Puppy Preschool Class Four
Welcome to Week Four
Graduation week is here! This lesson is a wrap of all we have been through over the last four weeks. We will also discuss grooming, dental hygiene, desexing and administrative tasks such as microchip, registration and insurance.
We recommend insurance for all puppies from the day you bring them home. This is to prevent any issues becoming ‘pre-existing’ conditions.
There are many different insurance companies and it is best that you compare the companies to match which policy best suits your needs.
Insurance is good to prevent a financial decision coming between you and the highest standard of care for your beloved pet.
It is a legal requirement in Victoria that pets be microchipped.
If your puppy was from a rescue centre or a breeder, they should already be microchipped. If not, please speak to one of our staff members.
Ensure that your details attached to the microchip are updated and correct at all times.
This is separate from the microchip however in order to register your puppy, they must first be microchipped. It is a requirement for all councils.
Registration requires annual payment of fees. These fees are markedly reduced if your pet is desexed.
We recommend desexing for all pets to prevent health conditions later in life. It may also prevent some unwanted behavioural changes such as urine marking, territorial behaviours, and escape oriented behaviours.
Desexing mitigates unwanted pregnancies that can be incredibly difficult and distressing if you are not already experienced in this area.
Generally, 6 months of age is a good time to desex your puppy. For large and giant breeds, it may be advisable to wait until they are a little older. Please discuss with our vets if you are unsure when to get the procedure done.
Routine surgical desexing is done here at All Creatures on Hoddle and we offer less invasive keyhole desexing at our Prahran clinic.
Desexing requires an Elizabethean collar to prevent licking of sutures for the entire recovery period. Post-operative checks are done at 3 and 10 days to ensure pup is healing properly.
All puppies are given pain relief pre, peri and post operatively as well as for days following the procedure.
Desexing will slow your puppies metabolism so they are less efficient at burning fat. Please update their feeding plan accordingly to prevent obesity. Obesity affects a huge proportion of pets and comes with an abundance of ill health effects.
Teach your pup that it is okay to be touched and examined. A puppy that is used to being handled will be relaxed and compliant when they visit for their first grooming session or veterinary check.
Start by gently running your hands all over the body. Look in the ears and the mouth, touch the paws and nails. Make this a part of your daily routine
Brushing and Bathing your puppy
Dogs have widely varying hair coats, but for all breeds a regular daily or weekly brush prevents knots and matting and removes any loose hair and dirt off the body.
Puppy skin is delicate and over washing can cause problems. Never wash your dog more than once a month and for many breeds once or twice a year may be enough!
Get organised for the bath by getting out everything you need. That includes dog shampoo (never use human shampoo), towels, cotton balls, face cloth and treats.
Start by wetting the neck and work down towards the tail. Use a wash cloth to wash the face. Be careful not to get shampoo in the eyes. Use the minimum amount of shampoo and rinse off thoroughly with warm water. A conditioner is recommended.
Dogs shake when they are wet so be prepared with a towel to wrap your pup in when they come out of the bath.
Checking the ears
Normal ear canals are clean, with no wax and no smell. Some breeds have hairy ears, but plucking is not recommended except on veterinary advice. Puppies can get dirty external ears that can be gently cleaned with a moist wipe.
Head shaking and scratching at the ears is a sign that a visit to the vet is needed. It may be a sign of infection or, in the summer, it is not uncommon for dogs to get grass seeds in their ears causing severe distress.
Sniff your puppies ears regularly! If you know what smells normal then you will most certainly know what smells like an infection brewing.
Cleaning the eyes
The eyes can be wiped gently daily if needed. This is important on small fluffy faces as this discharge can build up, harden and cause irritation to the skin underneath.
Trimming the hair around the eyes makes sense for the simple reasons that the dog can then see better and the hair won’t rub on and irritate the eyes.
Tear stains are quite common in certain breeds, and can be minimised by keeping the hair trimmed and the eyes clean.
