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Getting a New Puppy : Everything You Need to Know

Congratulations on getting a new puppy! This is an exciting time, but it can also be a bit overwhelming. In this article, we will cover some important topics that you should know as a new puppy owner.

What to Expect

Bringing home a new puppy is a big responsibility, and it's important to be prepared.

Puppies require a lot of attention, love, and training. They can also be very energetic and playful, so be ready for lots of activity. Expect your puppy to cry or whine during the first few nights as they adjust to their new surroundings. You may also have to deal with accidents around the house as they learn to toilet train.

Feeding

Puppies have specific dietary needs, and it's important to feed them the right food. Choose a high-quality puppy food that is specifically formulated for their age and breed. For optimal nutrition, it's recommended that you feed your puppy a specialized puppy food, preferably in dry form, although you can add water to soften it, or a combination of wet and dry food, three to four times a day. It's important to note that the appropriate amount of food will vary based on your puppy's age and the type of food you're using, so be sure to check the package for guidance. While raw feeding has gained popularity in recent years and some dogs thrive on it, it's not recommended for younger puppies with weaker immune systems. Additionally, it's important to be aware of the potential health risks to you and your family associated with raw feeding, particularly if you have young children. Ensuring that your puppy has access to clean, fresh water at all times is also crucial to their overall health and well-being.

Toileting


Puppies need to go outside to toilet frequently, especially after eating, drinking, or playing. Consistency is key when it comes to toilet training. Take your puppy out at regular intervals throughout the day, and give them lots of praise and treats when they go outside. Be patient, as accidents will happen, but with time and consistency, your puppy will learn to toilet outside. It is crucial to keep your puppy away from unvaccinated dogs or unfamiliar outdoor areas until they've received their second vaccination and waited at least a week. However, it's generally safe for them to explore and play in your own private garden, despite the small risk posed by foxes. To minimize any risks, try to discourage your puppy from scavenging and keep a watchful eye on them while they're outside. Taking your puppy outside regularly to an enclosed area can also be helpful for toilet training. Consider taking them out every hour and providing plenty of praise when they do their business. If your puppy has an accident, it's important not to scold them as they won't understand that they've done something wrong. While puppy pads can be used inside, keep in mind that your puppy may become confused about where it's appropriate to go to the bathroom.

Socialisation

Socialisation is crucial for your puppy's development. Expose them to different people, animals, and environments, and provide positive experiences. This will help them develop into a confident, well-adjusted adult dog. Puppy classes are a great way to socialise your puppy and learn important training techniques.

Vaccinations in the UK

Vaccinations are an important part of your puppy's healthcare. In the UK, puppies are typically vaccinated against diseases such as distemper, parvovirus, and hepatitis. These vaccinations are usually given in two or three doses, starting at around 8 weeks of age. Your vet can advise you on the best vaccination schedule for your puppy.

Here is detailed outline for puppy vaccination:

To protect against the most serious diseases in the UK, dogs need a series of 2-3 vaccinations spaced 2-4 weeks apart, typically starting at 8 weeks of age. The vaccinations target parvovirus, distemper, leptospirosis, and hepatitis.

The timing of the vaccinations depends on the type of leptospirosis vaccine used. The L4 vaccine is highly effective but requires a four-week gap after the initial dose. The L2 vaccine, on the other hand, is also effective but covers fewer strains of leptospirosis and can be administered two weeks after the first dose.


For most puppies, we recommend the L4 vaccine while vaccinating for distemper, hepatitis, and parvovirus after two weeks to enable earlier socialization.

After the second DHP vaccination, puppies are usually considered safe enough to socialize after one week, but this can vary slightly based on the vaccine brand. It's important to continue to be cautious, as they're not yet fully protected from leptospirosis.

Avoid muddy puddles and stagnant water for several months.

For ongoing protection, annual leptospirosis vaccinations are recommended, while the DHP vaccine is given as puppies, at their first annual booster, and then every three years thereafter.

Vaccination against kennel cough is also recommended and can be administered alongside any of the puppy vaccines. If you plan to travel with your dog abroad, please consult your vet for guidance on rabies vaccinations and any other travel requirements. Requirements can be strict and vary significantly depending on your destination, so it's essential to seek guidance early and regularly.

Parasites Control in the UK


Parasites Control , such as fleas and worms, are common in dogs, and it's important to take steps to prevent and treat them. Your vet can recommend a suitable parasite control program for your puppy, which may include treatments such as flea and worming tablets or spot-on treatments.

Neutering

Neutering is the surgical removal of the reproductive organs, and it's a common procedure for dogs in the UK. Neutering can help reduce the risk of certain health problems and prevent unwanted litters. . This can be done from 6 months of age, but there are many factors that come into play and some larger dogs or particular breeds benefit from being neutered later in life. Your vet can advise you on the best time to neuter your puppy.

Microchipping

Microchipping is a simple and effective way to identify your puppy if they get lost or stolen. In the UK, it is a legal requirement to have your dog microchipped by the age of 8 weeks. Your vet can implant the microchip, and you will need to register your details with a microchip database.

Exercise

Puppies need exercise to stay healthy and happy. However, it's important not to overdo it, as their bones and joints are still developing. Aim for short, frequent walks throughout the day, gradually increasing the duration as your puppy gets older. Playtime in the garden or a secure area is also important for their physical and mental wellbeing.

Insurance

Pet insurance can provide peace of mind in case of unexpected veterinary bills. There are many different types of pet insurance policies available, so it's important to do your research and choose a policy that suits your needs.

Toxic Foods to Avoid

Some human foods can be toxic to dogs, so it's important to be aware of what to avoid. Common toxic foods are :

· Raisins, grapes, currants – even one can be deadly

· Chocolate

· Alcohol

· Leeks, onions, garlic

· Antifreeze

· Xylitol artificial sweetener

· Macadamia nuts

Make sure to keep these foods out of reach of your puppy, and educate yourself on other potential food hazards. It's also important to avoid giving your puppy bones, as they can splinter and cause choking or digestive issues.

Dental Care

Dental care is an important aspect of your puppy's overall health. Brushing your puppy's teeth regularly can help prevent dental problems such as gum disease and tooth decay. Your vet can also recommend dental chews or toys that can help keep your puppy's teeth clean.

Toys

Toys are a great way to keep your puppy entertained and provide mental stimulation. Choose toys that are safe and appropriate for your puppy's age and size. Avoid toys that are small enough to be swallowed or that have parts that can be easily chewed off.


Conclusion

Bringing a new puppy into your home is a big responsibility, but is also be an extremely rewarding experience! By being prepared and educating yourself on important topics such those detailed on this article, you can give your puppy the best start in life and enjoy a happy, healthy relationship with your furry friend for years to come.

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