Welcome to your new puppy
At our clinics we pride ourselves on “Making Life Better” and we feel the key to this is preventative health care. As an RCVS accredited practice we want client who wish the best for their puppy and are prepared to put in the rewarding work that ensures their puppy grows and lives life to the full.
Once registered and upon your initial visit you will receive a warm welcome and be introduced to your vet and nurse. At your initial visit your vet will give your puppy a free full health examination which all being well will enable the vet to discuss and vaccinate your puppy.
After this our nurses will spend around 20 minutes (longer if required) with you to discuss all aspects of your new adventure together. You will receive 4 weeks free insurance, a free bag of the worlds leading dog food and their first month’s flea treatment.
Additional checks during your puppy’s first year for weight and development are also included in the vaccination price and will be explained throughout this information pack.
Throughout these handouts your puppy is referred to as ‘he’ – all comments apply equally to female puppies as well
Vaccinations cover the following serious diseases: distemper, leptospirosis, hepatitis, parvovirus and parainfluenza. Your puppy can be given his first vaccination at eight weeks of age and you will need to return for a second vaccination 4 weeks later.
Your pup will be safe to go for walks outside, two weeks after his second injection, until this time it is best to carry him in public places. To be sure of maintaining immunity it is essential that your dog receives a booster vaccination once a year for the rest of his life.
Your puppy can also be protected against Kennel cough a highly contagious virus that despite the name can be contracted from any dog to dog interaction including training classes and walks, not just from kennels.
Tapeworm, roundworm, heartworm, lungworm and hook worm are all worms your puppy could have. All dogs are at risk from worms including puppies even if the bitch has been wormed. It is therefore essential that you worm your puppy regularly.
Puppies should be wormed every two weeks until they are 12 weeks old, and then once a month from then until six months of age.
After this we recommend worming every three months for life.
Slugs are carriers of Lung worm so dogs should be discouraged from an early age not to eat slugs
Regular worming and clearing your garden of dog mess quickly, together with normal hygiene procedures are enough to ensure that worms do not present a risk to the health of your dog or your family.
If children have been playing with a dog they should always wash their hands before eating.
Fleas and ticks
Most puppies come to their new home with fleas from the mother and previous environment ; we recommend treating for them as soon as possible to prevent them from breeding in your home. Ticks can be picked up on walks from grass woodland environments.
Ticks can carry Lyme’s disease which can affect the heart, skin, joints and nervous system. Growing and adult dogs should be treated every four to eight weeks with a safe and effective spot-on or spray such as Frontline, Frontline Combo or Stronghold.
You will receive your puppy’s first flea treatment free of charge and your nurse will talk you through applying it.
Puppys require a complete balanced diet to maintain healthy growth. Healthy skin, eyes, bones, muscles, teeth and organs are all important while your puppy is growing. Poor quality foods with ingredients low in nutrients can affect your puppy’s growth and health.
We recommend dividing your pup’s daily allowance into four small meals a day until your pup is three to four months old at which time you can reduce it to three meals a day.
By the age of six to nine months your dog should be fed twice daily. We would recommend feeding a complete dry puppy food such as Vet Essentials Puppy.
This diet contains everything your puppy needs – no extra supplementation is required and in fact, supplementation with extra vitamins and minerals such as calcium can be harmful.
Larger breeds of dog benefit from being fed a specific large breed diet which your nurse will advise you on. You will receive a free initial supply of Vet Essentials along with discount vouchers and special offers.
Puppies should not be over exercised during the time that they are growing as this could cause joint problems, especially in large breeds.
By the time they have reached physical maturity (which varies from breed to breed: a small dog is physically mature by 12 months, larger breeds at 18 months or so) they will be ready for their adult exercise requirement.
However, it is essential that your pup does go out to see the world around them in order to grow up to be a well-balanced adult dog
- Gradually build up exercise, frequent short walks are best for a growing puppy.
