The summer – a good time to get a new pup

A puppy is a wonderful addition to a family, and it was a day for celebration when Scooby arrived in the Murphy household. Rianna, the oldest daughter, had been asking her parents for a puppy for a long time, but they had sensibly waited until their youngest child Georgia was old enough to cope with a bouncing, boisterous bundle of young dog.

The Murphys made some other good decisions when they chose Scooby. They researched the breed of dog very carefully: a miniature Dachshund is small and friendly enough to be manageable by very young people. They obtained the puppy from an experienced breeder with a good reputation. They were able to meet the puppy’s mother, and the breeder was able to give them plenty of good advice for their first days with the puppy in their home.

The family also planned the timing of the puppy’s arrival very well. Scooby arrived in late July, so the children are in the middle of the school holidays, with plenty of time to focus on their new pet. This will ensure that Scooby becomes very well socialized with his new family before they need to depart during the daytime for the school term routine.

The Murphys made another sensible decision: Scooby was taken for his first appointment with the vet soon after they had collected him from the breeder. Scooby was not sick, and he had already been fully vaccinated, so his veterinary visit was not necessary for his immediate health. However, it was an important visit because vets are independent individuals who know about animals.

The Murphys wanted to have Scooby checked out thoroughly to ensure that he was as healthy as he seemed. Pedigree puppies are not cheap, and hidden problems such as heart murmurs, hernias and other abnormalities are surprisingly common. An immediate check by a vet is a good way of ensuring that the puppy you have purchased is a healthy individual. If there is a serious underlying problem, it is best to find out as soon as possible, before you have become emotionally involved with the new arrival. If you have had a puppy for two or three weeks before the vet tells you that he has a serious heart murmur, you will find it very difficult to return the puppy to the breeder, where he may face an uncertain future.

When the Murphy family first came into my consult room with Scooby, they all knew about the risk that I might find something wrong with their new friend. There were a tense few minutes while I examined him from his nose to the tip of his tail, and listened carefully to his heart with a stethoscope. The news was good: I could find nothing wrong with Scooby. He was in prime physical condition.

Before the Murphys left, I took time to discuss the eight most important aspects of puppy care.

  • Vaccinations:
    All puppies need a full course of vaccinations before it is safe to take them for walks in areas visited by other dogs
  • Worms:
    Puppies commonly carry worms that can pose a risk to human health if not treated, so a regular worming schedule is essential
  • Fleas:
    The warm summer months mean that a flea invasion of the family home is a risk unless preventive measures are taken, such as drops that are placed once a month on the back of the puppy’s neck.
  • Diet:
    A balanced diet is essential for all puppies; household scraps are not good enough for a growing dog.
    Microchipping: Many owners choose to have their new puppy microchipped for permanent identification, although nowadays all registered pedigree puppies should be chipped by the time they arrive in their new homes
  • Insurance:
    Modern veterinary care can be excellent, but it can also be very expensive. It is sensible to set up pet insurance as soon as you take in a new puppy, so that if your new family member runs into health problems, you can get the best treatment, paid for by the insurance company rather than out of your own pocket.
  • Neutering:
    As the slogan says. “It’s nicer to neuter”. For most pet dogs, it makes sense to arrange neutering of both males and females at around six months of age
  • Socialisation:
    Puppies like Scooby are fast to learn about new experiences, so it is good to let them meet plenty of people while they are still young, so that they are relaxed, well-behaved dogs with visitors when they grow up.

The first consultation with Scooby and the Murphy family took thirty minutes, and that was without even giving a vaccination. But they went away with plenty of information, and hopefully Scooby’s life in the Murphy home will be easier and smoother as a result.

+ The right puppy in the right household can be a wonderful addition to a family
+ The summer holidays are an excellent time to obtain your first puppy
+ You should visit your vet as soon as possible with your new puppy, even if vaccines have already been completed

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