Caring For Your New Puppy

The following information will help you with all the necessary health care your new puppy will require, including vaccination, heartworm prevention, worming, flea and tick control, nutrition, desexing and microchipping.

caring for a new puppyVaccination

We recommend vaccinations to help safeguard your pet from potentially serious and sometimes fatal diseases. Dogs can be vaccinated against the following:

Canine Parvovirus – this is a highly contagious virus that attacks the gastrointestinal system.  Your puppy can pick this virus up from the faeces of another infected dog. This virus can last a long time in the environment and requires a special disinfectant to clean the environment. Some of the signs are depression, loss of appetite, severe vomiting and a foul bloody diarrhoea. Without treatment, death can occur within 24 hours.
Canine Distemper – is highly contagious and often fatal. This virus can affect any dog, especially puppies, which produces signs of depression, fever, discharge of pus from the nose and eyes, loss of appetite and pneumonia may occur. Later in the course of the disease the brain may become affected resulting in muscle spasms, convulsions and death or permanent brain damage.
Canine Hepatitis – can cause a mild or severe disease, especially in dog under 2 years old. The virus is passed in the urine of infected dogs and can infect others for up to six months after the carrier dog recovers. In puppies the hepatitis can cause sudden death, whilst adult dogs may experience weakness fever, diarrhoea, loss of appetite, bleeding and acute abdominal pain, due to enlargement of the liver. If severe, death may occur within 24-36 hours.
Canine Kennel Cough ( Parainfluenza virus and Bordetella) –  is highly contagious and is transferred from dog to dog at meeting places such as dog shows, kennels or obedience classes. Causes include a bacterium, Bordetella bronchiseptica and a virus, canine parainfluenza. Signs are a harsh hacking cough that often finishes with gagging and persists for several weeks.

Blue Ridgeback puppiesVaccination program:
Your puppy will require a course of vaccinations:
6-8 weeks first temporary vaccination with C3
12 weeks second booster vaccination with C5
16 weeks third and final vaccination with C5
Then yearly vaccinations

C3 vaccination protects against – Canine Distemper Virus, Infectious Canine Hepatitis and Canine Parvovirus.

C5 vaccination protects against – Canine Distemper Virus, Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Canine Parvovirus and Canine Kennel Cough.

Heartworm Prevention

Heartworm disease is found in nearly all parts of Australia, most commonly in regions where mosquitoes are more prevalent.  This disease is transmitted from dog to dog by mosquitoes. The disease is hard to treat and is often fatal. The heartworms may grow up to 30cm long in dogs, they live in the heart and the blood vessels of the lung. They interfere with circulation and damage lung tissue, eventually causing heart failure. Untreated this can result in the death of your pet.
Common signs of heartworm disease include coughing, lack of energy, weight loss and reluctance to exercise. We advise you begin heartworm prevention at 10-12 weeks of age with a monthly tablet. The three we recommend are either Milbemax, Proheart tablets or Heartgard Chews (for those hard to give tablet pups!). Please if you are unsure discuss it with the Vet at any of your puppy’s vaccinations. Then when your pup reaches 6 months of age you have the choice of doing a yearly heartworm injection called Proheart or continuing with monthly tablets or chews.

Veterinary puppy careWorming

The most common 4 worms that affect dogs in Australia are Roundworms, Hookworms, Whipworms and Tapeworms. Worms are a common cause of ill health in pets and can cause growth disorders, anaemia, vomiting, diarrhoea or in severe cases death.
Puppies should be wormed every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age, then once a month until 6 months of age. After this they should be wormed every 3 months for life. Tablets that cover all these worms are available over the counter. Just ask our Nurses or Vets for advice.

Flea and Tick Prevention

The tick season in Ulladulla is generally from July to January, but ticks can be all year round in this area. Fleas are more prevalent in the summer months but can be a year round problem if they become established inside the house. The most common cause for failures of flea control products is missing the monthly application, stopping use over winter or not using products on all the animals in the household.
Prevention of ticks can be achieved with a number of products but none claim to be 100% effective, so daily tick searches are recommended in conjunction with any tick control products.
FRONTLINE SPRAY – Can be used as early as early as 2 days old. It needs to be reapplied every 3 weeks for tick control and every 12 weeks for fleas
FRONTLINE TOP SPOT- Can be applied after 8 weeks of age. Needs to be reapplied every 2 weeks for tick control and every 4 weeks for fleas.
ADVANTIX – Can be applied after 7 weeks of age. Needs to be reapplied every 2 weeks for ticks and every 4 weeks for fleas.
ADVANTAGE -Treats fleas but not ticks.
PROBAN TABLETS – Can be given after 3 months of age and are the best method of tick control for dogs that swim regularly. Need to be given every second day for tick control and twice each week for fleas.
PREVENTIC COLLARS – Can be used after 3 months of age. Need to be replaced every 2 months. These have limited effectiveness if the dog swims regularly. These collars have no effect on fleas.
KILTIX COLLARS – Can be used after 3 months of age. These collars control ticks for 6 weeks and fleas for 5 months.
REVOLUTION – Can be used after 6 weeks of age. This product treats fleas, heartworm, ear mites and mange but not ticks.
SENTINEL – Can be used in pups from 2 weeks of age. They control fleas, intestinal worms and heartworm but not ticks.
CAPSTAR – Can be used in pups from 4 weeks old. These will kill ALL fleas on the pup for a period of 24 hours. It has no effect on ticks.
FLEA BOMBS – Are invaluable in reducing the flea population inside the house.

