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Our staff know that a healthy dog is a happy dog and we have devised the following plan to try and keep your pet as healthy and happy as possible.

1. Vaccination

Vaccination is absolutely vital for disease prevention. The diseases we vaccinate against can be fatal. An initial course of 2 injections started from 8 weeks of age, followed by equally important annual booster vaccinations.

It is important to remember that your new puppy should not mix with other dogs until at least 1 week after his/her 2nd vaccination.

We vaccinate against:

  • Parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Leptospirosis
  • Kennel Cough (Parainfluenza and Bordatella)

2. Deworming

All dogs have worms and there are more than a dozen different types. One of these, Toxocara canis (a roundworm) is a serious health issue to humans and can, in extreme cases, cause blindness. Children are especially at risk and dogs that have contact with young children must be wormed monthly. More than 90% of puppies are infected with Toxocara worms. Our recommended protocol for treatment and prevention is a prescription spot-on treatment (Advocate or Stronghold) at first vaccine and then monthly. Once 6 months of age we recommend an appropriate spot on treatment monthly and a worming tablet (Drontal or Milbemax) every 3-6 months (3 months for dogs that scavenge or are fed a raw meat diet - which we advise against).

3. Lungworm

Lungworm (Angiostrongylus Vasorum) is a parasite that infects dogs. Left untreated, the infection can sadly sometimes be fatal!

The lungworm parasite is carried by slugs and snails. The problem arises when dogs purposefully or accidentally eat these common garden pests when eating grass, drinking from puddles or outdoor water bowls, or picking them up from their toys.

Foxes can also become infected with this lungworm, and have been implicated in the spread of the parasite across the country.

Dogs of all ages and breeds can become infected with lungworm. However, younger dogs seem to be more prone to picking up the parasite. Dogs known to eat slugs and snails should also be considered high risk.

Lungworm infections can result in a number of different symptoms which may easily be confused with other illnesses.

There are some dogs which don’t initially show outward signs of lungworm infection. If you are concerned your veterinary surgeon can perform a simple in-house blood test which will detect whether your dog is infected with the lungworm parasite.

It is important to recognise that lungworm is not prevented or treated by conventional worming tablets.

Once diagnosed and treated, most dogs make a full recovery. The key to successful treatment is taking action early.

If you are concerned your dog has picked up, or is at risk from picking up a lungworm infection, speak to your veterinary surgeon without delay.

We can prescribe a specific spot-on solution called Advocate to treat this parasite, which is applied to the back of the neck. Applied monthly this product can also prevent the establishment of lungworm infection, as well as treating numerous other parasites such as fleas, fox mange, Toxocara worms and more.

4. Flea Control

In a typical infestation only 5% of fleas (the adults) live on your dog and 95% (the eggs and larvae) live in the home, so it is really important to use a product that treats the environment as well as using something that kills fleas on your dog. Fleas commonly cause skin problems in dogs, plus anaemia in puppies, not to mention severe itchiness and discomfort. We will be happy to advise you on the most appropriate flea control product for your dog. The 2 products we prescribe most often are Stronghold and Advocate. Stronghold is particularly good at treating the environment as well as killing fleas on your dog.

5. Feeding

Throughout each stage of their lives dogs have different nutritional requirements. We recommend a researched complete and balanced diet. Dry diets generally are better for the teeth than wet food.

We will be happy to advise you on the right most suitable diet for your dog.

6. Dental and Oral care

A dog’s mouth is similar to ours and so, like us, brushing teeth is the best option to prevent dental disease. For those animals who will not tolerate brushing, we recommend products applied to food and some suitable chews or toys.

Feeding a prescription dental diet also helps to control tartar.

With gentleness, patience and perseverance it is possible to regularly clean your dog’s teeth. To start with you can dip the toothbrush in something tasty and smear it onto the outside of your dog’s teeth, or even just use some toothpaste on your finger to begin with.

Most owners find that their dogs will tolerate the cheek teeth being cleaned before they are happy to allow you to clean the front teeth. You must use a doggy toothpaste rather than a human one.

