Firstly, Congratulations on your new family member! We here at Highfield understand that welcoming a new puppy into the family is both an exciting and nervous time. We realise that you may have many questions and may need advice on how to best care for your new addition.
So, with that, please find our New Puppy Pack at your disposal for any advice, tips, tricks, and general information regarding your little one. Please also remember that all our veterinary staff is contactable within our clinic to give over-the-phone advice or offer consultations with our vets, we are here to hopefully make your new journey a smooth and stress-free one for both you and your puppy.
Regular worming is a vital part of owning a puppy. They require several doses more frequently than adult dogs in order to provide appropriate control while they are young.
Roundworms are very common in puppies. They can be passed to the puppy before birth or through the mother’s milk after birth. Puppies may often be wormed by the breeder but still require further worming intervals when part of your family. It is especially important to worm puppies when in contact with young children as roundworms are zoonotic, meaning they can cause disease in humans; children are particularly susceptible to this.
Puppies can also carry tapeworms, commonly picked up through the ingestion of fleas. These can sometimes be seen in the faeces as the worm’s shed.
Prevention is Key. Our worming regime is designed so that prevention is the best course of action. We will provide regular ‘weigh and worms’ while your puppy grows so that they get the appropriate dose as they get bigger. You can contact our clinic and speak to our nurses to book your ‘weigh and worm’ appointment.
- Up to 3 months of age: Worm every 2 weeks.
- Up to 6 months of age: Worm every 4 weeks.
- Over 6 months of age: frequency of worming depends on the product used. The maximum interval is once every 12 weeks
We also have spot-on/tablet treatments for fleas, external/internal parasites, and mites, these can be applied every 4 weeks and are available within our clinic on advice from our veterinary staff.
Puppies require two vaccinations to complete the vaccination process. The first is generally given between 6-8 weeks of age, and the second vaccine is given 3-4 weeks later. The priority of vaccination is to protect your dog against some potentially fatal diseases including Canine Distemper Virus, Canine Infectious Hepatitis, Parvovirus and Leptospirosis. The risk of vaccination is very low, and our vaccination protocols have been designed to minimise the amount of vaccinations given compared to the risk of disease.
Distemper: A virus that can cause dogs to initially present with respiratory symptoms and progress to nervous signs. It is often fatal, and no specific treatment exists.
Hepatitis: A virus that damages the liver. Whilst relatively uncommon it is often fatal if a dog gets infected.
Parvovirus: An intestinal virus that causes haemorrhagic fluid loss from the gut. This is a fairly common disease in unvaccinated animals. Vomiting and diarrhoea are the main symptoms. No specific treatment exists although supportive treatment to manage dehydration can increase the dog’s chances of survival. The virus is most common in built up areas where there are a larger number of dogs, a lot of whom would be unvaccinated.
Leptospirosis: A bacterial organism, often transmitted by rodents and can be picked up via puddles or standing water. This disease can be easily transmitted to humans commonly referred to as called Weil’s disease. This can be fatal without urgent care and treatment.
It is important to note that puppies should not be walked or exercised outdoors until fully vaccinated. While they might not be interacting with other dogs, it is still possible for them to contract these diseases from urine, faeces or even saliva left in the environment from unvaccinated dogs.
An annual booster vaccination is recommended for dogs. Prior to the vaccination process, we recommend that a full health check is carried out by one of our vets to ensure that the dog is healthy, and suitable for their vaccination or booster. There are other vaccinations that can be given to dogs if required or requested, the most common of which are canine cough and rabies.
Canine Cough: A respiratory virus and bacteria. Vaccination against kennel cough can provide up to 80% protection for your pet. Risk of kennel cough is significantly increased when entering a kennel environment and having close encounters with other dogs, such a puppy parties, training classes, groomers etc.
Rabies: Rabies is currently not endemic in Ireland so protection is not required for dogs living here. Although, if you want to take your dog to other countries then a rabies vaccine is likely to be required. If you are considering travelling abroad with your dog please speak to our nurses for advice on traveling requirements.
Getting a good quality, balanced and complete diet is very important for your new addition to ensure they are supplied with all the nutritional requirements for them to run a muck with you as they grow. Here at Highfield Veterinary, we strongly recommend a dry nut diet and have food to suit each stage of your puppies developmental needs; from 3 months to 18+ years, we have a food that is tailored to suit each life stage of your pet. Feeding human food should be avoided as they may start to refuse their puppy food and not obtain the requirements they need for their age. If you decide to treat your dog to some human food, remember to avoid onion, garlic, chocolate, grapes and raisins as these are all toxic for dogs.
