Ensure your puppy get’s the best start in life
Welcoming a new puppy to the family is a truly exciting time for any household, but owners shouldn’t underestimate the hard work and dedication that raising a puppy can take. To help you through those first months we’ve put together this puppy advice page, featuring a handy timeline and some frequently asked puppy questions.
If you’ve recently adopted a puppy you’ll be pleased to know that you can benefit from a range of health benefits by signing up to our Puppy Gold Start plan.
Kennel Cough Vaccination
Flea, tick & lungworm treatment
4 weeks Free Insurance
Free Puppy Groom (before 14w old) at The Pet Retreat Grooming Salon
10% off Neutering
Full health check and second vaccination
One worm treatment
One flea treatment
4 weeks free insurance via PetPlan IVC
Free Puppy Groom (before 14w old) at any of The Pet Retreat Grooming Salons
10% off Neutering
Your Puppy Care Timeline
Whether you’re new to puppy ownership or not, there’s so much to take on board in the first month’s of their life that it’s often difficult to keep track. That’s why we’ve put together this puppy care timeline, to help chart the key events for you to look forward to in the first month’s of their life. We hope this ensures that you give your puppy the best possible start in life.
This is the age that worming should begin for puppies. It’s important that you check with the breeder before purchase that your puppy has had the correct amount of worming treatments. Most dogs are born with worms and it’s a normal part of their healthcare but without wormer it can cause serious illness. Your puppy will have to be wormed at 4, 6, 8 and 12 weeks of age before worming every three months.
Second Worm Treatment
4 Weeks Old
By 4 weeks any puppy should have had 2 worming treatments. Check before you adopt to be sure.
Third Worm Treatment
6 Weeks Old
Third Worm Treatment
If adopting at 7 weeks of age, ensure that your puppy has had 3 wormers to this point. If not you’ll have to administer one yourself.
Time to bring your puppy home
7 Weeks Old
Once your puppy reaches seven weeks of age they’re ready for bringing home to socialise with their new “human” pack. This is considered the optimal time to remove your puppy away from the litter and begin training it now that it’s old enough to survive without its mother.
Leaving a puppy longer than this period can lead to your puppy developing unwanted dominant or submissive traits as things get a little competitive in the litter. It can make training just that little more tricky.
Puppy Training: Develop a routine and teach their name
When you first adopt your puppy the first phase of their development and training should be centred around developing a strict routine. This is important as it ensures that your puppy can learn to understand how its needs will mould into your life rather than the other way around. The key aspects you’ll need to teach are when it’s time to eat, toilet, play and sleep. You’ll need to keep the routine as rigid as possible at first in order to help them learn.
You’ll also be teaching them their name throughout this period, which is important. To do this you call their name and when they look at you tell them they’re a “good boy” and reward them with a treat.
Knutsford Vets hold regular puppy workshops which help give you a reassuring hand when you’re training your new pet. Find out more about these on our Puppy Workshop Page Here.
8 Weeks Old
Your puppy will be ready for its first round of vaccinations at 8 weeks of age. Vaccinations are an important part of your puppy’s preventative healthcare as they can protect them from some very serious and life threatening illnesses. At Knutsford Vets we vaccinate against: –
- Kennel Cough
- Canine distemper virus
- Canine adenovirus
Find out more about the vaccination service offered by Knutsford Vets on our Dog Vaccinations Page or get all of your dog’s vaccines covered in our Gold Start plan.
Fourth Worm Treatment
8 Weeks Old
If you adopt your puppy at 7 weeks of age, you’ll need to administer their fourth wormer at 8 weeks of age. We can discuss wormers with you at your first puppy health check or when they have their vaccinations administered to ensure that you choose the one that’s the correct dosage for your new pup.
Puppy health checks are included in our Gold Start Plans or you can book a standard appointment.
8 Weeks Old
Microchipping can be performed at any age in dogs, but it’s generally considered more comfortable to perform it from 6 weeks of age. It’s worth remembering that by 8 weeks of age all dogs must be microchipped by law, so make sure to book your appointment before this date.
You can find out more about our microchipping service on our Microchipping Page.
Flea Treatment Begins
8 Weeks Old
From 8 weeks of age you can begin protecting your puppy against troublesome fleas. This can be especially important if you have multiple dogs in your household as they fleas can easily spread. Ask about the correct flea treatment for your pet at your first veterinary consultation.
Puppy Training: Lead Training and teaching to sit
Now that those first two weeks of teaching your pet a strict routine are out of the way and they now know their name, it’s time to begin lead training and teaching your pet to sit and getting them used to the lead.
Remember, our Puppy Workshops will help ensure your training is going to plan.
Fifth Worming Treatment
12 Weeks Old
At 12 weeks old administer your puppy’s fifth worming treatment. After this one they will only need to be wormed every 3 months.
12 Weeks Old (or 4-5 weeks after first vaccinations)
Once your puppy has had its first vaccinations, they’ll need another booster shot four weeks after the first. This will ensure that they have full immunity against all conditions that are vaccinated against. Full immunity won’t be achieved instantly though – you’ll have to wait two weeks after the second one until they’re fully safe. You should limit interactions with other dogs until this time.
To find out more about our Dog Vaccinations service, visit our dedicated page on the subject.
Neutering - Male Castration
4 Months Onwards
Although it’s perfectly safe to perform castration older than 4 months of age, it’s generally accepted that 4 months is the optimal age. By this point their testicles have developed enough for the operation to be straightforward, whilst they’re yet to develop unwanted behaviours that can develop when they get closer to puberty.
