Dog Care2020-09-07T19:53:40+01:00

Dog Care

We are as passionate about your four-legged family members health as you are. We have put together this guide to provide you with the information you need on routine health care to keep them in tip top shape.

We appreciate there are lots of options available these days when it comes to your pet’s care and also that not every patient is the same. We promise to support you in your decision making process and provide personalised care for your pet. This is the only way to achieve the best outcomes.

New Puppy

We would like to see you and your new puppy as often as we can in the first six months so they get used to coming to veterinary surgery. We promise to fill this time with lots of positive experiences, mainly delicious treats and toys. This way, when they do need something like an injection it becomes an exception to the rule rather than their main association with the vets.

This is all part of the fear free approach and if we get this part right at the start it will help create a positive experience at the vets in the future.

When we’d like to see them:

  • Shortly after joining your family (ideally 24-48hrs) – health check and first Vaccination

  • Second vaccination (2 weeks later)

  • Third vaccination (4 weeks later)

  • Every month after until six months old

  • Shortly after joining your family (ideally 24-48hrs) – health check

Join the Wellness Club and all of these appointments are included in the standard fee.


At Ferndown Family Vets we strongly recommend that you vaccinate when your puppy is young (8-9 weeks old). Ongoing protection will then be provided by annual assessment of their immunity and booster vaccinations when required. All of this is included in the Wellness Club

We vaccinate against diseases which are potentially fatal or have long term health implications:

  • Canine distemper virus

  • Canine parvovirus

  • Canine adenovirus (hepatitis)

  • Leptospirosis

In certain situations other vaccinations are required such as; kennel cough, rabies, leishmaniasis and can be organised easily.

We have designed our protocol to avoid over-vaccination. We appreciate some owners have concerns over vaccinations and would be very happy to discuss these at your health checks to decide on a personalised plan for your pet. As part of this we are able to offer vaccination titre testing as an option.


A microchip is a very small (similar to a grain of rice) electrical device which sits underneath the skin between the shoulder blades. It will provide you with the best chance of being reunited with your dog if you were ever to be separated unintentionally.

Please be aware that as of April 2016 it became compulsory for all dogs living in the UK to be microchipped and if your dog is found not to have one fines can be issued.

It is also very important to update your contact details whenever they change otherwise the microchip becomes redundant as there is no way to link the microchip to yourselves.

Microchipping is included in the Wellness Plan


It’s natural for dogs to want to explore and socialise with others. On their travels it is likely they will be exposed to parasites, the main ones being fleas and worms. It is very difficult to avoid exposure and as a result we welcome you to discuss with ourselves the most relevant risks to your dog so that we can create a personalised prevention plan.

  • RoundwormsThese little critters look like strings of spaghetti and are easily picked up from the environment as well as from other dogs, including the mother when suckling. It is still possible for your dog to carry the worm without seeing evidence in their poo. Prevention of roundworms is of particular importance due to their ability to cause serious disease in humans

  • Tapeworms – These worms consist of chains of segments similar in appearance to flattened grains of rice. They are often picked up from scavenging on carcasses and can also be transferred from one dog to another via fleas.

  • Lungworm

Fleas & Ticks


Most people have heard of fleas. They are irritating little parasites that hop onto your dog from another animal or the environment and have a nibble. They often cause skin irritation and sometimes little scabs and rashes. In general a huge annoyance to your pet and also potentially to yourself.

Given their incredible ability to breed, once they have been introduced into your home they can be tricky to get rid of so we would strongly suggest prevention is better than cure.


If your dog likes a good run around the forest or long grass, where deer may have been, you may need to protect against ticks also. These disgusting creatures latch onto your dogs skin and feed on their blood occasionally causing a nasty swelling or infection to develop.

If you travel with your dog please discuss additional risks that may apply in order to make sure they are protected.

Fortunately we have lots of safe and effective products for keeping these annoying creatures at bay. We will be more than happy to discuss which options are most appropriate for your dog at your health checks or over the phone. If you’re a member of the Wellness Club these routine treatments are included in your standard monthly fee.


