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GUIDE TO CARING FOR PUPPIES

Dogs make enjoyable and affectionate pets, and they quickly build a strong bond with humans. Dogs are a long term commitment as the average life span is around 12-14 years.

GENERAL CARE

  • Grooming: Groom your dog regularly with specialist equipment suitable to the breed of dog and the coat type.
  • Worming: Your dog must be wormed regularly with a proprietary worming preparation, ask your vet or pet shop if you are unsure.
  • Flea control: Regular flea treatments will be needed to prevent fleas and other skin parasites. Your pet shop will be able to advise.
  • Vaccinations: Your puppy must be vaccinated against the infectious canine diseases: distemper, parvovirus, leptospirosis, par influenza and infectious hepatitis. Annual boosters will also be required. If you intend to take your pet abroad he will need a pet passport. This requires, amongst other things, vaccination against rabies and your vet will be able to advise. It is recommended to visit the Pets Travel Scheme section on the DEFRA website for further advice.
  • Neutering: IF you are not going to breed from your dog you should discuss neutering with your vet. Neutering prevents unwanted litters and health implications, such as ovarian and testicular tumors.
  • Insurance: Puppies should be registered with your vet and insured against unexpected veterinary costs.
  • ID Chip: You should consider having your puppy micro chipped, which will be the law from 2016. Your vet or other pet professionals can advise.

If you are concerned about your pet's health or wellbeing see veterinary advice.

DID YOU KNOW?

Puppies should never go to their new homes before the age of eight weeks, as being removed from their mother and siblings too soon can be detrimental to their behavior as an adult.

CHOOSING YOUR PUPPY

When choosing which breed of dog you would like, you must consider its adult size, the size of your home and garden, exercise and grooming requirements. You also need to consider the cost of feeding, health car insurance, professional grooming, holiday care and day care if it will alone for long periods.

You need to decide between a pedigree puppy and a crossbreed. The are 212 pedigree breeds recognized by the Kennel Club, and potential owners can visit www.thekennelclub.org.uk/findabreed to search for + best breed for your lifestyle. The Kennel Club website can also point y in the direction of a reputable breeder through their Assured Breeder Scheme.

When purchasing a pedigree puppy, ensure you receive The Kennel Club registration papers, a copy of the pedigree and any additional health certificates or diet sheets.

If you decide to purchase from a breeder, it is recommended to see mother and all her puppies together before you purchase one in order to see the environment in which the puppies were raised. This is also important as this will give you a good indication of its future size, characteristics and temperament. For further advice on choosing a reputable breeder visit www.thepetcharity.org.uk

A healthy puppy should be:

  1. Bright and alert.
  2. Have no signs of discharge from eye, ears, mouth and nose.
  3. Have a clean anal area.
  4. Have a glossy coat with no bald patches and not have sores on the skin.
  5. Should move about easily with no signs of lameness.

Purchasing a puppy isn't the only route for being able to care for a companion dog. There are many rescue organizations around the UK with thousands of dogs waiting for new homes.

Rescue organizations will try to match applications with an appropriate dog, so be prepared to answer a number of questions about your lifestyle. Many rehoming centers will also vaccinate, neuter, and microchip your pet before you take him home.

HOUSING

Initially, an indoor kennel can double up as a bed, with sufficient soft bedding, which will help to make your puppy feel safe and secure in his own environment. As your puppy grows and it becomes less likely to chew furniture or to toilet in the house, provide a bed or basket for him. There are lots of products available and your pet shop will be able to advise.

When you first bring your puppy home it may be nervous so try to minimize exposure to loud noises and don't let children or adults overwhelm him. It is also recommended that you bring some bedding home when you collect your puppy, so that his new bed will have a familiar smell.

FOOD AND WATER

When you buy your puppy you should be supplied with a diet sheet

If you decide to change your puppy's diet, do this over a period, as sudden changes in diet can cause stomach upsets. Your pet shop will stock a wide range of canned and dry foods that are balanced for your puppy's growth.

Fresh water should be available at all times in a sturdy bowl.

HANDLING

Settling in: When you take your puppy home he will need a lot of rest, but do not leave him unattended for long periods of time. It is advisable to confine your puppy to an indoor kennel when left alone to prevent unwanted chewing or toilet accidents

Toilet training: Each time your puppy wakes up, after meals and at bedtime, take him outside. When he has finished give him lots of praise.

An indoor kennel can assist with toilet training. At first keep the bed to one half and place toilet training pads in the other in case of accidents, especially at night.

Exercise: Your dog will require daily exercise, and you should thoroughly research how much exercise your puppy will need as an adult dog. Always keep your dog on a lead in public, except in designated areas and be prepared to clean up after your dog when necessary. By law your dog must wear a collar with a fitted tag or disc when in public, which displays the owner's name and address

Socialization and training: A dog that will act upon your commands will have a better relationship with you - a trained dog is a happy dog. If you do not train or socialize your puppy, he may become fearful and/or aggressive later in life. A puppy should attend socialization classes as soon as he is old enough, which is usually after vaccinations. There are weekly dog training clubs in most areas. The Kennel Club has registered clubs countrywide - find your nearest club by visiting www.thekennelclub.org.uk/findadogclub

Toys: Your puppy will enjoy playing with toys as well as you. There is a wide variety to choose from and your pet shop will be able to advise.

Puppies chew while teething and during adolescence, and some dogs continue to enjoy chewing into adulthood, so provide plenty of suitable chews and change them often.

SHOPPING LIST

  1. Food bowl
  2. Water bowl
  3. Food/water mat
  4. Basket/bed
  5. Bedding
  6. Brush and /or comb
  7. Collar and lead a Disc/tag
  8. a Worm and flea preparations
  9. Indoor kennel
  10. Book on dog care

The Animal Welfare Act 2006 means all pet owners have a legal duty of care to their pets. Anyone who is cruel to an animal or is found not to be providing the five animal welfare needs, as listed below, can be fined and sent to prison.

The Five Animal Welfare needs:

  1. Environment: Pets should be given the correct housing according fo its size, this includes shelter, space to exercise and a secure, comfortable place to rest.
  2. Diet: Pets should be offered the correct type and volume of food to cover all their nutritional needs alongside access to clean, fresh water.
  3. Behavior: All pets should be allowed to exhibit normal behavior patterns and should be provided with the facilities to do so.
  4. Company: Some animals require the company of their own kind, whilst others should be kept on their own.
  5. Health: All animals should be protected from pain, suffering, injury and disease, and given veterinary treatment if they become sick or injured.