Vets are using Puppy Awareness Week to help owners of puppies think about long-term care for the new addition to their family, not just while they are cute and cuddly.

It is estimated that almost five million dogs are not fully vaccinated against illnesses including distemper.

And Vets4Pets is hoping Puppy Awareness Week, which runs until the 7th September, will help owners understand how to properly provide for their puppy’s welfare, including keeping them up-to-date with vaccinations and treatments.

Huw Stacey, director of clinical services at Vets4Pets, said: “Vaccinating your puppy provides it with the best level of care possible and helps to prevent millions of our pets from catching some particularly nasty diseases that can have very serious consequences.

“Puppies should also receive appropriate treatments for common ailments, including fleas and worms, for their entire life.

“Worryingly, 86 per cent of pet owners would vaccinate or treat their pet only if a disease was present in their local area, which in many cases will be too late.”

“We’re hoping that Puppy Awareness Week will help highlight the ways pet owners can help provide a puppy with the appropriate care during its whole life.

“At of puppies and kittens can find out the most appropriate ways to care for their new arrival, from the moment their tiny paws step into their new home.

“By increasing the amount of puppies that are vaccinated and given treatments including flea and worm, at an early age, it should gradually improve the overall health of our adult dogs and cats.”

In addition Dr Stacey is reminding all dog owners and those looking to get a puppy, that from April next year all dogs aged eight weeks and over in England and Scotland should be microchipped.

He added: “Microchips offer a quick, effective and permanent way of making sure a puppy or dog is always identifiable and that owners can be contacted in the event of them being lost and subsequently found.

“From April 6th 2016 it will be a legal requirement and is something current and new owners of puppies and dogs should be aware of.”

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