Bringing home a sweet little puppy is exciting, but adding a puppy to your family comes with responsibilities. In addition to training and socialising your puppy, you also need to be aware of their healthcare needs. Here's what you need to know:
Protection From Worms And Fleas
Worms can cause vomiting and dehydration, while fleas can cause itching and skin infections. You can protect your puppy from the pain and discomfort of a worm or flea infestation by administering vet-approved treatments regularly. Treat your puppy for fleas every month throughout the year, and use this schedule for worming them:
- Every fourteen days for the first three months of their life
- Every twenty-eight days for the next three months
- Every three months for the rest of their life
Ensure you use products suitable for your dog's age or you risk giving them too much. If you do use a treatment aimed at older or larger dogs, contact your vet right away for advice.
Your puppy should start a dog vaccination program when they reach 1 ½ -2 months old. After their first round of vaccinations, they will need booster shots at 12 weeks old and an annual booster shot for the rest of their life to ensure they remain protected. Your puppy won't be fully protected from common diseases until they have their 12 week booster, so keep them indoors and away from other dogs until then. Vaccinating your puppy will protect them from the following:
- Hepatitis - This is spread through urine and causes fever and diarrhoea.
- Parvovirus - This viral disease is often fatal and can be contracted from contact with infected faeces.
- Canine Cough - This disease attacks your puppy's lungs and is difficult to treat.
- Distemper - This viral disease can cause seizures and brain damage. Puppies are particularly susceptible to distemper as their immune systems aren't fully developed.
Puppies also need a specially formulated diet to support brain development and physical growth. Opt for food rich in these three nutrients to protect your puppy from skin and bone conditions and support their growth:
- Protein - Your puppy requires high-quality protein for healthy hair and skin. They can absorb protein from meat more easily than protein from vegetable sources.
- Calcium - Your puppy requires calcium for the development of strong bones and teeth. A good quality puppy food should provide enough calcium, but you can also add a little extra to their diet once a week by mixing one finely ground eggshell into their wet food.
- Antioxidants - Your puppy's immune system requires antioxidants to develop fully. Synthetic antioxidants commonly found in puppy food include ethoxyquin and butylated hydroxytoluene, but some brands contain natural antioxidants such as vitamin E and citric acid.
You should register your puppy with a local vet and have them checked over for any signs of illness as soon as you bring them home. Your vet can answer any specific questions you have about your puppy's healthcare needs and recommend flea and worming products and nutritionally complete brands of puppy food.