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  • Feeding
  • Fleas
  • Ticks
  • Microchipping
  • Dental Care
  • Neutering
  • Puppy Vaccinations
  • Worming
Your pup might have come to you on a specific diet already. It is important that initially we keep this the same to avoid upset especially in the initial stressful time of moving into a new home. There are many wet and dry foods available along with milk products and treats. As a general rule we normally recommend dry puppy food three-four times daily from 8 weeks old. A good premium quality food is recommended to ensure it is balanced and made with quality meat cuts and fresh ingredients. Dry food is better for dental care than wet. It can be difficult to get a balanced diet with home prepared diets. We do not promotes RAW diets due to the risks of bones causing obstruction and the risk of bacterial infections that can be passed to people (zoonotic) and can be severe. In general they stay on puppy food until 1 year old then move onto adult dog food until 7 years old when they move to senior diets. If you have a large breed puppy then we advise they go onto a specific large breed diet which is supplemented to support their fast growth and the stress put on their bones. These puppies must remain on puppy food until 18 months – 2 years old. The frequency of feeds can be reduced to twice daily when they are over 6 months of age if wanted. Your puppy should not get milk as they become lactose intolerant as they get older and it upsets their stomach. We recommend water only for fluid intake. The amount of water your pup drinks will depend on their diet. Pups on wet food will drink less than those on dry. If feeding wet food, try to have a mixture with dry. Ask our nurses/vets for advice. We have small bags of our recommended diets and special promotional offers in place for puppies. We also have variations within our puppy/adult/senior diets to cater for specific conditions e.g; sensitive stomach, small breed kibbles etc Feeding human scraps is not recommended as it is not balanced and can lead to deficiencies in nutrients.
The most common flea for dogs is Ctenocephalides felis (cat flea). Your puppy may contract a flea from another animal, its mother or the environment of the house which has larvae/pupae present. Fleas are small parasites that live on the skin of your puppy, they feed on blood. One flea can lay up to 200 eggs before it dies. These eggs fall off the pet’s coat onto the carpets, floors or furniture. The eggs then develop in larvae and then in turn into pupae. The pupae will then become adult fleas continuing on the cycle. The pupae can remain dormant in the environment of your home for a long time and will only hatch when the environment is suitable (vibrations, movements, heat etc) These triggers of movement, heat and vibration are all produced by your puppy playing, moving around and also by central heating within our homes, our walking around, hoovering etc. Adult fleas only represent 5% of the total flea life cycle, meaning that the other 95% is in your home carpets, beds, seats etc Fleas can be hard to spot on your puppy, they are small and very fast. You might spot flea dirt (faeces), this is small black/brown specks in the coat. This is a sign of an active infection. Fleas cause multiple problems – they cause irritation to your puppy, skin rashes/lumps from bites, allergies to flea bites causing hair loss and biting self. The fleas feed on your puppies’ blood which in a young puppy can cause weakness and anaemia. Fleas also transmit tapeworm when they feed on your pup.  Family members within the house might get small red itchy bite marks. What can you do? Prevention is better than cure. Prevention – flea treatment that can be in either spot-or or tablet form, some of which are given monthly and some every 3 months. Again there are many different products available including sprays, shampoos and collars. Unfortunately a lot of these products do not work very well and it is not uncommon for us to see puppies that have been treated with some of these products but still have fleas. Here at Rutland House we use prescription spot ons or tablets that are very effective and will prevent flea infestations and kill any fleas on you pup in a matter of hours. The vet/nurse will be able to give you advice and we have a free weight and flea treatment service as your puppy grows to ensure they get the correct dose. If your dog gets fleas then we can help and recommend an appropriate spot on or tablet to kill the fleas and a spray for the egg and larval stages in the environment.
