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When puppies are born they receive some natural protection against disease from their mother's milk. After a weeks, this protection begins to wear off and the puppy becomes at risk from infection and disease. Vaccinations are vital for the health of your puppy.
It is recommended that vaccinations begins as early as 8 weeks but you should seek the advice of your vet because it can vary depending on the vaccine used. The vet wikll probably give vaccinations in two separate doses at 8 or 10/12 weeks of age. The vaccines take time, between 7-14 days after both doses have been given, to become effective. During this time you should keep your puppy away from other dogs to reduce any risk of infection. The vaccines are the only protection against diseases like canine distemper, canine hepatitis and dog flu.
Your dog will be given a vaccination certificate or medical card that you will need to present to any kennel that you wish to board your dog with.
It is very worthwhile getting your female dog neutered if you do not intend to breed from her. This helps reduce the number of unwanted strays as well as improving the long-term health of your dog. The procedure is carried out under general anaesthetic and is called spaying. It can be done before she first comes into season but can never be done during her first, or any season.
The advantages of spaying are that you will not end up with unwanted puppies as well as there being significant health advantages. Unneutered bitches can develop certain conditions at a later stage in their lives as well as a false pregnancy, pyometra and mammary tumours.
Male dogs can be neutered, or castrated, when they are 6 months or older. The castration procedure is carried out under general anaesthetic. It is often advisable for male dogs to be neutered to curb excessive sexual behaviour or aggressive behaviour.
The most important thing to remember is to feed your dog a balanced diet. Most vets will recommend a complete prepared dog food in order to guarantee a nutritional balance; however, it is possible to feed dogs on a home-made diet - but it can take time and effort.
The first rule for any good diet is a variety of fresh food. Dogs are quite capable of eating meat and vegetables as well as fresh fruit. Try to avoid too much waste human food as this can contain additives that are harmful.
You can feed your dog raw meat - but not raw pork. Always bear in mind that raw sheep and rabbit may also contain tapeworm. If you are in any doubt about your dog's diet, consult your vet or stick to prepared food.
As your dog gets older, or if you gain an older dog as a pet, he will require extra care and attention. It may be worth getting your vet to keep a check on your dog's health apart from vaccinations as many ailments can be treated successfully if they are spotted early enough.
Dog foods are also available for various stages of a dog's life and you may find that your pet's dietary requirements change as they get older. As a dog gets older, it also requires less exercise. You may find that your dog prefers shorter, but more frequent walks. Your dog may also sleep more so make sure that it has a warm, dry place to snooze.
If your dog suffers from arthritis, consider using an anti-inflammatory drug to help ease joint pain - though this should always be in consultation with your vet. Giving your dog cod liver oil will help keep its joints flexible, as well as improving its coat.
Dog insurance is vital for you and your dog. Protect yourself from high vet bills and get the best healthcare for your dog. To get a quote click here.
Pet Health Insurance aims to give you as much information as possible about pet insurance and why you should have it for your pet.
We have gathered together links to many of the top online pet insurers but we do not provide or endorse any particular product or make recommendations in any way. Please ensure that the pet insurance product that you purchase from any online provider meets your needs and that the provider is correctly regulated by the Financial Services Authority (FSA).