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Promoting Responsible Pet Ownership

Several factors need to be considered when you first acquire a new puppy or kitten.

Following some basic guidelines will ensure your pet gets the best start in life.

Key points to remember are:

(1) Vaccinations:

Puppies can start their vaccination course at 6 weeks old followed by a second and final primary vaccination at 10 weeks.

This enables your dog to begin socialisation with other dogs from an early age which is important for their general development.

Puppies are vaccinated against 7 diseases which are:

Canine Distemper, Canine Hepatitis, Adenovirus 1&2, Parvovirus and Leptospirosis 1&2.

Here at Carton vets we also recommend vaccination against Kennel cough virus which can lead to a persistent dry choking cough which can be distressing for your pet.

Kittens start their vaccination course at 9 weeks old and have a final vaccination at 12 weeks.

We vaccinate against 4 diseases:

Feline Rhinotracheitis(Cat Flu), Feline Calicivirus, Feline Panleucopaenia virus and Feline leukaemia virus.

Annual boosters are given to both cats and dogs once a year throughout their lives.

(2) Worming

Regular worming during the early stages is essential for both your puppy or kitten as worm burdens are common at a young age.

Failure to worm adequately can lead to poor weight gain and chronic diarrhea.

There is also a human health risk as these worms can be passed to children.

We suggest you worm your pet every 2 weeks until he/she is 12 weeks old; once monthly until 6 months old and then every 3 months long-term.

(3)Anti -parasite Control

Regular anti-parasitic control against Fleas and Mange mites is also recommended.

Failure to treat for common parasites found on your pet can lead to allergic skin disease and bacterial skin infections.

Parasitic burdens are lower in the colder months but anti-parasitic spot-ons should be applied throughout the spring and summer once monthly.

Lung-worms have also become more prevalent and can be picked up by your pet by eating slugs and snails.

The broad spectrum anti-parasitic we use at Carton, Hermitage and Old Bawn Vets protect against lung-worm.

(4) Feeding

Ensuring your puppy or kitten is fed a balanced diet is essential in promoting proper physical development.

We suggest feeding a dry food diet as it helps reduce tartar build up on your pets teeth.It is also lower in sugar compared with canned food.

Once weaned your puppy or kitten no longer needs milk.Water is adequate.

Your pet may be allergic to lactose in cows milk and can lead to diarrhea.

It is also good practice to feed your pet 4 times daily.Small meals frequently through the day is advisable.

By 6 months old you can reduce the meals to twice daily.


Neutering is an important consideration in promoting responsible pet ownership.

Every year both vet clinics and shelters can be heavily  burdened with abandoned puppies and kittens born out of unplanned pregnancies.

If your are not planning to breed from your pet you should seriously consider neutering.

We routinely perform neutering at 6 months old.There are many medical benefits to having the surgery.

In Females it prevents uterine cancer, uterine infections, False pregnancies and reduces the risk of mammary cancer.

In males it prevents testicular cancer, reduces the risk of prostate conditions as your pet gets older and reduces the risk of your pet rambling when a female is in heat in the area.

This last point is an important consideration as many pets get lost and stray because of this.


More and more pet owners are having their pets micro-chipped. Not only is it the responsible thing to do but it also gives you the best chance to re-unite with your pet in the event they stray or lose their way when they are out and about which is more common than you think.

The microchip is the size of a rice grain and is implanted in the back of your pets neck.

It is quick and easy to place and lasts for the life of the pet.It does not require sedation.

The chip is not a tracking device.It contains a 15 digit number.

All vets and wardens have microchip scanners.In the event a stray animal is brought to the clinic we can scan for a chip.

If a chip is found we can enter the number into a computer database which brings up the owners name and contact details.

It is very rewarding to be able to re-unite a pet quickly with his/her owner.

It is equally frustrating when the pet is not chipped as the chances of re-uniting the pet with the owner is greatly reduced.

(6)Pet Insurance

Animals suffer from similar medical conditions that people can suffer from.

Depending on the illness the cost of treatment can be expensive.

Having insurance gives you the peace of mind that your pet receives the best treatment available without worrying about the financial implications.

In certain circumstances your pet may need to be referred to a veterinary specialist for complicated surgery or  medical management. Having insurance provides you with an option of referral.

If you have any queries regarding the points discussed feel free to contact us at Carton, Hermitage or Old Bawn Vets and a member of our team would be happy to talk to you.

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