The most important tick species in the UK is Ixodes. Ticks are generally found in grassland, shrubs, forests, low hanging trees and wait for an animal to brush against them so they can climb on. They are more prominent in warmer weather of March to November. Once on your dog they will attach to the skin, burrow and feed on their blood. Ticks are small white/brown/red/black swellings normally found around the face/ears, armpits/legs of dogs. Their colour depends on the type of tick and also whether it has ingested blood or not. Ticks can cause infected swellings, anaemia and transmit diseases to dogs, some of which are zoonotic to humans. If you find a tick seek advice on removal by a vet/nurse to do correctly ensuring no mouth parts are left behind. Prevention is with prescription tablets or spot ons that are often combined with flea treatments in one formulation, but not every flea treatment is active against ticks. The frequency depends on the product used and is monthly for some products and every 3 months for others. It is particularly important to make sure your dog is covered against ticks if you take them walking in Wales, or the Peak or Lake Districts. Most tick preventions do not stop the tick attaching, as the tick needs to feed to be exposed to the drug. The drugs then work rapidly to kill the tick, so greatly reduces the risk of disease transmission but does not exclude it. There are preparations available that repel as well as kill the ticks, and these products are recommended for dogs travelling abroad where the prevalence of tick-borne diseases is higher, and also for dogs that frequently exercise in high risk areas in the UK. Ask your vet/ nurse for more details.
This is also a very important thing to do to protect your puppy, and it is now a legal requirement for puppies to be chipped and registered by eight weeks of age. Microchipping is a quick, safe procedure which will increase the chances of your dog being returned to you if lost or stolen. The microchip is a small plastic chip inserted under the skin of your puppy’s neck. Each chip has a unique number which is then stored on a central database with your personal contact information, name, address, phone numbers and email address. This means if your dog did wander off or get lost and was then presented to any vets, animal shelter, sanctuary, RSPCA, dog warden or police that they can scan your dog, get the number and then return your pet safely back to you. Your pup may have been microchipped with the breeder already, but if not we can chip your puppy at any time, usually on first presentation to the practice.
Good dental health begins with the proper diet. The best way to keep your dog’s teeth clean is by brushing their teeth. Make sure your vet checks your dog’s teeth first, as brushing a sensitive or sore mouth can be painful for your dog. Also do not brush puppy’s teeth as it can be painful whilst they are teething. Wait until all their adult teeth are through, which is normally by about 6 months of age. It is important to use the correct type of toothbrush, and a toothpaste suitable for dogs so check with your vet or veterinary nurse. Step 1: Start by getting your dog to lick a doggy toothpaste off your finger. They are normally meat flavoured to make them more appetising. Step 2: Once your dog is used to the toothpaste, get them used to the brush or finger brush by letting them lick the toothpaste from that. Step 3: Gradually start to brush the teeth, starting with the front teeth. It is normally sufficient to brush the outside of the front teeth, as your dogs tongue will help keep the inside surface clean. Step 4: When your dog tolerates that start to brush the cheek teeth. If your dog will not tolerate you brushing their teeth, there are supplements that you can add to their water or food so ask your vet or veterinary nurse for more information.
There are lots of health benefits of neutering for your pet, for example preventing pyometra (womb infection) in females and testicular cancer in males. Neutered dogs also have a longer average life expectancy than those who have not been neutered. As with any surgical procedure, there are small risks at the time of the procedure. There is now some suggestion that some joint diseases and some cancers are more common in neutered animals. Urinary incontinence is also more common in neutered females. This risk appears to depend on the size of the dog, and the age at which they are neutered. We do still recommend neutering your pet, but the age this should be done depends on their breed or expected adult weight. We recommend that male and female dogs under 20kg be neutered at 6 months of age, so before their first season in females. Dogs whose adult weight will be over 20kg should be neutered after 12 months of age. There are some specific breed recommendations: Burnese Mountain Dogs, St Bernards, Great Danes, Boxers, Cocker Spaniels and German Shepherd dogs should be neutered after 2 years of age. We perform ovariectomy in female dogs when doing routine neutering, which means that we remove only the ovaries, not the ovaries and uterus. This has the same effect in preventing pregnancy and hormone related diseases of the ovaries and uterus, with generally smaller wounds, shorter anaesthetics and better recovery. Your vet will be able to discuss this with you if you have any questions. WE NOW HAVE LAPAROSCOPIC EQUIPMENT TO PERFORM KEY HOLE SPEYS! This is available for dogs over 10kg in weight. Both of these procedures are DAY procedures so your dog will be admitted and discharged in the same day. They are also generally safe procedures. Any of our vets will be happy to go into more detail and we perform pre-operative health checks on all dogs within a week of the anaesthetic and operation. We send all our dogs home with some pain relief after the operation to keep them comfortable. All our dogs also have to wear a collar after surgery to prevent them licking their wounds. .
