Author: Alison Laurie, Crown Vets Inverness
Puppies are generally acquired after weaning from their mothers at around 6 - 8 weeks of age. Coming into a new home and environment can be a very stressful time for some puppies and a new puppy can be a real challenge for the new owners. If you need any advice on puppy care, then the practice is here to assist.
Your new puppy's first vaccinations can begin at eight weeks of age in most circumstances, with a second and third set of vaccinations given two weeks apart. They will not be fully protected by their vaccinations until a week after the third injection. There is an additional 16 week parvovirus vaccination offered to ensure additional protection against this disease. Puppies are vaccinated against Parvovirus, Distemper virus, Infectious Hepatitis (Adenovirus), Leptospirosis and Kennel Cough protection is also advised. Annual Booster vaccinations are always necessary for these diseases as the immunity they provide is not life-long.
Fleas and Ticks
Nearly every animal will come across fleas from contact with other animals or wildlife or from flea larvae in carpets and furnishings. Flea infestations are much easier to prevent than treat and so regular treatment is advisable. Several preventative products are now available; the best treatments for your puppy can be discussed at their first check up with your Vet. Ticks can be a real problem in the Highlands. Ticks can cause local irritation and can transmit severe diseases. There are several products that can be used as preventative treatments to minimise the chances of ticks affecting your puppy.
All puppies are at risk of infection with roundworms from their own mothers. We recommend that all puppies are wormed regularly from their first Vet visit, then every month until they are six months of age. Please ask about the specific recommendations for worming treatments for your individual puppy’s size and life stage.
We now recommend that dogs are better off being neutered at a young age. Males can be castrated from six months of age. We regularly see prostate disease in old, intact male dogs, as well as testicular tumours and other problems which can be prevented by early age neutering. Females can be spayed at either six months of age - as long as they are showing no signs of coming into their first season - or three months after their season. Most bitches will cycle twice yearly throughout their life, every six months, and early neutering can give significant health benefits to them, reducing their chances of mammary tumour development as well as eliminating the risk of a life-threatening womb infection Pyometra.
Microchip identification is now a legal requirement in the UK and can help improve the chance of a lost pet being returned to their owner. Puppies now have to be microchipped by the time they are eight weeks old and before they leave the breeder. All dog breeders must ensure that puppies are Microchipped and that their details are recorded as the "first keeper" on the UK Petlog database by the time they are eight weeks old and before they are sold. When a puppy is transferred to a new owner, their details must be added to that database log for that puppy. Also remember that all dogs must also still wear some form of identification too, i.e. an identity tag or collar with identity attached.
Pet Health Insurance
We would hope that you and your new puppy will have a long and healthy life. Unfortunately, many dogs will require some veterinary attention for unforeseen health problems or accidental injury at some point in their lives. Veterinary medicine and treatments can be expensive, so insuring your pet during puppyhood, before the onset of any health problems, can help take away the worry of having to deal with expensive veterinary bills whilst you are coping with an unwell pet. We do advise researching a good life-time insurance policy for your new pet.
Our Vet and Nurse team are always here to offer good professional advice on the care of your new puppy.