Category Archives: New Puppy

Before you get that dog. Vets advice


Purebreed puppy or adoption from a shelter?

Attitude to neutering pets has gradually improved in Ireland however there are still vast numbers of unwanted dogs in pounds and rescue centres throughout the country.

If you are looking for a dog the first piece of advice I would give is to consider adopting a dog if at all possible. A good place to start is the Dog’s Trust rehoming centre.

I know that many people have there heart set on a particular breed and are looking to buy a pure bred puppy.

If you are going down the purebred route please read the following advice carefully.

Common Misconception

1. A common misconception is Purebreed dogs are “better” or more likely to be healthy than a cross breed. The opposite is true. Crossbreed dogs have a larger gene pool and are less likely to suffer from hereditary problems. Years of irresponsible commercial breeding means that many of the more popular breeds in this country are plagued by genetic/hereditary problems.  Also kennel club papers are no guarantee of good health. Also one distant relative winning “best in show” does not guarantee your puppies good health!

2. Do your research. One benefit of a buying a purebreed dog is you can have a good idea how it will look and behave when it is older. Pick a dog that suits your lifestyle. Many people select a dog purely on looks but don’t consider its behaviour. An example of this is the increasingly popular Siberian Husky. This was bred to pull heavy loads long distances through difficult conditions. Don’t get one unless you are planning to walk at least two hours a day. The same can be said for many other working breeds.

3. Be aware of problems within the breed. Many breeds have known problems, try to find a breeder who is aware of the problems within the breed and is actively trying to breed puppies without these problems. Breeders like this are thin on the ground but there are some really dedicated people out there. Make sure you yourself have a good knowledge of the breed you are about to purchase – this way you can spot the dedicated breeder.

4. Go and see the puppies parents and conditions where the puppy was raised. A dog will be part of your family for anywhere up to the next 18 years. It amazes me how many people agree to meet a breeder at a petrol station half way between them and the breeder to save themselves a  drive. Most puppy farmers will offer to meet you half way. People who really care about their pups will usually want to know a little about where their pup is going to. They might even want to meet you more than once. For a really good quality dog you may even have to go on a waiting list.

5. Do not buy a puppy because it is in poor conditions and you feel sorry for it.

People often purchase a puppy despite finding it in poor condition. They will hand over money to a breeder because they want to “save” the puppy. While they are well intentioned they often end up with a problem dog.  Also the puppy farmer will quickly replace this puppy with another. If you are not happy walk away.

6. Ensure your new puppy has had its first set of vaccinations and a veterinary exam.

A good breeder will have no problem having their puppies checked over by a vet before selling them.  Vaccinations done at the correct time by a vet will usually mean that you can get your puppy out sooner. You will almost always have to bring the puppy to your own vet for further vaccinations after you buy.

7. Get your puppy to a vet as soon as possible after purchase.

I would have a vet check your puppy within 48 hours of purchase and make sure there are no visible health deficits. Also have the vet check the vaccination details and microchip details (if the pup has already had a microchip implanted).  A good breeder agree to take a puppy back if you are not happy. Do not accept an unhealthy pup because you feel sorry for it. It will just result in another unhealthy pup being bred to replace it.

8. Watch out for breeders offering more than one type of dog

This can be a classic sign of a puppy farmer. Also try to get an idea of how many pups your breeder is producing. Usually many bitches producing many pups equals less quality control. Again if you are not happy walk away. Again try to find the person with one or two bitches of a particular breed looking to improve their breed. Avoid people with multiple bitches or those who offer you a choice of breeds.

9. Timing

Timing is important – try to make sure you have some time off work to acclimatise your new puppy. Having said that, depending on the age of your puppy he/she may need to be kept in for a few weeks until vaccination courses are complete. So book your time off for when you will be able to take your puppy out and about with you.

Consider the cost

The purchase price is only the beginning of the cost of your new pet. Other costs you need to calculate are vaccinations, pet insurance, food, leads collars accessories, neutering, fencing, puppy crates, veterinary bills. Most of this will happen in year 1.

Toilet Training and Crate Training Your Puppy


How do I toilet train my new puppy

Toilet training your puppy is all about supervision.  You need to anticipate when he needs to go and then direct him where to go.

If your puppy has just eaten, woken up or had a drink, chances are will need to eliminate. He may start to sniff about intently and this means he is probably about to go. If you suspect he needs to go I recommend wherever possible bring him straight outside  to where you want him to go. He will usually go after you let him out of his training crate. If you can’t bring him outside then paper training is a good second choice.

The best way to ensure adequate supervision is to crate train him. There are other methods of training but I found crate training to be by far the best.

What if my puppy goes and I am not there?

There is no point in scolding your puppy for urinating or defecating indoors unless you catch him in the act.  If you come into a room where the puppy has defecated an hour ago, give out to him and rub his nose in it you will just make him nervous.  A puppy should always be greeted enthusiastically when he comes bounding up to you.  He will make no connection between relieving himself and you being angry with him an hour later. He will just get the impression that if he is left alone you will return and rub his nose in pooh! This makes him nervous.

