Emergency 01395 512611
Otter Vets in Sidmouth 01395 512611
Ottery St Mary 01404 814322

Welcome to your new Puppy

Our advice for bringing your puppy home

Bringing your Puppy home

Most puppies will be ready to leave their breeder at about 8 weeks of age. This can be a stressful event for them so don’t be surprised if they take some time to settle in to their new home. Make sure they have a bed to make their own where they can feel safe, crates/cages can be good for this. A blanket brought from the breeder and pheromone sprays, such as Adaptil, can help them feel more comfortable with their new surroundings. Introduce new people and other family pets gradually.


The first 12 weeks of life are known as the ‘sensitive period’, during which time this is a really important time for puppies learning. This makes their first few weeks in their new home very important in preparing them for adult life. Try to introduce them to different people and other dogs. Once they are fully vaccinated puppy training classes can be great for socialisation. It is also worth getting them used to different environments, including the vets, traffic noise and travelling in the car. Getting your puppy used to being handled at a young age will help you deal with them later in life, for example examining their ears, teeth and feet and grooming them. Rewards can be very useful when introducing your puppy to new things, but remember to reward them when they start to relax rather than when they are very anxious otherwise they can learn that fearful behaviour is a good thing.

Please see list provided to help with socialisation.


Puppies need a primary course of vaccinations to give them immunity from some serious diseases – Distemper, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Parvovirus and Leptospirosis. The usual vaccination course involves two injections over a 4-week period, usually done at 8 weeks and 12 weeks. Immunity from these are not instant and so we advise that you avoid contact with unvaccinated dogs and keep away from stagnant water until 1 week after the second vaccination.

Kennel Cough

This is a disease which can cause a nasty harsh cough and raised temperature. Despite the name this is not a disease your dog can only get from the Kennels. It is spread by nose to nose contact and inhaling particles from infected dogs so can be acquired from Kennels, training classes and close contact with other dogs in parks etc. We advise that dogs in these risk groups are vaccinated annually against the disease. Although when exposed to the disease vaccinated dogs can sometimes develop a mild cough they will be protected from the more severe forms of the disease.


Puppies can acquire Roundworms from their mothers while they are developing and in her milk. Tapeworm, Hookworm and Whipworm can be picked up by dogs as they start to go out. To prevent these from causing a problem for your dog and to prevent transmission to people we recommend regular worming, we recommend regular worming every 3 months. As your puppy is growing fast we recommend regular weight checks, this will also help with socialisation in the practice.


We advise you treat your pets regularly to prevent fleas becoming established in your home and on your animals. A variety of products are available, please ask a member of staff for further information, to which product will suit your puppy best.


This is a small rice grain sized microchip inserted with a needle under the skin between the shoulder blades. This has a unique number which when scanned allows your dog to be identified. If your dog ever accidentally strays and is brought in to a vet’s or picked up by the dog warden it can then be re-united with you. Please always remember to keep your details (such as numbers) up to date with the microchip company.

This is now a legal requirement for the breeder to have this done before you pick your puppy up.


If you are not intending to breed from your dog, then we recommend you consider getting them neutered. This is called spaying in a female and is an ovariohysterectomy, thus preventing unwanted pregnancies. It also prevents womb infections, which can be fatal, and decreases the risk of breast cancer. It is not necessary for a bitch to have a litter/ season before she is spayed. If your bitch is not spayed, she will usually come into season at around 6 months of age and every 6-7 months after that.

The operation in males is called castration and involves removing both testicles. Castration also prevents the risk of some prostatic diseases and can help prevent certain behavioural problems e.g. roaming and aggression. Neutered dogs are more prone to weight gain, so it is important that their diet is carefully controlled.

Depending on the breed of dog we can do both these surgeries from 6 Months of age.


We strongly recommend you do insure your new puppy this can help greatly towards unexpected costs such as emergencies or even long-term medication. Although we are unable to recommend an insurance provider, please look into a policy that suits your pets needs.

Otter Vets would like to congratulate you on your new puppy. We are here with the aim of keeping your dog happy and healthy. If you have any queries or concerns, our staff will be happy to help please get in contact with us.

  • Puppy Socialisation Checklist

Puppy Socialisation Checklist

  • Artificial grass/turf
  • Slick floors (linoleum, hardwood)
  • Stairs (carpet and concrete)
  • Wet grass
  • Mud and dirt
  • Icy areas and snow
  • Other puppies
  • Adult dogs
  • Large breeds
  • Very small breeds
  • Cats
  • Horses
  • Other livestock like cattle
  • Pet birds
  • Skateboards/longboards
  • Bicycles
  • Baby strollers
  • Shopping carts
  • Buses
  • Motorcycles
  • Metal surfaces (vet scales, etc.)
  • Animal sounds (goat, pig, etc.)
  • Crane/construction machinery
  • Fireworks
  • People cheering
  • Smoke alarm/security alarm
  • Thunder/gunshots
  • Ambulance/police siren
  • Doorbell/knocking on door
  • Vacuum cleaner
  • Dishwasher, washing machine
  • Tall men
  • Men with deep voices
  • Men with beards/facial hair
  • Elderly people
  • People in wheelchairs
  • People who use canes/crutches
  • People wearing hoods/hats
  • People wearing helmets
  • People wearing sunglasses
  • People wearing backpacks
  • Toddlers
  • Multiple toddlers being loud
  • People running
  • Teenagers
  • Outside of ears
  • Inside ears (not into ear canal)
  • Outside of mouth area
  • Inside of mouth area (be gentle)
  • Back teeth
  • Eye area (be careful)
  • Paws
  • Nail areas specifically
  • Nose
  • Holding in arms
  • Holding on lap
  • Wiping body with towel
  • Wiping paws with towel
  • Wiping face with towel
  • Handling by collar
  • Putting on collar/harness
  • Being brushed/combed
  • Hug/squeeze puppy softly