Before you bring your new puppy home, you should register with a local vet to make sure you’re prepared. When you have your new puppy, you should arrange an appointment and let them know it’s a new puppy health check. Your vet may want to allocate your puppy a bit more time than the usual 10-minute consultation just to make it more thorough.
At the surgery, carry your puppy into the surgery and keep them on your lap and away from other dogs. Don’t put them on the waiting-room scales or let them explore and sniff other dogs, especially if your puppy hasn’t been vaccinated fully, they are particularly vulnerable to unwanted illnesses. Take some treats along to make the visit a positive thing for the pup. and ask the vet or nurse to reward your puppy during the check-up as well, making your puppy think the vet trip is a very good thing.
If you’re carrying out your own dog health check, keeping an eye out for some common symptoms should alert you to anything that needs veterinary attention. Below are some useful points about what to look out for.
- Body condition: Regular dog health assessments by your vet are highly recommended, but you can easily assess your dog’s body condition at home between visits.
- Ears: The lovelier and longer your dog’ ears are makes them more prone to infection t However, if you give their ears a mini check-up every now and then, you can get any problems sorted by the vet before they become too serious or develop any further
- Eyes: Your dog’s eye should be wide open, bright and clear – which you’ll probably see when they bring out their irresistible ‘puppy dog’ eyes. If their eyes are runny, red or sore, or if they shy away from the light as though it hurts them, you need to see your vet as soon as possible.
- Nose: You probably recognise the feeling of being nudged by a friendly wet nose! If your dog’s nose is particularly runny however, or there is bleeding, discharge, or a change in colour, you should take them to the vet. Your dog’s health might also be compromised if their nose is particularly dry or crusty – the dampness of it will vary with the weather, but either extreme should be a warning sign.
- Skin and coat: Your dog’s skin can be either pink or black depending on their natural pigments – either is totally normal, and probably not immediately visible under all that fur! If you take a look, however, you should find it free of dandruff, sores, or fleas, which might look like little black dots in the coat.
- Nails: Your dog’s nails should be nice and smooth, and they can be white or black.
- Digestion: Nobody likes being ill, but puppies and dogs can suffer occasional diarrhoea and vomiting just like us. This could happen if their diet is changed or they eat the wrong thing outside; in most cases, nothing long-lasting is wrong.
- Behaviour: If your puppy is well socialised, they’ll be a joy to be around all through their life – they’ll love meeting people and having a little bit of fuss made of them! A well socialised puppy is a great family pet that everyone can bond with, not just one person.
- To train and socialise your puppy: ask your vet about training classes in your area. If you notice any behavioural problems such as your dog or puppy biting, chewing or crying when you leave the house, consult your veterinary practice promptly.
- Dental care: Like human teeth, your puppy or dog’s teeth and gums are vulnerable to disease. Although it can be a source of discomfort, tooth loss, and bad breath – not pleasant for either of you – oral dog health can easily be maintained with a simple brushing routine.