CARING FOR YOUR PUPPY

CARING FOR YOUR PUPPY

The arrival of a new puppy in the home is always an exciting event, especially for children. Remember, though, that the pup will be feeling strange and should be allowed to settle in quietly without too much picking up, or fussing.

A CORNER OF HIS OWN

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It is important that the new pet should have his own bed or basket in a quiet, draught-free corner of the room, right from the start. This is his own territory and it will help to give him a sense of security in his new home. Start at once to teach him the command "into your basket" and see that it is obeyed.

A strong cardboard box, with one side cut down, will make a warm and satisfactory first bed, with a piece Veterinary Bedding. A fairly thick layer of newspaper at the bottom of the box will give warmth and insulation and it can be discarded daily. Place the basket near a radiator if possible, as young pups feel the cold, or supply an old stone hot water bottle, well wrapped up. It has been suggested that a clock with a loud tick placed near the basket may sound to the puppy like the heart beat of its mother, and provide a little reassurance.

LEAVING YOUR PUP

At night A puppy which has just left his litter of brothers and sisters, and finds himself alone at night for the first time, may well feel lonely and howl. If you are certain that he is not hungry or cold, ignore the noise if you possibly can, although if there are neighbours to consider it is difficult. If you can harden your heart for a few nights, the puppy really will get tired of barking, but if you once weaken and take him into the bedroom or worse still, the bed, the battle is lost.

It really is not a kindness to make your pup over dependent on you. A dog which sleeps in its own basket and feels secure there can much more easily be left with friends, or in kennels if it ever becomes necessary.

For the same reason, it is wise to make a point of leaving your pup alone in the house for a short time each day (while you go shopping, for instance). In this way he will accept being left as the normal thing, and feel confident that you will return.

SIMPLE TRAINING

It is no use expecting too much of a young pup in the way of training, but house training, and a few simple commands should be taught, and persevered with.

If you are lucky, your pup may have had some house training before his arrival in the home, but if not, prepare to be patient. House Training to newspaper is usually the best method, unless the garden is very close to the kitchen training and the weather is good. In any case, newspapers will be needed at night as the young puppy cannot be expected to be clean over a period of hours. Put several thicknesses of newspaper on the floor near the puppy's basket, and put the puppy onto it immediately after feeding, as soon as he wakes up, and indeed on every occasion when you think it may be necessary. Praise him when he uses the paper; most pups are anxious to please. Puppy pads can also be very effective as an alternative to newspaper.

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On the other hand, it is important to disinfect thoroughly if the puppy happens to soil the carpets, as dogs tend to return by scent to the same place. Stain removers, are available to remove soil marks made on soft furnishings. It is better at this stage to confine the puppy entirely to the kitchen, where there is an easily washable floor, until clean habits have been established. It is well worth devoting a lot of time to this early training. A puppy which has once learned dirty habits in the house can be very difficult to retrain. As the puppy gets older, and has more bladder and bowel control, start training him to the garden or yard, but remember that you will probably have to continue with newspapers at night for some time.

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Keep commands simple at this stage. The pup should learn to go into his box, or basket, and "stay" when told. Be consistent with your commands, even when you are busy, and see that they are obeyed. Teach the pup to come when his name is called, and of course make a fuss of him when he does so. A pup which will not come when he is called is not only a nuisance to his owner, but may be in real danger if he gets loose in traffic. Calling him by name each meal time will help to teach obedience and associate coming to the call with something pleasant.

Start early to let your pup wear his collar for a short time each day. Some pups resent a collar and lead at first and sulk, but this is an important lesson and you must persevere. Your pup should be microchipped before they are 8 weeks old. A medallion with your name and address is a "must" as even young pups sometimes stray. Alternatively, a Lost & Found Collar will help identify your puppy, and can be used from 12 weeks of age. Whether you prefer a collar or a harness, get your pup used to walking on the lead in the house or garden. Nothing looks worse than an unfortunate pup being dragged along the streets by his collar, because he has not been taught to walk properly.

