Your New Puppy!

Congratulations, a new puppy is an exciting time. Its also a time when you need to make important decisions about the arrival of the newest member of your family. The steps to take early in life will help your puppy develop to become a happy and healthy adult dog. On this page we hope to run your through some of the core information to make decisions about the best way to look after your new best friend. Most i9mportantly, know that our vets are there to help you in this process and feel free to give us a call for any questions you may have, we are happy to help.

Feeding Your Puppy

A Balanced Diet Is Best

As with humans, a balanced diet is the key to ensuring a healthy puppy. Most good puppy foods will offer extra nutrients and proteins to better support a growing pups body too. Quality food is particularly important during this phase of grow and development. Food labelled “for puppies” is recommended and is designed to suit their needs. Also make sure you get the correct pellet size of dry food for your breed of puppy so they can chew and swallow appropriately. Puppy food comes in small bites for miniature, toy and small breeds as well as food for medium and large dogs.

Dog enjoy clean fresh water, so try to change this at least twice daily for you dog. We dont recommend other fluids and good old water is perfect to keep your dog hydrated and healthy.

How often to feed your puppy?

All dogs are different based on breed and activity but a rough guide to how you should feed your dog is:

  • 3-4 meals per day until they are 12 weeks old
  • 2-3 meals per day for dogs aged up to 6 months
  • 1-2 meals per day for dogs over 6 months old
  • Meals should be spaced out evenly throughout the day.

Some people will leave a permanent bowl of dry food. Some breeds self feed well, while other will over eat. As your puppy develops you should get to understand what suits them best.

Keeping food consistent

Generally its good to keep your dog on a fairly consistent diet, and not change brands or type of food too much. This might seem a little boring but dogs thrive on this and there bodies get used to types of food. If you want to change your puppy’s diet, do it gradually over a week to avoid any tummy upsets. Start putting a little of the new food with their normal and increase the ratio so at the end of the week they are on the new food.

The benefits of desexing

We recommend de-sexing both males and females for their health, well-being and to prevent unwanted litters. Most dogs should be desexed  around 6 months of age.

Common reasons to desex your dog include:

  • Males are usually less aggressive
  • They are less likely to stray and get lost
  • Dog are less likely to mark their territory, including inside your home
  • Females no longer go on heat, avoiding the attention of male dogs and blood spots
  • You wont have unwanted puppy litters
  • Serious health conditions like pyometra (infected uterus) and mammary cancer in female dogs, and cancer or infection of the testes or prostate in male dogs can also be avoided, or their chance of occurrence minimised by desexing.

Fleas

Its quite common dogs will get fleas during some point of their life. This can make your dog uncomfortable, causing your puppy to scratch, more importantly they can cause more serious concerns like dermatitis and transmit tapeworms. If you find your dog has fleas we recommend;

  • Treat every pet in your household
  • Use treatment products that have a good reputation, there is a wide variety of options available from our clinic or our vets can advise you.

Intestinal worms

Here’s the recommended worming schedule:

  • Puppies from 2 weeks of age: Worm every two weeks until 12 weeks of age.
  • Puppies aged 3months: Worm every month until 6 months of age.
  • Puppies aged 6 months: Worm every 3 months for life.

Heartworm

Heartworm is a dangerous parasite and prevention is much better than treatment. These parasites live in a dogs heart, lungs and blood, and mosquito bits are the source of transmission. These can kill a dog and treatment can be difficult in the later stages. We absolutely recommend heartworm medicine to prevent this serious issue.

There are several treatment options, with one recommended being:

  • Puppies <3months of age: Oral medication options.
  • Puppies 3-6 months: First heartworm injection (lasts 3 months).
  • Puppies 6-9 months: Heartworm booster injection (lasts 9 months).
  • Puppies >9 months: Heartworm injection (lasts 12 months).

Vaccinations

Having the right vaccinations at the right time is essential to protect your puppy from infectious diseases, such as the deadly and contagious parvovirus.

Please consult with your vet about the right vaccination plan for your puppy.

A suggested schedule is:

  • 1st vaccination: 6 – 8 weeks
  • 2nd vaccination: 12 – 14 weeks
  • 3rd vaccination: 16 – 18 weeks
  • Annual booster

Not sure when to call your vet?

Puppies while bundles of joy, have a habit of getting themselves into trouble if left unsupervised. Some of the more urgent signs your puppy may need a vet include:

  • Vomiting or diarrhoea
  • Refusing food
  • Ongoing coughing and sneezing
  • Discharge from the eyes or nose
  • Areas that seem swollen or painful
  • Limping or lameness
  • Any unusual change in the way your puppy behaves

If in doubt, give us a call. We are happy to advice you over the phone and discuss if your puppy should come into the clinic.

New Puppy Items

When you get a new puppy there will be a few things you need to ensure their health, comfort and happiness. Here are some items we think a new dog owner should look to get for their pet:

  • Puppy specific food
  • A collar and name tag
  • A lead
  • A dog bed
  • A blanket or 2
  • Food and water bowls.
  • Plenty of toys and items they can chew

We hope that by now you’re enjoying life with your new puppy.

If you need any more information to please know we are a phone call away and happy to help you with advice and tips to best look after you new friend.