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Thinking of getting a puppy/dog?

Behaviour and Personality

There are a variety of breeds out there, ranging from pedigree to cross breeds, miniature to giant. Each breed and in fact each individual has different needs, from housing to training and these needs to be considered when choosing your dog/puppy. Having a pet is a full time commitment and they are part of your family for up to 15 years depending on which breed you decide on,. It is always a good idea to research what type of dog best suits your lifestyle and what you want to achieve from the companionship before looking at an individual puppy/dog.

House environment

Each dog/puppy requires a lot of products for when they first arrive home, including beds, bowls, toys, leads, collars, disinfectant etc. It is best to be prepared and purchase everything before collecting your new companion. You may also need to ‘puppy proof’ your house to ensure that anything that can be chewed or destroyed is put out of reach.

Nutrition

When bringing a dog/puppy home, the place where you got your pet from should supply you with at least a weeks worth of food. It is advised to feed appropriate for your dog’s life stage, so puppies fed puppy food, adults fed adult food and so on. Your puppy should already be weaned when it comes home, therefore there should be no need to soften food or mix in puppy milk. It is also important to ensure feeding is an interactive experience, so Kongs or puzzle feeders can be used to slow down feeding and make it more entertaining.

Toileting

If buying a puppy, you will need to train them to toilet outside. Generally puppies are very good at going on a puppy pad or newspaper from an early age – this can then be built upon by moving the puppy pad/newspaper outside, associating a verbal command with toileting outside (such as ‘do your business’) and providing reward based praise when your dog toilets outside. In addition, take them outside regularly, especially after eating or drinking.
There will inevitably be mishaps; it is very important not to punish your dog if they toilet indoors. Instead, remain completely neutral, and pick them up, place them outside and give the verbal command. Then remove the soiling with a biological cleaner, as this will remove the scent.

Most adult dogs will already be toilet trained, but if a dog has come from a rescue background, or has an unknown history, some refresher training might be needed.

Our veterinary nurses are on-hand to assist with any training queries you may have.

Socialisation

Socialisation introduces your puppy to a variety of new experiences in a positive way, so that they do not become fearful of the object/situation. A puppy learns very quickly and it is important to get them used to different noises, people and objects at an early age (from 8-16 weeks). This process helps prevent them from developing anxiety or aggression in later life.

Healthcare

Vaccinations are started from 8 weeks of age and the follow up injection is given 2-4 weeks later. These vaccinations cover against four potentially life threatening diseases – distemper, parvovirus, leptospirosis, infectious canine hepatitis and it also protects against parainfluenza and coronavirus. After these 2 vaccines the dog will then need an annual booster to ensure they still have immunity.

Parasites can be transferred from mother to offspring, animal to animal and environment to animal. It is very important to keep up to date with parasite control. Dogs need to be wormed every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age, every 4 weeks until 6 months and every 3 months after that. Flea treatment should also be applied every 4 weeks from 8 weeks of age. There are many flea and worming products out there, but your vet or qualified nurse can aid with your decision.

As of April 2016, it will be illegal to own a dog/puppy without a microchip. The microchip is a small electronic chip placed under the skin, usually between the shoulder blades. It has a unique identification number that is registered to that animal. A puppy legally will need to have a microchip implanted before they are 8 weeks old – so be sure to check whether your breeder has organised this.

If you do not want to breed from your dog/puppy, then neutering is a very sensible option. It prevents unwanted litters, undesirable sexually orientated behaviour and help to reduce certain health problems in the future. Male dogs can be castrated from 6 months of age, and females can be spayed between 6-12 months of age depending on their reproductive cycle.

Insurance

Pet insurance is recommended, to cover costs of essential veterinary care. If your dog/puppy becomes ill or injured it gives you peace of mind that they can receive treatment without the unexpected veterinary costs, which can be very stressful. There are a lot of insurance companies and different covers that can be chosen; it is highly recommended (regardless of insurance provider) that it is a ‘covered for life’ policy, meaning if your pet has a illness that will effect the rest of their life, your insurance company will help with the cost as long as you do not change insurance companies.

Grooming

Depending on the breed of your puppy/dog, they may need regular grooming. Long haired breeds will require more regular brushing/bathing – this can either be done at home, or via a dog groomer.
It is also advisable to handle their paws regularly, examine their claws, ears and eyes and clean when necessary – this will accustom them to having these areas handled, which reduces their stress levels should they need a veterinary exam or their claws trimmed.

And finally...

Enjoy your new companion! It is a very exciting time bringing a dog/puppy into your life but it can also be very challenging. There will be good and difficult times, but it is all worthwhile for the companionship and love you will receive.