puppy careNutrition

A balance and complete diet is essential for the development of a healthy and happy dog. Puppies and adult dogs require a diet made up of meat proteins, vegetables and small amounts of cereals to obtain all these essential nutrients. The diet should have physical qualities (texture, abrasiveness) that will help control plaque and maintain oral health.
Puppy’s energy and nutritional requirements will vary with size and age. As your puppy develops into an adult, its requirements will alter from puppy/growth to adult maintenance varieties. We recommend Royal Canine food as our preferred premium dog food. They use the best quality raw materials in their products and provide all the nutrition requirements for your pet. As a bonus the food is extremely tasty (…..for your pets, that is!). There is food specific for all shapes, sizes and ages of dogs. We offer a rewards program with this food. After 10 bags are purchased we will give your 11th bag of the same size free! Although these “premium” dog foods may sometimes seem more expensive per bag, they use high quality products. Therefore less needs to be fed and can sometimes work out to cost less than $1 a day. The benefits will be seen in your dog’s overall general health, teeth, skin and coat condition.
Those who remain unconvinced of the advantages of commercially prepared food and prefer to do a home-prepared diet please consult the veterinarians for advise.
Try not to change your puppies diet suddenly as this may cause stomach upsets. It is best to always change over food slowly over a few days mixing with the old food. Clean water must be provided at all times. Cow’s milk is not necessary may cause diarrhoea in those puppies that are lactose intolerant.

golden retriever puppiesDesexing

We recommend all dogs, female and male to be desexed.  As well as reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies desexing offers several advantages:

  1. Desexing the bitch prevents oestrus as well as breeding. Female dogs come into oestrus usually twice a year and for at least 3 weeks each time. If desexed, she will not come into heat and therefore not have to be confined and deprived of her usual exercise and companionship. Owners are often tempted to have at least one litter from a bitch. There appears to be a general misconception that having a litter will improve temperament. There is no scientific evidence to support this theory, however is has been proven that neutering in the bitch will prevent certain diseases from occurring.
  2. In female dogs diseases such as uterine infections (pyometra), which can be life threatening, and breast cancer will be reduced by desexing.
  3. In male dog it can reduce aggression and castrated dogs are less likely to fight with other dogs.
  4. In male dogs, it removes the sexual urge so that if the dog gets scent of a bitch on heat (oestrus), he is unlikely to show any interest. He will be less likely to escape from your backyard.
  5. You will also not have to worry about your male dog developing testicular cancer and reduces the risk of prostatic disease.

We recommend desexing at 6 months of age, although the operation can be carried out at any time.  This is the age when the animal is reaching sexual maturity but before they come on heat.

Veterinary care for puppiesMicrochipping

Microchipping is a permanent form of identification in the form of a tiny chip. The chip is about the size of a grain of rice and contains a 15-digit identification number that is quickly implanted under your pet’s skin between the shoulder blades. When the microchip is scanned a number is revealed which is used to assess information about the owner and the animal from the Companion Animals Register. By law, all puppies and dogs, kittens and cats (including those sold or given away) must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age or at point of sale/given away, which ever occurs first. Once your pet is microchipped you will then be required to obtain a lifetime registration by 6 months of age at one of the Council’s administrative offices. The registration is a one off payment and is for the life of your pet.


Puppy Preschool offers a great chance for your new puppy to be socialised with other puppies their age. We run puppy preschool here at the veterinary hospital once a week with the whole course running for 6 weeks. You will learn more about pet health, training and nutrition. We also find that dogs that attended puppy preschool program are less scared and more comfortable when coming into the vet hospital for a checkup.

We will be happy to discuss with you any aspect of your pet’s health so please do not hesitate to drop in or give us a call!