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1 Puppy care

2 Congratulations on your new puppy! This guide has been designed to help you familiarise yourself with the routine healthcare requirements of the new addition to your family, answering some of the most commonly asked questions and offering general advice from nutrition to training tips. Mole Valley Farmers is here to help whether you are a new or experienced dog owner. If you have any questions, speak to one of our qualified animal health advisers. Settling in and puppy essentials 3 Training and behaviour 4 Vaccinations and Worming 5 Fleas 6 Puppy nutrition 7

3 Settling in Getting a new puppy can be very exciting especially for young children, but for the puppy it can be very stressful. Your home with all of its unfamiliar smells and sounds will seem very strange, so make sure you allow your new puppy time to settle in and get used to his surroundings. Placing his bed in a nice quiet corner and trying not to fuss him too much will help. Note - when collecting your puppy from the breeder, it is advisable to ask for a cutting of his blanket as it will hold some comforting smells of his mother and siblings. Puppy essentials: Food make sure you ask the breeder about the food he has been fed on. Water and food bowls it is advisable to buy non slip bowls if you have a wooden floor or tiles, otherwise they will forever be chasing their food around the kitchen. Dog bed remember puppies like to snuggle in to keep warm so a bed with high sides will help exclude drafts and provide a cosy environment. Cage or play pen when selecting the cage make sure you get one that will be big enough for your dog when he is fully grown. Collar and lead set Grooming brush and comb Puppy treats ideal for training. Puppy pads these are great for lining the cage and soaking up little accidents. Puppy toys chew toys are ideal for when he begins teething. Insurance As there is no NHS service available for animals, and good veterinary care is not cheap, taking out pet insurance can give you peace of mind and help cover any large bills your puppy/dog may incur. Not forgetting, the younger your puppy is when you first insure him, the cheaper your insurance premiums will be. 3

4 Training and behaviour Exercise and socialisation Most behavioural problems, particularly in relation to aggression and phobias, are caused by poor socialisation early in life. A puppy s personality is said to be fully developed at 16 weeks of age so it is vital that your puppy meets and greets other dogs, people and noisy environments as soon as full immunity is in place (see page 5). Let him investigate in his own time and he should gradually grow in confidence. Once fully vaccinated, regular and controlled exercise, two or three times a day with activities both on and off the lead will allow him to develop normally and experience new things safely. Regular exercise is also important for young dogs to ensure muscular development and to help prevent early onset obesity. Walks in a park are ideal for socialising and taking throw and fetch toys makes exercise fun and interactive for him. Note: sticks are not safe toys for throw and fetch as they can lodge in the throat and injure your pet. Training Training should begin as soon as you get your puppy home. At an older age he can be enrolled in a puppy training class which is a great way to introduce him to new dogs, people and different sounds; you can find out about these at your local vets. Alternatively if you have a neighbour or friends with dogs who are well mannered, let him say hello to them - be careful he is not too playful though as older dogs may not be so tolerant. periods of play. A key word used whilst he is toileting and taking him to the same spot in the garden will also help jog his memory. Above all, when you first start training your puppy, make sure everyone uses the same commands and keep the training sessions short and sweet. Toys Puppies love to play. Chew toys designed for puppies are a good distraction from chair legs and sofa cushions. Any toy will do as long as any small bits chewed off are safely removed. If you do spot him about to chew something he s not meant to, a stern NO and a distraction of a toy will divert his interests. Note: old slippers are not recommended to be used as toys. Your puppy is unlikely to differentiate between an old slipper and your brand new shoes. Grooming Grooming is a good way of building a bond with your puppy. It is advisable to use a soft brush when they are young and you can always use this valuable time to check for fleas and ticks. House training should also begin as soon as your puppy arrives home. If kept consistent, most puppies can be house trained in two weeks. You should begin taking him outside every half hour, or every hour if he is two months old. Also, be mindful to take him outside as soon as he wakes up, shortly after he has been fed and during long 4

5 Vaccinations and worming Puppies have a degree of protection from infectious diseases passed on by their mother. This begins to wane from eight weeks of age, so it is advisable to vaccinate at this point. You will need to vaccinate in two stages. Your puppy will be fully immune against potentially fatal infectious diseases one week after the second vaccination and is then safe to explore the big wide world. 1st vaccine due - from eight weeks of age; 2nd vaccine due - two weeks after the first vaccination (usually from 10 weeks of age this is also a great time to microchip him). A booster vaccination is then required on an annual basis. If you have any questions regarding vaccinations, please consult your vet. Worming All puppies are prone to having worms, regardless of the conditions into which they were born. This is because the main roundworm that affects them, Toxocara canis, can pass directly to them whilst they are still in the uterus and can also be passed on through their mother s milk. When to worm: every two weeks until 12 weeks of age; every month from three months to six months of age; then every three months from six months of age and older. 5

6 Fleas Causing much more than just a minor irritation, fleas can cause intense itching and scratching, flea allergy dermatitis or even anaemia in puppies. What many people are unaware of is that only 5% of a flea problem is on your pet. 95% is in the pet s environment as eggs, larvae and pupae. The flea s life cycle begins with the egg, these are not sticky and although they may be laid on your animal, will fall off and hatch in the environment around them like the carpets, furniture or garden. They will remain as dormant pupae for up to six months. The emergence of adult fleas is stimulated by heat, expired breath and movement, for instance by your puppy walking into a pupae infested area. Once a pupa is mature, a flea can emerge and jump onto your puppy in seconds. Approximately 24hrs later, the flea will begin to lay eggs and the cycle starts all over again. Prevention is better than a cure 1. Regularly treat your puppy (and any other cat or dog in the household). 2. Keep clean wash pet bedding above 60 C. 3. Treat your home with an appropriate environmental flea spray killing off any dormant eggs or larvae. 4. Continue regular treatments - expect a flea infestation to take time to clear up. It may take several months for the lifecycle to be effectively extinguished. If you are unsure, speak to one of our qualified animal health advisors at the animal medicine counter. 6

7 Puppy nutrition Most puppies will come with either some food from the breeder or advice on what they have previously been fed on. Whether or not you choose to keep your puppy on this food, it is important to change onto a different food gradually - a transition over a seven day period of gradually mixing an increasing proportion of the new food with the old is recommended to avoid digestive problems. Until four to five months of age, growing puppies should be fed three to four small meals a day; although they have large appetites, they only have small stomachs and overfeeding at this stage could lead to excessive weight gain, joint stress, or poor skin and coat condition. After four to five months, the quantity of meals can be reduced to two a day. By months of age, you should be able to introduce your pet onto an adult diet. One of the biggest decisions that you face as a new dog owner is what type of food to feed your puppy and there is no right or wrong answer to this. An important thing to remember is all dogs have different nutritional requirements e.g. a Great Dane has different needs to a Chihuahua. Make sure you follow the feeding instructions on the pack, this will ensure the balance of nutrients is correct for your puppy and he won t grow too quickly or slowly. You may decide you want to feed your puppy on a complete dry food (kibble) or a wet food (tinned) or a mixture of the two. Whichever food you choose, as long as it s a good quality product and you pay close attention to your puppy s food intake and growth rate, he will grow into a strong healthy individual. lth 7

8 Branch information Bridgwater Cullompton Frome Holsworthy Liskeard Newton Abbot South Molton St Columb Yeovil SR /13

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