Caring for your new puppy

Bringing a new puppy into the home is an exciting time, but can also be daunting. There is a lot to take in when it comes to looking after your new addition and ensuring it has the best start to achieve a full, healthy life. The following information will help you with all the necessary health care your new puppy will require.


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

This disease is highly contagious and often fatal. This virus can affect any dog, especially puppies, which produces signs of depression, fever and discharge of pus from the nose and eyes, and will eventually cause death. Thankfully, this disease is now rare in Australia.

Canine Hepatitis

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. It can be deadly in all dogs but puppies are most at risk of sudden death. Again, this disease is rare.

Canine Kennel Cough ( Parainfluenza virus and Bordetella)

This disease is highly contagious and is transferred from dog to dog at meeting places such as dog shows, kennels, dog parks 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 can persist for several weeks.

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.

Vaccination 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 puppy vaccination with C5

· Yearly C5 vaccinations thereafter

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 lungs. 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 beginning heartworm prevention at 12 weeks with an injection.

Proheart SR-12 is an injectable heartworm prevention. In adult dogs this gives one year of protection. In puppies, the injection is given at 12weeks old, 6 months, then repeated with their yearly vaccinations. Please speak to your veterinarian about how much this will cost for your dog.

Proheart SR-12 is without a doubt the most effective means of heartworm prevention and means one less thing to worry about giving your dog every month.

If the injection is not suitable, heartworm can be prevented with a monthly tablet starting at 10-12weeks of age. Monthly tablets will be required for the duration of your dogs life. Available heartworm tablets/chews include:

NU-HEART tablets: Controls heartworm, given monthly.

HEARTGARD chews: Controls heartworm, roundworm and hookworm, given monthly.

MILBEMAX tablets: Controls heartworm, intestinal worms and tapeworms when given monthly.

NEXGARD SPECTRA chews: Controls heartworm and intestinal worms as well as fleas and ticks when given monthly (does NOT control tapeworms).

Please note that if you chose to go with monthly tablets, it is important to ensure your dog never misses a dose of heartworm prevention. There have been many documented cases of heartworm in Australian dogs that have been on monthly prevention but have been late or missed a dose.

Intestinal Worming

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 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 at least every 3 months for life.

Tablets that cover all these worms are available over the counter. These include:

Canine Allwormer tablets: Controls roundworm, whipworm, hookworm and tapeworm.

MILBEMAX tablets: Controls heartworm, roundworm, whipworm, hookworm and


Please note that Nexgard Spectra will control roundworm, whipworm and hookworm but will NOT control tapeworm, so an extra tablet will be required.

Flea and Tick Prevention

Paralysis ticks are parasites endemic to this area that can cause paralysis and death in your dog. The tick season in Ulladulla is generally from July to January, but ticks can be all year round in this area so we recommend year-round prevention. Fleas are more prevalent in the summer months but can be a year round problem if they become established inside the house. Prevention of ticks can be achieved with a number of products which are very effective, but daily tick searches are still recommended in conjunction with any tick control products. We recommend every puppy over 8 weeks of age be on regular tick prevention.

The following are over-the-counter products that we recommend:

Ticks and Fleas:

BRAVECTO chewable or spot-on: Bravecto chewable is a tablet that protects against ticks for 4 months and fleas for 3 months. Bravecto spot-on is a liquid that you apply to the back of your dogs neck, providing 6 months of both flea and tick prevention. Both products can be used in dogs over 8 weeks and over 2kgs, however because the products come with weight-ranges that your pup may grow out of, we recommend using other monthly products until your puppy has reached a stable weight.

SIMPARICA chewable: Simparica is a monthly chewable that protects against fleas and ticks for just over a month (which means there is less risk of your pet picking up a tick if you’re accidentally a few days late!). The tablet can be used in dogs over 8 weeks and over 1.3kgs.

NEXGARD/SPECTRA chewable: Nexgard is a monthly chewable that protects against fleas and ticks for 30 days. The tablet can be used in dogs over 8 weeks and over 2kgs. The tablet must be chewed for full effect (can break into quarters if they won’t chew it). The product also comes as the all-in-one Nexgard Spectra which covers all internal and external parasites (except tapeworms).

SERESTO collar: This collar controls ticks for 4 months and fleas for 8 months. While the collar can get wet, it is advised to use a soap free shampoo if bathing your dog. The label also states that frequent swimming may reduce efficacy.

Fleas ONLY (no action against ticks):

While we recommend having your dog on flea AND tick prevention all year round, there are also several products which protect against fleas only: COMFORTIS chews: Kills and prevents fleas for one month. Needs to be given with a meal. Can be used from 14 weeks of age.

ADVANTAGE, ACTIVYL, REVOLUTION: Monthly spot-on flea prevention products.

CAPSTAR: Can be used in pups from 4 weeks old. These will kill ALL fleas on the pup for a period of 24 hours. FLEA BOMBS: Useful for reducing flea population within the house.


A balanced and complete diet is essential for the development of a healthy and happy dog. Puppies and adult dogs require a balanced 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. A puppies’ 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 Canin 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. There is food specific for all shapes, sizes and ages of dogs. We offer a rewards program with this food. Your first bag of puppy food is 50% off, and 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. 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. Milk is not necessary in a puppy’s diet and may cause diarrhoea.


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

  • Desexing the bitch prevents heat as well as breeding. Female dogs come into heat 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.

  • In female dogs, diseases such as uterine infections (pyometra), which can be life-threatening, and mammary cancer will be reduced by desexing, particularly before the first heat

  • In male dogs, desexing can reduce aggression, and castrated dogs are less likely to fight with other dogs

  • In male dogs it also removes the sexual urge so that if the dog gets scent of a bitch on heat, he is unlikely to show any interest. He will be less likely to escape from your backyard

  • In male dogs, desexing will remove the risk of testicular cancer and reduce the chance 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, and when the procedure tends to be simpler and safer.


Microchipping is a permanent form of identification in the form of a tiny chip, about the size of a grain of rice and contains an 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 access information about the owner and the animal from the Companion Animals Register. By law, all dogs and cats (including those sold or given away) must be microchipped by 12 weeks of age or at point of sale/given away, whichever occurs first. Once your pet is microchipped you will then be required to pay a lifetime registration, which is now done online. The registration is a one off payment and is for the life of your pet.


Proactively socialising your puppy is very important. Puppies have what is called a 'critical socialisation period' between approximately 3 -17 weeks of age. The puppy’s experiences during this critical period of learning and development can influence and shape their behaviour well into adulthood. Providing plenty of opportunities for socialisation with other animals and people, and exposure to different environments during this time can help to ensure your puppy grows into a well-adjusted adult that relates well to other dogs, other animals and people throughout its life. Socialising a pup must be done in a safe, social and positive environment, for example at puppy school or with sociable, healthy, vaccinated pets of friends/family.

Pet Insurance

We know vet bills can be expensive and in a pet emergency, money is the last thing you want to be thinking about. For this reason, we recommend pet insurance for your dog. There are several insurance companies out there which all have their own pros and cons. We recommend consulting an online insurance comparison guide to determine which one is best for your pet.

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