Puppies need a bit of TLC to keep them in tip top condition. There are some things you can do to take care of your puppy which may involve a trip to the vet in some cases. Some key puppy health and care advice:
Visiting the vet
Get your puppy used to visiting the vet. This can be done by keeping an eye on your puppy’s development by getting him weighed every few months; this is free at most vets. It also gives your puppy a chance to become familiar with your vet’s surroundings and smell.
When puppies are born they are generally covered from infections when being fed their mother’s milk. This only lasts a couple of weeks so it’s important to get puppy vaccinations early.
Puppy vaccinations tend to be given around 6 weeks and are usually two jabs. Two weeks apart. The vaccinations are for:
• Canine parvovirus, Canine distemper virus, Leptospirosis and Infectious canine hepatitis
They then need a booster jab every year to keep them protected. The vet tends to send reminders of when this is required.
If your puppy will go to kennels we recommend they have the kennel cough vaccine. The vaccine is generally required a week before they go into the kennels to ensure they are covered. The vaccine will last up to year.
To support you with your dog vaccinations, download our Dog Vaccination Schedule.
If you don’t want to breed your dog you may need to think about getting your puppy neutered. If you wish to breed your dog speak to your vet on how to manage this process and take a look at our information page on dog pregnancy for advice.
Neutering also has other benefits for the overall health and wellbeing of your dog:
Spaying female dogs:
• Prevents pregnancy
• Stops the twice a year bleeding season
• Prevents unwanted male dog attention
• Stops phantom pregnancies
• Stops uterine infections
Castrating male dogs:
• Reduces aggressive or sexual behaviour
• Prevents males wandering off for female attention
• Prevents testicular cancer
Neutering is recommended to be done from 6 months onwards. For further advice speak with your vet.
Micro chipping your puppy
It’s a quick way of identifying your dog if he gets lost or stolen. Micro chipping can be done quickly and easily by your vet or rescue centre. It doesn’t cost much and it’s definitely worth it.
The microchip is the size of a grain of rice and is inserted into the puppy’s neck. It has a unique code on it which is linked to your puppy. A scanner is used by the dog warden, vet or police to identify your puppy and return him to you.
Be sure to keep your contact details up to date, this can be done with your vet. Even if your dog is micro chipped a collar and identity tag is still required by law.
Puppy health – 10 weekly health check tips
As you groom your puppy give a weekly once over so you can get to know about any health changes. For further information, see our 10 top weekly dog health advice tips.
Fleas and worms
When your puppy gets their puppy vaccinations at 6 weeks or 8 weeks make sure they’re wormed and de-flea ed at the same time. Then vaccinate against fleas and worms every year.
Puppies pick them up exploring outside and eating dog poo.
Symptoms may include:
• They’ll scratch and itch
• Have a dry skin or coat
• Start biting or itching their rear end
• Go off their food
• Get a hot, dry nose
• Strands or blood in their poo
Dealing with fleas and worms:
If your puppy has fleas he may have worms as fleas tend to carry their larvae. Get treatment from your vet or pet shop. Treat other pets in the house. It can spread to humans so check yourselves and get medical advice if need be.
Use flea treatment cleaner on carpets and bedding that the puppy may have been in contact with.
Puppy dental care
The sooner you start brushing their teeth the sooner they’ll get used to the idea!
Brushing your puppy’s teeth is an important part of puppy dental care and helps to keep their gums and teeth healthy. Try to make it fun so lots of praise and rewards. Try short intervals to start with and gradually increase the time. Use a doggy toothpaste and aim for once a day.
It has been said that dry food cleans dogs’ teeth; this is a myth as it doesn’t clean the plaque or tartar totally and cause gum disease.
Puppy care for their skin and coat
Bath time can be fun for you and your puppy. It is recommended that you only bath your dog about 3 or 4 times a year as it can irritate their skin if you do it too much.
Sometimes your puppy can go on a real doggy adventure when they’ve rolled in goodness-knows-what and swam in stagnant water needs must!
Start by brushing the worst of the mud off, lift your puppy into the bath with one hand on him, the other on the shower hose. Use doggy shampoo on his body and a soft sponge on his face. Rinse off the suds with lukewarm water.
Towel dry if you can, before he does a big shake down. You can use a hair dryer but not too hot and not near his face as it may freak him out!
Try grooming your puppy once a week. It makes his fur shiny as natural oils are spread through his coat.
How often you brush or comb your dog depends on the breed and length of hair. If he has tangles or matted bits make sure you tease them out gently with a comb or scissors. Prise out bits and bobs like grass seed and twigs.