- A long walk out somewhere requires a long walk back and it is the return journey that can overtire them.
- Driving to a suitable place instead of walking
- Never force your puppy to walk if he appears tired or to maintain a certain pace.
Start training your puppy immediately – make sure you read the ‘Learn to Earn’ philosophy later in this handout.
- We recommend teaching your puppy command such as sit, stay, heel, down and recall. Other commands such as roll over and paw can be useful to teach to look at a puppy’s stomach or paw without him becoming stressed.
- We recommend attending a puppy training class with a APDT approved trainer- there is a list of local classes at the back of the hand-out.
- You are eligible to bring your puppy to our Puppy Parties, once they have had their first injection. Puppy parties are informal and great socialisation, an opportunity for pups to play and socialise with other puppies. You can also ask any questions on all aspects of raising your puppy and what’s more they are free!
If you plan to neuter your dog, we would advise that this procedure takes place from six months of age. There are many health and behavioural benefits if you are not planning to breed;
Prevention of Testicular and prostate cancer in males
Prevention of Ovarian and mammary tumours and Pyometra (a sometimes fatal, severe infection of the uterus) in females
Decreases the instinctive sexual activities such as humping
Prevents unwanted pregnancies
Decreases territorial urine marking and dominant aggressive behaviour
Your nurse will discuss what this involves and the most suitable time for your puppy during their pre neutering check.
Pet Health Club
Would you like to save up to £60?!
We understand that you want the best for your puppy but that it comes at a cost. The Pet Health club enables you to spread the cost of preventative care such as vaccinations, worming, and flea treatment by splitting it into a manageable monthly payment.
You also receive a 10% discount on preventative care and retail products in the clinic such as Hills pet food, toothbrushes, toys, grooming equipment etc. You also receive £40.00 discount on neutering or £50.00 discount on dental treatment and a free identichip.
We always recommend pet insurance. Unexpected illness or accident can be very costly and being insured brings peace of mind.
Some policies only cover for 12 months and then a condition would be excluded after this year or some will have a set limit per condition which doesn’t always suffice for a life time.
It is law that every dog must be identichipped. An identitichip is a rice grain sized chip that is inserted into the neck just underneath the skin via a needle.
It is a permanent way to identify your puppy, and it means that your puppy is always traceable back to you if he should go missing.
We can chip your puppy here at any age but recommend from 16 weeks onwards and better yet Identichip’s are Free for Pet Heath Club members.
It is a legal requirement that your dog wears a collar and an id tag. The identity tag must have your Name, address (this can just be your postcode) and contact telephone number, the can be ordered from reception.
It’s also a good idea to put ‘vets’ and the vet’s number that you use, in case of any emergency treatment. This way the vets will have vital details of your dog such as weight, age and medical history which could be needed in treatment.
Dental care is as important for dogs as it is for people. Bad teeth cause pain, bad breath and infection, which can spread to other parts of the dog’s body.
Start at an early age to get your puppy used to having its teeth cleaned your nurse will teach you how to clean your pets teeth at Youth Clubs.
It is important to use toothpaste specially formulated for dogs. In addition to brushing there are a number of ways to help keep your dog’s teeth cleaner such as dry biscuit food instead of wet meat or raw hide chews. Please ask for advice if you want further information
What's normal in my puppy?
Every puppy is different and no one knows your puppy like you. Checking your puppy daily for little things can help keep him healthy and alert you to any problems.
Eyes: should be clear and bright. Small amounts of clear or white discharge can be normal and should be wiped away with a damp cotton wool bud. Yellow/green discharge could indicate infection.
Ears: should be free from smell, wax or excessive hair. Particularly hairy ears would benefit from cleaning as wax can become trapped in the hair and cause infection. The ear should be pink and smooth, redness, flaky skin or constant scratching should be checked by a vet.
Hair and skin: should be shiny and flake free. Areas of red or loss of hair should be checked.
Mouth: teeth should be white with no plaque (yellow or brown on the teeth) , smelly breath can indicate a dental problem.
