So you’ve just got a new puppy? Unsure of what’s best to be doing for them? Want a bit of advice? Well you’re in the right place! We’ve categorised the main things to remember with your new puppy.
Main thing to think of first, is your puppy vaccinated and microchipped? Is their vaccination up to date? Your pup needs to be vaccinated at 6-8 weeks of age, 12-14 weeks of age and 16-18 weeks of age. A booster vaccine is then required yearly for life.
Vaccination will protect your pup from Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus, Bordatella, Parainfluenza and Leptospirosis by stimulating the immune system to produce antibodies against these nasty diseases.
Treatment for these diseases is expensive and not always successful so prevent when you can!
In NSW, all pups must be microchipped by the time they are 12 weeks old, or sold, whichever comes sooner. So by the time you get your puppy, they should legally be microchipped and you should have received microchip papers.
A microchip can be a lifesaver – it is the best way to contact you should your dog become lost and is presented to a vet or the pound. Please make sure you keep your details up to date with the council.
Registration is required before your pup reaches 6 months of age.
New owners can create a profile on the NSW Pet Registry website and then use the microchip number to ‘claim’ their pet. Owners can use their online account to update their contact details, report a missing pet, change a pet’s ownership, and make the one off payment for ‘ lifetime registration’. Registration is discounted if your pet is desexed before 6 months of age
We recommend desexing most breeds of dogs around 5-6 months of age.
For large breeds, please chat to your veterinarian about the best time to desex, as suggested timings may differ.
Desexing prevents mammary cancer, pyometra and uterine infections in female dogs and behavioural problems in males (urine marking, escaping, and aggression), prostate disease, hernias, perianal and testicular tumours.
Breeding is very expensive! “Backyard” pups often do not sell for enough to cover costs. There are also many potential complications for the bitch and pups.
We highly recommend that you invest in pet insurance for your puppy from a young age. This can save you if an unexpected injury or illness were to arise. Some companies include RSPCA, Bow Wow Meow and Woolworths pet insurance.
Due to their rapid growth, puppies need food that is carefully balanced with the right amount of vitamins, minerals, protein, carbohydrates and fat. This is why it is important to ensure the food you buy is specifically designed for puppies.
Premium brand DRY FOODS such as “Delicate Care” for puppies is guaranteed to be a complete and balanced diet.
The quality of supermarket brands varies considerably – generally you get what you pay for. Make sure the packet mentions that it meets the “AAFCO nutritional guidelines” and you are buying a ‘puppy’ formulation.
Puppy food should be fed in most cases until roughly 12 months of age.
Puppies need protection from intestinal worms that cause vomiting and diarrhoea and can make your puppy very ill.
The common intestinal worms are roundworm, whipworm, hookworm and tapeworm.
Pups need worming – Once fortnightly until they are 12 weeks old, then monthly until 6 months of age, then every 3 months for life.
We recommend Milpro tablets for worming puppies.
Fleas are a very common problem for dogs and cats. Many pets are highly allergic to flea bites and develop severe skin irritations.
Our number one recommendation is to use products such as Bravecto (1 monthly chew, 3 monthly chew or 6 monthly spot on) to treat the adult fleas that bite your dog.
The adult fleas on the dog also lay eggs that fall off into your dog’s environment. Regular vacuuming of areas of your house your dog spends time in, as well as regular washing of its bedding, brushes etc. will help reduce the burden of flea eggs that can hatch and re-infest your pets.
It is important to treat all pets in the household at the same time for the best result.
Paralysis ticks are very common in this area and are life threatening to your dog.
Prevention is better than treatment as many dogs treated for ticks die despite treatment. You can easily prevent ticks on your dog by using Bravecto as above.
Heartworm is a killer parasite spread by mosquitoes. This area has high numbers of mosquitoes and so our dogs are at high risk of becoming infected without adequate heartworm prevention.
Heartworm is easily prevented by Proheart injection given at 12 weeks and 6 months of age, then annually with your puppy’s vaccination. An alternative to the Proheart injection is monthly tablets for heartworm prevention.
Ideally you should brush your puppy’s teeth daily. Getting them used to the toothbrush while they are young is ideal. Chewable treats such as Greenies or Oravet help maintain dental hygiene.
Never ever give cooked bones to your dog. They are indigestible and can fragment into sharp pieces and can cause constipation.
INVEST IN THE RIGHT TRAINING!
The biggest killer of young dogs is poor behaviour. Constant nuisance barking, destructiveness and aggression to other dogs or people are all too common reasons for euthanasia.
A well trained dog is a pleasure to have in the family. The alternative is a dog that is a nuisance, an embarrassment, or even a danger.
Puppy Preschool is a fun way to socialise your pup and also begin some basic training to help avoid behaviour problems in the future. It’s not just about learning how to train your puppy but also just giving your puppy a chance to socialise with other puppies.
We run Puppy Pre School right here in the clinic! The class is a 4 week course run by one of our nurses. Please contact our reception staff if you would like to join or enquire about the class.
When you first bring them home
- It’s best to keep them on the same food that the breeder had them on and slowly transition them onto a new brand (if you’re changing food brands) over a 2 week period to avoid gut upset.
- Introduce them slowly to any other animals you have at home to avoid conflict.
- No walking or socialising with unvaccinated dogs until they have had their 3rd puppy vaccination (usually around 16 weeks old) even then, wait 2 extra weeks to be sure they have full immunity, as some diseases can live in the environment for years (such as parvovirus).
- Begin immediately getting them into a routine at night and give them a designated spot to sleep such as a crate. This will help settle them in and help them feel safe and secure.
- Book them in for puppy pre school. This is the perfect way to begin socialising your new puppy.
Things to avoid doing with your puppy
- Don’t “baby” your new puppy. Avoid giving them the attention they are asking for all the time as they can develop separation anxiety and become a “problem” in the future.
- Changing their food over quickly.
- Socialising with other dogs until they’re fully vaccinated.
- Feeding any possibly toxic foods. It’s best to have some knowledge around all foods and plants that are toxic to your puppy to avoid any possible toxicities in the future.
What to do after Puppy Pre school
- Continue with the training at home and in public to ensure your puppy keeps the knowledge learnt in puppy pre school.
- Consider ongoing obedience/agility training to keep your puppy’s mind active as they mature, this may help avoid behavioural issues in the future that stem from boredom.