27 November 2020

Puppy Guide

Speak to a vet

Cate Brothwell, Vet

Getting a new puppy is such a fun and exciting time but there are so many important things to consider!

We have put together this information pack for the community of Sandwich, Deal and the surrounding areas, about all the things we feel are important to protect your puppy’s health and development in those early weeks and months.

Vaccinations

Our standard vaccination protocol at Beacon View protects your puppy against the following diseases:

  • Canine Parvovirus
  • Canine Distemper Virus
  • Leptospirosis (We stock both the L2 and L4 vaccines)
  • Canine Infectious Hepatitis

Your puppy will normally have three initial vaccines 2 weeks apart but this may alter depending on which Leptospirosis vaccination they have.

If your puppy has already had a vaccination given by your breeder it is important to check with us that this vaccine is compatible with the ones that we stock.

We also recommend that puppies are vaccinated against Kennel Cough infection, particularly if they will regularly mix with other dogs e.g. at puppy classes, ‘Doggy Daycare’, or if you intend for your puppy to go into kennels. Please ask a member of the team if you would like a Kennel Cough vaccination for your puppy.

Side effects from vaccines are uncommon but they do occur. Serious reactions to vaccinations are rare.

Some dogs will develop a swelling at the injection site of the vaccine. This should resolve after 7-14 days.

A few dogs will be sleepy or a little off their food for up to 72 hours after the vaccine.

Please do not hesitate to get in touch with us if you are at all concerned following your puppy’s vaccination.

Your puppy can start going outside for walks one week after they complete their puppy vaccinations but it takes three weeks to develop full immunity to Leptospirosis. We therefore advise that you avoid rivers, ponds, ditches etc. during this time.

Parasite Control

It is extremely important to protect your puppy against internal and external parasites such as fleas, ticks, worms (roundworms, tapeworms and lungworm) and mites, such as ear mites.

External parasites can cause itching and allergic skin reactions and in some cases may carry infectious diseases.

Internal parasites can cause a variety of health issues such as digestive problems, ‘failure to thrive’, liver and lung disease.

Parasites are a serious health issue affecting not just our pets but also the humans they come into contact with, particularly children. With the exception of fleas and ticks we may not be able to see if our pets are infected. For these reasons, we strongly advise against using over-the-counter treatments that can be less effective, leaving us and our pets exposed to risks.

At Beacon View we offer a tailored, comprehensive control plan that will safely protect your puppy against all of the parasites mentioned above.

Neutering

At Beacon View we recommend that male dogs are neutered once they have reached skeletal maturity which is 12-18 months depending on their breed. Neutering male dogs can help to control some undesirable behaviours and can protect against certain diseases of the prostate gland and testicular tumours. For some nervous dogs neutering may not be advisable so please discuss this with your veterinary surgeon.

We also offer the Suprelorin implant which is a non-permanent chemical castration which is given via injection.

For female dogs we advise neutering 3 months after their first season to protect them against unplanned litters, the risk of mammary tumours and a very serious life threatening disease called pyometra.

There are a few breed specific differences so please discuss any questions you have about neutering with a member of the team.

Insurance

Having pet insurance in place can give you peace of mind and security from unexpected expenses if your puppy becomes unwell or has an accident. It ensures that during these stressful and worrying times we are able to offer your puppy the best possible treatment available without additional financial concerns.

We offer all healthy puppies 4 weeks free insurance with Petplan at the time of their vaccinations, following a complete clinical examination by one of our vets. Ask a member of the team for a leaflet you can take home to register your insurance.

Diet

Ensuring that your puppy gets the right nutrition is essential to their development. As they grow and reach maturity their nutritional needs will change so it is important that their diet is tailored to their individual needs.

At Beacon View we stock the Virbac range of diets. These high quality diets are designed to suit different life stages and requirements, have a higher protein content than some foods and are very palatable. They are complete diets so you will not need to add any supplements, although we appreciate you may want to give your puppy some treats during training.

Members of our Complete Care Club are entitled to a 15% discount on the Virbac range of foods which are also very cost effective starting at less than 80p per day.

It is very important not to allow your puppy to gain excess weight as they develop. Unfortunately obesity is the most commonly observed nutritional health issue in dogs and 50% of the UK adult dog population is considered overweight. This has a huge impact on their health and predisposes them to certain diseases conditions such as diabetes, pancreatitis and osteoarthritis. We encourage you to always be aware of your dog’s physical condition and speak to us for advice if you have any concerns about your dog’s weight.

