Avoiding Pandemonium with Puppies during the Pandemic
Keeping up to date with vaccinations
New guidelines (effective from 14th April 2020) now allow us to carry out vaccination of puppies and kittens and provide first booster vaccinations for one year old pets.
Without vaccination protection, your puppy is vulnerable to infection. In areas with high levels of vaccinated adult dogs together with the current reduction in animal movements, there is reduced risk of contracting infectious diseases but it is still essential that you avoid at-risk environments.
Parvovirus and leptospirosis carry a high risk to puppies;
- PARVOVIRUS – a highly contagious virus which attacks the gut lining, particularly in young puppies. It can survive at room temperature for up to 2 months or potentially for many years in an ideal environment (dark, moist environment).
- LEPTOSPIROSIS – an infectious disease caused by bacteria which primarily attack the kidneys and liver but can affect other organs. The bacterium is spread by infected dogs, rats/mice and cows, dark moist areas are particularly risky especially near waterways or farms. It does not survive well in dry areas exposed to sunlight. Leptospirosis can also infect humans, known as Weil's disease.
- WORMS – intestinal worms, particularly roundworms, are very common in puppies and can be treated with routine wormers e.g. Panacur or Drontal.
The socialisation process from being born until around 14 weeks old and the ongoing socialisation processes up to 6-8 months involve frequent exposure to different stimuli to allow your puppy to cope with complexity in its adult environment.
Having a puppy during this time may allow you more time throughout the day to teach your puppy many skills it will need as an adult.
Some Puppy Training Tips
- If possible, carry your puppy outside in a bag or pushchair, giving them treats when they respond in a calm neutral response to any stimuli.
- Travel is limited, but you can continue to put your puppy in the car and expose them to the different sounds, for example starting the engine, windscreen wipers, windows, and also spend time in the car playing, sleeping and even crate training.
- Sitting in the boot of the car or by a window in your house, allow your puppy to see people and dogs walking past and reward them when they respond in a calm manner.
- SURFACES - expose your puppy to multiple novel surfaces e.g. carpet, noisy surfaces (tin foil, gravel), obstacles, wooden planks.
- OBJECTS - let your puppy experience/play with different objects e.g. pots and pans.
- SOUNDS - expose your puppy to lots of different sounds he or she will hear when outside. Start by playing the sounds very quietly and slowly increase the volume ensuring your pup is comfortable and calm at all times and rewarding them for ignoring the sounds.
- PEOPLE - social distancing means your puppy will only be exposed to you and your immediate family. In order to get them used to other people, it's time for fancy dress – big coats, hats, noisy shoes, helmets, hi-vis jackets (if available).
- HANDLING - using treats and rewards, get your puppy used to handling and examination of their ears, toes and mouths.
- ALONE TIME - with everyone at home, it is very important to prepare your puppy for when he or she may be alone in the house by careful crate training and gradually building up to leaving the room for 5, 10 and 15 minutes at a time.
» Dogs Trust 'Sound Therapy'
» Other sounds include hoovers, hairdryers, bicycles and anything else you can think of.