Health care

Being a pet owner is a big responsibility. Your dog’s health is in your hands. Here is a guide as to the important aspects of health care to get you off to a good start.

Taking care of a new puppy takes more than just a cozy bed and a bowl of food. While it is a huge responsibility, and can seem daunting, knowing what to expect will put you in good stead as an owner. While there are no guarantees that your dog will never suffer from an illness over its lifetime, preventative measure such as vaccination and worming and a good diet will give your pet the best chance at a healthy lifestyle.

Vaccinations are essential to protect your puppy against infectious diseases such as distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus, and the contagious respiratory disease, kennel cough. Puppies require 3 vaccinations: the first at 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks and 14-16 weeks, then an annual booster for the rest of its life to ensure their immunity against these diseases.

It is important not to socialize your puppy with dogs that have not been fully vaccinated, and it is best not to walk your puppy outside of your property until it has had its 3 vaccinations, as some diseases are passed on via saliva and dog-to-dog contact or via contaminated faeces.

It is common for puppies to have worms passed on from their mother, so worming in puppies should be done regularly. Puppies should be wormed from 2 weeks of age, every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old, then monthly until they are 6 months old. After this age, they should be wormed every 3 months for life. Flea control is also important for controlling flea tapeworm.

Fleas are often brought home from outside and can continue to multiply if not controlled. There are many products available to control fleas, the most convenient are the monthly ampoules squirted on the back of your dogs neck. Many of these are waterproof also.

Dogs that have been spayed/ neutered make better pets and there is no reason to not have your dog neutered. Neutering significantly reduces the risk of females developing mammary tumors or uterine infections, and males developing prostate or testicular cancer. Neutering is usually performed at between 4-6 months of age, although this can vary from clinic to clinic.