Microchipping

It is a legal requirement in the UK for a dog to be microchipped by 8 weeks of age. If your puppy is not already microchipped by the time you pick them up please let us know and we can easily do this for you.

Remember to keep your registration details for the microchip up-to-date on the microchip database if these change.

Toothbrushing

As your puppy grows we recommend getting them used to having their teeth brushed daily. Puppies begin to lose their baby teeth around the age of 3-4 months so you may notice that their breath becomes smelly or they may bleed a little from the gums. Regular tooth brushing throughout life will help to prevent a build up of plaque, which eventually becomes mineralised and can lead to inflammation of the gums (gingivitis) and early tooth loss due to periodontal disease.

Learning how to brush your dog’s teeth takes patience but is very rewarding.

Use a meat flavoured toothpaste designed for dogs, not human toothpaste as this contains fluoride, which is harmful if swallowed. Tooth brushes are available but it may be easier just to start with a small amount of toothpaste on your finger and rub this gently around the teeth and gum line while your puppy gets used to it. Please speak to one of our nurses if you would like more advice about teeth brushing or some toothpaste.

Socialisation

Giving your puppy lots of positive, everyday experiences during the socialisation period is one of the most important things you can do for their development, helping to shape and influence the adult dog they will become.

The socialisation period starts at birth and lasts approximately 16 weeks. During this period your puppy is learning all about the world around them and a well socialised puppy is more likely to grow up to be a friendly and outgoing dog.

It has become more difficult to socialise puppies during the Coronvirus pandemic but these experiences may include:

  • Meeting other puppies or dogs
  • Walking down the road
  • Seeing/hearing the sounds of traffic
  • Getting used to other animals
  • Meeting children
  • Going to the vets!

It is essential that these are calm and positive experiences for your puppy and it is important to take things slowly so that your puppy doesn’t become overwhelmed as this can have a negative effect.

The Dogs Trust and Kennel Club have put together a socialisation plan and the following link has some very useful resources: thepuppyplan.com

If you are able to, take your puppy to a friendly puppy group that will help to socialise them with their peers and commence training.

When training your puppy it is vital to set clear boundaries and that all members of the household are giving clear and consistent messages to prevent your puppy becoming confused.

You may find the following books useful:

“The Perfect Puppy” by Gwen Bailey

“Perfect Puppy In 7 days” by Dr. Sophia Yin

Toilet Training

Puppies need to urinate and defecate every few hours during the day, particularly after mealtimes and it is likely that they will have accidents during the early weeks. Toilet training takes time and patience.

Take your puppy outside regularly during the day to toilet, particularly if you see them start to circle and sniff the floor. As soon as they have performed be sure to tell them how clever they are and lavish them with praise! It can be helpful to use a key word for the action, as they will eventually associate that word with going to the toilet.

It is also helpful to establish a good night time routine early on with your puppy as this will encourage voiding of the bladder and encourage good sleeping patterns. Never punish or shout at your puppy for having an accident-they will not understand.

Exercise

Once your puppy is fully vaccinated you will be able to take them for regular walks. Puppies need exercise to keep them healthy and stimulated, however there are no strict rules as to how much exercise is too little or too much.

A rule of thumb is that a puppy should get 5 minutes of exercise per month of age twice a day. So a 2-month old puppy should get 10 minutes twice daily, a 4-month old puppy should get 20 minutes twice daily etc. but this is a guideline not a rule.

Toys and Chews

Puppies love to chew on things and like to explore everything with their mouths. Chewing behaviour will increase during the teething period. The ideal chewy toy is hygienic and durable, robust enough to keep their teeth and gums clean but not too hard so as to break their teeth. Some hard rubber toys can be filled with treats or paste.

We do not advise giving bones as they can result in broken teeth and can sometimes cause bowel obstructions.

Avoid allowing your puppy to chew old shoes and slippers etc. as they will not be able to differentiate between these and a lovely pair of new shoes!

Play biting/mouthing is also normal behaviour for a puppy, however you need to direct your puppy’s biting behaviour towards a toy and ensure they don’t develop a habit of biting you. We don’t advise engaging in too much “rough-and-tumble’ or ‘tug-of-war’ games with your puppy as this can be re-directed as more aggressive behaviour as your puppy matures.

Have a question?

If you have a question or need some advice (or just fancy a chat) we are always happy to talk. We love to write to please let us know what you would like to see next on our blog!

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