Domestic Pets - Dogs feature

Domestic Pets - Dogs

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Dogs are one of the most intelligent of domesticated animals and can be readily trained with time and patience, they also make loyal companions.

When taking on the responsibility of a dog you must keep in mind that different breeds have different natural instincts i.e. herding, hunting and guarding. These instincts need to be considered when thinking about what type of dog you are wanting to add to your family, along with feeding, exercise requirements and temperament. You will also need to consider the size of garden, whether it is dog proof, the size of your home and even the size of your car.

Pedigree puppies come in many shapes and sizes, the prices of the puppies can also vary enormously. We strongly recommend before purchasing any puppy that you research the breed you are wanting, then research the breeders. Check that any tests that need to be done on the Sire and Dam have been carried out, such as eye testing or hip scoring. Make sure that you see the puppies with their mum so that you can be sure that they are happy and healthy.

Visit the kennel club's website for more information on buying a puppy, and responsible ownership.

Re-homing or fostering a rescue dog has many rewards. At the present time local rescue charities such as Dogs FriendsHeavens Gate the RSPCA North Somerset or West Hatch are all full with dogs needing a new home. Many have a website so you can have a look from the comfort of your own home before meeting any of the rescue dogs. The Kennel club has a section on pedigree rescues on their website too.

Other rescue societies include Labrador rescueDogs Trust, and Happy Landings.


At Axe Valley we encourage our clients to have their dogs neutered, unless the dog is being used for breeding at a later date. If you are unsure we would encourage you to discuss this with the Veterinary Surgeon when you bring in your puppy for their initial vaccinations, then they can go through your options with you.

We advise that both male and female dogs are neutered around the age of 6 months, there are occasions when the Vet may feel that this is best done later but as a general rule 6 months is the ideal time. Neutering your dog early will reduce the risk of cancers in later years, and in some cases undesirable behavioural traits. In the female dog it will reduce the risk of unwanted attention from male dogs, the risk of unwanted pregnancies, false pregnancies and life threatening uterine infections (Pyometra).


It is important that your dog is vaccinated annually, this provides necessary immunity against potentially fatal dog diseases such as Parvovirus and Distemper. The vet will check your dog to make sure that they are in good health and it is an ideal time to discuss any concerns you may have, especially in older dogs, such as stiffness or reluctance to exercise, diet or even a chance to personalise your dog's parasite treatment regime.

Puppies need to have a course of two injections given two to four weeks apart. If your puppy has already had one vaccination with the breeder, please check which vaccination their vet has used, as they are not all compatible. You will need to discuss this with the receptionist when you call. The initial vaccination is given at 8 weeks of age

After the initial course you should receive a reminder in the post the following year for booster vaccinations and health check although we do recommend that you keep a reminder in your diary / calendar just in case the reminder is lost in the postal system. In between the initial course and your dog's first annual booster you are more than welcome to make an appointment with one of our experienced qualified nurses to weigh your dog to ensure that you adjust their food accordingly, and are using the correct amount of flea and worm treatment. It also gives your pet a chance to come in to the surgery without having any treatment done, allowing each visit to be a pleasurable experience for them. Consultations with the nurse for weight checks are free, charges will be made for any flea / worm treatment or other products such as food.


Microchipping and identity tags

Microchipping is a permanent form of identifying your pet should they become lost. All dogs should wear a collar and tag but these can easily come off. Microchips are placed under the skin between the shoulder blades. The chip is unique to your pet and the details are held securely on a central database.

Any animal that is brought into a Veterinary Surgery or collected by the RSPCA/Dog Wardens are automatically scanned for a microchip, we can then get the details from the database with a quick phone call, so we can get in touch with the owner and reunite owner and dog quickly, so long as the details on the system are kept up to date.

Identity tags are a legal requirement in dogs: for more information follow the link to our Microchipping page

Flea and worming treatment

The life cycle of the flea can range between 14 - 140 days dependant on temperature and humidity. Each adult flea can lay several thousand eggs so it is easy to have a large infestation rather quickly.  On average they can consume 15 times their bodyweight in blood when they feed and can survive on the host for up to 140 days, so an animal with a heavy burden of fleas could very easily become anaemic and poorly quite quickly. This is why we recommend treating your pet every month as a preventative measure is far better than waiting until you see a flea.

Worming your pet is also very important to maintain good health. Worming regimes vary with each pet therefore ask the vet on your next visit or speak to a member of the reception team, they will be able to tailor a flea and worming protocol to your pet's particular requirements.



As pet owners we all want to do what is best to keep our dog happy and healthy, we recommend a balanced, complete dog food for their life stage. This will ensure that your dog is getting all the nutrition they need. We generally would not recommend a home cooked diet as these can be costly, and it is difficult to guarantee that your dog is getting all the vitamins and minerals that they need.

There is such a large choice of foods on the market these days for our pets that it can make the decision making process confusing. If you have any questions or concerns about your dog's diet or weight, our experienced and knowledgeable nursing team would be happy to discuss this and advise you on your dog's dietary requirements. Should you wish to change your dog's diet for any reason we always recommend doing this gradually over 5 - 7 days as sudden changes in diet can lead to stomach upsets.

Older Pets

As our pet's get older, their needs change and they can begin to have illnesses / diseases associated with advancing years such as arthritis or kidney problems. Therefore it is really important for them to have regular health checks so that any problems can hopefully be picked up early, so treatment can begin to make them more comfortable, allowing them to continue to enjoy life.

Your pet will still be coming for their annual health check and vaccinations, but the Vet may suggest more frequent checks, 6 monthly checks for example. In some cases these appointments may be with the Nurse for blood sampling or weight checks.