Congratulations on the new addition to your family! Now that you have your small friend you may find yourself feeling slightly overwhelmed with all the things you need to think about, from collars and leads to healthcare. To make this a little easier for you and to ensure your small friend’s good health, safety and positive development the staff at Small Friends Veterinary Hospital are trained to assist you in selecting the correct products for your small friend and to advise you on healthcare issues.
What should I feed my small friend?
There are many dog foods available today and it can be difficult to know which to feed your puppy. Small Friends Veterinary Hospital recommends a complete and balanced premium dry food such as, Royal Canin or Science Diet. When being fed a “complete and balanced premium” diet your small friend is assured of getting all the nutrients it needs. There are many benefits of a dry food over a wet food: dry food offers your small friend a good crunch to keep their teeth clean, doesn’t smell, and is easy to store.
The amount of food that you are required to feed your dog can depend on a few factors, such as the brand of food used, the breed of your small friend, their age and their size. The staff at Small Friends Veterinary Hospital are trained to help you select the correct food for your small friend. They can also offer advice and guidance on the quantity of food required and how and when to feed your small friend.
The only other thing your small friend requires is a nice large bowl of clean fresh water, which is refreshed daily. It is important that they have access to this water all day everyday.
My small friend has been having special meals cooked for him by the breeder. I can’t see myself doing this. What should I do?
Most puppies will come into your life having already been fed a certain food or diet by the breeder or previous owner. It is important that new owners are comfortable with the diet their small friend is on and should be aware that it is perfectly acceptable for you to change a healthy small friend’s diet to one that you may prefer – although it is important to move them onto a new food correctly. Puppies may have sensitive stomachs and therefore any change in food should be done gradually over the course of a week. Our staff can again advise you of how to go about this.
There are a lot of doggy-products available these days. How much of it do I really need?
There are a few basics that every canine small friend and their owner should have to get them through the day.
1. Collar and Lead
All puppies require exercise and there is nothing nicer than going for a walk with your small friend. In general, in public, your dog should always be walked on-lead. This is a government requirement but it also ensures your puppy’s safety when out and about. It is important you have a good quality, well fitted collar and a good quality appropriately sized lead.
2. Pet Tag and Microchip
It is so important (and a government regulation) that your small friend be identifiable at all times. If your puppy happens to find itself in the unfortunate situation of being in the big wide world all alone a pet tag will help to get your pup back into your arms. A microchip is permanently in place, cannot be removed or lost, and can allow vets, shelters and councils to look up your contact details from a database. For more information, please see our Microchip Information Page.
3. Poo Bag
In addition to your collar and lead no puppy should leave home without a poo-bag. Not only is it embarrassing for your small friend to leave their waste behind, in the ACT it is an offence to not clean up after your small friend or to not have the equipment to do so. By carrying and using poo bags on your walk you can keep the outdoors clean for you and your small friend, as well as other humans and small friends. At Small Friends Veterinary Hospital we have a stylish selection of poo-bags so you won’t ever be caught out.
4. Car Harness
To ensure your puppy’s safety (and that of yours and other road users) the law requires that all small friends are securely restrained whilst travelling in a car. A car harness clicks into the seat belt buckle allowing them just enough room to be comfortable but also keeping them safe in their seat.
5. Grooming Equipment
Keeping your small friend clean is not just about looks and social acceptance, it is actually an important step in your small friend’s healthcare. A dirty coat can lead to skin complaints and eye and ear problems, it can also be a contributing factor to more serious illnesses. It is important to brush your small friend daily and wash them as required. By grooming your new pup “little and often”, that is for short periods of time everyday, they will get used to grooming, making it a pleasurable experience for you both.
Similarly, it is good practice to get your small friend happy with baths while they are young. Puppies, like babies, have sensitive skin so it is important to use the correct shampoo when washing them. Small Friends Veterinary Hospital stocks a special puppy shampoo for this reason.
There are many different brushes and combs available and it is important that you select the correct brush for your puppy’s coat, making grooming so much easier. Our staff can advise you which brush would suit your puppy’s coat best.
It is a good idea to start trimming your pup’s nails when they are young. Maintaining neat short nails, by clipping them every few months, will stop them from getting too long and causing problems for you or your small friend. Our staff are more than happy to trim your small friend’s nails for you and are happy to teach you how to go about this safely and correctly.
