Health Care for your Puppy
Click here for a pdf version >>
We hope your new puppy brings you many years of pleasure and companionship.
Registration and Identification
A name tag with your phone number is essential for easy identification of your pet. But what happens if they go missing without their collar? That's when a microchip is important. A microchip is the size of a grain of rice and is implanted under the skin. They are compulsory by law and contain details about your pet as well as your contact details. Our vets can easily implant a microchip for your pet during a consultation.
It is also a legal requirement for your pet to be microchipped and registered with the local council.
Dogs can become unwell with serious infectious diseases, some of which can be fatal even with treatment eg. Parvovirus. Your dog should be vaccinated to help prevent these diseases. Puppies should receive their first vaccination at 6-8 weeks of age; this is temporary and needs to be followed up with another vaccination at 12 weeks of age, and followed by another at 16 weeks of age. You can safely take your puppy walking in public areas 2 weeks after their 16 week vaccination. Your puppy will need annual vaccination boosters to ensure they are protected for life.
Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes and can be a potential cause of heart failure and death. It is important to note that your dog does NOT need to have contact with other dogs to develop this disease. Prevention of heartworm disease should be started by 12 weeks of age. The Albert Animal Hospital recommends yearly heartworm prevention injections.
Puppies should be wormed every 2 weeks until 12 weeks of age and then monthly until 6 months of age, then every 3 months for life. Worming prevention should be given even if you have not seen worms in the faeces, as many worms are too small to be seen with the naked eye. People can also become infected with intestinal worms, so it is important to practice good hygiene.
Your puppy can be introduced to a balanced premium dog food at 3-6 weeks of age. The Albert Animal Hospital recommends Hills Vet Essentials Puppy. Introduce new diets gradually to avoid stomach upsets and diarrhoea.
Desexing is recommended to prevent certain health and behavioural issues as well as preventing unplanned litters. Desexing may prevent male dogs from roaming, urine marking, developing aggression and prostrate disease. In females, it significantly reduces the risk of uterine infections and mammary cancer. The ideal age for desexing is five to six months of age. This is when puppies are approaching sexual maturity but before females have their first oestrus cycle.
Fleas and ticks
Flea and tick prevention should be used on a regular basis. Fleas can cause itchy skin and blood loss from fleas feeding on your puppy. The two most commonly seen ticks on dogs are the brown dog tick and paralysis tick. The toxin from paralysis ticks can cause weakness of the hindquarters which can progress to paralysis of all limbs. If left untreated, the chest and throat muscles will become paralysed which can potentially lead to death. Prevention is better than cure! Please ask us at the Albert Animal Hospital for advice on the best flea and tick prevention for your pet.
Coat & Grooming
Brush your dog daily, especially if they have long fur. We recommend shampooing once a fortnight using a good quality dog shampoo. Trim your puppy's nails regularly to remove sharp tips, being cautious to avoid blood vessels and nerves in the pink nail base.
Healthy ears are clean and dry. Signs of ear problems include shaking the head, scratching at ears or tilting the head. If you notice your dog displaying any of these signs please consult your veterinarian.
The ultimate socialisation period for your puppy occurs between 6 to 16 weeks of age. During this time your puppy needs to become accustomed to as many good experiences as possible. At this age, your puppy will quickly and willingly learn many training commands including sit, stay and come. They will also need to be house trained and taught how to walk on a lead. Puppy preschool classes are great fun for both owners and puppies.
Albert Animal Hospital holds regular puppy preschool classes where puppies learn basic obedience and positive socialisation. Please ask us how to reserve a spot in class for your puppy to give them a positive start to life.
We recommend insuring your puppy as soon as possible, so that they will be covered for any unexpected illness or injuries.
Regular veterinary checkups are essential for detecting early signs of problems and maintaining your pet in good health. If you have any concerns, please feel free to contact us at the Albert Animal Hospital on 3208 9233.