Let Andy and Julie at Banstead Village Vets show you the proper techniques to learn in our dog tooth brushing video:

7. Neutering

This helps to prevent diseases such as testicular cancer, prostate disease/cancer and anal adenomas in male dogs. Aggression towards other dogs and people, sexual behaviour and roaming are also less likely when neutered. Mammary cancer and uterine infections are two common, life threatening conditions which are preventable by neutering bitches. There are also too many unwanted puppies. Neutering is generally performed at 6-9 months of age.

8. Insurance

Unexpected bills can be heartbreaking for both owners and vets if costs of treatment are prohibitive and the animal has to have less than optimal treatment or worse. Pet insurance represents a regular, worthwhile contribution to the health of your pet. Policies that provide lifelong cover are preferred over those which only offer 12 months of cover and then exclude the disease/condition in question from any further cover.

9. Microchipping

A microchip is a small capsule, about the size of a grain of rice, which carries a unique identification number, encoded on the chip. This is the key to all your pet’s details, including its name, your name, address and phone number. It provides a permanent and highly effective form of identification, enabling a safe reunion with your pet should it become lost or stolen.

10. Socialisation

It is very important to get puppies used to the big wide world before the age of 14-15 weeks. Failure to do so can result in fear, anxiety, timidity or aggression. It is therefore essential to expose young puppies to as many stimuli as possible. It is also important to reinforce positive social interaction as the dog matures so it doesn’t forget about the stimuli. Introduce your puppy to as many new people and situations as possible especially:

  • Babies, toddlers and children
  • Country animals
  • Busy streets
  • Being on a lead
  • Car rides, lifts and stairs
  • Plane, train and motorbike noise
  • Cyclists and joggers
  • Hoovers, washing machines and hair driers
  • Mock veterinary examinations e.g., opening mouth, cleaning teeth and ears and handling paws.

DO NOT FORGET however, that your puppy should never go on the ground in public places until vaccinations are complete, normally by 13 weeks of age depending on the vaccine being used. You can carry your puppy around outside before this time and, in fact, it is a very good idea to do so to facilitate early socialisation.

Another solution is for people and other healthy, vaccinated (!) dogs to visit the puppy in its own home. Puppies should not mix with other dogs unless these have had a booster within the last 12 months.

Synthetic canine pheromones (Adaptil/DAP)

In mammals, all lactating mothers release substances called “appeasing” pheromones, the function of which is to calm and reassure the offspring. Canine appeasing pheromones are secreted by the bitch 3-5 days after the puppy’s birth. This enhances attachment between the puppy and its mother and conveys signals of wellbeing. As the puppy explores its environment it encounters new stimuli which set off emotional reactions. The appeasing pheromone acts by stabilising the emotional state of the puppies, reassuring and comforting them.

Research has shown that the reassuring properties of canine appeasing pheromone persist even into adulthood. Synthetic pheromones, available from the surgery, mimic the properties of the natural appeasing pheromones of the bitch. By replicating this signal of well-being, synthetic pheromones help to alleviate fear and stress related signs in the puppy and adult dog. Available as a spray or plug-in diffuser, synthetic pheromones are a natural solution. They can help stop fear, stress, and related signs (such as destruction, vocalization, house soiling and excessive barking) in all dogs. Synthetic pheromones comfort the dog in stressful environments and unpredictable situations, including fireworks, kenneling and a visit to the vets. It is also invaluable when settling a puppy into its new home.

Synthetic pheromone collars are also fantastic for puppies without any fears. Puppies that wear a synthetic pheromones collar when young are more likely to settle easily into their new home, less likely to cry at night, and are also more likely to be better behaved when adults! Synthetic pheromones help with proper socialisation of your puppy, and this includes training.

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Emma Smith

Emma Smith
Originally from Ireland, Emma studied Zoogoly at University College Dublin after finishing school. Not satisfied with the lack of hands on experience, she re-entered education and qualified as a veterinary…

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