Looking After Your New Puppy – A Comprehensive Guide

December 22, 2020

Puppies are a wonderful addition to the home. They’re energetic, exciting and playful companions that will challenge you while giving plenty of love.

Regardless of whether you’ve owned a puppy before, or if you’re a seasoned pro, there’s a lot that needs to happen in the first six months of a puppy’s life. We’ve put together this handy guide for you to understand what to expect when you’re expecting – or already have – a new puppy arrival.

Your puppy health program

6-8 weeks 1st Vaccination Protech C3
Intestinal worming
Flea control
Microchipping
8 weeks Intestinal worming
10-12 weeks 2nd Vaccination Protech C5
1st Heartworm injection
Intestinal worming
Flea and tick control
14-16 weeks 3rd Vaccination Protech C5
Intestinal worming
Flea and tick control (if monthly used)
5 months Intestinal worming
6 months Desexing
Annual Heartworm injection
Intestinal worming
Flea and tick control

And then:

  • Annual check up and vaccination booster yearly
  • Heartworm monthly or Annual heartworm injection
  • Intestinal worming quarterly
  • Flea-control monthly, quarterly or bi-annually

Vaccinations

There’s many different types of vaccinations your puppy may need over the course of its life, but it’s vital that they undertake a primary course of vaccinations while they’re young (you can read more on the importance of vaccinations here). Certain infectious diseases can be fatal – so it’s important to follow the schedule set out by your veterinarian.

The primary course of vaccinations your puppy needs include:

  • Parvovirus
  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Bordetella Bronchiseptica
  • Parainfluenza

Your dog will then require a booster every year to ensure they stay protected, just like how humans are vaccinated against the flu every year.

Puppy vaccinations are scheduled with injections given 4 weeks apart:

  • 1st injection: 6-8 weeks
  • 2nd injection: 10-12 weeks
  • 3rd injection: 14-16 week

While your puppy is building up their immunity to these infectious diseases, It’s recommended that you do not take them to public areas, especially parks, until a minimum of 1 week after the 3rd puppy vaccination. This is to ensure prevention of possible infection with viral diseases, such as Parvovirus (which is often fatal).

Need more information? You can learn more about our vaccination services here.

Microchipping

When pets go missing it can be utterly devastating for the owner, and incredibly dangerous for your dog.

It is a legal requirement for your dog to be microchipped and registered with your local council. If your puppy has not yet been microchipped, please ensure this is carried out as soon as possible. The procedure is simple and will not harm or leave them in any discomfort.

The microchip is a small chip that is implanted between your pet’s shoulder blades which carries a 15-digit number unique to your animal. Your council records your contact details and keeps your address and phone number on file against the microchip number to ensure you are easily contactable if your pet ever goes missing.

It is important that you update your details with your local council on your dog’s microchip number if you ever move to a new house or change phone numbers.

Worming, flea and tick control

Similar to receiving vaccinations from infectious diseases, puppies need to be protected from intestinal and heartworms, fleas and ticks. Puppies inflicted or infested with these creatures can become extremely sick and nutritionally deficient at the most important part of their developmental stage.

Intestinal worming

It is common for puppies to have worms, but it is important that they are wormed frequently. We recommend worming with an all wormer at the following times during the puppy stage of life:

  • Every 2 weeks until your puppy is 12 weeks old
  • Then every 4 weeks until your puppy is 6 months of age
  • Then every 3 months for life once 6 months old and over

Heartworm prevention

Heartworm is a potentially deadly disease caused by the worm Dirofilaria Immitus, which is transmitted by mosquitoes. The worm lives in the lung and heart of its host and can cause your puppy to end up seriously ill (you can learn more about heartworm disease in pets in this guide).

It’s important to note that heartworm prevention is generally not provided by ‘all wormers,’ which usually only refer to ‘all intestinal worms’ only. If you’re unsure whether the medication you have is appropriate for heartworm, check with our team and we can assist you.

We recommend a yearly heartworm treatment for your pet for safety and peace of mind. This can be started at 12 weeks of age (generally at the 2nd vaccination) and then boosted at 6 months of age (generally done at desexing), then annually. This can be done at the same time as your dog’s regular vaccination.

Alternatively, you can combine heartworm prevention with a monthly flea treatment or tablet. Please note that it is essential for heartworm treatment to be done monthly without fail (when using chews/tablets) as prevention is vital for this devastating disease.

Fleas

No one wants a flea infestation in their house! But if you’re not careful, you might be scratching just like your new furry companion.

Fleas can be found all year round and take it from us – prevention is so much easier than a cure! Unfortunately, once you see fleas on your pet they will also be in the environment (indoors and out). Decontaminating your house can be hard work, so be prepared to go the distance if you want to ensure any fleas, and their eggs, are toast.

For flea treatments we recommend Bravecto, which is given every 3 months, or you can choose monthly top-spots or tablets. Bravecto can be used from 8 weeks of age (and over 2kg in weight). If you have an incredibly young puppy, you can use Frontline spray on pups from 2 days of age.

To ensure you’re getting the right coverage for your pet, ensure you read the treatment instructions and information before purchasing any medication. There are many flea treatment products on the market – some will only cover fleas and ticks, others will cover intestinal worms, heartworms and some mites.

As always, if you’re unsure, please speak to one of our staff about the most appropriate treatment for your puppy.

What about flea shampoos, collars and powder? These are generally inefficient, so we recommend you avoid using these products.

Tick prevention

We recommend tick prevention for your puppy if you are travelling to a known tick area. If a paralysis tick finds its way onto your pet it may become seriously ill, requiring emergency vet treatment. Some people choose to use tick prevention for peace of mind, even if they are not leaving the Eastern Suburbs area.

As with fleas, we recommend Bravecto. This product protects against ticks for 3 months, but if you would prefer a monthly product, our staff can discuss other treatment options.

Food and diet

A growing puppy needs to a nutritious diet. Having the right nutrients will ensure they develop properly in this stage of their life, preventing unnecessary deficiencies that can stay with them as adults.

We recommend investing in high quality puppy food for your new pet. A puppy-food diet should be fed until 12 months of age when you can start to feed adult food. You should also make sure there is plenty of water available, regardless of whether your puppy is outdoors or indoors. Try to limit treats to one or two types, as too much variety in a puppy’s diet can lead to gastrointestinal upset.

Insurance

Pet insurance is something you hope to never have to use, but it is something we recommend to all pet owners (regardless of your furry companion’s age). We understand that veterinary treatment can be costly at times. If your pet has an accident, requires surgery, or even develops a medical condition requiring ongoing medication, it is a comfort for owners to know they have some financial support.

School and training

Early socialisation and training are essential in your puppy’s journey to becoming a well-rounded, happy and confident dog.

We recommend starting with puppy school, which can help you with basic training but also provide a safe and fun environment for you and your puppy to meet other dogs that are a similar age. Socialisation is important, and puppy school is a great place to start this process. 

When it comes to puppy school, we recommend Therese from “Training the Family Dog”. Bookings are essential, so call in advance to reserve your pup’s spot. Please note your pup must have had their 1st vaccination before they can attend puppy school.

Still have questions about your puppy? Please do not hesitate to ask a member of our friendly staff at the Matraville Veterinary Practice. We look forward to meeting your new furry family member soon.

Got a question?

We’re here to help you with any urgent enquiries or assistance you might need. Need a little extra help, or not sure if you should bring your pet in for a check-up? Give our team a call and we’ll happily answer your questions.