vet examining a dog

Your New Puppy and your Vet

How your Vets can help you and your new puppy

When your new puppy arrives at your home we recommend you allow a few days for them to adjust to their new surroundings before bringing them to the surgery. All puppies require an initial course of two vaccinations these can be started on your first visit to us.

The veterinary surgeon will give your puppy a full examination and answer any questions you may have. We may also talk to you about our recommendations in preventative healthcare.

You can also examine your dog at home this benefits your puppy in two ways, firstly by getting you used to what is normal with your puppy so as soon as anything becomes abnormal you can detect it at an early stage.

Secondly, it will help your puppy to become familiar to being handled. Try and encourage all members of the family to do this so it becomes an expected part of your puppy’s life.


All puppies require an initial course of two vaccinations. We can give your puppy its first vaccination from 8 weeks of age with the second being given 2-4 weeks later. Your puppy cannot go out into parks and public areas until 7 – 10 days after the second vaccination.


We recommend strategic worming for your pet. Strategic worming makes the assumption that your pet has been exposed to parasites thus causing a health risk to your pet, your family and the environment. We suggest that puppies are wormed from 2 weeks of age, every month, until 6 months of age then every 3 months, however, if your dog is in contact with children or is a scavenger then we recommend monthly worming.


Fleas are small, dark brown insects which live and breed mainly in the environment – 95% of the flea population will be in carpets, bedding, under skirting boards, jumping onto your pet, or you, to feed. Warning signs include black specks of flea dirt in the coat or bedding, frequent scratching or nibbling the fur and even small insect bites on your own body. An effective flea control program involves not only killing the adult flea but eradicating other stages of the flea cycle. In dogs that have a skin hypersensitivity, one bite from a flea could cause a major skin problem. It is also essential that the environment is treated if there is already a heavy burden.

vet examining a dog


Some Veterinary Practices can issue your puppy with a free Petplan cover note which will cover your pet against any accident or illness for 4 weeks. At the end of this period you will be contacted by the insurance company to offer you a life long policy. We strongly recommend insuring your pet against disease, accident and third party damage. When looking at insurance policies – please read the small print. Cheaper policies do not always provide the best value in the long term. It is also important to get a policy which covers your pet for each condition for a lifetime, not just the first 12 months. We know you care about your pet and how difficult it would be for you if treatment decisions had to be made due to financial limitations.


Micro-chipping is a safe and permanent means of identifying your pet. A microchip is a small implant slightly larger than a grain of rice, which is injected under the skin of the animal. The microchip does not cause any pain or harm to your pet once implanted and the animal is totally unaware of its presence. The microchip number is specific to that chip and once registered with the national database your pet is registered for life. Most vets and animal welfare organisations have microchip scanners to assist the reunion of you and your pet.


We recommend neutering of all pets that are not intended for breeding. There are many other reasons to have your pet neutered, including avoiding unwanted pregnancies, preventing some behavioral tendencies and reducing the risk of developing certain types of cancers in later life.


The first year of your puppy`s life is the most important. What you choose to feed your puppy will have a direct effect on its growth and development, so it is important to select a food that has the required vitamins and minerals for a growing puppy. Feeding your puppy a good quality complete diet will ensure it develops strong teeth, bones, muscles and immune system. Fresh water must be available at all times.


Although we recommend regular home cleaning of your pets teeth with enzymatic toothpaste, regular check ups are also important. Like humans, the development of periodontal disease will depend on the individual, the diet and the frequency of cleaning. We recommend an annual dental inspection at our surgery to assess for signs of disease. Early detection means that we can address it before extractions are necessary, and before the bacteria from a diseased mouth leads to major organs being affected. This can be done at the same time as the annual vaccinations.


Periodontal treatment is an important part of general health care and we recommend that this procedure is performed every 3 years.


Brushing your pets teeth is just as important as brushing your own. Start by rubbing your finger gently around the gums to get your puppy used to the idea of having its mouth opened and played with. You can then move on to a pet toothbrush. Try to brush your puppy’s teeth on a daily basis. There are toothpastes and gels which can help reduce plaque and deposits and fights infection. You cannot use human toothpaste as it froths and often causes vomiting in animals.


Socialisation is one of the most important aspects of a dogs’ early development. This means mixing with other dogs, animals, children and adults, as well as experiencing lots of sights, sounds and smells. The socialised dog develops communication skills which enable him to recognise whether or not he is being threatened. You should keep repeating exposure to potentially frightening stimuli during the first sixteen weeks of your puppy’s life. This will include noises such as lawn mowers, the phone, the washing machine and vacuum cleaner, as well as meeting and greeting all types of people. Some toys can be dangerous as your dog can chew and swallow them. Kong’s and Buster Cubes are good non-destructive toys which we recommend. Always try to encourage good behaviour so if your puppy is responding in the desired manner then reward him/her with a treat and give lots of praise. Never hit or shout at your puppy, if he misbehaves distract or shake a can filled with pebbles to interrupt his bad behaviour. After your puppies 2nd injection they can begin a low key socialisation and training like Puppy Play


Puppies need to learn that they should only go to the toilet outside, so begin housetraining straight away. We recommend toilet training young puppies on newspapers. Praise them with lots of affection when the newspaper is used and ignore them when it’s not. Over time, move the newspapers towards the door and then out into the garden. Take a small piece of soiled paper outside, as the puppy recognises its own unique scent and will want to reinforce it.


We recommend that you groom your pet on a daily basis, especially if they are long haired. Daily grooming at an early age ensures that it becomes a part of their life and not something for them to get upset about. We recommend a Zoom Groom for most pets.

Courtesy of Dawn Smith PDSA