Neutering is one of the most responsible decisions any pet owner can make. Neutering not only protects against unwanted pregnancies, helping to keep down the number of dogs in rescue, it also offers protection against various diseases including cancers. It can also help with some behavioural problems, although this is not the main reason for doing it. Some owners are concerned about a change in personality, or that the puppy might become fat and boring – neither of these is inevitable, or even likely – just follow your vet’s advice and make sure your puppy keeps up with his games and you watch his diet. Your vet or vet nurse will advise you, and will also discuss how the hormonal changes brought on by neutering can affect your puppy’s behaviour and weight.

The little ‘passengers’ your puppy could carry aren’t good for his health… so regular worming and flea control is essential.

Fleas

Your puppy could have dog or cat fleas – fleas aren’t picky, and as well as causing itching in your dog will bite humans too. You need to treat your puppy, his bed and the house itself, ideally with a product which ‘breaks’ the flea’s lifecycle, otherwise reinfestation will keep on occurring. The simplest way is to use one of the ‘spot-on’ products your vet can recommend.

Worms

Worms are parasites which live in the puppy’s intestines, affecting how he digests his food and how much goodness he can extract from it. Roundworms and tapeworms are the commonest types, but they are easily treated using veterinary medicines. Don’t be tempted by non-veterinary products, although cheaper they are not nearly as effective.

The prospect of your pup getting lost – and maybe slipping his collar or losing his name tag – is unbearable. Dog theft is on the increase today as well, so security is becoming an issue for all dog owners.

How microchipping works

Microchipping, which is the painless insertion of a microchip under the skin on his neck, means that any vet or dog rescue organisation can ‘read’ the chip with a handheld scanner, and your dog can be reunited with you quickly.

Your vet can perform the procedure at any of your routine appointments, and it literally takes just seconds to make your dog identifiable for life. The chip number will be entered into a computer system, and you will be sent a certificate confirming your ownership and address, plus how to amend your details should you move home