Nose: moist, discharge free.
Paws: nails should be short and blunt, dew claws should be checked as these don’t usually get worn down on walks. Nails can be trimmed in a youth club or nursing clinic.
If you are worried about any of the about any of the above then please don’t hesitate to ask for advice
Puppies are busy and in to everything! Take a few minutes to check that there is nothing dangerous within reach.
Don’t leave your pup alone with access to electric cables that are plugged in and put house plants out of reach, as many are poisonous if eaten. Poinsettias (red leafed plant usually brought around Christmas), acorns/conkers/chestnuts, onions, garlic, grapes and raisins and of course chocolate!
Crates are a great way to ensure your puppy is safe when you’re at work, asleep or out. Crates should be a comfortable welcoming place for your puppy, so it’s a great place to put their bed. Playing, feeding and giving treats whilst in the crate is the key to it becoming a comforting place for your puppy. Crates should never be used as a punishment as this turns it into a negative place instead of your puppy’s own safe space.
Puppies have a lot of energy which requires play, walks fuss and mental stimulation. Many breeds were bred to work and these traits still exist so even if they are pets instead of working dogs they still need plenty of stimuli to provide enrichment such as food games, treat balls and interactive play. All breeds require mental stimulation.
Your pup is eligible to join our Youth Club at the time of second vaccination. This is a free service to help support you whilst you are raising your pup to adulthood.
We meet once a month to check his weight, to discuss any issues or concerns such as toilet training, play biting, fears and copraphagia (eating faeces). We can also trim nails, give demonstrations on brushing teeth and advice on training.
It’s also nice for your puppy to understand that coming to the vets doesn’t always mean needles!
For every puppy that attends youth clubs until they are 12 months old will receive either a free 3kg bag of hills puppy food or a toy of your choice on his first birthday!
Pet Health club – Become a Thameswood VIP
Would you like to save up to £60?!
We understand that you want the best for your puppy but that it comes at a cost. The Pet Health Club enables you to spread the cost of preventative care such as vaccinations, worming, and flea treatment by splitting it into a manageable monthly payment.
You also receive a 10% discount on preventative care and retail products in the clinic such as Hills pet food, toothbrushes, toys, grooming equipment etc.
You also receive £40.00 discount on neutering or £50.00 discount on dental treatment and a free identichip.
- A puppy’s ‘socialisation period’ is from the age of four to about 14 weeks. This is the period when a puppy is most receptive to new experiences, and what he experiences in this time will shape his attitudes and character for the rest of his
- Your puppy will not be fully protected by his vaccinations until one week after his second injection – this will be 13 weeks at the earliest, near the end of his socialisation
- This means that most of your puppy’s socialising must be done whilst he is not fully immunised. This can be done safely by avoiding contact with strange dogs, or places they may have soiled e.g. streets and parks. A good solution would be to carry your puppy in these
Your puppy needs to meet as many people of as many different ‘shapes and sizes’ as possible e.g. children, senior citizens, people in uniform, people who love dogs and those that are not so keen on dogs. You must make the meetings as pleasurable as possible for your puppy by encouraging people to give him titbits or play gently with him (so always carry his favourite toy and a bag of his favourite dog sweets!)
Meeting healthy, vaccinated, friendly adult dogs in a safe environment (e.g. your garden or house) is essential for puppies. Puppy parties and puppy socialisation classes are excellent for allowing your puppy to interact with other young dogs, giving him some of the experiences he would have acquired from staying with his littermates for longer.
Your puppy needs to be familiarised with anything that he could encounter in adult life. Examples might include car, bus and train journeys, vacuum cleaners, blenders, things blowing in the wind and livestock. Whenever exposing him to something new (e.g. livestock) keep him far enough away (and on a lead) that he doesn’t get frightened or excited, ignore the livestock yourself and engage him in some play or training.
