Puppy Care

The basics of puppy ownership

Congratulations on the addition to your family – life will never be the same! This page covers some recommendations about keeping a new puppy. 

Suggested Feeding Guidelines

6-12 weeks: 4 meals daily of a complete puppy food.
12-16 weeks: 3 complete puppy food meals.
From about 16 weeks: 2 complete puppy food meals. Change to an adult complete diet at about 1 year for small breeds and at about 18 months for large breeds.

Remember if you are feeding a complete puppy diet you do not need to add any form of supplementation or milk.


Your puppy should have a primary course of two vaccinations starting with the first at 6 weeks and the final one at ten weeks. This allows early socialisation to be undertaken. Remember older puppies still need vaccinating if the breeder has not already done it.

We recommend that puppies should not go out in public areas until 7 days after their second vaccination. Once vaccinated your puppy should receive yearly booster vaccinations at its annual health check.


Your puppy should have been wormed before coming into your care. Further worming will still be necessary. If the breeder has supplied you with a worming preparation then we suggest you follow the instructions issued with it. We recommend that you worm your puppy at 6, 8 and 10 weeks then monthly up to 6 months of age and then every 3 months.


Your puppy should not be allowed to exercise heavily until it has reached maturity. In small breeds this will be about 12 months of age, in some larger breeds it can be as much as 18 months of age. Excessive boisterous exercise can increase the chances of joint problems such as hip dysplasia or osteochondrosis dissecans (OCD) developing especially in susceptible breeds. It may therefore be necessary in some individuals to exercise them mostly on the lead until they are mature.


We recommend that both dogs and bitches are neutered from 5 months of age. Not only does this prevent unwanted pregnancy, it also has several health benefits to our pets.

Neutering males can reduce the likelihood of testicular tumours, prostate problems and anal adenomas. Neutering females at an early age can reduce mammary gland problems and prevent serious uterine infections in later life.

Neutering your pet will not change it from being a happy personality but can in some individuals reduce any aggressive tendencies that may exist. In males it may also reduce the tendency to wander off.

It is not necessary for a bitch to have a season before neutering. However bitches that are only 5 months old should be checked by a vet before the neutering operation to ensure that they are physically mature enough. If you are considering breeding from you pet you should weigh up all the pros and cons carefully. If things do not go according to plan it can be time consuming and expensive. Further advice about breeding can be obtained from books or from your veterinary surgeon.

Insurance & Microchipping

Insurance for your pets is something we strongly recommend. Veterinary fees can be expensive. There is no NHS for animals but many people want the same quality of care and treatment for their pets. Many of the more complicated procedures can cost hundreds if not thousands of pounds! Your veterinary surgeon will have a range of insurance leaflets available in the clinic. Please ask for advice if you are unsure.

Microchipping is a unique way of identifying your pet. A small microchip is implanted, under the skin of your puppy’s neck. Should your pet go missing, many rescue centres including Battersea Dogs Home are able to scan for these chips and identify you as the owner. Please ask for details.


Flea infestations are best dealt with before they are a problem by the regular use of an appropriate flea control regime. There are various flea treatments on the market to suit both your pocket and practical skills in applying them to your pet.

We recommend the use of an “on pet” product spray or spot-on. Plus an environmental control product such as a household spray. Flea collars are rarely effective enough to control a bad flea infestation and are therefore best avoided.

Dental Care

Dogs’ teeth like our own are susceptible to cavities and tartar. Regular oral hygiene is therefore an essential part of the care of your pet. Tooth brushing with a soft child’s toothbrush is suitable. Flavoured toothpastes are available from the practice for your pet.

Your dog should also be encouraged to chew to reduce plaque and tartar. Rawhide chews and rasks are particularly suitable. Bones should not be given to dogs as they may cause problems such as severe constipation.

Toys, playing and training

Your puppy will need lots of toys to keep it occupied. Try not to buy toys with bits that come loose and can be swallowed. We encourage the use of toys that can be chewed safely to help clean teeth.

Toilet training can be frustrating. Newspaper should be used indoors and the puppy initially encouraged to use this. Praise should always be given when your puppy goes to the toilet in the correct place.

Remember, like children, each puppy will take different lengths of time to acquire toilet training. Be patient cand be consistent!

And finally

We hope that you will have lots of fun and pleasure from your dog over the coming years. We trust it will enjoy good health and hope we can help you achieve this.

Should you need further advice about the health or welfare of your dog then contact us at the practice.