It is common for you to want to switch to your own food when getting a new puppy; if this food is different to that of the food they have been getting from their breeder, make sure you make this change gradually. Changing any dog’s food suddenly can cause gastrointestinal upset and diarrhoea or vomiting.
If you would like a consultation with one of our nurses to discuss your new puppies nutritional needs and have us recommend a suitable and sustainable food for them, please get in touch with the clinic and we would be happy to make an appointment to discuss your options with you.
Unfortunately, dental disease is one of the most common diseases in dogs and cats and can be preventable with appropriate care. Many pet owners assume that as long as the dog is eating well there can’t be any dental issues or pain in their pets; however if faced with a similar choice – dental pain or starvation – most of us would continue to eat too.
As with many treatments for pets, prevention is key, the same as humans we recognise that daily dental hygiene is a reliable way of keeping teeth and gums healthy. This is best achieved with a soft bristled toothbrush and toothpaste. If starting a regime for brushing your pet’s teeth, it is important not to use human toothpaste, as this contains Fluoride which if swallowed is toxic is toxic to dogs. Here at Highfield Veterinary, we can provide a medicated toothpaste to target dental disease. It is important to start tooth brushing early in the dog’s life and to make it a positive experience.
Tartar and harmful bacteria can build up on your pet’s teeth can lead to gingivitis (gum disease), damage to the structures of the tooth, tooth infection and loss of the tooth. If periodontal structures are damaged, the tooth may need to be removed to prevent further pain and infection.
Our nursing team are happy to examine your puppy’s teeth and carry out tooth brushing demonstrations to help get you started. Please contact the clinic to organise you nurse dental puppy check.
Our team supports the fact that the benefits of neutering for pet dogs and bitches outweigh the risks. Unless you are planning to breed from your puppy when they are older, we recommend getting them neutered from 6 months of age depending on breed. Larger breed dogs are usually neutered from 10-12 months old. This prevents unwanted pregnancy and many other health issues in both male and female dogs, such as reducing the risk of mammary, ovarian and testicular tumours as well as preventing infection in the womb.
Our dedicated staff look after your pet like their own from the moment they come into us on the morning of surgery, right through until they get their stitches removed. We are always at the end of the phone for advice during their recovery and preform post-op checks to monitor your pets wound. For more information on neutering your pet, please contact the clinic to speak to a member of staff for further information and advice.
Behaviour & Socializing
The socialisation period for puppies is between 4 to 12 weeks of age. During this time, a puppy generally accepts new experiences, so allowing your puppy to have good experiences at this age while meeting a range of people and hearing a variety of sounds around the house will reduce the chance of them being fearful of them later in life.
It is also a good idea to get your puppy used to being handled when they are young. By looking into their eyes, ears, mouth, feeling their legs and body at a young age, may help them feel more at ease when getting health checks or examinations in the veterinary clinic.
This is also a good time for your puppy to get used to being left alone for short periods, gradually building up to longer periods of time. If your puppy is extremely nervous about being left alone, there are some remedies our staff can discuss with you to help them adjust to being separated from you during the day.
When training your puppy, it is important to remember to be consistent to avoid confusing your puppy, aim to train for short regular intervals as puppies have a short attention span, puppies tend to respond better to positive voice tones, gently and frequently playing with your puppy will encourage trust and create a strong bond, and most importantly, BE PATIENT, they are still only babies and it may take some time and they will have some accidents as they learn.
Toilet training can require a lot of patience. Young puppies need to urinate very frequently at first, so bringing them into the garden regularly, particularly as they wake up and after food, will be beneficial to their development and learning.
Chewing can be a problem in puppies, especially when they are teething. Providing plenty of suitable toys for chewing can help. Make sure that your puppy is not left in a place where he/she could damage items or him/herself.
We highly recommend getting pet insurance for your new addition once you’ve all had time to adjust to your new living arrangements. Insurance, although you never hope to use it, can be very beneficial financially for your family.
Our clinic has experience dealing with several reputable insurance companies and is on hand to discuss any queries you may have about obtaining pet insurance, claiming, and any further details you may need for the process.
Best of luck with your new addition,
Enjoy the experience,
Savour the puppy hugs.
Your Highfield Team