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Puppy Care

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Your puppy is a dog also!Basic needs: All puppies will need both food and water bowls, and a place to sleep. Many people use a crate as the pup’s bed, and as a safe haven. There are many beds available to buy, as well as bowls, toys and training tools. Your puppy will also need a good quality collar and lead. A crate is considered to be essential as it provides a safe haven for the dog and becomes his special place in the home, whilst also confirming from the early days that just sometimes, the dog’s presence in the room is restricted. A handy message if you have a Wolfhound or St Bernard!

Health: Register your puppy with a vet as soon as possible. As well as giving him his inoculations and worming treatments, the vet will also give the puppy a general health check. Many vets can also give advice on feeding and exercise, and will answer any questions you may have. Some of the diseases that your puppy will be vaccinated against are:
Canine Distemper
Infectious Hepatitis
Kennel Cough

With the pet travel scheme, dogs are now inoculated against Rabies which will qualify them for a pet passport, allowing them to travel without being quarantined. Dogs will need a course of inoculations, followed by yearly boosters. The primary course is given from eight weeks of age, with the second being administered 4-6 weeks later.


Feeding: The breeder or rescue centre should have informed you as to the puppy’s feeding regime, and probably sent you home with his food. It is best to stick to the same diet at first, as puppies do not like change in their feeding patterns. Depending on the breed and size of the dog, the puppy should be fed between four and six times daily. This avoids the puppy becoming overfull and regurgitating his meal. If food is still in the puppy’s bowl after 15 minutes, then remove it. If he were still hungry he would have licked his bowl clean. Never try and force a dog to eat. Start as you mean to go on and do not feed him from your dinner table. Also you should avoid preparing the puppy’s food in the same place as where you prepare your own food (if possible). This is so that you start as you mean to go on, and you don’t associate that place with food in the puppy’s mind. Instead, you can use a utility room, garage, shed or garden to prepare the dog food, and in this way (if disciplined) you will avoid problems of the dog drooling at dinner time in months and years to come!

Dogs do seem to have a natural tendency to beg for food from the table, but giving in to this will create behavioural problems. Avoid giving him human food that contains condiments and spices. Also beware of bones in general, especially ones from birds or fish. These bones can splinter and perforate the gut. Having said that, a good strong roast beef or lamb bone can be a superb way to occupy a dog of any age, as well as promoting healthy teeth and gums.

Lastly, you should always have clean water available to a puppy at all times.

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Exercise for puppies: Exercise is important for the new puppy, but please try to keep strenuous exercise to a minimum. The new puppy’s bones are still growing and too much exercise, especially jumping, can harm their growth and development. Usually playing with the puppy indoors or in the garden is more than enough, and it is mental stimulation which will tire a puppy out more than purely physical exercise. Hiding toys or balls from him and similarly engaging games will very quickly wear him out mentally, causing him to sleep deeply once resting.

Once the puppy is fully vaccinated you can take him for short walks to get him used to the lead and to acclimatise him to his new surroundings.

Socialisation / Puppy Classes: Up until now, the only relationship your puppy has had has been one of dependency on his mother. Between 8 weeks and 3 months, your puppy should experience as many different stimuli as possible. Introduce the puppy to everything and anything. The car, lawnmower, hosepipe, vacuum cleaner, hairdryer, washing machine, aerosols, the postman, other people, and children. Even if the puppy is not fully vaccinated, carry him to a train station, the supermarket. the schoolyard, and almost anywhere you can, for him to experience new sounds and smells. This is the most sensitive time in your dog’s life. Enrol your pup in a puppy training class. These classes offer an excellent opportunity for your puppy to meet other dogs and people. He will learn how to interact with his own kind and with strangers. He will learn to listen to you despite being in a strange situation. Besides that, puppy classes are informative, beneficial, and most of all, darn good fun!

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