best time to do this. It is one more way you can help to keep your puppy secure.

Training and behaviour/socialising - dogs in the wild live in packs and our domesticated pets still understand this hierarchy. It’s important that your puppy, however big or small, knows that you are the pack leader. This needs to be done right from the very beginning. Ask us for help and we can point you in the direction of some excellent puppy training classes.

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