Basic checks for a new pet in the family

Puppies. Picture by Jane Coltman
Puppies. Picture by Jane Coltman
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Taking on a puppy or kitten is a big commitment and shouldn’t be embarked upon without a considerable amount of research.

The first rule is to make sure you know exactly where you’re getting your pet from. You should have seen both parents, the litter mates and ideally the environment. Ask for a record of any worming protocol that has been used as pups should be wormed every two weeks until they are 12 weeks old. Also, your puppy should have been microchipped prior to purchase.

You will pick your puppy up at roughly eight weeks old. At the first vet check-up, we will either give the first vaccination, or if this has already been done, we will perform a general health check.

Two vaccinations are given, two to four weeks apart, usually at eight and ten weeks old. Some pups may have had their first vaccination with the breeder, in which case bring the vaccination card along so we can check which one was given and when the second is due.

We’ll give your pup a good general health check, from listening to their heart to checking they don’t have an umbilical hernia. We’ll also have a chat about worming and flea treatment. Something else that will be discussed is neutering. We will run through the pros and cons of getting your pet castrated or spayed, preferably around the six-month mark.

Immunity kicks in a week after the second vaccination. In the meantime ensure your pup is kept away from unvaccinated dogs and avoid the temptation to take them on walks. Once this critical period is over, it’s important to socialise your pup. One way to do this is to sign up to puppy parties run at the Whorral Bank surgery.

Regularly weighing your pet is something that is strongly recommended, you can pop in to our surgeries to use our scales. This means we can ensure you’re receiving the correct dose of worming and flea treatment, as well as check your pet is growing at the right rate.

Kittens’ initial vaccinations are three to five weeks apart. Socialisation is not as important as generally cats are independent. Also microchipping is not compulsory in cats, however it is worth considering. When pets go missing, microchips are an easy way to track down owners.

If you have any questions about general puppy or kitten care, give the surgery a ring and we will be happy to help.

Kate Murphy, Vet