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What to think about when getting a new puppy

A new puppy will become a part of your family. This is a major long term commitment and responsibility. There are important steps to take in the first months of life to ensure the long term health your puppy. Remember your puppy may live with you until it is a 15 year old senior dog. You must be ready to care for your new long term companion well into the future.

Where do I get my puppy?

Common places to get a new puppy include welfare agencies, pet shops and private and commercial breeders.

  • Puppies from private homes can be very healthy but it depends on the home.
  • Welfare or rescue puppies are usually healthy when put up for adoption.
  • Pet shops and breeders can be very good or very bad.
  • The internet is an unreliable source for healthy puppies.
Check First!

Check your puppy carefully for signs of ill health before going home. Common sense can tell you if it is basically healthy or not.

  • The puppy should be in good body condition, not too thin and be bright and active.
  • Is there coughing or sneezing, or obvious eye or nasal discharges?
  • Is it very quiet, weak or too thin?
  • Check for signs of diarrhoea around the rear end.
  • Are there any skin sores or patches of missing fur?
  • Are any other puppies showing signs of disease?
Body Check

You can book a new puppy appointment with us before you agree to final payment. Any reputable seller should agree to this. The cost of getting a pre-purchase ‘Body Check’ is a fraction of what it costs to treat a sick puppy. In any case a body check examination in the first week you care for the puppy is a very useful chance to identify any problems. Taking a sick puppy home can also be a risk to any other pets you might already have.

How to feed my puppy

Only take a fully weaned puppy home, over 6 weeks old.

  • Good quality dry and /or canned puppy foods are complete diets and are the best option.
  • Use a diet appropriate for the size of dog (small, medium or large breed).
  • Small puppies may need dry food to be soaked.
  • Do not give them milk substitutes or vitamin and mineral supplements – indeed it may be it may be harmful to do so.
  • Do not give them any human food as it is hard to give a balanced home-based diet and many dogs develop a taste for ‘human’ food and refuse to eat their dog food.
  • Snacks and treats should be occasional only, not a significant component of the diet.
  • The frequency of meals depends on the puppy’s age. Any puppy can be fed ad lib at least while it is still young.
    • Puppies between 6 and 12 weeks should have at least four meals a day.
    • Between 12 weeks and 24 weeks three meals a day is enough.
    • Adult dogs (over 24 weeks of age) can be fed twice daily.
    • We do not recommend once daily feeding for any dog.


We see a lot of malnourished skinny puppies in our clinic that clients have been instructed to feed “20 pieces twice a day”. This is bad advice; these puppies are starving to death. It is really difficult for a growing puppy to get fat and we have simple rule of thumb; if a puppy finishes all the food you give it you are not feeding it enough! Give more!

As your puppy gets older its dietary requirements may change. We will continue to recommend the right diet for your individual dog based on its age, breed and lifestyle. We are happy to supply a range of puppy and other dog foods from Hills Pet foods and Royal Canin.


Water must be available at all times. You do not need to offer milk once the puppy has been weaned, usually at 5-6 weeks old.


All puppies from pet shops and breeders should have been vaccinated by a vet and have had a unique microchip implanted, at least a week before purchase. You should ask for a vaccine card when the puppy is purchased. If the card is “not ready” or “not available”, beware! Check that the details on the card match the puppy. Read about puppy vaccinations


A soft warm bed should be provided. A box with a towel or cushion is sufficient. The puppy needs somewhere that is safe that he can retreat to and sleep in.

House Training

To start the training put some newspaper on the floor near to the puppy’s food and bed area. When you see the puppy start to pass urine or stool pick him up and place him on the paper. Use a simple firm friendly command word to encourage him to use the paper for a toilet. Praise him and reward him when he does what you want. Never punish him for mistakes this will cause anxiety. You need to be consistent and patient. The puppy will want to learn and please you! HINT: Whenever he eats there is a strong reflex to pass stool after, so be ready for him with his command, place him on the paper and praise him!


If you have any questions or worries about our new puppy you can call our clinic and talk to our trained nurses or book an appointment with Hung Hom Veterinary Clinic, Together, We Care for What Matters, your new puppy’s health and welfare!

More info on caring for a new puppy

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