Puppy Care Information
When you get a puppy, your head is filled with ideas of adorable puppy kisses and playing fetch at the park, but the reality can often be quite stressful! It's like adding a new baby to the household, with countless hours of toilet training, loss of sleep and feeling confused about healthcare and feeding routines. We hope this simplified guide will help you keep track of all of the essential facts you need to know to take care of your new family member.
We routinely vaccinate against parvovirus, distemper, hepatitis, and canine cough (bordetella and parainfluenza). These diseases are serious and can be fatal, so vaccination is vital.
1st C3 (Distemper/Hepatitis/Parvovirus) at 6-8 weeks of age
2nd C5 (As above + Canine Cough) at 10 weeks of age
3rd C4 (Distemper/Hepatitis/Parvovirus/Parainfluenza) at 12 weeks of age
A YEARLY BOOSTER is essential to continue protecting your dog against disease.
Please remember your puppy will not be fully protected by vaccinations until after their final puppy vaccination. It is important to restrict contact with other dogs and public places during this time.
Heartworm is a parasite transmitted as larvae to dogs by mosquitos (who are themselves infected by heartworm positive dogs). The larvae move to the chambers of the dog’s heart, growing to adult worms and eventually causing death by heart failure. All dogs should start on heartworm prevention by 12 weeks of age.
We recommend PROHEART injection for the prevention of heartworm disease. This involves a course of injections starting at 12 weeks old, with a second at 6 months, and at 15 months old and then once a year thereafter to coincide with yearly vaccinations. Dogs that do not use the annual Proheart injection need to be on a monthly oral medication for life.
Intestinal worms can cause serious problems, and puppies are especially at risk. When worm burdens become high we can see problems such as diarrhoea, vomiting, pot-belly, weight loss, anaemia, scooting and even more serious intestinal complications.
An “all-wormer” should cover Roundworm, Hookworm, Tapeworm (including hydatids) and Whipworm. Please note that intestinal wormers do not cover heartworm (but see above for heartworm preventative care options).
These worms can spread to people, especially children, so it is very important to prevent infestation. Puppies need to be treated every fortnight from 2 to 12 weeks of age, then monthly up to 6 months of age, then every three months for life. Some products combine flea, heartworm and intestinal wormer and are given monthly for life.
Only 5% of fleas live on your pet, 95% live in the environment! Fleas can be spread to your house or yard by roaming cats or even possums. It is very important to keep up a continuous flea prevention regime, or you may find you have a flea infestation.
Note that ALL animals in the household must be treated for control to be effective. There are many flea control products available but some older products are not as effective, so please schedule an appointment with one of our highly trained vets to learn about the best options. The best products combine flea and tick control.
Paralysis ticks can be life threatening and very expensive to treat. We see a large number of cases in hospital each year. Any animals spending time in bushy areas, even just their own backyards, are at risk, especially over spring and summer.
Signs of tick paralysis include:
Wobbly back legs
Change in voice
Tick paralysis is an emergency – seek veterinary attention immediately.
Prevention products have developed over recent years and the new generation ones are well worth using. We currently recommend Nexgard products monthly or Bravecto products three to six monthly.
We recommend desexing (spey or castration) from 4-6 months of age. Desexing will help control problems such as roaming, aggression, inappropriate mounting, mammary and prostatic disease. Your council registration will also be much cheaper.
There is no advantage for your female dog to have a season or a litter first before desexing! The surgical procedure involves a day visit to the clinic only and we find that recovery is generally very rapid and uneventful.
We recommend feeding a super premium food specially designed for your growing puppy. These foods have all the vitamin, minerals and dietary requirements your growing puppy will need. Our favourite foods, for both growing pups and adult dogs alike, are Hills & Royal Canin.
Up to 3 months old………. 3 meals/day
From 3-6 months old…….. 2 meals/day
Over 6 months old……….. 1-2 meals/day
It is also important to begin a dental care regime from a young age, with regular tooth brushing considered the gold standard of care. For more information about how to introduce brushing or alternatives/supplements to brushing please see the dental care information available.
One aspect of responsible dog ownership is the identification of your pet. A microchip implant is available for lifetime identification. At approximately 8mm long (about as big as a grain of rice), insertion is by simple injection at vaccination or desexing times or any other convenient time by appointment. We register all microchips with the national database. A collar and tag can be lost, but a microchip is there for life.
We recommend that all puppy owners seriously consider health insurance for their new pet. Pet insurance costs from as little as $2.95 a week and covers unforeseen accidents and illness – a particularly high risk in puppies! There are many products available and suitability varies depending on your requirements so we recommend looking at the product disclosure information before signing up, to decide what is best for you.
PUPPY SOCIALISATION – ASK ABOUT OUR PUPPY PRE-SCHOOL!
Our pups must be well-adjusted in many different environments from a very young age, which means exposing your pup to people and other animals. A good obedience school can make the difference between a beloved family member and a public nuisance. At Belmont Rd Vet Surgery we run regular puppy preschools with one of our qualified Veterinary Nurses. Just call to book in for the next available class.
It is very important to maintain and get your puppy used to regular grooming. They shed regularly, and regular groom will help a shiny coat. Our wonderful in-house groomer offers a complimentary consultations and reduced price “first groom” for puppies to introduce them to the salon and the process.
If you have any questions or problems with your new puppy, please do not hesitate to give us a call!