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Enrol your puppy at a training school as soon as possible. You will both have a lot of fun, and a well-trained dog is both a more pleasant companion and less trouble to other people.

FEEDING THE PUPPY

The main ingredients of a puppy's diet are milk, meat in some form to supply protein, and biscuits or cereal to supply carbohydrates. Complete puppy foods make life simple, as they are especially designed for growing pups.

Milk supplies calcium and vitamin D, which are essential for bone formation. Sherley's Lactol is specially formulated to take the place of the bitch's own milk. It is greatly superior to cow's milk, as it is formulated to match bitch's milk as closely as possible. It is therefore more suitable for puppies than other preparations. It is also ideal for pregnant and nursing bitches.

With puppies, there is little danger of overfeeding. Their dietary requirements are very much greater than those of adult dogs, in proportion to their weight. The main growing period in a dog's life is between seven weeks and six months, so it is vital that at this time your puppy is given the right foods in the right amounts. Neglect, or wrong feeding can lead to poor bone formation, bad teeth, or stunted growth. It is possible that your puppy will arrive with a diet sheet prepared by his breeder. If this appears to be suiting him, by all means continue with it. If, however, you need to make changes, do so gradually as young pups, like babies, are easily upset by sudden changes of food. Age seven to twelve weeks. At this stage pups should have four small meals per day, reducing to three meals daily towards the end of this period if wished.

Most well known manufacturers now produce ready prepared, complete diets (either tinned, moist, or dry) which are specially formulated for young puppies. These are to be recommended as they take all the guess work and worry out of preparing your own diets. Follow the manufacturers advice for the amounts required.

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For puppies, as for adult dogs, fresh water should always be available. Age twelve weeks to six months. Three meals daily are usually sufficient, increasing the quantities as the puppy grows. Usually the first meal or breakfast is the milky one and the other two are of meat and biscuit. If the pup seems to get tired of cereals and milk just give a drink of milk with a rusk or hard biscuit in the morning.

Age six months to one year. Two meals daily should be the practice. These may be morning and evening, or mid-day and evening, according to the dog's appetite, or to suit the owner's way of life. By this age, both meals are of meat and biscuit, but by all means continue with a small drink of milk daily, if your dog enjoys it.

QUANTITIES TO FEED

This is a very difficult subject to generalise on, as puppies of the different breeds obviously vary greatly in size. As a guideline, a puppy which is being fed four times daily can be given as much food as it will clear up straight away at each meal time, but also follow the manufacturer's advice as to quantity.

If your puppy is well and active, and food is being left, you are almost certainly overfeeding. If, however, your puppy is not taking its food, and seems quiet and listless, you would be wise to consult your Veterinary Surgeon. Try to keep regular meal times. A pup has a small stomach capacity and will thrive much better on frequent small meals rather than on one large one. If any food is left, don't leave it on the floor to harbour germs, but take it up straight away.

Vitamin and mineral supplements may be needed for a pup which is in poor condition. However, care must be taken not to give excessive amounts of certain vitamins and minerals, e.g. Vitamin D For puppies, as for adult dogs, fresh water should always be available. Age twelve weeks to six months. Three meals daily are usually sufficient, increasing the quantities as the puppy grows. Usually the first meal or breakfast is the milky one and the other two are of meat and biscuit. If the pup seems to get tired of cereals and milk just give a drink of milk with a rusk or hard biscuit in the morning.

Age six months to one year. Two meals daily should be the practice. These may be morning and evening, or mid-day and evening, according to the dog's appetite, or to suit the owner's way of life. By this age, both meals are of meat and biscuit, but by all means continue with a small drink of milk daily, if your dog enjoys it.

and calcium, as they may cause more harm than good. Suitable balanced formulations exist. e.g. Sherley's Vionate, but if you are unsure, consult your Veterinary Surgeon who will advise you about requirements and dosage.

