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Key safety considerations for new puppies

There’s a lot to think about when welcoming the newest family member, especially one with fur, four legs and a tail! We want to help you give your pup the best start in life by keeping them safe from any potential dog dangers in your home and keeping them away from harm while out and about.  

Toxic foods for puppies and safe alternatives 

Puppies explore the world around them using their noses and mouths, meaning that they might decide to eat something they shouldn’t. Depending on what they’ve decided to devour, this can cause real problems and even a visit to the vet. 

Here are some everyday things you’ll need to keep away from your dog:  

  • Chocolate 
  • Onions, garlic and chives 
  • Alcohol 
  • Grapesraisins and sultanas 
  • Caffeine  
  • Xylitol (a sweetener) 

Here are some healthy human foods you can give your puppy instead:  

  • Carrot 
  • Blueberries  
  • Deseeded and chopped apples 
  • Boiled or scrambled eggs 
  • Plain popcorn 
  • Broccoli  

Always speak with a vet if you think your puppy has eaten something it shouldn’t have.  

Key safety considerations for new puppies

Puppyproofing your home 

It’s not just food that finds its way into a pup’s mouth, they will chew on almost anything to soothe their teething gums. Puppy-proofing your home can help keep your pup and your favourite possessions safe.  

  • Keep doors shut to keep them from wandering off and finding trouble 
  • Watch out for poisonous house plants and decide on where they’re kept 
  • Buy a fireguard to stop your pup from getting too close to the flames  
  • Don’t leave food on the kitchen counters, even if they’re safe for dogs to eat 
  • Make sure your bins have lids and are secure to avoid any rubbish raiding  
  • Keep your toilet lids closed to prevent your pup from drinking the water 
  • Keep medicines and other potential dangers in closed cabinets or drawers 
  • Unplug unused electricals, move them out of reach or use cable tidies  
  • Keep cleaning supplies in secure cupboards or on a high shelf  
  • If you don’t want it chewed, keep it somewhere safe and out of reach (including pants and socks) 
  • Supervise your puppy with their toys to prevent them chewing off pieces and ingesting them 

The importance of vaccinations  

Just like babies, our canine companions can be vaccinated to help keep certain diseases at bay. These diseases are often fatal in unvaccinated pets, but ensuring your puppy gets its jabs while they’re young will help protect them in those crucial early months and on into adulthood 

What diseases do vaccinations protect against?  

Parvovirus 

A highly infectious and potentially fatal virus in dogs. Attacking cells in a dog’s intestines, the virus stops them from being able to absorb vital nutrients resulting in severe weakness and dehydration. 

Canine distemper 

A deadly disease that is spread through the air or from direct contact with infected dogs and things they have touched. This virus attacks the dog’s nervous system as well as other parts of the body. 

Leptospirosis 

A serious bacterial disease that damages vital organs such as the liver and kidneys and can be passed to humans.  

Parainfluenza 

A highly contagious virus that can cause kennel cough in dogs.  

Infectious Canine Hepatitis 

Spread through contact with bodily fluids such as urine, stools and saliva, this disease affects a dog’s liver and other major organs. 

Other vaccines 

While not included in a dog’s core vaccinations, there are other separate vaccines available to protect your puppy from:  

  • Rabies  
  • Kennel cough  

When can my puppy go outside?  

If you have a garden that is safe, secure, clean, and free from unvaccinated dogs then use this as their introduction to the great outdoors.  

The time frame for your puppy to be safe when going outside will vary depending on what vaccines your puppy has been given and at what ages. There is often a couple of weeks to wait after vaccination before your pup is safe to explore in muddy areas like farmland or meet other dogs. It is best to ask your vet what the time frame is for your puppy at the time of vaccination.  You can take your puppy out for their first walk once their full vaccination course is completed as advised by your vet and they’re protected against the core diseases listed above. 

Doesn’t my puppy need to go outside to socialise?  

You can still socialise your puppy while keeping them safe from these viruses. There are plenty of special puppy classes being run by vets or held at community or garden centres that allow young dogs to socialise with minimal risk of disease. Make sure to do your research and check that the class is being run by a professional such as a vet, vet nurse, or behaviourist. Play can get quite boisterous and overwhelming in puppy classes and interactions need to be carefully controlled by a professional to ensure your pup grows to be happy and comfortable around other dogs. 

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