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Puppy Care

Do you have a new addition to the family? Congratulation if you do! New puppies bring a lot of joy, and active puppy energy to a household (at least that is between puppy naps). Just like young children, puppies need a lot of extra care and attention. Their body and immune systems are still developing, while they are busy trying to learn what this new world they have entered is all about. This means they are generally more susceptible to illness, and injuries.

Our aim is to try to prevent any of these problems in your pup. We understand there is a lot of information for new puppy owners to take in and remember so we hope the information here can give you a good reference. If you are concerned if you are doing the right thing for your puppy, please remember our qualified nurses are always happy to help you out, and we’re only a phone call away.

The main preventative treatments you need to ensure you are using with your pet in our local area are: vaccinations, and parasite control (heartworm prevention, intestinal worming treatment, flea control, and tick control). There are certainly many available treatments on the market for parasite control, some being more effective than others. We only sell the safest and most effective products at the veterinary clinic. Which one you chose to use is often a personal preference, but we can give you some guidelines to help you make the best decision for your situation.


    What should your dog be vaccinated against?

    In Brisbane we routinely vaccinate against Parvovirus, Distemper, Hepatitis and Canine Cough (both Bordetella and Parainfluenza). This is generally called a C5 vaccination.

    When should the vaccinations be given?

    Usually a pup has already had its first vaccination before it is given to a new owner, but if you are not sure, check with the breeder or pet store. The timing for when the second and third vaccination is due depends on the age of the puppy and the type of vaccine used. We chose to use a newer developed vaccine which gives our patients protection at an earlier age, allowing early socialisation with other dogs and puppies. You may have been given a vaccination certificate that says that the second vaccination can not be given until 12 weeks of age. This is not necessarily the case with the high quality vaccines we use, so we would encourage you to contact the clinic to find out what is best for your pup.

    CONTINUING THEN WITH A YEARLY BOOSTER. This is important to maintain immunity throughout adult life.

    In line with vaccine company manufacturing advice, we would recommend not to take your puppy out for walks until 2 weeks after his/her final puppy vaccination, for optimum protection.


    Heartworm disease is spread by mosquitoes and has the potential to cause heart failure and death. Your pet does not have to be in contact with other dogs to develop this disease.

    There are a number of preparations available. Prevention should be started by at least 6-12 weeks of age. It is important to understand these are preventative products. If you forget to use heartworm prevention, even for a short period, your pet can contract heartworm which will gradually grow and lead to heart disease, even if you start using prevention again.

    There are many products now on the market for heartworm prevention. The product that you chose to use will depend on your individual circumstances and preference. Our aim is to help you decide which one is the best option for you and your family.

    One of the most popular products available is the yearly heartworm injection. This is preferred by many people because you don’t need to remember to do it regularly like the other heartworm products, and we provide a free reminder service to remind you when it is due every year. This gives you peace of mind that your pet is not at risk of this deadly disease just because you forgot to give a tablet. The injections can be started from 12 weeks of age in puppies, though they need to be given a little more often in growing pups to account for their growing size. One of our nurses would be happy to discuss this option with you, or alternatively this is one of the options the veterinarian will discuss with you when you come in for your pups first vaccination and health check.

    In general there are many monthly products including tablets and skin spot-on formulations. Many of these are able to also protect for other parasites, with variable efficacy.

    Using heartworm prevention in a potentially infected animal can be dangerous. A simple blood test is available that can be run in the clinic with a result in 10 minutes. If you forget heartworm prevention in your pet, please call and speak to our staff to determine if and when this test would be required.


    Puppies generally pick up worms from their mother during pregnancy and suckling. Their small, undeveloped bodies are particularly susceptible to damage from the worms, with anaemia and malnutrition possible.

    What should your pup be wormed against?

    Roundworm, Hookworm, Tapeworm (including hydatids) and Whipworm.

    These can all be spread to people especially children so it is very important to prevent infestation.


    Worm every fortnight from 2 to 12 weeks of age, then monthly up to 6 months of age, then every three months for life. If there are any children in the family it may be advisable to worm the dog monthly for life. We recommend Drontal Allwormer.


    Fleas are one of the most common parasite problems we see in dogs and cats. They are easily spread from one yard to the next by wandering cats and wildlife, and quickly seek out your pet to live on. They commonly cause skin irritations and allergies, they spread tapeworm infection, and can cause dangerous anaemia especially in young or small animals.