Your Puppy will start his/her vaccinations at 8 weeks old. This consists of a primary vaccination course of 2 vaccines at an interval of 2-4 weeks apart, the last one given when the puppy is older than 10 weeks of age. Vaccines are essential to ensure we look after the health of your new puppy. The vaccines we use within the practice cover the following diseases; Canine Distemper – this disease is rare in the UK now thanks to vaccination. It is a fatal disease which is hard to treat and affects multiple organs including the nervous system. Canine Parvovirus – this is a fatal disease in young dogs where the virus attacks rapidly dividing cells in particular the gastrointestinal tract causing vomiting and bloody diarrhoea. Only a small percentage of pups which get this disease survive. Canine Adenovirus (hepatitis) – this virus attacks the liver and can also affect the dogs eyes, it varies in severity. Canine Leptospirosis (we have both the Lepto 2 and L4 vaccines) – bacterial infection spread by rats urine which can get into the environment or water and leads to kidney/liver damage. It is very sudden and often fatal. Your puppy is protected against Distemper, parvovirus and adenovirus 1 week after the 2nd injection, and is fully protected 3 weeks after the 2nd injection. Boosters are given annually to maintain good levels of immunity with a maximum 3 month extension from the date due before restarting the course again. Within the practice we have a 3 year protocol for our dog vaccines as the immunity against the different diseases varies in length of time, so we do not over vaccinate your pets. If you are particularly concerned about over vaccinating, we have the facilities to check antibody levels for Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus in house. All dogs do still require annual vaccination against leptospirosis. It is also worth considering vaccinating your pup against Tracheobronchitis (Kennel cough) caused by bacteria called Bordetella bronchiseptica and the virus Parainfluenza. This vaccine is different in that it works locally by absorption through the nasal mucosa (squirted up the dog’s nose, not injected).
This may already have been performed by the breeder/sanctuary before you got the puppy. There are many products available through pet shops and supermarkets consisting of tablets, liquids and spot-ons but unfortunately a lot of these are not very effective and only have a small spectrum of activity, so might only kill one type of worm. As a result we recommend you seek advice from our vets or nurses and obtain a trusted product from ourselves with the professional advice that goes with our products. The most common worms are roundworms (Toxocara canis) and tapeworms (Dipylidium caninum, Taenia and Echinococcus). Dogs can also get hookworms, whip worms, heart worms and lungworm. Puppies are often infected with worms before they are born through the placenta and also get infected with worms through feeding on the milk from their mother. Worming can be performed from 2wks of age. 2-12 weeks old – worm every 2wks, 12-24 weeks – worm once monthly, >24 weeks – continue to worm monthly for lungworm prevention, or if you have children under 3 years of age, are pregnant or someone is immunocompromised in the household. Otherwise worm every 3 months if deemed a low risk. The reason for the last point in relation to your children is that some worms are zoonotic, i.e. They can pass from animals to humans. Young children are very hands on with their new puppy and puppies love to lick faces and so children are more at risk and also have no hygiene skills yet. The main risk is from a worm called Toxocara which can cause blindness in children. There have been many cases reported in the North West. Lungworm (Angiostrongylus vasorum) is a parasite that cause fatal bleeding disorders in dogs. The larvae is carried by slugs and snails, and dogs can become infected if they play with or eat slugs or snails, and also if they eat grass/soil or drink water outdoors that may be contaminated with larvae left in slug and snail slime trails. As the parasite can be fatal, prevention is best, with monthly treatment with a product licensed to prevent lungworm infection. We offer a free weigh and worm service within all our branches by trained nurses to ensure your puppy gets the correct dose as they grow. These are free of charge, you only pay for the product. Look out for our promotional offers on worming!!