You’ve got a new Puppy!

Congratulations on your new family member! Its a pretty exciting time, and you probably have some questions and queries, so here’s some basic advice to get you started. We’ll give you more detailed advice specific for your puppy’s breed and age when we see you. We’ve broken our advice down for you into the things you need to know “right now”, later “today”, and “this week”. That should help you stay organised and get your Pup off to a great start too!

What do I Feed them?

Your puppy was suckling milk from its mother until it was weaned from her at around 5-6 weeks of age. The weaning process allows time for their gastrointestinal system to adjust to a fully balanced puppy food. Your puppy should have been weaned onto a Puppy Kibble (dry food) appropriate to its breed (large breed, small breed etc). Changing diet in young puppies is a common cause of diarrhoea and illness. Any change should be done gradually, and in consultation with us, to ensure all the nutritional needs of your puppy are still being met, at such a critical time in growth and development.

Fresh or cooked meat only is not an appropriate or balanced diet, and can cause severe health and growth problems.

What should they Drink? What about Puppy Milk?

Clean fresh water must be available at all times. As puppies are quite thirsty (and can be quite clumsy at times!) a heavy water bowl is advised and a second water bowl is a very good idea in case the first one gets knocked over or spilt. Puppy Milk is tasty, and does no harm, but it isn’t necessary, and sometimes becomes a bit of a distraction rather than drinking water. You can give it in moderation.

What about Toileting? How do I prevent the mess and get my puppy toilet trained?

There are many ways to toilet train puppies but the most effective methods use routine and positive rewards to create a good habit. Use your puppies natural instinct to toilet after eating, after play and on waking from sleep. Choose a part of the garden or yard you would like them to use as their toilet area – a quiet corner usually works best. Make sure its not too far from the back door, too! After, eating, playing or waking up, take him or her out on their lead to the same part of your yard each time. Leave your puppy on the lead, and ignore them until they realise you are not playing another game, get bored and decides to make use of the time to go to the toilet. The first few times may take 15-20 minutes, so be patient. Take some treats (eg liver treats) to reward your pup for going to the toilet correctly at the time, and praise is also very important. Linking toileting to a word (eg “wee-wee”) is also a good idea so your dog will toilet on command later in life.

Done properly and consistently, most puppies will learn to reliably toilet outside, in the same place, within 48-72 hrs.

Young puppies also need an overnight “toilet break” if they are indoors until the age of 7-9 weeks, as they cannot hold on for the whole night, even if they wanted to. 6 hours is about the limit until pups reach 8-10 weeks of age.

If your puppy has episodes of diarrhoea which last longer than 6-8 hours, you should seek our advice as puppies can become very dehydrated very quickly, making a usually simple problem much more complicated.

My Puppy needs Vaccinations…. but for what and when?

Your puppy may or may not have had its first vaccination against canine parvovirus, distemper virus and viral hepatitis (C3). If it has you will have a vaccine card to show this. All of the vaccination diseases are usually fatal in unprotected animals, especially when they are young, so vaccination is vital.

Your puppy does not have protection against these diseases until it has had a complete vaccination course. Please call us for advice (4955 6000) to ensure your puppy gets the needed vaccines. Until the vaccination course is completed, your puppy mustn’t leave the yard. For more information on Vaccines.

Our Puppy Preschools are very popular and fill quickly, so call us to see which classes your puppy can attend and then you will have that sorted out too!

Puppy Preschool is highly recommended to ensure your puppy grows into a happy well socialised adult. Well organised and run classes also ensure that any early behavioural issues can be identified and corrected before they cause problems or difficulties later on. We provide both Puppy Preschool (for the 8-12 week old puppies) and Puppy Builder (for 12-18 week old puppies) with classes on Tuesday and Thursday Nights.

Crate or Den Training is highly recommended for all dogs, but especially if you wish to have a dog which is able to travel with you easily or may need to adjust to new homes. It also simplifies toilet training. Call us for advice.

Parasite Control is vital for the health and wellbeing of your pet, yourself and your family – especially children or grandchildren. Simple parasite prevention programs are best as there are fewer things to remember and less chance of doses being missed etc. However, “all-in-one” products are often far from ideal in many situations, and a customised plan in consultation with your vet, to allow for your location, your lifestyle, your family, other pets in the household, and the activities and behaviours of your pet (such as lizard or gecko hunting) is far better.

Intestinal Worms (hookworm, roundworm, whipworm and tapeworm) are very common in our tropical climate. These worms can cause illness or death of your new puppy, and the larvae can cause serious illnesses in people – especially young children, the elderly or those with immune system weaknesses.

Worming medication dosages are calculated on body weight, and under-dosing is inneffective. Therefore, it is vital that your puppy is weighed prior to each treatment to ensure its dose is adjusted as it grows and is correct. Make use of our free “Weigh and Worm” service to help you get it right.  For more information on intestinal worms.

Puppies MUST be wormed:

  • every 2 weeks until 16 weeks/4 months of age;
  • monthly to 24 weeks or 6 months of age;
  • thereafter at least every 3 months life long.

Always use Drontal, Milbemax, Interceptor, Sentinel, or Advocate Spot-on — other products are less effective.

More frequent worming may be advised as part of a customised parasite prevention plan considering your dogs activities and lifestyle, and your family. Some monthly parasite prevention products provide some coverage against some (i.e. not all) worms and so this cannot be relied upon for all worms, or in high exposure situations.

Heartworm is a contagious disease spread from dog to dog by mosquitoes. Consequently heartworm prevention is vital in our tropical climate. The disease is generally fatal if not treated, and treatment is not always successful. Effective protection is provided by the annual injection.

Prevention is necessary from 12 weeks of age and we can advise you on the most appropriate product for your pet. For more information on heart worm.

Fleas are very, very common and often cause intense itchiness and scratching in dogs, even with very few bites. This commonly results in skin inflammation and sores.

Once a flea population is established in and around your home, it is very difficult and quite costly to control or eradicate the problem. Sandy soils and our humid climate ensure their reproduction is very successful. 10 female fleas can create 250,000 fleas at different stages of the life cycle (egg, larvae, pupae) in just 30 days! As there is no time of year when the flea life cycle is dormant in Queensland, we recommend year round flea control. Products which are generally effective are advantage and advantix, but in environments where large numbers of fleas are present, a customised and integrated control plan is required, and the advice of your veterinarian should be sought.

For more information on Fleas.

Ticks are a source of worry for many new pet owners. Brown Dog ticks and Cattle ticks are very common and are generally just a nuisance. Occasionally they can transmit serious blood parasite diseases. Paralysis ticks are a much more serious concern and cause the death of many pets each year. Treatment is expensive, and prevention is not always simple – especially in long haired breeds, or dogs which swim or are bathed regularly.

A Paralysis Tick control program should be discussed with your vet as not all products can be used on all pets, or in all age groups. Tick searches are also a very important element of any tick control program.  For more information on Ticks.

OK! That’s enough to get you and your puppy started on a great life together.  You know what to feed, and what else they need to be happy, comfy and safe.  You’ve organised your pup’s vaccinations with the practice and you’ve booked into Puppy Preschool.  We’re looking forward to meeting you.  See you soon!