As many of you will be aware animal charities are currently full to breaking point with unwanted pets. It is therefore very important that pet owners are responsible and take steps to avoid unwanted pregnancies. If you have no specific plans for breeding then we would suggest you give consideration to having them neutered (removal of reproductive organs) and our staff would be more than happy to discuss this with you.

In male dogs the procedure is called ‘castration’ and involves surgical removal of the testicles. This removes the ability of your dog to impregnate another. It also reduces levels of testosterone which can reduce negative behavioural traits such as roaming and dominant behaviour. There are also health benefits such as removing the risk of testicular cancer and reducing the likelihood of prostate issues.

For many years castration has been perceived as the solution to calming down a bouncy, energetic puppy. It may have some impact on this type of behaviour but please be aware that castration is no substitute for proper training and plenty of exercise.

In female dogs the procedure is called ‘spaying’ and involves surgical removal of the ovaries and uterus. As a result of this your dog will no longer have seasons and won’t be able to become pregnant. This also has the benefit of removing the risk of uterine cancer and infections (pyometra) as well as reducing the occurrence of mammary cancer.

We perform lots of castrations and spays each year and would class them as routine. In general most patients will go home the same day and then come back three days later for a check of the surgical incision.

At Ferndown Family Vets we don’t believe there should be a standard age to neuter your pet. Each patient will be assessed as an individual and a decision based on various factors. A good time to do this is during their first six month health check.

Dental Care

Dental hygiene is just as important in dogs as it is in people but is often overlooked. As a result, dental disease is very common and unfortunately dogs are very good at hiding any associated pain.

At Ferndown Family Vets we have adopted a pro-active approach to dentistry and aim to prevent dental infections developing and teeth needing to be removed. We are more than happy to discuss the various options for dental care at home; teeth cleaning, diet, etc. and recommend appropriate products

If your dog does start to develop some tartar or gum disease we may suggest a short general anaesthetic to perform a scale and polish. This is much like going to see the dental hygienist and will hopefully avoid the need for tooth extractions and associated longer anaesthetics.

We would suggest assessment of your dogs teeth regularly at their six month health check.


A healthy pet starts with a healthy diet and we appreciate that the choice these days can be overwhelming. There are a lot of opinions and lots of evidence in support of the different types of diet available. We haven’t performed any research ourselves but do have the benefit of seeing a large number of pets on various diets.

We believe that there is no magic formula that suits all dogs and want to work with you and the decisions you make to ensure they are getting all the nutrients they need, reducing the chance of any associated health problems.

Complete diets

There is an endless selection of complete meals for your dog in both tinned and dried (kibble) form. They are a convenient and practical way to feed your dog, however, as is the case with many things, you get what you pay for. In general the more expensive foods have a higher percentage of better quality protein which your dog is more suited to process and in addition have all the nutrients your dog needs to avoid deficiencies. The cheaper diets often have a higher percentage of lower quality ‘fillers’ which they will struggle to digest often resulting in a large quantity of poo and potentially issues like weight gain.

If your dog is unlucky enough to develop a particular condition there are prescription diets available which have been clinically proven to control and treat certain conditions which we are more than happy to supply.

Raw diets

Raw diets, also referred to as species specific diets, have been around for a while and can have many benefits to the health of your dog. There are some additional considerations involved with preparation and storage but in general, if sourced from a reputable supplier (DEFRA approved), they can be a safe option for feeding your dog.

It is not as simple as going to the supermarket and picking up a few packs of beef mince with your weekly shop we would always advise speaking with ourselves or visiting one of our local recommended suppliers:

Nurturing by nature

Furry Feasts

One of the difficulties with a raw diet is making sure your dog is getting all the vitamins and minerals it needs to avoid deficiencies and associated disease. This can be achieved by seeking reliable advice and creating a well planned and formulated feeding regime. When done well raw feeding can have many health benefits to your pet and in certain cases resolve some health issues.

Expert Advice

Looking for guidance on day to day pet care? take a look at our helpful advice and guides pages. If you have any questions just give us a call.

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