Introducing a new puppy at home is an exciting time for all the family. Puppies are time consuming when they are young. It is important to set out the ground rules and establish the routine you wish to maintain throughout your dog’s life and that takes time and energy.
Before your puppy is fully vaccinated, he will be at risk of contracting diseases. It is essential, to minimise the risks, that he is kept away from any dogs which are not fully vaccinated, and off any ground where unvaccinated dogs could have had access. As you will want to encourage his socialisation, it is advisable to start his immunisation as early as possible.
The dog vaccine that we now use at Donaldson’s Vets surgeries can be given from 6 weeks of age onwards and protects against a wide range of diseases.
Probably the most infamous diseases that the vaccine prevents are Parvovirus and Distemper. Distemper is uncommon these days but Foxes can be a source of infection to domestic dogs. Parvovirus causes a very severe bloody diarrhoea which can be fatal within hours. The virus is very resistant in the environment, surviving for many months on pavements or paths hence the advice to avoid public land.
The vaccine also protects against Leptospirosis – another infection that can be fatal. The new generation vaccines we use protect against 4 strains of Lepto rather than just 2 strains as is the case in some vaccines.
There is also protection against other diseases such as Adenovirus and Parainfluenza Virus.
A puppy can be fully immunised and safe to go out by the time it gets to 11 weeks of age but you need to speak to your Vet for advice on a suitable immunisation program.
As well as vaccinations, you need to consider worm and flea prevention. Puppies are particularly susceptible to certain worms so seek veterinary advice for effective and safe parasite prevention.
Your puppy needs proper nutrition if he is to grow and develop properly. Your Vet will be able to advise on a suitable diet for your puppy.
Lastly, you need to remember to have your puppy microchipped. Microchipping becomes compulsory in all dogs over 8 weeks of age at the end of this month and you risk criminal prosecution if you are the owner of an non-microchipped dog