Download a pdf copy of this Puppy Fact Sheet here.
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.
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 Hills Vet Essentials have an excellent balance of essential vitamins and minerals for growing pups. Try to keep your puppy from putting on excess weight. This is most important in large breeds like Golden Retrievers.
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 some active breeds, two meals a day may be appropriate.
DO NOT exercise your puppy straight after a meal.
Your puppy should have a C5 vaccination at 6 to 8 weeks, again at 12 weeks and once more at 16 weeks.
This vaccine protects pups against distemper, canine hepatitis, parvovirus and two strains of kennel cough.
The vaccination visits also allow us to check your pup’s physical condition during the early stages of growth and to help you with any advice you need on puppy care.
Heartworm and Flea Prevention
Heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes and is easy to prevent but much harder to treat. Pups should be started on heartworm prevention by 12 weeks of age. An injection of Proheart SR12 at 3, 6 and 15 months and then yearly at the same time as a dog's regular annual vacccinations is an ideal way to protect against heartworm.
For flea prevention, Advantage is safe on puppies from 6 weeks of age and Simparica from 8 weeks.
Alternatively, there are monthly oral products like Comfortis Plus or monthly 'spot-on' products like Advocate which combine heartworm, flea and worm control.
Ticks can occasionally be a hazard, even in Melbourne. Products like Simparica are a very effective way to protect dogs against ticks.
Using an 'allwormer' preparation such as Drontal or Milbemax will get rid of intestinal worms.
Pups should be wormed at 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 weeks, then 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 health 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. 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 already microchipped, you need to make sure that the microchip registry (usually Central Animal Records) has been notified that you are the new owner.
Local Councils require that all dogs be registered by the age of 3 months. This is separate from microchip registration.
We recommend that desexing be done at 5 to 6 months of age, except for some large breeds where there may be some benefits in delaying desexing until they are a bit older. 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. Make sure you don't delay getting insurance as insurers will not cover pre-existing conditions.