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.
What should I buy for my puppy?
- Food and water bowl
- 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.
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.
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.
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.
Dog Health Information
Find out more
To assist owners in understanding more about a health conditions that are specific to dogs we have put together a range of information sheets to talk you through some of the more common health concerns seen and treated by our General Practice Vets.