Find out more about male castration here, whilst you can read about our Dog Neutering service here.
Neutering for Females
6-7 Months Old (Before first season)
Although every young bitch is different and many may be ready to be spayed earlier, we generally recommend you perform the neutering operation at 6 months of age. This ensures that her anatomy has developed enough to ensure the operation is straightforward and without discomfort, yet it’s still before her first season.
Worming Goes To Once Every Three Months
6 Months Old
From 6 months of age you can worm your dog once every 3 months to protect them.
Getting our puppy off to a healthy start with The Roaming Vet
Welcoming a new puppy into the family is a very exciting time for everyone involved. Before you adopt your puppy it is important to ensure you do plenty of research as a family into both the type of breed that suits your lifestyle and into the breeders or rescue centres that are able to offer you a puppy.
In order to help you make a positive decision, we’ve answered some key questions that you should be asking when you meet your prospective pet.
At what age can a puppy come into a new home?
It is really important that a puppy stays with their mother for a minimum of 8 weeks. During the first few weeks of life, mum is feeding the puppy and ensuring the milk she gives primes the puppy with antibodies to protect the puppy from some infections they can obtain from the environment.
The pups will learn to eat solid foods and develop certain behaviours such as grooming, play and other social behaviours whilst with their mother. Leaving home too early can impact on a dog’s well being and behaviours for the rest of their lives.
What is the mother like and the rest of the puppies in the litter?
When selecting a puppy it is really important to ensure that you can see the mother and puppies together interacting. It is advisable to visit a litter before they are ready to come home so that you can see all of the puppies together, there is no reason why you shouldn’t be able to meet the mother.
During this visit you will be able to see how well the mother and puppies are cared for and what kind of start they have had in life. It is important to assess some of the following things: –
- What condition is the mother in – does she look well cared for, bare in mind mothers can lose weight whilst suckling large litters of puppies but they should not look too underweight.
- Look at where the puppies are being raised and what they are being socialised to – a puppy needs to learn the way of the world and this starts at a young age, early exposure to the sights and sounds of the world is important. Often puppies reared in barns have not been exposed to household noises such as the vacuum cleaner and door-bell and can take longer to settle into a house environment.
- Watch the puppies interact together, they often demonstrate some of their character traits at this young age, the boisterous puppy is likely to be confident in a new home, the quietest might suit a calm home.
- Be cautious of picking the smallest puppy, frequently the smallest puppy can develop health problems.
What worming and flea treatments has my puppy already had?
Puppies should be wormed from a young age as there is potential for the mother to transfer worms prior to, or at birth. If the puppies have not been wormed regularly they can fail to gain weight, develop chronic diarrhoea and develop long term complications.
Puppies should be wormed at 2 weeks old, this is usually repeated every 2 weeks until 8 weeks old and then monthly until 6 months old.
Puppies also need flea prevention treatments, especially when socialising with other dogs, it is important to discuss this with your vet as some adult products are not suitable for young dogs.
Has my puppy been vaccinated?
Some breeders like to ensure the puppy has had either their first vaccine or a full course of vaccinations prior to entering a new home. It is important to discuss with us what vaccines your pup has already had as well as the timing of this injection so that we can ensure your puppy has all of the protection required to safely go out and explore the world.
Is my puppy microchipped?
Microchipping is a permanent form of identification, by law, every puppy should be microchipped by the age of 8 weeks so it is important to ensure you have the documents for this and ensure that the microchip company hold your details on record.
There are some small breed puppies that have not been microchipped by 8 weeks old as a veterinary surgeon has deemed this procedure to be detrimental to the puppies health. If this is the case the puppy must be issued a veterinary exemption certificate from a veterinary surgeon and you must ensure you have this documentation.
Collecting your puppy
Although an exciting time for you and your family, it can be very overwhelming for your puppy to be leaving their familiar surroundings and moving into your home. When bringing your puppy home bring a comfortable dog carrier, a comfy blanket (as well as spares in case your puppy has an accident) and food and water in case it is a long journey home.
Make sure you have already puppy proofed an area at home and are set up ready for the puppy. Try to minimise exposure to loud noises for the first few days and do not plan for lots of visitors to meet the puppy until it is settled and has formed a bond with you.
Take your time and be patient with your new puppy, you have a lifetime together but the first few weeks are the most important of their life. You need to ensure you take the time to bond and don’t rush the process particularly with a nervous pup.
First puppy health check
Your vet will take plenty of time to get to know your puppy and for your puppy to build confidence with them. A full clinical examination will be performed to check your puppy is fit and healthy and to discuss the best care for them.
Need help with training?
Training your puppy requires hard work, dedication, and above all else discipline. It’s important that you maintain a rigid training schedule in the first weeks that your puppy joins the family. Even the most experienced dog owners can struggle with aspects of their puppies early development and learning. In these instances, it’s always worth seeking expert help to try to fix any issues whilst young, ensuring you have a sociable and well-behaved dog for the rest of their life.
To help new owners in the local Cheshire area, we provide a Puppy Training Workshop. These hands on group sessions are attended by both dog and owner and are run by our team under the Kennel Club Good Citizen Dog Training Scheme. They allow us to work together alongside fellow pet owners to teach you the basics and discuss problem areas to help you address them.
Find out more on our Puppy Workshop page.