Caring for your new puppy
What to consider before getting a puppy
Having a dog can be extremely rewarding with benefits to health and wellbeing. Getting a puppy is an exciting time, however it is very important that it is a well-considered decision.
Is a puppy right for me?
While the thought of a puppy is very exciting, that early days can be very hard work. There may well be accidents in the house and chewing. You will be responsible for all the puppy’s training and socialisation, which has the advantage that if you put the work in you should have the reward of a strong bond with a well behaved and social dog.

Rescuing an adult dog can also be really rewarding. Potentially, they may come with either medical or behavioural issues, however a good rescue centre or breed rescue society should inform you about any known issues in advance. The advantage is that you miss some of the potential puppy problems.
Cross breed or pedigree?
Due to closer breeding, pedigrees are more prone to inherited illnesses and conditions. The cost of insurance premiums for certain breeds will reflect this. When considering which breed is right for you, it is sensible to look at what the breed was ‘designed’ for.

If you are struggling with this decision, by all means speak to one of our General Practice team about whether a specific breed would suit your lifestyle – we are happy to help you.
Where should I get my puppy from?
The internet has led to a rise in irresponsible breeding and illegal importation of popular breeds. Always insist on seeing the puppy with its mother and get specific information about the father.

The Kennel Club runs assurance schemes for registered breeders who adhere to certain strict guidelines regarding how they breed their dogs, under what conditions and how to do their best to make sure that they are healthy. See The Kennel Club website for more details.
Where should I get my puppy from?
  • Food and water bowl
  • Toys
  • A collar and lead
  • An identification tag with your name and telephone number
  • Pet health insurance – puppies can be accident prone!

For the first few days after taking your puppy home it is advisable to feed it on the same food it has been used to. After your puppy has settled in, you can change the diet if you wish to. Any new diet should be gradually introduced over a period of a few days.

Small puppies (8 – 12 weeks old) need four meals per day. This can gradually be reduced to three then two meals by the time your dog is six months old.

Moving to a new home and away from its mother and litter mates is a stressful situation for your puppy. This means that your puppy needs a private place to retreat to. A soft warm bed placed in a puppy crate or a basket is ideal. Make sure no-one disturbs the puppy when it is in the bed.

A plug-in DAP (dog appeasing pheromone) diffuser may also help your puppy settle in.

Puppies will generally need to go to the toilet when they have first woken up, had a drink or some food, and after playtime. Take your puppy outside in the garden and give them a command – if they go to the toilet then you should reward them.

Never tell them off if they have an accident in the house, as they won’t understand why they are being scolded and it can have a bad effect on their behaviour.

Your puppy needs vaccinating against distemper, hepatitis, parvovirosis and leptospirosis. The vaccine course can be started when the puppy is six weeks of age, however, is most commonly started at eight weeks. Puppies need to be vaccinated twice within two to four weeks. The protection will start seven days after the second vaccination.


Other vaccinations, for example against kennel cough, are not part of the routine protocol and are only given when necessary e.g. before staying in boarding kennels.

You puppy must be microchipped by law by the age of eight weeks, this will likely have been performed by the breeder. A microchip is about the size of a grain of rice and contains a unique bar code number which can be read using a small scanner.

The microchip number, together with the details of the owner and dog are then registered on a national database. Should your dog ever become lost and is found, the chip number can easily be read by using the scanner and your dog can be re-united with you.
Parasite control
Your puppy will likely have received at least worming control before coming to your home. We recommend monthly treatment for fleas, mites and lungworm (+/- ticks), and three-monthly treatment for roundworm and tapeworm. Your Vet will be happy to discuss which products best suit your needs.
Socialising and training

Once your puppy’s vaccine course is complete, puppy training and socialisation classes are recommended as a good way of introducing the puppy to friends of his or her age group.

Basic training is usually included, and you will have the opportunity to meet like-minded people to chat to and to discuss questions. Feel free to ask at reception for details about classes in this area.