New Puppy Health – A General Guide
Owning a dog is a wonderful experience, but a dog requires care and attention throughout its life. The following advice explains what you can expect throughout your dog’s life, from a new puppy to an old dog.
Congratulations… you have a new puppy!
You’ve anticipated the new arrival by ‘puppy proofing’ your home and had lots of fun choosing the bed, blanket, toys and other supplies they will need – this sprightly little creature is sure to bring you much joy. In return, you can make a major contribution to your pet’s longevity, happiness and quality of life by providing them with good nutrition, loving attention in a safe, clean environment. Also, make sure to take them to regular check-ups at your veterinary practice.
Starting off your dog's life with good nutrition, regular exercise, scheduled veterinary appointments and a happy home life sets the blueprint for a high quality of life in older years.
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Your new puppy’s basic health check
Your new puppy should visit a veterinary surgeon as soon as possible. The first visit will probably include:
- A thorough physical examination to determine their state of health
- Check for parasites (fleas, ticks, lice, ear mites, worms)
- Initial vaccination and/or a discussion of the types of vaccinations your puppy needs and when they should be scheduled
- Discussion about whether your new puppy should be neutered and when
Many veterinary surgeons believe that puppy neutering not only helps solve the serious problem of unwanted pet overpopulation, but also makes for friendlier, easier-to-live-with pets. Spayed female dogs are more relaxed, while neutered males are less likely to roam, ‘spray’ or urine-mark their territory, or fight with other males. Plus, sterilisation has health benefits – it helps to minimise the risk of cancers of the reproductive organs and the mammary glands in females and reduces the incidence of prostate and testicular cancer problems in males.
Spaying removes the uterus and ovaries of a female dog, usually around the age of six months. As it is a major surgical procedure, it is performed under general anaesthesia. Complications are rare and recovery is normally complete within two weeks.
Castration, also carried out under general anaesthesia, removes the testicles of a male dog through an incision at the base of the scrotum. Usually performed when the puppy is about six months old, it necessitates only a brief hospital stay. Full recovery takes about seven to ten days.
(For more spaying and neutering your new puppy in this article)
This post is an opinion and should only be used as a guide. You should discuss any change to your pet’s care or lifestyle thoroughly with your vet before starting any program or treatment.
If in doubt contact your veterinary practice
And always keep your vet's phone number handy - just in case!