    The biggest mistake we see people make, is using flea control only once they start seeing obvious fleas on their pet. By this time a serious flea problem has usually developed, with a large number of eggs, larvae and pupae developing in the home environment, ready to provide ongoing problems for your pet. We sell only the best flea products, but reinfection from a pool of parasites in the environment may mean it will take some weeks to get on top of your problem. If you have problems, please discuss your situation with one of our experienced nurses. There may be other simple things you can do at home to help solve the problem.

    Nb. All animals in the household must be treated for control to be effective!! (all dogs and all cats!)


    Paralysis ticks can be a real and life-threatening problem all year round in Brisbane. Though no tick prevention product is 100% safe, there are products available to dramatically reduce the risk to your pet. If you are in a known paralysis tick area (check with the clinic) we recommend the option of using one or more of a number of products.

    WARNING: though some flea and tick products will work well together, others can be very dangerous. This especially includes some of the easily accessible supermarket products. It is important when using parasite treatments, to have the correct advice on what is safe for your pet.

    Nb. Also check the dog over by hand each day – any ticks found can be pulled out. It doesn’t matter if the ‘head’ is left behind. It will fall out by itself.

    SIGNS of tick paralysis include wobbly back legs, change in voice, coughing, vomiting, depression and disinterest or total collapse. If your pet has any of these signs seek veterinary attention immediately! Delay in treatment can reduce the possibility of recovery of your pet, and increase the cost of treatment.


    This can be done at 5-6 months of age and involves a day visit with us. Desexing can help control problems such as roaming, aggression, inappropriate mounting, mammary and prostatic disease. Your council registration will also be much lower.

    There is no advantage for your female dog to have a season or a litter first before desexing!


    Use a puppy preparation commercial food (not adult) as these are balanced in all the vitamins, minerals and dietary requirements your growing pup needs.

    We recommend premium quality foods such as Hills Science Diet.


    • 3 meals/day Up to 3 mths old
    • 2 meals/day From 3-6 mths old
    • 1-2meals/day Over 6 mths old

    For healthy teeth and gums, it is ideal to brush your pet’s teeth daily. Large raw leg marrow bones and brisket bones are a good alternative. (Marrow bones should be removed from the dog once the meat is chewed off, and avoid split bones. Teeth can be broken if the dog starts to chew on the hard shaft of the bone). In smaller breeds, raw chicken wings may be more appropriate. We also have special dental diets for adult animals which are an excellent way of keeping the teeth clean while providing optimum nutrition.


    “GREENIES” are a great treat for dogs of all ages who don’t enjoy fresh bones.


    One aspect of responsible dog ownership is the identification of your pet. A MICROCHIP IMPLANT is the new technology available for life time identification. At approx 1cm long, insertion is by simple injection which can be done at vaccination or desexing times or any other convenient time by appointment.

    A collar and tag can be lost, but a microchip is there for life.


    Train your pup to take tablets. You can do this by:

    • Starting tablets (for worming) rather than liquids at a young age.
    • If you have any problems with this, then insert your hand and fingers in the pups mouth often whilst patting and stroking to familiarise them to this action.

    Pups often mouth these beasties – you will see profuse drooling, mouth irritation and perhaps collapse and convulsions if severe – WASH THE MOUTH OUT THOROUGHLY WITH A WET RAG FOR AT LEAST 10 MINS FIRST THEN CALL YOUR VET!!


    Our pups must be well adjusted in many different environments from a very young age – expose your pup to people and other animals – a good obedience school can make the difference between a beloved family member and a public nuisance! We are very proud of the success we have had with the puppies in our class, who we see coming into the clinic as happy, well behaved adult dogs. To read more about our puppy preschool classes have a look at our Puppy Preschool page.


    Young puppies are a lot like toddlers when you first bring them home. They are still learning to walking normally, and exploring their environment to work out what everything is. They do not understand that they are in danger of falling from stairs, bench-tops and retaining walls. Unfortunately it is not uncommon for us to see broken bones from these sorts of accidents. Always monitor your pet when there are potential heights they could fall from.

    We would also always recommend supervision of children with pets. Puppies soft bones are easily injured, which young children may not understand. In older puppies and dogs, it is a natural response for them to react to children inadvertently injuring them. This is how many children are injured by otherwise well behaved dogs.


If you have any problems or questions about your new pup, please do not hesitate to give the clinic a call