TEETHING

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Your pup will have a complete set of sharp puppy teeth when he arrives - as you will probably soon find out! Puppy teeth Between the ages of twelve weeks and six months he will gradually shed his puppy teeth, and cut his permanent or adult teeth. The first permanent teeth to come through are usually the two centre teeth on the top jaw, and the last are the big corner or canine teeth in the top and bottom jaw. Most puppies change their teeth with very little discomfort, but occasionally there may be some soreness or bleeding.

In a few cases, and more often in miniature breeds, the puppy's teeth are not shed before the permanent teeth start to come through. This not only causes discomfort to the pup, but may spoil the shape of the mouth, so, if this occurs, it is best to consult a Veterinary Surgeon.

Chewing While the teething process is going on, pups tend to chew everything, so learn to be tidy. Never leave shoes or indeed anything chewable within the puppy's reach - and don't give the pup an old shoe as a plaything. He cannot be expected to distinguish the old from the new. Dental chews, are now available for dogs of all ages, and these will not only deter your puppy from chewing your personal belongings, but will also help to keep his teeth clean and healthy.

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DENTAL CARE

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It is a good idea to get puppies used to regular tooth brushing from as early an age as possible. To begin with, simply rub some paste onto his teeth and gums with your finger. He will lick his teeth clean with his tongue, which will, in itself, perform a cleaning function, and he will get used to the taste of the paste. Later, you can begin gentle brushing. Remember to always use toothpaste specially designed for dogs, as human products contain foaming agents, which will upset his stomach.

GROOMING AND BATHING

Puppies don't usually need to be bathed, but if it should be necessary, use lukewarm water and a mild dog shampoo and take care to see that the puppy is thoroughly dried and not allowed to become chilled. Puppy Shampoo is ideal for this. It is a mild, conditioning shampoo, especially formulated for sensitive young skins.

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Brushing and combing should be carried out daily, especially with the long coated varieties. It is never too soon to start good habits. A fairly soft nylon brush is often best at this stage.

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Puppies, even from the best of homes, may sometimes have fleas. There is no need to be unduly alarmed about this, as these fleas do not live on humans. Fleas on young puppies should be removed using a flea comb. Bathing in a puppy shampoo may also remove a great many of the fleas. Powder and sprays should not be used on puppies younger than 12 weeks of age. Bedding should be regularly washed, and treated to prevent reinfestation of the puppies (see also our leaflet on flea control).

YOUR PUPPY'S HEALTH

Vaccination against the major infectious diseases of dogs is the most important step you should take to guarantee your pup's health. Vaccination will give you protection against the following diseases: Distemper -An often fatal viral disease in unprotected dogs. Adenovirus - This causes a viral hepatitis and can also cause respiratory disease. Parainfluenza -A viral respiratory disease. Parvovirus -A viral infection causing severe vomiting and diarrhoea, which can be fatal. Leptospira - Two types of this bacteria exist; one causing a severe hepatitis, the other causing a severe kidney disease. Both can be rapidly fatal. Protection against both forms is included in the vaccination.

Never put off vaccination; it could cost your pet it's life!

Puppies should be kept in their own homes prior to vaccination, and isolated from contact with other unvaccinated dogs to prevent infection. Viral diseases are extremely infectious, and may be picked up from the ground, even without actual contact with another dog. Any grass verge, where other dogs are walked, can be a potential source of infection.

Age for The vaccination course is usually started between eight and twelve weeks of age. It is best to get vaccination in touch with your local Veterinary Surgeon to make arrangements as soon as you get your new puppy. Many veterinary practices also offer 'puppy-parties', which are socialisation groups and are held in their practices. Ask at the time of first vaccination for more information. Most pups have some roundworms, even though they may have come from a good home and have had some previous treatment.

It is a good idea to dose the puppy routinely at regular intervals with, for example, Worming Syrup in his early life both for his sake and to avoid any risk of infection to children. Worms may cause illness in young pups, but if your pup is listless or off his food, don't conclude that this is the cause without consulting a Veterinary Surgeon. A healthy puppy should be ready for its meals and clear them up at once. It should have a shiny coat, and bright eyes, and be plump, without being overweight. It should be lively and alert and ready to play. If your puppy answers to this description, you have got off to a good start.

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