A new puppy spends all of their day learning. To reinforce good behaviour and discourage bad behaviour Small Friends Veterinary Hospital recommends positive reinforcement – rewarding your small friend for good behaviour and ignoring the bad behaviour. The use of treats is a perfect reward. Small Friends Veterinary Hospital stocks a supply of healthy options to use.
All puppies need a nice comfortable and warm place to sleep day and night. Beds are a great way to give your small friend a territory of his or her own in their big friends’ house and is perfect for travelling small friends, offering the familiarity of home and the safety of your small friend’s own territory when in unfamiliar surroundings. It is important that the bed you choose for your small friend is washable as in these early days your pup may have a few accidents! Small Friends Veterinary Hospital stocks Snooza bedding and our staff are trained to assist you in selecting the correct bed for your small friend.
Toys are an important part of a puppy’s growth and are a great tool for stimulating your pup. It is important to ensure you pick appropriate toys for your small friend. Make sure your toy has no small pieces that may come off or anything that your pup may choke on. Also make sure their toys are sturdy and can withstand those tough teeth that your puppy has or will soon grow. All playtime with toys should be supervised.
How will I know when my puppy is ready to be taken for walks?
Getting your puppy used to walking on lead in public is an important step in the development and socialisation of your small friend. In general, in public, your dog should always be walked on-lead. Before taking your puppy out of your own yard we recommend you have your puppy fitted with a collar and lead, a pet tag and microchip for identification, and their vaccination and worming schedule underway. When out and about, Small Friends Veterinary Hospital recommends keeping your puppy on hard surfaces which are visibly clean until your puppy vaccination schedule is complete, just to ensure they are not exposed to other animal’s germs.
I don’t intend to ever walk my small friend off-lead and she will always either be with me or at home in the yard. Do I need to worry about a pet tag or microchip?
Accidents can happen. Leads or collars may break, fences may wear and suddenly there is a gap your small friend can squeeze through, gates can be left open or unlatch and swing open with a little pressure, dogs can even learn to dig without you realising! We recommend that all pups are microchipped so if your small friend happens to go missing they can be identified and returned home quickly and easily. The ACT government requires all dogs to be registered and identifiable. For more information, please see our Microchips Information Page.
Puppies are small (sometimes even smaller than you think) and sneaky and therefore they require a secure yard. Before leaving your new pup unsupervised in your backyard ensure your yard is secure. Check all fences (and continue to check them regularly) and make sure every one closes all gates securely.
What veterinary things do I need to arrange for my puppy?
Your puppy will probably come with their first vaccination. We recommend having their second vaccination 4 weeks after the first to ensure your small friend remains protected. If your puppy hasn’t had their first vaccination, then now is the time to arrange an appointment with our vet Dr Matt. Whilst visiting Dr Matt your puppy will receive a full health check as well as any vaccination or worming they require. You will also have the opportunity to ask any questions you have about caring for your new pup. The staff at Small Friends Veterinary Hospital love puppies and therefore this appointment is always a lot of fun for you and your small friend. By ensuring your puppy has a good time at these crucial first appointments your puppy will learn to enjoy coming to Small Friends Veterinary Hospital. For more information on Vaccinations and Health Checks, please see our Vaccination Information Page and our Health Check Information Page. To arrange a vaccination and health check appointment please call Small Friends Veterinary Hospital on 6262 2233.
Worming is an important part of the health of your pup and your family. This is of special concern to families with young children for humans can catch worms off our small friends and young children who always have their hands in their mouths are at greater risk of this. For further information on worming please see our Worming Information Page.
Should I let my pup play with other pups?
From 8 – 16 weeks of age your puppy is going through what is known as their “socialisation period”. During this time your puppy will learn what is normal. It is so important that this period is full of lots of positive experiences. Playing with other puppies during this time is a great way to get your puppy used to other dogs. It is recommended that you ensure the other small friends that they are socialising with are vaccinated, wormed and healthy, especially until your puppy completes their vaccination and worming schedule.
Now is also a great time to start thinking about Puppy Classes for your new puppy so they can kick off their socialisation skills with other pups in a controlled and safe environment, whilst you learn all about raising a happy, well adjusted companion. Small Friends Veterinary Hospital run fun and exciting puppy classes. For more information, please see our Small Friends Puppy School Information Page.
If you have any other queries about raising your new puppy, our staff at Small Friends Veterinary Hospital will be able to assist you. Please call Small Friends Veterinary Hospital on 6262 2233.
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