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Your new puppy.

A pet puppy becomes part of your family. Getting a newpuppy is a big step and constitutes a major long term commitment and a significant responsibility. Regardless of where you get the puppy, or what kind of puppy it is, there are important measures that you should take in the first months of life to ensure the long term health of the newest member of your family

Where do I get my New Puppy?

Common places to get a new puppy include welfare agencies, pet shops and private and commercial breeders. Animals from welfare agencies are usually healthy before being put up for adoption. Standards of petshops and breeders range from the very good to the very bad. No matter where you get your puppy, before you take it home look at it carefully for signs of ill health. Common sense can tell you if it is basically healthy or not. Do not purchase a puppy that is coughing or sneezing, or has obvious eye or nasal discharges, or looks very quiet or weak, or has evidence of diarrheoa around the rear end, or is very thin, or has skin sores. If it is being kept together with other puppies, look at them for obvious signs of disease as well. If you have any doubt, book a new puppy appointment with us before you agree to final payment. The cost of getting a pre-purchase ‘Body Check’ is a fraction of what it costs to treat and can avoid the terrible heartache if the puppy does not survive. Taking a sick puppy home can also be a risk to any other pets you might already have. As it is so important to inspect your puppy before you buy it we do not recommend buying pets over the internet.

What do I feed my puppy?

Do not take a puppy home unless it is fully weaned. We suggest that it should be six weeks or older when you get it. Good quality petshop dry and /or canned puppy foods appropriate for the size of dog (small, medium or large breed) are balanced complete diets and are the best option. Small puppies may need dry food to be soaked. You do not need to give them milk substitutes or vitamin and mineral supplements – indeed it may be it may be harmful to do so. Do not give them any human food as it is hard to give a balanced home-based diet and many dogs develop a taste for ‘human’ food and refuse to eat their dog food. Snacks and treats should be occasional only, not a significant component of the diet. The number of meals fed depends on age. Puppies between 6 and 12 weeks should have at least four meals a day. Between 12 weeks and 24 weeks three meals a day is enough; adult dogs (over 24 weeks of age) can be fed twice daily. We do not recommend once daily feeding for any dog. We see a lot of malnourished skinny puppies in our clinic that clients have been instructed to feed ’20 pieces twice a day’. This is bad advice; these puppies get sick easily. It is really difficult for a growing puppy to get fat and we have simple rule of thumb; if a puppy finishes all the food you give it you are not feeding it enough! Give more!

Health care – Vaccinations.

A puppy gets three types of vaccine.

The ‘6 in 1’ vaccine that protects against the common major life-threatening infectious diseases (distemper, parvovirus, infectious canine hepatitis (types 1and 2), leptospirosis and parainfluenza) is vitally important for your puppy. Either two or three shots at monthly intervals are given depending on the age and breed of the dog. The first injection is usually given at eight weeks of age. We will advise you the most appropriate schedule for your pet. This vaccine is boostered annually.

The kennel cough vaccination protects against respiratory tract infections.  Only one dose is needed and it can be given as young as six weeks on its own or at the same time as any of the ‘6 in 1’ vaccines. Puppies prefer this vaccine as it is given by dropping a small amount of fluid into the nostrils – no needles involved! This vaccine is also repeated every year.

The rabies vaccine. There is no rabies in Hong Kong but there is a legal requirement for your dog to have a rabies vaccine (and a Microchip) by the time it is five months old. We give the rabies vaccine and apply for the dog licence on your behalf. This vaccine is boostered every three years.

Health Care – Deworming.

A puppy should be dewormed once a month until it is six months old. This is important for the health of the puppy and also to minimize the risk of transferring worm infections to humans. Adult dogs should be dewormed every 3 to 4 months. It is important that the worming medicine you use is a broad spectrum medicine that kills both roundworms and tapeworms. Ask us for advice.

Health Care – Flea and Tick control.

Fleas and ticks are common in Hong Kong in both urban and rural areas. Both cause direct skin irritation, both transmit serious diseases to pets and both can affect humans. Every dog in Hong Kong should be on monthly preventative flea and tick ‘spot on’ treatments. This can start as early as six weeks. Special anti-tick collars are also available for dogs at high risk of tick infestation. Please feel free to ask us for advice!

Health Care – Heartworm Prevention.

Heartworm is an unpleasant disease that is endemic in Hong Kong. Dogs are infected by biting mosquitoes that inject microscopic worms with their saliva. These juvenile worms develop to adults over a three to six month period. The adults are up to six inches long and are located in the blood vessels of the lung and in the heart. The result is serious and often fatal cardiac disease. The infection is difficult and dangerous to treat. For these reasons we strongly recommend routine heartworm prevention for all dogs. Prevention is easy, and can take the form of monthly tablets, monthly ‘spot –on’ preparations or yearly injections. The tablets and spot –on must be in use by the time the puppy is five months old; the injection is given at six months old. If the prevention is started late or if a routine treatment is missed the dog should have a blood test. Please ask us for advice on this important disease.

Exercise.

All dogs should be exercised on a daily basis. We recommend at least two walks of at least twenty minutes every day. In some countries this is a legal requirement! Not only is it good for your dog’s health (and yours!), it helps to avoid a lot of common behavioural problems like excessive barking, aggression to strangers and chewing of furniture. However it is important that your dog is vaccinated completely before you expose it to other dogs or bring it to places where other dogs commonly go. Ask us for advice!

Behaviour and Training.

Everyone knows that dogs are a human’s best friend. This is especially true if it doesn’t bark excessively, jump up and down on you, chew your furniture and your shoes, bite you, your family or strangers, go to the toilet in the wrong place, pull on the lead all the time, fight with every other dog it meets or exhibit other anti-social behaviour. Dogs are pack animals, are instinctively obedient and love to please you. Badly behaved dogs are not cute or funny and make it difficult to get dog – friendly legislation passed in Hong Kong. Be a responsible pet owner and train your dog properly. We can help!

Summary.

We know from experience that there are many other things you may want to know about caring for your new puppy. We are here to help you and are only too pleased to answer your questions. Call us on 23800612!!