Taking care of your puppy’s health
In the first months of life your puppy goes through an amazing transformation. By taking care of their health, and helping them form healthy habits at this stage, you'll build the foundations for a healthy future together.
Six tips to keep your puppy healthy
1. Learn to read your puppy’s body language so you spot if they might be ill.
2. If you feel something isn’t right, or your puppy doesn’t seem their usual self, speak to your vet.
3. Make sure your puppy gets the right nutrition from a specialist, well-balanced puppy diet.
3. Give your puppy plenty of opportunities to sleep and rest quietly during the day, as well as at night.
4. Dogs enjoy company, so spend time with your puppy and remember to interact and play with them.
5. Always follow your vet’s recommended vaccination and worming schedule.
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How to make the most of your puppy’s first visit to the vet
Once your puppy feels at home, it’s time for them to see the vet. There are important checks and treatments your vet needs to carry out, such as vaccinations and worming. These simple procedures will give your puppy the very best start to life.First vet visit
Vaccinations and worming
Why puppy vaccinations are so important
Protection against diseases
Your vet will advise if your puppy needs any other vaccinations, depending on their lifestyle, and will create a detailed vaccination schedule for you.
Preventing worms in your puppy
Worms commonly found in puppies
Four types of worms are commonly found in puppies. Roundworms lodge in the small intestine and can grow to be several inches long, causing serious health problems. Hookworms latch onto the small intestine and live off the puppy’s blood leading to serious loss of blood and nutrients.
Tapeworms are long, flat and white and don’t usually harm dogs but can cause weight loss. Whipworms are the least common and can be hard to diagnose.
Symptoms of worms in puppies
Look out for the following symptoms, which may indicate your puppy has worms: Diarrhoea and/or vomiting, dry or coarse fur, blood in their stools, bloated abdomen, lethargy, worms visible in their stools, anal area or vomit.
Should I sterilise my puppy?
Sterilising your puppy means you won’t be able to breed from them as it stops the production of sperm or eggs. But it does offer a variety of health and behavioural benefits as well as preventing unwanted litters.
In male dogs, sterilisation is called neutering and in female dogs it’s called spaying. Both involve your puppy being anaesthetised and having a small operation by a vet.
The benefits of puppy neutering and spaying
- Reduced risk of testicular and anal gland tumours and prostate enlargement.
- Male dogs are less likely to mark their territory in your garden.
- Your male dog is less likely to rove, make urine markings or be aggressive.
- Prevents mammary gland tumours.
- The symptoms of being in heat are removed or reduced.
- Prevents sexually transmitted diseases.
- Female dogs are no longer attractive to male dogs.
- No unwanted litters.
When to have your puppy neutered or spayed
Changing your puppy’s diet after sterilisation
After a puppy’s been neutered or spayed, they tend to gain weight more easily because they have a bigger appetite but are less active. Being overweight can cause various health problems, so it’s important to adjust your puppy’s diet.Food designed for sterilised dogs has fewer calories and a higher fibre content to help your puppy feel full without gaining too much weight. Ask your vet for advice on your puppy’s new diet, and switch to it progressively a week before their operation so they can get used to it.
Common health issues for puppies
Knowing the common health issues your puppy might face, and the symptoms to look out for, can help you feel reassured and take better care of your puppy.Common health issues
The right nutrition to help your puppy stay healthy
Your puppy’s diet is one of the most important factors in their long-term health and wellbeing. It influences everything from the strength of their bones and immune system to their digestive comfort and coat health.
As your puppy grows towards adulthood and beyond, their nutritional needs will change – especially over the first year. To help give them the best chance in life, it’s important you give them the right diet, in the right quantities for their age and individual needs.