Most large breed dogs will wear their nails down naturally on concrete walks. Small breeds often aren’t heavy enough to naturally wear down the nails and may need regular nail trims to keep their nails short and comfortable.
The nails of active dogs wear naturally and may never need clipping, with the exception of the dew claw. The dew claws, on the inside of the front legs (and occasionally the hind legs), don’t ever touch the ground.
It is important to check if nails are getting too long as they can grow continuously and sometimes will grow into the paw pad which, as you can imagine, would be incredibly uncomfortable.
Our nurses will be happy to teach you to clip the nails, please ask.
Dental disease is common in otherwise healthy young dogs. Unlike us, dogs cannot brush their teeth twice daily! It is up to us to keep their mouth as healthy as possible.
Puppies adult teeth should all be through at 6 months of age.
Some pups, because of their head and jaw shape, are likely to have misaligned teeth or retained baby teeth that need to be extracted (often removed at the time of desexing) or they will cause bigger problems later.
When dental disease is prevalent, your dog will need to have a general anaesthetic to be able to properly scale and polish all of the teeth, as well as take dental x-rays to ensure the roots are healthy. If the plaque is very heavy it can cause teeth to rot and require extraction.
Never get your puppy or dog’s teeth cleaned via anaesthetic free dentals. This can be extremely traumatising and will not reach the entirety of the mouth. Often back teeth are out of reach and left to rot, resulting in expensive dental surgery anyway.
There are a multitude of options for healthy dental care. These include:
· Oravet chews
· Safe chew toys
· Bullie sticks
· Pigs’ ears
Make sure you buy the appropriate sized toy or chew for your puppy as we don’t want them swallowing it whole! Supervision is recommended.
Hills T/D dry food is a complete adult dog food that promotes dental health. It is formulated so that as the dog chews it gently scrubs the exposed tooth surface like an edible toothbrush.
Our veterinarians DO NOT recommend feeding bones. Fractured teeth, obstructions and constipation are problems often caused by bones. There are healthier and safer options available.
Brushing your dog’s teeth every single day with a soft-bristled toothbrush is the most effective way of plaque control.
Make it a fast (1-2 minutes) and pleasurable experience and you will find it really is possible.
· Get your puppy used to you handling their mouth.
· Make it fun and use treats as a reward.
· Put a little dog toothpaste on your finger and gently rub the teeth and gums. Dog toothpaste comes in yummy flavours and so they will soon look forward to this treat.
· Next, use a wash cloth or piece of pantihose, wrapped around the end of your finger.
· Then try with a small toothbrush!
Never use a human toothpaste. Toothpaste for dogs is pleasantly flavoured and does not need to be rinsed.
You can also use Healthy Mouth, a water additive that makes the plaque less adherent to the teeth, making your brushing more effective.
Doggy toothbrushes are available in different sizes and human baby toothbrushes work well too.
Thank you for entrusting us with such an important life stage for your puppy.
We hope that your little one grows up to be a wonderful sidekick and family member. They certainly give us so much more than fluffy cuddles and sloppy kisses and add an abundance of joy to everyday life.
If you have any further questions or concerns, please do not hesitate to contact us or come in for a chat.
Please note that as part of graduation, a picture will be taken of your pup and posted to our social media. If you do not want your puppy on our social media, please let us know.
Beyond Puppy School
Further training is entirely up to you and what you want to achieve from your pup.
If you do seek further training, ensure they are qualified trainers who use positive reinforcement methods. Here is a list of trainers and training groups that we recommend:
Jennifer Pearce from A Perfect Spot dog training is based in Kingsbury with a wealth of experience and provides one-on-one and group training at various levels 03) 9350 1281
Amanda Murcutt, a fully qualified trainer and behaviourist based at Pawsitively Great Pets offers group classes, one-on-one and mobile training.
Tim Watson from Good Dog Behaviour and Training offers private coaching as well as day training while you are at work!