So you have, or are thinking about, a new puppy? Congratulations! You will enjoy many years together, providing each other with ongoing companionship, entertainment and exercise. There will be many moments of absolute joy, and other moments that will surely test you, but all will provide life-long memories.
At Pets and their People Veterinary Surgeries, (Unley, Black Forest and Fulham Gardens Vets) our aim is to minimize the worry of puppy care, to untangle the mass of ‘things-we-have-to-do’, and help you to prevent many of the ‘things-that-can-go-wrong’; to make owning a puppy a happy and thoroughly enjoyable experience.
To help new puppy owners and to ensure your puppy gets a great start in life we offer a free health check for puppies less than 10 weeks of age. On this visit we will include comprehensive information pack on puppy care.
If during the health check any problems are found we will discuss them, discuss your options and the estimated costs. If you decide to go ahead with one of the recommended treatment options then normal consultation fees will apply.
For puppies under 10 weeks of age it is important that they receive a vaccination to at least provide temporary protection against the potentially fatal diseases of Parvovirus, Distemper and Canine Hepatitis. If your puppy has already had this first vaccination you will have already been given a vaccination certificate. This vaccination is usually given at 6-8 weeks of age.
If your puppy has not had a first vaccination (6-8 weeks) we strongly recommend that you have it done, today! (vaccination fees will apply).
This vaccination will help protect them until they are old enough for their ‘permanent’ vaccination given from 10 weeks of age. The vaccination course given at this age is called a ‘C5’, or ‘Five-in-One’, and provides protection against five canine diseases, the three mentioned above plus the two common highly contagious respiratory infections, Parainfluenza and Bordetella. Part of this vaccination may be given as a single dose intra-nasally.
As full immunity is not present against the deadly Parvovirus until 1-2 weeks after the 10 week vaccination, please keep your puppy isolated to your house and yard until then.
The final injection at 16 weeks is designed to ensure your puppy’s protection. However carrying your pup or taking it for a ride in the car is OK. As is socialising your pup with other fully vaccinated, healthy dogs in a safe environment (e.g. puppy preschool). 1-2 weeks after the 10 week vaccination, your puppy may then be taken for walks in the park etc. Please note that Parvovirus can remain infective to your puppy for up to 14 months in stools found in parks and on footpaths etc. Just because you cant see it doesnt mean it isnt there.
Ongoing protection against these five diseases, throughout your pup’s life, is provided by an annual review and booster vaccinations.
It is almost impossible to prevent your puppy getting worms. Many pups are born with worms, others become infected from their mother’s milk. Dogs can also continue to be infected throughout their life from an environment contaminated by worm eggs.
It is important to treat/prevent worm infections because worm infections can cause serious disease, particularly in pups and new dogs. Some worm infections (Round worms, Tape worms and Hydatid worms) can cause preventable disease in people – children are the most susceptible as their hygiene habits tend to be poorer.
But because not all puppies have worms, and we dont believe in medicating pets with out a purpose, we are now using faecal egg tests to determine and develop an individualised treatment program for your puppy. Please provide a fresh faecal sample at your earliest convenience. (Collected within half an hour of production! Sealed in a container , and stored in a cool place until dropped off at the clinic the same day.)
If you are unable to provide a sample for testing ….please speak to the staff about an alternative treatment regime.
Some puppies will already have fleas, however most puppies will pick up fleas from your back yard, where straying cats may have dropped many thousands of flea eggs. Fleas lay up to 50 eggs per flea, per day. These eggs can hatch in response to the movement (of your new puppy), mature and be ready to lay eggs in as little as 14 days leading to a rapid build up of flea numbers in your home.
Frontline Plus is an excellent product for puppies older than 8 weeks of age
Heartworms are parasitic worms, spread by the bites of mosquitoes. The adult worm takes about six months to grow and is unaffected by normal worming tablets (often called “all-wormer” tablets). Generally we recommend starting on Heartworm prevention as soon as possible to reduce the risk of infection.
Proheart SR12 long acting heartworm prevention injections given at 12 weeks of age will "reachback" to provide cover from birth. We have found Proheart to be the most effective Heartworm prevenatative.
It is very important to get puppies started with the right nutrition. Puppies are adjusting from drinking their mother’s milk, which is very nutritious and digestible. They are growing quickly and also going through a stressful time being separated from their mother, from the rest of their litter and being moved to new surroundings.
To minimise the impact of this stressful time:
We recommend a good quality product like Hills Science Diet - Vet Essentials Puppy. Hills Science offers good value as you do ‘get-what-you-pay-for’ and it will provide better nutrition than can be prepared at home. This will result in healthy internal function, firm stools, optimal bone growth, glossy soft coats and bright eyes.
Because of the higher quality you need to feed much less of this than cheaper foods. Almost all new puppy owners unknowingly over feed their new puppy. Often after a few days, your puppy may not want to eat a meal because its body is telling it that it is not needed. Take away that meal, and reduce the amount of subsequent meals by 10-20%. Over feeding is a common cause of diarrhoea in puppies.
Puppies are individuals; each is different but most will let you know when it is time to drop a meal when they start leaving food at the end of a meal. Use the feeding information of the bag as a starting guide – but remember these guides are usually very generous. Initially start with offering three meals daily.
Being a puppy is one of the most important stages in a dog’s life. It is during this period (4 – 18 wks) that a young puppy will learn and grow and this is the vital age to start training and socialising your puppy. Everything the puppy sees and experiences now will have a great affect on how he/she behaves as an adult.
Puppy Pre-school is an early socialisation, training program for puppies as well as owner education program, designed to help owners and puppies get started on the right track in life. We hold classes every month in the clinic, which provides a safe and clean environment for puppies to socialise in. To enrol, puppies should ideally be aged between 8 and 14 weeks of age when starting and must have had their first vaccination. Please do not hesitate to speak to a staff member for further information.
If your new pet becomes sick or injured, the last thing you want is to be worried about the cost of his/her care. Pet insurance insures you against the unforeseeable costs of owning a pet, some companies also subsidise routine care as well.
Currently a wide range of pet insurers are available to choose from, all with different types of policies ranging from accident only or with combined illness cover. Some examples of insurers are (Petplan, Pet Secure, AFS Pet Med, RSPCA Pet Insurance and Vets Own. We suggest you discuss your needs with the company before applying. Also check with your own home insurance company to see if and what your pets may be covered for under an existing policy.
At your health check we are usually able to arrange 4 weeks Pet Insurance Cover at no charge.
With three convenient vet locations:
All Surgeries are closed on public holidays.