Health & Care

Taking some simple steps to protect your puppy will help make sure that they stay happy and healthy. In this section we explore some of the problems which can impact you and your puppy’s life, and how you can prevent them.


Expert Q&A

Our expert vet team regularly takes questions from PawClub members and posts answers to the more common ones online.

Some questions you may be interested in are:

  • Deciding when to euthanase a loved pet is a difficult decision. It is made even harder when they are like an 18 y.o. teenager in the family! You need to ask yourself is your dog having more good days than bad days. If it seems there are more bad days then it may be kinder to make the difficult decision. Other things to consider are: - Are they eating ok? - Are they able to get around ok? - Are they able to move away from their faeces and urine? - And are they still enjoying your company? Usually if it is no to any of the 1st three then they are probably not enjoying your company so much either. While euthanasia is a heart breaking decision, it is often one of the loveliest last gifts we can give to relieve suffering.

  • You generally do not need to clean your puppy's ears regularly unless they get very dirty. This can be due to a normal waxy discharge, or abnormal discharges due to an underlying infection (e.g. earmites, bacteria, yeast). If your puppy is shaking its head very frequently, scratching at its ears and appears distressed when you try to touch its ears - it may have an infection. In this case, your puppy will need to see a veterinarian for the appropriate treatment.
    If it is just a small amount of normal waxy discharge, just like in people, where the ear is not hot, inflamed or painful, simply use a dry tissue to clean off the wax on the outside areas of the ear. Do not wash the ears with water as this can actually lead to an infection. Be careful when you are bathing your puppy as well, to make sure water doesn't get into the ears. If you wish, there are special ear washes available from your veterinarian to ensure that your puppy's ears stay clean and healthy. These can be used after swimming or bathing.
    If your puppy has hairy ears, which is common in some breeds (e.g. poodles), plucking the hairs out of those ears is not recommended at all, unless there is already an infection at the time. In a normal ear, if the hairs are plucked out, this will lead to oozing and bleeding (and is painful for your puppy too!). The oozing and bleeding can actually lead to an infection due to the moisture present in the ears. However, if your puppy's ears are infected, then the hairs may be removed to get all the discharge out of the ears and help get the medications into the ears properly. If in doubt, speak to your local veterinarian for advice.

  • Allowing a pup out in public before 12 weeks of age depends on the risk of infection from parvovirus and other diseases in your particular area. If the risk of parvovirus is low where you live then it is important to get your dog out and socialising before 12 weeks of age as this is a critical socialisation period in your dog’s life. It is important for a dog to try and meet as many different people and dogs as possible in non-confronting ways during this time.

  • Any dog can have smelly ears, but especially floppy-ear breeds where the ear flap covers the ear canal and traps moisture inside. On the other hand it can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health disorder such as ear mites, a yeast infection or a bacterial infection. You should get your vet to do a check for you.
    You should also regularly clean your dog's ears. Here's the easy way to do it:
    1.Grab some vet-recommended dog ear cleaner, cotton balls or cotton pads, Q-tips and dog treats.
    2. Sit your dog in a comfortable setting, and sit right next to him or her so they can't back up and squirm away. You may need another set of hand sto help you do this.
    3. To get rid of the wax and gunk, dampen a large cotton ball or cotton pad with the canine ear cleaning solution and wipe the ear. Then do the same on the other ear.
    4. Then dampen the Q-tips with the ear cleaner to get rid of remaining ear wax from the nooks and crannies and the outer ear canal. Whatever you do, don't insert the Q tip into the ear canal - make sure that you can always see the tip of the Q tip; only use it for cleaning the outer parts of the ear.
    5. Offer praise and treats along the way to keep your dog in a buoyant mood and make ear cleaning something to look forward to.

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