- If your puppy becomes fearful or apprehensive at any time, do not fuss him or act sympathetically (this will confuse him and make him more fearful). Instead, jolly him along with a game or titbit whilst reducing the intensity of the experience. If, for example it was traffic that scared your puppy then move him away to a distance where he isn’t frightened by it any more. When you have found a distance that he is happy with, you can slowly take him closer over several sessions always making sure that he isn’t
- Make sure that any bad experiences (e.g. being frightened by traffic or a child) are covered up with lots of good experiences of the same thing – experiences in this time will stay with your dog for life regardless of whether they are good or bad.
This is only a brief summary of what is required. The attached table gives you some idea of the breadth and depth of socialisation that a puppy requires – try and put as many ticks in as many boxes as you can (but make sure you don’t overwhelm your puppy – take things as his pace).
Learn to earn
Do you want your puppy to be like the spoilt child that has everything it wants, when it wants, and then tantrums in the queue at the supermarket when it can’t have another packet of sweets? Or, do you want them to be the well mannered child who earns pocket money by doing the washing up, and tidying their room? Puppies, like children need to learn the value of things – they need to ‘Learn to Earn’.
‘Learn to Earn’ is a simple set of rules that helps to ensure you have a positive, consistent relationship with your puppy. This will enable them to be confident and relaxed about you, to know their place in the family pack, and to understand that you control the things that they value in their life e.g. toys, food and attention. Raising a puppy with these rules reduces the risk of behavioural problems developing later in life such as anxiety, food or toy possessiveness or status- related aggression.
- Be consistent – make sure that everyone has the same set of rules for your puppy e.g. he is either always or never allowed on the sofa. This is the only way that your puppy can learn what is acceptable and what isn’t.
- Don’t take good behaviour for granted – praise and reward for things you haven’t asked for e.g. sitting or lying quietly without
- Never hit your puppy or use any kind of physical
Make Your Puppy Aware Of Your Importance In His Life
- Feed your puppy on schedule at specific
- Make your puppy say ‘please’ by responding to a command (e.g. ‘sit’) before he gets anything he wants or needs (dinner, treats, toys, being picked up, walks, petting, play).
- After you have taught a ‘stay’, ask your puppy to ‘stay’ for a second or two before following you around the home, in and out of rooms, and in and out of the
Do Not Allow The Puppy To Take Control
- Do not allow him to constantly solicit attention. Ignore him until it loses interest, then you can ask it for a ‘sit’ to ‘earn’ the
- Do not defer or give in to your puppy’s demands, unless the behaviour is desirable (e.g. barking at the door to go to toilet outside).
- Discourage play-biting – as soon as he bites you cry out, look away and ignore him for ten seconds, then ask for a ‘sit’ and reward that. Make sure everybody in the family, particularly children know to do
- Curb excessive barking – reward an alternative behaviour such as sitting
Show Your Leadership In Actions
- Having taught your puppy commands, insist on an immediate response to them. If your puppy ignores you, gently but immediately show him what is expected (and then reward him).
- Be certain that you are the one to initiate all that is positive. This means that your puppy should not get play, affection, attention or treats on demand, but rather when they are initiated by you or when you are using them to reward desired
Please contact us if you need any further information, explanation or help with a specific problem.
- Start by taking your puppy outside to the same spot in the garden at the following times:
- Shortly after each feed
- After playing
- After exercise
- After sleep
- After any excitement (e.g. visitors arriving)
- First thing in the morning (before anything else!)
- Last thing at night
- At least once every hour
- Accompany your puppy out, be patient and as soon as he begins to go say a chosen phrase (e.g. ‘hurry up’, ‘be quick’). When he has finished, give him some praise and take him inside
- Avoid leaving a door open for your puppy – if you do it will be difficult for him to understand the distinction between indoors and out and will lead to more accidents in the
- Watch for signs of impending toileting in the house such as circling, sniffing or getting ready to squat. If these occur interrupt them immediately and lead your puppy outside. Try and avoid carrying him; he needs to learn to find his own way to the toilet!
