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Puppy and Kitten Information 

Advice for owners of puppies and kittens during the Covid-19 outbreak

As you will already know, we are currently only permitted to remain open to provide emergency care to pets, with the goal of limiting contact between people as much as possible. For this reason we will not be performing routine appointments such as vaccinations for the next three weeks at least. We understand this is a particular worry for those of you who have kittens and puppies who have not yet been vaccinated or not had their full course. You may also have just bought a puppy or kitten and want them to be checked over by a vet.


New puppy / kitten advice:

If your new pet is bright, alert and has no specific symptoms, there is no need for them to be checked over by a vet in the immediate future. You may however wish to discuss certain aspects of their care such as socialisation, what to feed them, flea and worming treatment and so forth. If so, you can book a 15£ telephone appointment with a vet by phoning our usual number and they will be happy to call you back and answer your questions. We will waive this fee for owners who have already purchased a puppy pack from us but cannot currently bring their animal in for their second vaccine. We will also deduct this fee from the cost of our puppy or kitten pack if you bring your pet to us once we start providing our routine service again.

If you are worried that your puppy or kitten might be ill, we would recommend you book a telephone appointment with a vet who can then decide whether your pet needs to be brought in to the practice to be seen.


Reducing the risk of infectious diseases:

The risk that your new pet will contract one of the diseases we vaccinate against is very low if they are not playing in water courses or contacting other animals outside your home. Please rest assured that we will ensure your pet receives their vaccinations as soon as we are able to. If your pet needs to re-start their initial vaccination course due to not being able to have their second vaccine during the Covid-19 lockdown period, we will provide the second vaccine at no additional cost.

Our advice until then is to keep kittens in until we are able to resume vaccinations. Puppies that have not completed their first course of vaccination should also ideally be restricted to your house and garden and not allowed any contact with unvaccinated dogs.

N.B: If your puppy has had a Nobivac DHP or DHPPi first vaccine after 10 weeks of age, they will have active immunity against distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus, but not leptospirosis until they have their second vaccine. In these cases, you can take your dog for walks as long as you avoid water courses or anywhere there may be rats, such as farm buildings.

If your puppy has had a first vaccination of Versican DHPPi, onset of immunity for parvovirus, distemper and hepatitis occurs after 3 weeks. A second vaccine is required to “bump up” that initial immunity but your puppy will have some protection three weeks after the first vaccine. We still would advise to restrict these dogs’ access to the outside until they have had their second vaccine. Onset of immunity for leptospirosis is 4 weeks after the second vaccination.


Puppy socialisation:

We understand that many of you are worried about being able to socialise your puppy properly if they have not completed their first course of vaccination. Please remember that it is everyone’s duty to protect human health as a priority, particularly those in our community who are most at risk in this unprecedented situation.

To provide your puppy with some level of socialisation at this time, you may wish to bring them on your daily walk by carrying them in your arms throughout instead of walking them. You can also take them with you in the car if you are going on an essential trip (such as to buy groceries), as long as another member of your household can stay in the car with the puppy and keep the windows or boot open in this warm weather.

You can expose your puppy to loud noises (such as the sound of fireworks) by playing them from a computer. The Dogs Trust have a fantastic, free sound bank available via their website for this purpose: https://www.dogstrust.org.uk/help-advice/dog-behaviour-health/sound-therapy-for-pets

Finally, you can walk your puppy on a lead in the house or garden to get them used to lead walking.


Reducing the risk of separation anxiety in puppies:

An important part of training a puppy includes getting them used to being left alone. It is very important to work on this during their first weeks and months in the household and particularly important at this time, when you are likely to be spending a lot more time at home with your puppy than you might do in the future.

If a puppy is around people all the time, it can be very distressing for them when they are left on their own for the first time and this can cause them to develop separation anxiety, which is one of the most common behavioural issues in dogs and can be very frustrating to manage. Dogs with separation anxiety may damage items in the house, pace or bark continuously when left alone. It is important to put in the work now to prevent your puppy from developing this issue as they get older.

The best way to do this is by getting the puppy used to being left alone for short periods of time initially (for example in one room of your house while you walk into another room). If they stay calm and settled, you can walk back in and reward them with a treat. Gradually increase the time you leave them alone for and try leaving them home for short periods of time while you go outside (even if it is just to sit on your front porch – the point it to mimic them being left home alone). Try to keep the atmosphere calm and relaxed when you leave the house and come back in – you want to teach the puppy that being left alone is just part of normal life.

If you normally have set work hours when you will be away from home, try to then stick to a similar routine while working from home. Perform your morning routine at the same time, and once your puppy is able to stay alone for a couple of hours, you can try to get the puppy used to be left alone in one room or one part of the house during the hours you are working from home (or even if you are self-isolating). This will make it much easier for them to adapt once you start working away from home again.

Crate training can also be a useful tool when getting your puppy used to being left alone. The PDSA have a good, step-by-step article on how to crate train your puppy: https://www.pdsa.org.uk/taking-care-of-your-pet/looking-after-your-pet/puppies-dogs/crate-training

They also have an article with further information on preventing separation anxiety: https://www.pdsa.org.uk/taking-care-of-your-pet/looking-after-your-pet/puppies-dogs/home-alone-preventing-separation-anxiety

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