Congratulations on the new addition to your family. We know you will love your new puppy and do your best to keep him or her healthy and strong.
Please let us know when you ring for an appointment at Mont Albert Vet if you are bringing in a new puppy for a consultation. We like to allocate a double appointment (30 minutes) for these consultations, as there is usually a lot to cover and many questions to answer.
As a general rule, puppies should have three meals a day up to the age of six months, two meals a day up to twelve months and one daily meal from then on.
For the first week, try to give foods that your new pup is already used to. Make any changes to the diet gradually to avoid bowel upsets.
High quality puppy foods (tinned and dry) such as Advance or Eukanuba have an excellent balance of essential vitamins and minerals.
If you prefer to feed your puppy a meat diet, balance it with vegetables, cereals, rice, pasta and a mineral supplement that contains calcium.
Try to keep your puppy from putting on excess weight. This is most important in large breeds like Retrievers.
Raw bones are very good for keeping your pup’s teeth and gums healthy but avoid chicken bones as they may carry dangerous bacteria.
DO NOT exercise your puppy straight after eating.
Your puppy should be vaccinated at 6-8 weeks, again at 12 weeks and once more at 16 weeks.
The vaccine protects pups against distemper, canine hepatitis, parvovirus and two strains of kennel cough.
Visits for these regular vaccinations allow us to check your pup’s physical condition during the early stages of growth and help you with any advice you need on puppy care.
Heartworm and Flea Prevention
Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes and is simple to prevent but much harder to treat. Pups can be started on heartworm prevention by 12 weeks of age. A number of products can be used. Proheart SR12 can be given by injection at 3, 6 and 15 months and then yearly at the same time as a dog's regular annual vacccinations. An alternative is a monthly chewable tablet such as Heartgard.
For flea prevention, Advantage is safe on puppies from 6 weeks of age and Frontline from 8 weeks.
Sentinel, Advocate and Revolution are convenient products that combine protection against fleas, heartworm and other parasites and are safe to use from 6 weeks of age.
Ticks are not a problem around Melbourne but, if you are travelling with your puppy to East Gippsland, New South Wales, Queensland or other parts of Northern Australia, we can advise you on prevention.
Using an 'allwormer' preparation such as Drontal or Milbemax will get rid of intestinal worms.
Worming is advisable at 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 weeks. You should then worm your pup every month until 6 months of age and then every 3 months after that.
It is important to remember that some dog worms can pose a risk to humans, particularly young children.
Socialising and Training
A dog’s adult personality is strongly affected by experiences during puppyhood. Between 3 and 12 weeks of age, puppies should be exposed to lots of different experiences - different people (adults and children), noises, other dogs, open spaces, crowds etc.
Be sure to avoid contact with dogs you don't know and and also with dog droppings until your pup has been fully vaccinated.
It's also a good idea to get your puppy used to being touched and examined - look in their ears, open their mouth, touch and feel their paws. This can make them much more at ease in their regular veterinary visits if they become used to being handled in these ways.
Set the rules for behaviour right from the start and be consistently firm but fair. Puppy school helps with socialisation and sets you on the right track. We recommend the Victorian Obedience Dog Club and Kintala. Obedience training is also advisable when the pup is a little older.
Put your puppy outside after meals, after sleeps and when he or she starts sniffing the ground. If your puppy urinates or defecates (wees or poos) outside, give them lots of encouraging praise using a pleasant tone of voice.
Don’t reprimand your puppy for going to the toilet inside unless you can catch him or her in the act.
Generally, positive reinforcement, consistency and repetition are far more effective than punishment.
Microchipping and Registration
If your puppy is not already microchipped, this will need to be done before you can apply for dog registration with your local council. All dogs are now required to be registered by the age of 3 months.
A microchip can be implanted at the 8 week or 12 week vaccination visit.
We recommend that desexing be done at 5 to 6 months of age. Dogs need to stay with us for the day (not overnight) and there are usually no stitches to remove afterwards.
As the range of veterinary services increases, it is worth considering taking out pet insurance. There are a number of insurance companies which will cover your puppy for a proportion of your veterinary expenses.