A Guide to Healthy Puppies

What every breeder should know

puppies

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The aim of this brochure is to provide you, as a breeder or dealer of puppies/kittens, guidelines for the proper care and management of litters so that when young animals are sold, the buyer purchases an animal that is healthy and has been protected against disease risk. This will minimise heartache and expense that can occur when a puppy or kitten is purchased. 

The Dam/Queen

The dam/queen must be healthy prior to breeding and ideally should have been vaccinated just prior to mating. To ensure that the mother does not pass any worms to her unborn offspring, she should be dewormed at 6 weeks of pregnancy with a broad- spectrum dewormer that will kill any migrating worms. To ensure that the right product is used please consult your local veterinarian. From day 40 of pregnancy, the mother's food intake needs to be increased. 

Weaning and Nutrition 

From the age of 3-4 weeks, the puppies or kittens must get supplementary feeding, consisting of commercially available puppy/kitten food. Weaning is from 6 weeks of age and must be complete before they are sold to their new home. After weaning, the young animals need to be fed four times a day with a specially formulated commercially available puppy or kitten diet. 

Vaccination and Deworming

Puppies and kittens must be dewormed and vaccinated at 6-8 weeks of age and should be done 7 -10 days before being sold to their new home. This enables the young animal to build a good immunity before it enters its new home. The new owner must also be instructed that this will only provide temporary protection and that their local veterinarian must repeat the vaccinations and deworming after 4 weeks. Puppies are vaccinated against diseases such as parvovirus ("cat flu") and distemper, whereas kittens are vaccinated against respiratory viruses . 

External Parasites 

Puppies and kittens must be kept free of ticks and fleas by regular bathing with a product that is safe for young animals. To ensure that the right product is used please consult your local veterinarian. It is also important to treat both the environment and the mother, taking care not to use products that can be poisonous to the puppy/kitten. Remember that ticks can transmit biliary (tick-bite) fever and that vaccinations do not protect against this potentially fatal disease. 

Transporting 

Care should be exercised with the welfare of the puppy/kitten in transit. If possible, it should go directly from you to the new owner's home. The journey should be as short as possible and the puppy/kitten should be transported in a traveling box of adequate size. For long journeys, food and water must be supplied. It is important to remember that puppies/kittens are very susceptible to humidity and temperature variations. 

Tail Docking

If needed, tails are docked when the puppy is 3-5 days old. Waiting longer periods will cause unnecessary pain and discomfort for the puppy.

Veterinary Services

As your local veterinarian will be able to help with the care and well being of your litters, it is important to consult him not only when there are problems but also when you are unsure as to what the correct way is of dealing with the litter or pregnant animal.

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