This frisky little creature is sure to bring you much joy. In return, you can make a major contribution to your puppy's longevity, happiness and quality of life by providing him or her with good nutrition, loving attention in a safe, clean environment and regular check-ups at your veterinary practice. Pop down to the practice to pick up your free puppy advice pack.
Your puppy's basic health check
Your new puppy should visit a veterinary surgeon as soon as possible. The first visit will probably include:
- A thorough physical examination to determine his/her state of health.
- Check for parasites (fleas, ticks, lice, ear mites, worms).
- Initial vaccination and/or a discussion of the types of vaccinations your puppy needs and when they should be scheduled.
- Discussion about whether your puppy should be neutered and when.
This first health check will give your veterinary surgeon the information needed to advise you on your puppy's immediate diet and care. Plus, it will create a "knowledge base" from which, on subsequent checkups throughout your pup's life, he/she can better evaluate, monitor and manage your pet's health.
Make your puppy feel at home
Show your puppy the special places where he/she can eat, sleep and go to the toilet. Give them some quiet time to adjust to the unfamiliar sights and sounds of the new home.
If there are young children in the home, make sure that they are taught that a puppy is not a toy but a living creature who must be treated with gentleness and respect.
As early as 8 weeks old, your puppy is capable of learning specific lessons - so start home training and teaching simple obedience commands the day you bring them home. Your puppy will find learning fun and easy and, with your positive reinforcement, should remember lessons well. See our behaviour advice page for more information.
Neutering your puppy
Many veterinary surgeons believe that neutering not only helps solve the serious problem of unwanted dog overpopulation but also makes for friendlier, easier-to-live-with pets. Spayed female dogs are more relaxed, while neutered males are less likely to roam, 'spray' or urine-mark their territory, or fight with other males.
Sterilisation also has health benefits - it helps to minimize the risk of cancers of the reproductive organs and the mammary glands in females and reduces the incidence of prostate and testicular cancer problems in males
Spaying removes the uterus and ovaries of a female dog, often around the age of six months. A major surgical procedure, it is performed under general anaesthesia. Complications are rare and recovery normally is complete within two weeks.
Castration, also carried out under general anaesthesia, removes the testicles of a male dog through an incision at the base of the scrotum. Usually performed when the puppy is about six months old, it necessitates only a brief hospital stay. Full recovery takes about seven to ten days.