Getting a puppy can be a very exciting time. There is so much to think about: which breed is most suitable for your family, what you are going to name your puppy, which vets you would like to register your puppy with, and plenty more besides! But once all of these decisions have been made and it’s time to bring your pup home, how can you best prepare it for a happy and healthy life? Luckily, we’re here to help, with a guide to help you and your puppy through its first year of life.
In most cases, we do not recommend that a puppy moves to its new home before 8 weeks of age. These first 8 weeks give your pup time to wean fully from its mother’s milk. It is also a time during which they learn vital skills for socialising with other puppies.
Worming a puppy is important, particularly when it is very young. We advise checking with your breeder that your puppy’s worming is up to date. A typical worming schedule involves worming every two weeks from 2 weeks of age, up until 8 weeks of age.
It is now a legal requirement for all puppies to be microchipped by 8 weeks of age. This change in legislation has led to many breeders microchipping puppies before they go to their new homes. If your puppy already has a microchip before you bring it home, please remember to update the details associated with the chip on the national database.
At Yorkshire Vets, we recommend that primary vaccinations begin from 8 weeks of age. This is the earliest time that a full vaccination course can start, so starting the course at exactly 8 weeks allows your pet to be fully covered, as early as possible.
This first vaccine appointment is an ideal time to discuss any concerns you may have about your pet’s health. It is also a great opportunity to discuss important topics such as diet, behaviour and neutering.
Flea and worming treatment is advised at this time, to ensure that your puppy remains protected. The consulting vet will be happy to discuss parasite prevention with you during this health examination. Our Pet Health Club will also be discussed, which provides all of the preventative care your pet will need throughout the year.
This is also a perfect time to start insurance cover for your pet if you have not already arranged a policy. As part of our puppy vaccination package, we include 4 week’s free insurance with Pet Plan. As we provide this at the time of a full veterinary exam, Pet Plan are able to offer immediate veterinary cover. This avoids the 14-day waiting period that is normal with home bought insurance policies.
If your puppy was not microchipped before you brought it home, we can also do this at a first vaccination appointment.
Our puppy vaccination packages also include an invitation to one of our puppy parties. These parties offer an opportunity for your pup to socialise with other puppies. They also offer a chance to discuss other important topics in more depth than a veterinary consult allows for.
Starting Socialisation and Training
Although your puppy cannot go out in public at this point, they should have access to an enclosed garden, if you have one. This will allow you to begin toilet training immediately. It also begins preparing them for the outside world without exposing them to the risk of infection. It can be a good idea to socialise your pup with lots of different types of people at this stage. Try to introduce your pup to men, women, children, people with beards, people wearing hats etc. Introducing them to a variety of friends at this time can make their lives much easier when they are ready to go out in public.
Two weeks after your pup has received its first vaccination, it requires a second injection to complete its primary course. As with your pups first vaccination appointment, this will include a full clinical examination with one of our vets. This gives you an opportunity to discuss any issues that may have come up since your first vaccination appointment.
A week after your puppy has had its second vaccination, it will be ready to venture outside. Some puppies may find the outside world to be an intimidating place at first, but they will soon become more confident. In order to fully socialise your puppy, it is important that they interact with as many different animals and environments as possible. It can be a good idea to visit popular dog walking spots or to join a local dog walking group. This is also the best time to enrol your puppy in training classes. These classes not only provide mental stimulation to your pup but also help to develop a civilised and obedient dog.
We recommend applying flea and worm treatment monthly. As your puppy will still be growing at this age, we may need to regularly weigh them to ensure they are receiving the correct dose of treatment. This is an ideal opportunity to continue familiarising your dog with the surgery. If your puppy is developing anxiety about visiting the vets, we recommend visiting regularly for a treat and a cuddle. This will help your puppy to think of the surgery as a pleasant place to go.
At six months of age, we offer a free adolescent preventative healthcare review with a vet. This allows us to assess how well your puppy is developing. This health examination covers topics such as dental development, dietary assessment, behaviour and training advice and more. It is also an excellent opportunity to discuss neutering.
Your puppy will now have been living with you for a year, and will now be ready for their booster injection.
As always, this vaccination appointment will include a full clinical examination with one of our vets. We will be able to address any issues or concerns that may have come up since your last visit. As most breeds will have now reached their adult size, we will be able to offer dietary advice to ensure your pet stays at a healthy weight.