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Puppies – A rough guide to owning a puppy

This information has been designed to give you a rough guide of what’s required when owning a puppy.

Unless you are concerned about your new puppy, we would recommend letting him/her settle into their new home for at least 5–7 days before bringing them in for their primary vaccinations and or health check. This gives them time to adjust to their new surroundings and lifestyle before subjecting them to another new and slightly daunting experience of coming to the veterinary surgery.

Settling in

Getting your puppy into a routine is vital and start as you mean to go on.

For example, it may be advisable to crate your puppy at night downstairs, this should be started and stuck to. Having them upstairs on the bed with you for the first few weeks can get the puppy in an unwanted routine! Unfortunately, your puppy may whine at night and it can make you feel responsible but remember they have just been taken from a safe and calming environment; they have left their litter mates and most importantly their mother. Try giving them a teddy or a warm hot-water bottle (wrapped in a towel) for comfort.

You can also use an ‘Adaptil’ collar to help when first settling your puppy in. This collar releases a copy of the calming pheromones released by a lactating bitch. It can be very useful when socialising your puppy and introducing them to new things, as well as helping them settle at night. Ask a member of staff for more details.


A puppy’s primary vaccination course is followed by a yearly booster. This will help protect them against the infectious diseases of:

  • Distemper
  • Parvovirus
  • Hepatitis
  • Leptospirios

The primary course consists of two vaccinations given 4 weeks apart. We can give an optional third vaccination at 16 weeks old. Please speak to your vet regarding vaccine protocols.

A yearly kennel cough intranasal vaccine is advisable for those that have close contact with other dogs such as in kennels, exercise areas, training classes and dog shows.

If you are considering travelling abroad with your pet, then a rabies vaccination is part of the criteria to obtain a pet’s passport.

Click here to visit our vaccination page


We highly recommend insuring your puppy – the earlier you take out a policy the better. A suitable policy will ensure you can be there for your pet when they need it most, without the need to worry about vet bills.

It’s useful to shop around to make sure you get the best policy for your money. We would always suggest considering a lifetime policy, as this will give you and your pet the most comprehensive cover.

Find out more about the importance of pet insurance.

Worms and fleas

Treating your puppy for worms and fleas is essential. Sometimes they have been treated by the breeder before you collect them, but you should always check this and, if possible, have evidence of this in their paperwork given to you.

The recommendation for treatment for worms in your new puppy is generally every two weeks until they are twelve weeks of age, every month until six months of age and then every 1-3 months throughout the rest of their life.

Treating for fleas should be done routinely throughout the rest of their life. Depending on your choice of product that can vary between 4 weeks up to 6 months.

Click here for more information on fleas


Puppies should be fed little and often so their small stomachs don’t become overloaded. As a guide, it is advised to feed 4 meals daily up to 4 months of age, 3 meals daily up to 6 months, then 2 meals daily from 6 months old. Always make sure that any change in diet is made gradually over a period of 1-2 weeks.

Monitoring their growth is vital; if your puppy grows and puts on too much weight too quickly, it puts stress on their immature bone structure which can cause problems for them.

It can be very confusing and a little bewildering to make a choice. Essentially, premium diets contain better quality ingredients and tend to be better for your puppy as a rule. They usually require a smaller portion size compared to the cheaper alternatives due to the higher quality ingredients being used. In actual fact, the cost doesn’t differ too much at all.

Wet food can spoil quickly and attracts flies, particularly in the warmer months, whereas dry food is more hygienic and can be purchased in bulk and stored easily. Many dry foods are specially formulated for age, breed and size of your dog. The kibble size and shape are tailored to individual needs.

It shouldn’t be necessary to supplement your puppy’s diet at all when feeding with a complete diet. Neither is it essential to give milk, your puppy will receive enough calcium in their food.

Giving treats as incentives are good for training purposes but should never be more than 15% of their dietary intake. Chews are good for puppies, especially during teething and for oral hygiene purposes. Some dental chews can be high in fat so be aware of this.

Puppy Training Classes

Many behavioural problems seen in older dogs could have been prevented if the dog had been given the opportunity to learn social skills, manners and communication by the age of 16 weeks.

Taking your puppy to training classes will allow them to meet other puppies and people of all shapes, ages and sizes in a fun and rewarding environment (for both you and your puppy!) Training with your puppy will also help you build an incredibly strong relationship with them.

Please don’t hesitate to contact us if you have any questions.


Microchipping is the best way to identify your dog. It is a legal requirment to have your dog microchipped from 8 weeks of age. A tiny microchip is injected under the skin between the shoulder blades. This chip has a unique number which shows up when scanned. The number is registered along with your details on a national database. If your dog goes wandering and is taken to a vet or a rescue centre, they will be scanned and can then retrieve your contact details.

Microchipping can be done at the same time as vaccinations or neutering.

Please click here for more information about microchipping.


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