- If you do catch your puppy toileting in the house, shout loudly enough to interrupt him but not so loudly that you terrify him! Immediately run to the back door calling him enthusiastically, and take him outside to the toileting area. Make sure to reward him for going out there with
- If your puppy makes a mess in the house (and you do not catch them in the act) do not shout or attempt to punish him for it – he will not associate the act of toileting with the punishment and it will only cause him stress and anxiety. The best way to clean up accidents is with a solution of biological washing powder followed by a wipe or spray of surgical spirit – this is highly effective at removing the scents and fatty chemicals from the mess which may cause your puppy to toilet again in the same
- At night, confine your puppy to a pen or cage with newspaper on the floor. They will probably need to go out during the night, and if you think he is crying to go out then it is best to take him. Simply take him out and stay with him for the normal amount of time then put him straight back to bed. Avoid fussing or playing with him at this time, otherwise he may think that crying at night is a way of getting attention which will encourage him to do it
- If there are times when you are unable to supervise your puppy around the house, it may be best to confine him to a puppy pen to avoid
If you would like further information on house training, socialisation or other aspects of puppy care and training we would recommend purchasing “The Perfect Puppy” by Gwen Bailey. This is available from www.amazon.co.uk or good bookshops.
Why is my puppy biting people?
Biting when playing is a natural behaviour for puppies – they spend a lot of time in rough and tumble play before leaving their littermates and this carries on when they come to live with you.
Play biting is very important because it teaches them about “bite inhibition” – if they bite their littermates too hard they will make them cry and they won’t want to play any more. Next time the puppy that bit too hard plays it will bite a little more gently because it doesn’t want the game to end.
The puppy needs to carry on getting this message when he comes to live with us – “if I bite humans, the game is over and there’s no more fun”. A puppy that consistently gets this message will learn to inhibit his bites and to actively avoid biting humans.
Puppy’s baby teeth are painful, but do very little damage to what they bite. It is important that they learn this lesson before acquiring their adult set of teeth with which they can do considerable damage, even if they only think they’re playing.
How to control play biting
When your puppy’s teeth touch you, even accidentally give a little high-pitched ‘ow!’ – the aim is to startle your puppy and make him realise something has happened, not to terrify him.
Having interrupted the behaviour, move the body part he bit out of his reach, look away from him and quietly count to five.
After this ‘timeout’ go back to him and do something positive with him – give him a game with a toy, ask him to ‘sit’ if he knows the command or just give him some praise for not biting you!
If when you return to him he tries to mouth you again, repeat the process.
Problems can arise because a puppy’s idea of fun may be a little different to what we expect: pushing him away and shouting at him may seem like a punishment to us, but a feisty excited puppy will take this as boisterous play and will play bite all the more as a result!
If your puppy sometimes gets a rewarding response from play-biting, even if you respond correctly most of the time he may well decide to play bite all the more, in the same way that people playing a fruit machine will keep pushing coins in, in search of the big payout. It is important that everybody that meets your puppy behaves in the way described.
Children can pose a particular problem, because a puppy that nips them will learn that they scream, flap and run around as a result – great fun!
Nipping ankles can be a particular problem, since it’s hard to quickly get your ankles out of his reach, and this is a particularly painful place to be bitten. It may be necessary for everybody to wear footwear around the house for a couple of weeks that protects their ankles. This way when the puppy nips they can stand still and give him a timeout safely and painlessly.
This scheme will control most puppies’ behaviour; however some puppies are particularly enthusiastic or persistent. If despite getting everybody to follow this plan you are still having problems please get in touch.
Many factors can affect our pet’s weight including our love for them and the pleasure we get from giving them a tasty treatread more
We can test for vaccine immunity levels if you are worried about over vaccinating your petread more
2-3pm 13th November at our Greenbridge clinic
3-4pm 14th November at our Purton Road clinic
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