If you haven’t taken ownership of your puppy yet please take a look at our adoption section.
Firstly, we at BVC would like to welcome your new furry addition to your family and we hope you have many long and happy years together! Our role along the way is to, not only treat or care for your pet in times of need, but to hopefully guide you with any advice you need, whether it be medical, nutritional or otherwise. The best way we can do this is to encourage and provide preventative health care. As the saying goes, Prevention is better than cure!
Here is some information that will get you started with your puppy!
When you obtain your puppy, regardless of whatever vaccination the breeder has given, we recommend bringing your puppy in for a general health check. As well as assessing the overall health of the puppy, it allows us to check their current vaccine status. Essentially, your puppy will need two rounds of injections to provide immunity against many of the diseases dogs can contract in this country. So, even if the breeder has given an appropriate vaccine, the chances are the puppy will still need a second round of injections to have them covered. It is also important that puppies are vaccinated for where they live rather than where they are bred and different regions will have different requirements in this regard.
In order to maintain this protection, an annual ‘booster’ vaccination is needed. This is also an ideal opportunity for us to assess the overall health status of the animal and address any problems you may be encountering with your pet. For new puppies, the vaccines are given at a time where maternal antibodies are losing effect. When your puppy gets their second round of injections, they are now safe to explore this big new world and everything which comes with it.
Preventative Parasitic Treatments
Even if your pets spend the majority of time indoors, they are still prone to picking up parasites from the environment. These can be internal , such as worms, or external, such as fleas and ticks. A burden of either can have a serious effect on your pet’s health and can sometimes be fatal if left untreated. Some of these parasites can also be dangerous to us humans, especially our children.
Again the easiest cure is prevention. Keep up to date with treatments and you should have no problems with parasites. There are numerous options available, whether it be a topical treatment or tablet form. The form of action, the targeted parasite, and the duration of these treatments vary so please call or drop in to discuss the best option for your pet. Our products are licensed and require a Specially Qualified Person to dispense. We do not recommend any parasitic treatment available in supermarkets or pet shops.
If you suspect your pet has a parasitic burden, call us or drop into the clinic to discuss the best method of treatment.
At BVC we offer a postal scheme where we will post out your parasite treatments when your pet is due. This will ensure your pet stays covered and is one less thing for you to worry about in your busy lives!
The benefits associated with neutering far outweigh the negatives associated with leaving them as entire animals.
For females, the procedure is referred to as spaying or an ovariohysterectomy and involves removal of the uterus and ovaries under a General Anaesthetic. Neutering significantly reduces the chances of developing any mammary or associated cancers. It will also remove the possibility of a pyometra, which is an infection of the womb. A pyometra is a medical emergency and can be fatal without surgical intervention. Neutering will also avoid any unwanted or unplanned litters and stop male dogs from hanging around when your bitch is in heat.
For males, the procedure is called castration or orchidectomy and involves removal of the testicles under a general anaesthetic. Neutering male dogs greatly reduces the chance of developing prostatic disease and testicular cancer. It will also reduce wandering (looking for a mate) and may reduce aggressive behaviour or fighting.
Both procedures are relatively quick. We perform these surgeries as day procedures so we take in your pet at the start of the day and get them out home to you that same evening. Your pet will have stitches in place for 10 days and aftercare is minimal.
As breeds can vary quite significantly, it is important to feed your puppy an appropriate food. This is often overlooked by new owners but is very important. The incorrect diet can lead to health problems including developmental orthopaedic diseases (especially in large breeds) which can affect them for the rest of their lives. Other ailments and diseases can affect your dog during its life which can correlate to a bad diet, including diabetes, heart conditions and skin problems. Feeding a high quality and appropriate diet helps your puppy develop and maintain a good body condition a good weight, healthy skin and shiny coat. A puppy kept at an ideal weight and body condition is more likely to maintain this condition in adulthood. A high quality food also means that most of the composition is utilised by the body resulting in less coming out, in other words, less stools to pick up! At BVC we stock a large range of Royal Canin and Hill’s Prescription foods. These are specially formulated to ensure your puppy, and dog of any size and lifestage, is getting the correct amount of nutrition they need.
If you have any questions call our nurses here at the clinic to discuss.
Whatever diet you choose for your pup, it is important to note that a lot of the foods we humans eat are unsafe for dogs to consume.
Some of the Human Items that can be dangerous for dogs include:
- Cooked bones (Can splinter and cause gastrointestinal lacerations)
- Garlic / Onions
- Grapes / Raisins / Currants
- Human Medicines – Paracetamol etc
- Dairy Products
- Numerous types of nuts
When you take home your puppy at around 8 weeks old it is important to socialise your puppy to as much as possible in order to set them up for life. Up to 16 weeks, there is a limited window of opportunity to expose them to everything they will experience later in life. Once your puppy is fully vaccinated this can be continued to outside areas. The goal is to create positive experiences so the puppy will not be fearful when they encounter similar experiences in the future. Expose them to as much as possible; people, children, other dogs, animals, traffic, helmets, noises, smells and even the clinic here!
It is also a good time to get your pets used to being handled and examined. This will help you be able to perform regular treatments such as cleaning ears, clipping nails and grooming. It will also mean your pet is less likely to be stressed when they are in with us for health checks as they will be accustomed to having their ears felt etc.
Training your puppy should begin once you bring your little furry one home for the first time. It can be stressful for them the first night away from their mother and siblings and it is not uncommon for them to cry. Whilst we can do our best to comfort them, try to avoid practices which should not continue in the future such as letting them sleep in your bed! A lot of new owners will tend to treat their pets like children, and even though they will always be our babies, the psychology of a canine and a human are really worlds apart! Training requires time and effort, but it will really make a difference in the long run. An untrained dog can be a danger to both others and itself. Mistakes and accidents will happen so be persistent and patient! Begin with house training and progress from there. There are many resources online and in libraries to help, but be wary of harmful or outdated methods. The use of positive reinforcement is recommended as it is not damaging to the dog or indeed the bond between pet and guardian. Everyone in the house needs to be on the same page with training for it to be effective or else have one person take charge of the training. If you are experiencing difficulties or need advice, contact us here at the clinic and we will try to help.
Unfortunately there may be times during your pet’s life where they become ill or hurt. As we see only too often, these times are stressful for pet owners. Worrying about the expenses involved can also add to this already horrible time, thus we recommend taking out insurance for your pet to avoid this additional worry.
As our pets get older, they will begin to experience problems much like us such as arthritis and heart problems. Other pets may suffer from conditions for the majority of their lives such as skin problems or neurological problems amongst others.
Most conditions can be managed successfully but may require ongoing medications. There are numerous medicines available to help your pet live a comfortable and enriched life. We, as pet owners, can make a significant difference to their lives. An insurance policy can help with the financial aspect of ongoing medications.
Most insurance policies differ from company to company. Most will not cover routine procedures, such as neutering or dental work, or preventative treatments, such as worm treatments or vaccinations.
Pre-existing conditions will not be covered thus it is important to take out the policy when they are still a puppy. Whichever provider you choose, check what is covered and what you are paying for.