So what is crate training?

A crate is a small enclosure for your puppy that he will see as his “den”. There  is just enough room for his bed, some toys and a bowl of water. Your puppy will not want to urinate or defecate in his bed so if at all possible he will hold on until he is let out.  I would recommend introducing your puppy to his crate slowly. Put his bed in there, and some chew toys and let him wander in and out. Once he becomes accustomed to his crate you can confine him for longer periods.

Whenever you let him out of his crate you can bring him straight outside and give him the command “get busy”. Ignore him until he goes to the toilet and then heap him with praise. Your puppy will be toilet trained in no time.

Crate training is can be helpful in many other ways for your puppy. It is useful for house safety and to prevent destructive behaviour.  If you are supervising your puppy and for example he tries to get into the rubbish bin you can tell him “No” distract him with a loud noise, or draw his attention to something else. If you are not present when he tries to get into the bin he may get a reward of some left overs for his bad behaviour! This behaviour will then be repeated! If you don’t catch him in the act there is no point in giving out to him for making a mess one hour later – he will have forgotten what he has done at that stage.  So while he is still being trained what is right and wrong restrict him to his crate or to outside when you cannot supervise him.

Is it not cruel to put my dog in a cage?

Young puppies can sleep for as much as 16 hours per day. Leaving them confined for short periods is not cruel, provided that they are released frequently to relieve themselves, they get sufficient time and attention to play and exercise. Most of the time your puppy spends in his crate he will be asleep. Leave him some toys to entertain himself. Your puppy will see his crate as his den, if you leave it open he will probably wander in himself when he needs to sleep, or when he wants some quiet time! You should not put him in his crate as a punishment.

What if he barks and cries when he is put in his cage?

If when you first close your puppy into his crate he starts to whine and bark the best thing to do is ignore him. Wait until he settles down then let him out. This way he will learn to settle quicker. If you let him straight back out he will learn to bark and whine and you (and your neighbours)  may have a problem on your hands. Remember behaviour that is rewarded will be repeated.

Do make sure that if your puppy has been in his crate for a while that if he starts barking he is not trying to tell you that he needs to go outside!

Will he need his crate forever?

Overtime when is toilet trained and he is house trained you will need the crate less and less. I always keep it handy if I bring the dogs to visit friends. This way they have a home from home! Dogs that are crate trained always cope well if they have to come into a veterinary hospital or if they are in boarding kennels.

New Puppy


Before you get your puppy we suggest you pop down to your nearest clinic to pick up some puppy food and some treats and toys to help it settle in.
The first step to take when you get a new pup is to allow a few days for it to adjust to its new surroundings and also for you to become acquainted with your new pup’s health status. After a few days, you should bring your puppy to your nearest Veterinary clinic to be checked by the Vet. At this stage you will be advised on all aspects of your puppy’s welfare and health care. This is the most important stage of your puppy’s life as the way you start your health care is the way you should plan to continue. Below are brief descriptions of the essentials that you need to be aware of when beginning with a new puppy. Further information can be found on our separate factsheets or simply asking any one of our staff, after all that is what we are here for.

  1. Vaccinations: The vaccination course for puppies can start at 6 weeks of age and ends at 10-12 weeks of age with their adult shots. Puppies should not be allowed access to public areas e.g. parks until after this. Puppies are vaccinated for Parvovirus, Distemper, Leptospirosis, Hepatitis and Parainfluenza. Annual boosters are given thereafter to maintain immunity.  These are all fatal diseases and vaccination is the only effective prevention.
  2. Worming: Most puppies have roundworms. The most obvious sign of this is a puppy with a potbelly. These worms are harmful to children and can cause blindness. We recommend that you treat puppies every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age, then every month until 6 months old and thereafter every 3 months.
  3. Feeding: This is a vital aspect of your puppy’s health and is important to start on a right footing from an early stage. There is a huge range on foodstuffs available both tinned and dry, of variable quality. We strongly advocate the feeding of dry foods over tinned food. The quality of the food that you choose is very important and will determine your puppy’s overall development.
  4. Neutering: We recommend neutering for male and female dogs not intended for breeding. There is a lot of misinformation about neutering. This should be discussed with the vet at the time of vaccination. It is important to be fully and correctly informed as to the effects of neutering. We recommend, if you don’t intend breeding, that all bitches be neutered either before their first heat when they are six months of age. The time of first heat ranges from between 6 – 10 months. There is no evidence of temperament change, although neutered bitches (especially larger breeds) can put on weight if their diet and exercise is not properly monitored. Neutering your bitch will reduce the incidence of breast cancer to 0.5%, eliminate womb infections, false and unwanted pregnancies. Their life expectancy is also extended. Neutering male dogs reduces aggression, wandering, mounting and urine marking. The incidence of prostate problems and anal tumours is also reduced.
  5. Training: One of the most important parts of owning a pet. Training starts at day 1. House training and toilet training are the first things you will train your dog. We recommend also teaching your dog some basic obedience, at least sit, stay, down and leave it! One of the most important things to teach your puppy is to come when it is called. See our training fact sheets for more information.