Caring For Your New Puppy
Feeding your pup a healthy, wholesome and well-balanced diet will help it to stay in good health. Dogs are naturally carnivores and depend on good quality protein and fat to keep them fit and strong. Ideally feed your pup a food that is free of chemicals, preservatives and high amounts of grain or carbohydrates. For more information about a well balanced raw food diet please see our information sheet.
With pups always change their diet gradually as they can get tummy upsets from sudden diet changes ie. Mix ¼ of the new food with ¾ of their old food for a couple of days, then ½ and ½ for a couple of days, etc.
Worm & Flea treatment
Fleas and worms can be extremely harmful parasites. Not only do they cause a tremendous amount of irritation but they are also responsible for health problems such as flea allergies, sore tummies, diarrhea and they are capable of infesting young animals so severely that they can cause them to be anemic and very sick.
There are a number of ways to reduce worm and flea burdens numbers. Firstly supporting your pet’s immune system with good nutrition will go a long way to making them less tasty to fleas and more able to defend against worm burdens. Regular treatment with worm and flea products are important to help keep your pet healthy. Some products are of much better quality than others and there are some products that can have toxic side effects so be sure to check with your vet what the most user friendly option for your pet is.
With fleas, environmental control is very important as typically the number of fleas on any dog or cat is only the tip of the ice berg reflecting a much greater flea population in the animal’s environment of both adult and immature fleas. Therefore addressing the environment is a very important component of flea control. Immature fleas can be destroyed by regularly hanging pet bedding out in the sunshine, thoroughly vacuuming carpets on a regular basis and sprinkling them with borax or diatomaceous earth afterwards.
Pups should be dewormed every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old and then once a month until they are 6 months old. A Faecal Egg Count (FEC) is a test that we can do to see if worms are present, what types they are and whether treatments are needed or are working.
A microchip is approximately the size of a grain of rice. It is inserted under the skin usually between the shoulder blades and offers a reliable means of identifying an animal. This can be a fantastic help when an animal has been found and it has no collar or other identifying features and when the microchip is listed on the national database, it is relatively easy to reunite an animal with their owner. Microchipping can be done at any age but it is a council requirement for dogs to be registered and ideally microchipped at 3 months of age unless they are working dogs.
Vaccination and Regular Health Checks
Vaccinating you puppy can be an important way of helping to prevent serious life threatening diseases like parvo-virus. A vaccination is a means of giving the body a much less severe form of a disease than it could potentially contract. This primes the immune system to be prepared for the disease and enables the body to mount an effective enough defence so that the animal doesn’t become severely ill when exposed to the real thing.
Any vaccine is only as good as the host’s response to it and this requires an animal to have a healthy immune system. This is a big reason why vaccines sometimes fail to provide immunity. As with any medication, there are potential negative effects associated with vaccines such as vaccine reactions. There is also evidence that over vaccination contributes to the development of autoimmune conditions and other degenerative diseases.
Homeopathic vaccines are available but don’t carry the scientific weight that our conventional vaccines do in terms of efficacy, however negative reactions to these gentle remedies aren’t an issue. From a holistic point of view, the best support that we can give our animals’ immune system is to nourish them properly, live cleanly and respect the environment that we live in. Vaccination has its place, but each animal needs to be assessed individually and the benefits of a vaccination protocol versus potential negatives carefully weighed up.
Taking your puppy to the vet for a check up between six and eight weeks of age will give you the opportunity to come to an informed decision that you’re comfortable with about what vaccines to use for your pup.
Unfortunately pet overpopulation is a huge animal welfare issue worldwide and many animals are abandoned, aren’t adequately cared for or can’t be rehomed by animal shelters leading to millions being euthanized each year. Desexing is an important tool to help address this issue. Desexed dogs are less likely to have territorial behaviors and get into fights, which is important in helping to reduce injury and the need to see the vet. Desexing can be done as young as 8-10 weeks of age but as with any surgical procedure there are risks involved and the timing of the procedure can be important. For more information please refer to our Desexing information sheet.
Sometimes health problems develop suddenly and often unexpectedly and especially for occasions such as these, pet health insurance can be invaluable. A good Pet Health Insurance Plan will cover basic health checks as well as major health issues which may crop up. Ideally choose a pet health insurance plan that covers complementary and natural therapies in addition to all the benefits of conventional veterinary medicine and surgery so that you can easily give your pet all the healthcare options that they may need.
Dogs that are used to people and other animals are well socialized. Before the age of 4 months is the most important time to expose your puppy to people and other animals and help them to become well-adjusted, confident and friendly individuals.