Arrival Day

By Gemma Hopkins on 15 December 2017

Congratulations on the new addition to your family. I hope he or she is settling in well. Now is a perfect time to make that first appointment for your gorgeous puppy to visit your vet and if your puppy is not insured I would recommend getting them insured before seeing your vet. This first appointment will provide an opportunity to meet your vet and for your puppy to have a full health check and for you to receive valuable advice. I love seeing new puppies in practice.

Your vet is likely to ask questions about where your puppy came from, how many were in the litter, did the dam or any litter mates have any known problems etc. to gain an understanding of their history.

They will do a full physical examination of your puppy which will include checking for hernias, heart murmurs, checking for dental problems and any other developmental problems.


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Your vet is likely to recommend regular worming as most puppies are born with a worm burden, this may take the form of granules, paste or tablets which you administer to your puppy orally, or spot-ons. Most products are very palatable or usually easy to apply. You can ask your vet for the best option for your puppy.



Fleas are, unfortunately, an ever present nuisance to our pets and us, and are likely to irritate your puppy and cause them to scratch. The cat flea is the most common and the one that most often infests dogs.

Why are fleas such a problem? In pets that are allergic to fleas, a single flea bite can cause all over intense itching. A heavy flea infestation can also cause anaemia in a puppy and fleas can transmit tapeworms as well as the agent that causes cat scratch disease. Fleas reproduce very quickly; hence you can quickly see a flea burden at home, which can take some time to get under control.

How do I know if my puppy has fleas? Fleas seem to prefer the back end of dogs, so if your puppy has fleas you may see him or her nibble or lick their flanks and above their tail. Another way to tell if they have fleas is to part their fur; this will often reveal “flea dirt”, which looks like tiny black specks caught in their fur. Flea dirt is digested blood and it turns red when it is placed on a wet piece of paper.

What can I do about fleas? Fortunately, fleas can be effectively controlled with a topical spot-on or tablet that is usually administered once a month. It is important all pets in your home are treated regularly to help prevent the build-up of fleas. Your vet will be the best person to prescribe the ideal flea control for your puppy.



Due to climate change leading to warmer, wetter weather, we are now seeing ticks surviving all year round.

Are ticks just seen in rural areas? No, we also know that ticks can be found anywhere, they are not just confined to rural areas, they have be found in towns and local parks, even in large cities including London.

When do I need to start ensuring my puppy has tick control? It is important to think about ensuring your puppy is protected for ticks as soon as he or she starts going out for walks.

What tick product should I use? It is important to choose a product that kills ticks quickly to reduce the risk of them transmitting diseases and ensure the product kills the key ticks that can affect dogs in the UK. Your vet will recommend the best product for your puppy.


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Puppy Socialisation

As Jon Bowen will explain in his blog in a couple of weeks, the first few months in a dog’s life are so important for puppy socialisation. But, it is important you don’t allow your new puppy to run around in the park until they are fully vaccinated, to reduce the risk of them picking up nasty diseases. However, as these early weeks are so important for puppy socialisation, we would encourage you to allow your pup to experience as many different sounds and sights as possible. You can help achieve this by exposing your pup to large open spaces and carrying him or her through busy town centres, carrying them in the local park where they can see lots of other dogs, taking them to friend’s houses where they can encounter children and different people and getting them used to journeys on public transport and in the car. As Jon will explain, a pup that has no positive experience with children during the puppy socialisation period is more likely to become frightened or aggressive with them as an adult.


Dental Care

Teeth cleaning and gum massage are very important and best achieved by supplying your puppy with appropriate things to chew on. It is important to be careful when selecting toys as puppies can accidentally break off and swallow pieces of plastic and rubber toys which could make them seriously ill. It is also a good time to start gently cleaning their teeth to get them used to it, you can use a gentle finger brush to get started with this.



Microchipping is a permanent form of identification in the form of a tiny chip, which is implanted under the skin. Registration details are kept in a central database and can be updated by the owner if there is any change in owner details. It is a legal requirement to ensure your puppy is microchipped by the time they are 8 weeks old.


Emergency Care

As Paul explained at arrival day, it is important to ask your vet what the emergency out of hours arrangements are and note down any relevant numbers. Emergency facilities may be in a different location, so make sure you know all the details to save you losing precious time in case of an emergency.
I hope you enjoy every minute with your gorgeous new puppy.



Gemma holds an RCVS Certificate in Veterinary Cardiology and continues to work part time in practice to remain up to date and continue her interest in cardiology.

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