When you get a new dog or a new puppy you should register with a vet as soon as possible for a health check and to arrange vaccinations.
When should I vaccinate my puppy?
When your puppy is about 8 weeks old you should have them vaccinated by your vet. They have two sets of vaccinations; the second one is two weeks after the first. You should keep your puppy away from other dogs and avoid places where other dogs might have been until they have had all their vaccinations.
Boosters are given twelve months after the starter course and your vet will tell you when they are next due.
When should I vaccinate my dog?
If you have an adult dog who hasn't had any vaccinations or whose boosters have been forgotten he can be given an "adult starter" to bring his protection up to scratch. This comprises of two injections, given two to six weeks apart.
Why do I need a vaccination certificate?
Once your dog or puppy has had its vaccinations your vet will give you a Vaccination Certificate which will have your pet's details on it, the dates the vaccine was given and when the booster is due. This certificate is important if you are putting your dog into boarding kennels or intending to take your dog to training classes as they will need to see it.
Which diseases are covered by vaccination?
Canine Parvovirus - Attacks the immune system and cells lining the intestines and is often fatal. Symptoms are depression, severe vomiting, high temperature, refusal of food and water, abdominal pain and profuse foul smelling bloody diarrhoea.
Canine Distemper (Hardpad) - Attacks the gut, lungs and nervous system and is usually fatal. Symptoms include coughing, diarrhoea, high temperature, vomiting, sore eyes and a runny nose.
Canine Hepatitis - Attacks the liver, lungs, kidneys and eyes. Many cases are fatal. Symptoms are lack of appetite, high temperature, pale gums and conjunctiva, abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea.
Canine Parainfluenza Virus - Highly infectious upper respiratory tract infection which causes a dry hacking cough (Kennel Cough).
Leptospirosis (Weil's Disease) - A bacterial disease that affects the liver and sometimes the kidneys. Symptoms include depression, high temperature, severe thirst, lethargy, increased urination, abdominal pain, vomiting, bloody diarrhoea and jaundice.
Rabies – Vaccines are given if you are taking your pet abroad under the Pet Travel Scheme (PETS).
You can tell if your dog is feeling under the weather by his behaviour. If you notice that they are not their normal bouncy self with their head and tail hanging down and they seem quieter than usual, it can mean your dog is feeling poorly. If you're worried always ask your vet for advice.
Ears - Always check your dog's ears regularly. They should be clean and have no discharge. Their ears shouldn't be red and sore or have a nasty smell. Never use cotton buds to clean your dog's ears as their ears are very delicate. If your dog is prone to ear trouble you can clean his ears with ear cleaning solution or ear wipes.
If your dog starts to hold his head to one side; rubs one side of his face along the floor or is always shaking his head, you should take him to your vet for a thorough ear examination.
Ear mite infections can cause a build-up of black wax in their ears. These can be treated with ear mite drops.
Eyes - Your dog's eyes should be bright and clear, with no signs of runniness, redness or soreness. If your dog has dry black discharge in the corners of his eyes you can clean them with eye lotion or wipes.
Nose - A healthy nose doesn't have to be very cold or wet! Noses should not be crusty, or runny so check with your vet if your dog has these symptoms.
Mouth and Teeth - Bad breath can be caused by a digestive or kidney problem. More often it is a sign of bacteria or plaque on the teeth and gums, which can lead to tooth decay and gum disease. Your dog's teeth shouldn't have any tartar coating them and his gums shouldn't be red, swollen or bleeding. You can spot the signs of mouth problems if your dog is picking up and dropping his food, doesn't want to eat, is dribbling a lot or clawing at his mouth.
You can brush your dog's teeth with toothpastes made especially for dogs and give him dental chews to keep his teeth and gums in good condition. Never use human toothpaste on your dog as this can irritate his stomachs or even give him an allergic reaction.
Digestion - If you are changing your dog's diet do it gradually over a course of 7-10 days to avoid any tummy upsets. It's normal for your dog to eat grass occasionally but if your dog suddenly becomes very thirsty you should take him to the vet for a check-up in case there is an underlying medical problem.
Dangerous Foods - Large quantities of chocolate are toxic to dogs so only feed your dog specially designed dog treats made from Carob (which has a similar taste but is 100% safe). It has recently been confirmed that grapes and raisins can cause acute kidney failure in dogs so they should not be fed as treats.
Skin & Coat - Your dog's skin should be free of crusting; itching, scaling, black spots and infected or inflamed areas. His coat should have no bald patches, dandruff or fleas.
Fleas and worms
How do I know my dog has fleas?
Fleas can be a problem at any time of year and if your dog is scratching a lot he probably has fleas. Fleas are hard to spot but you may see small black bits of dirt on his skin and in his coat which are their faeces. Some dogs have an allergic reaction to flea bites and this can lead to skin disease.
How do I get rid of my dog's fleas?
To get rid of fleas you have to treat your house as well as your dog to break the flea life cycle. Your dog should have regular treatments for fleas to prevent them reoccurring. There are several treatments for your dog - Flea Drops, Tablets, Shampoo, Spray and Powder. Only use dog flea products and not ones for other animals. Most flea products are not suitable for puppies so ask our qualified staff or your vet to recommend a treatment for them.
Petstop is licensed to sell a full range of anti-parasitic treatments, which you would normally find at your veterinary clinic such as Fleatix and Parex which provide an effective, long lasting treatment that can be trusted. Our qualified staff can dispense these treatments without consultation fees. These treatments are weight specific and protect your dog for 2 months, both killing and repelling fleas. They are much stronger than the standard off the shelf products and have faster acting active ingredients which mean that the fleas will be killed quicker and the chances of re-infestation are greatly reduced.
To get rid of fleas from the house you should vacuum the whole house and treat your dog's bedding. You can use carpet flea guard to spray the floors and skirting boards. Repeat 10 days later. Fleas can be hosts to Tapeworm larvae so it is best to treat your dog for worms at the same time.
How do I know my dog has worms?
Not all worms are visible but you might see worms in your dog's faeces or around their anal area or tail. Tapeworms can resemble grains of rice and you might see them around your dog's rear or on bedding. You might also spot worms in your dog's vomit. Other possible signs of worms are your dog scratching his rear, dragging his bottom along the floor, bloated belly, constant hunger and weight loss.
Worms can be a real problem and can even infect your dog's lungs. Roundworms are a threat to puppies and you can tell if your puppy has them as he will have a pot belly. Humans can pick them up from handing their dogs so treat your dog at the first sign of worms. Roundworms can cause illness in small children so don't let your dog lick or eat from your own plate and always wash your hands after handling your puppies. Your dog can become infected with tapeworms if they swallow fleas or if he has eaten a dead mouse or bird in the garden.
How do I get rid of my dog's worms?
Worms can easily be got rid by using tablets or drops and there are also pastes, syrups and creams available for puppies or if your dog will not swallow tablets.
You should treat your adult dog every 3-6 months. Treat your puppy every 2 weeks from 3-12 weeks of age and then every 4 weeks from 12 weeks to 6 months against roundworm.
Petstop is licensed to sell a full range of anti-parasitic treatments, which you would normally find at your veterinary clinic such as Drontal which provides an effective, long lasting treatment for a large variety of worms. Our qualified staff can dispense these treatments without consultation fees. These treatments are weight specific and last for 3 months. They are much stronger than the standard off the shelf products and have faster acting active ingredients.
If your pet is pregnant it is wise to ask your vet for help as she may need a prescription wormer.