Owning a pet brings a great deal of pleasure and whilst you will
want yours to have a long, healthy and happy life, it is almost
inevitable that your dog will need vaccinations or other forms of
veterinary treatment at some point.
Veterinary practices and dog vaccinations
Puppies need to be taken to a vet for a health check and
registered with the practice. Your vet will advise you on
vaccinations, worming, microchipping and health issues. Puppies can
receive their first vaccination from approximately eight weeks, but
this will vary depending on the normal practice of your vet. Your
vet will start your puppy on a course of vaccinations against the
four main infectious diseases:
- Canine Distemper
All of these diseases can be fatal, so after its first course of
vaccinations, your puppy will need re-vaccinating annually.
Keep the dog vaccination certificates safe as you may need to
show them when at boarding kennels, dog training classes or if you
take your dog abroad. Until your puppy is fully vaccinated,
you should not take it anywhere where it might come into contact
with dogs or ground that may be infected, but you can take it out
in your arms or the car to get it used to different places and
Your puppy will also need regular worming and treatment for
fleas and ticks, so follow the advice of your vet. You may also
want to have your dog vaccinated against Kennel Cough. Your vet can
advise you on this.
Health checking your puppy
You need to check your puppy's body regularly for:
- grass seeds etc
You will also need to keep a check on its:
- dew claws
- and for testicular lumps
- or for mammary lumps
So get your puppy used to being gently touched all over and
examined on a daily basis. This could be built into your
regular grooming routine in order for you to regularly check for
any changes to your puppy that may need vet attention.
Treating fleas in puppies
Fleas are usually pretty hard to spot unless there is a massive
infestation and it's much easier to spot on white/pale coated dogs
that on darker coats. They are small reddish jumping insects (about
1mm in diameter) but more often you will see the evidence of fleas
like flea-dirts (the fleas's faeces) or signs associated with fleas
- hair loss
- scratching etc
One way of confirmation is by collecting flea-dirts on damp
cotton wool - if the cotton wool goes red then your puppy probably
If you suspect your puppy has fleas, firstly make an appointment
to have your puppy assessed by your vet to make sure it is fleas
before treating your dog, as some other diseases display similar
symptoms. Do not try treating the infestation at home as you
will just be wasting valuable time - time that the fleas are using
Shop bought flea products, flea combs, flea collars, baby
shampoo and even hand soap do not usually have any effect and may
not be suitable for young puppies, whereas treatment from
your vet is much more effective and safe. You should also treat
your house by using a household spray, as well as vacuuming the
carpets, rugs and cleaning all the puppy's bedding.
Flea bites can quickly become infected painful areas of
self-trauma and intense itching and skin infections are notoriously
expensive to treat and can take some time to heal. As well as
skin infections, sometimes associated with fever, puppies can
become ittitated and depressed which will affect their
socialisation and sleep patterns.
Fleas can affect the whole household - other pets can become
infested, human members of your family will start to get bitten and
there is of course the expense of treating a flea infested house.
The early detection and preferably prevention of an infestation is
the key to keeping your puppy free of fleas.
additional information on common worms and flea control which will
also be helpful to know more about - from our Partners in Pet Nutrition -
Some common worms
There are different intestinal and other worms such as
hookworms, roundworms, whipworms, tapeworms and lungworms that can
affect your puppy's health. The worming treatment that your vet has
prescribed ensures your puppy is protected from these
Worming is recommended at two, four, eight and 12 weeks and then
monthly to keep your dog healthy and reduces the risk of worms
transferring from your dog to you, your family and
Many intestinal worms that infect dogs can cause zoonotic
diseases. Although the risk of contracting such infections is low,
it is important to remember that zoonotic diseases can be
transmitted from your pets to you and your family. Some parasites
can cause serious illness and children are especially susceptible
to zoonotic diseases.
Integrated flea control
- Adult fleas only account for 5% of the total flea
- The other 95% is made up of the eggs, larvae and pupae - they
remain hidden waiting to develop and jump onto the dog! For
the best flea protection, all dogs in a household should be treated
to stop the flea breeding cycle.
As a guide, an integrated flea-control program would consist
- A flea adulticide to kill adult fleas on your dog. Use it at
the start of a flea management program, then any time you notice
fleas on your dog.
- A flea protection treatment to break the flea lifecycle.
It stops adult fleas from producing viable eggs, and prevents flea
larvae from developing into adults. Use once a month, all year
- Cleaning measures such as frequent cleaning of floors and the
dog's bedding, to further reduce the environmental flea
If you are concerned, speak to your vet for further advice.