PUPPY CARE

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Puppy care help in Penrith

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Penrith Vet puppy care

Congratulations on the new addition to your family. While caring for a pup is a richly rewarding experience, the many options and responsibilities can cause some confusion. We hope this information will help. If there is anything else you would like to know, please ask us at one of your pup’s health checks.

What do I need to do for my new puppy?

Vaccinations – Pups are vaccinated at 6-8, 10-12 and 14-16 weeks of age. The vaccination needle covers parvovirus, a potentially fatal gastroenteritis, as well as distemper and hepatitis. We also recommend you vaccinate your pup for ‘canine cough’. If you have had a problem with parvovirus infection with previous pets, it is important to let us know, as we may suggest additional vaccinations against this disease.

Worming for intestinal (gut) worms – All pups will be exposed to gut worms, therefore treatment is very important. We suggest worming pups every 2 weeks between 2 and 12 weeks of age, then monthly until 6 months of age. Dogs older than 6 months should be wormed 4 times a year (worming at the start of a new season is an easy way to remember this).

Worming for heartworm – Since heartworm is transmitted by mosquitoes, it is possible for dogs to become infected without even contacting other animals. In addition, heartworm is an endemic problem in most parts of Australia, including Sydney. Prevention is usually started at 12 weeks of age but can be earlier depending on the product used. Three options exist for heartworm prevention.
Daily heartworm tablets or syrup – Require diligence with dosing and are started at 6 weeks of age.

Monthly dosing with either palatable tablets or with the application of a ‘spot on’ applied to the back of the neck. Monthly medications are available which combine heartworm prevention with flea and intestinal worm control, in one product. Products include Sentinel, Advocate and Revolution.

An annual heartworm injection known as Proheart is also available. This can be conveniently given with annual vaccinations. Since pups are still growing the first dose is given at 6 months of age (at a de-sexing visit if requested), the second at the first annual vaccination at 15 months, with subsequent annual doses. It is important to provide monthly heartworm prevention tablets until your pup is old enough to receive the first injection at 6 months.
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Dog registration

Don’t forget to register your dog with the local council. This involves a one-off payment and by law should be done by 6 months of age. You will need to take a copy of your pet’s microchip form and the de-sexing certificate to the local council.

Microchipping

Microchipping is extremely important if your dog is ever lost. If your pup has already been chipped, please have us scan him to confirm chip placement and the number. It is also important that you receive a copy of the microchip form from the breeder or pet shop, as you will need this form to transfer ownership details. If your pup does not have a microchip, we can insert one at any visit, or at de-sexing. This is a simple procedure, using a needle to implant the chip under the skin on the scruff. Microchipping allows you to register your pet with the local council.

Even with microchipping, it is a good idea for your pup to have an identification tag on his or her collar. Tags can be ordered from us in a range of styles, and are mailed directly to you within a few working days.

Should I de-sex my dog?

Unless you are planning to show or to breed your pet, then we suggest de-sexing both male and female dogs from 5–6 months of age.

For male dogs, there is a significantly reduced chance of contracting cancers of the reproductive system, of the prostate gland and of the anal area in later life. As well, de-sexed ‘boys’ are less likely to wander, less likely to show antisocial behaviour like mounting and marking territory and generally make better pets.

Female dogs de-sexed before their first heat or season are about two hundred times less likely to develop mammary cancer in later life than non-de-sexed females, mammary cancer being common in older female dogs. In addition, we see no difference in temperament between dogs de-sexed before having had a season and those de-sexed later or who have had a litter. De-sexing also eliminates the chance of infection of the reproductive tract (known as pyometra, a potentially fatal disease) and the possibility of unwanted litters.

For all dogs, the cost of registration with local council is significantly lower for de-sexed dogs.

Flea control

Care is needed when deciding what flea products to use on dogs under 12 weeks of age. If low numbers of fleas are present, simply washing your pet or using a puppy shampoo may be sufficient. Frontline spray can be used on pups from 2 days of age.

Sentinel, a monthly chewable tablet, can be started at 6 weeks of age. These products can be started from 6 weeks of age. Sentinel also contains heartworm prevention and controls three of the four common gut worms with a single monthly dosing.

Alternatively, we now have a number of newer and safer 'spot-on' products which are applied on the back of the neck. Some of these also combine heartworm and some gut worm control as well. Please ask about specific products at your pup's check-up.

What about socialisation?

Between 8 and 12 weeks of age, pups learn most of their social skills. It is important to expose them to as many new situations as possible such as meeting people, other dogs (ensure that they are vaccinated), different noises and travelling in cars. Pups can also commence basic training at this time like sitting before meals.

We suggest enrolling your pup at 'puppy preschool' to allow them to socialise with other dogs of a similar age in a safe and controlled environment. If you are interested, please ask and we can provide contact details for a recommended local preschool. Training is a good way of bonding with your pup as well.

What should I feed my new puppy?

Suggestions for feeding dogs bones:

Always feed bones raw and avoid giving leftover cooked bones which are more likely to splinter and cause constipation. Observe your dog when giving bones.

For small dogs, consider chicken wings or necks and brisket bones.

For large dogs, lamb shanks or large ox bones are going to be more appropriate.

When it comes to feeding your new pup you have two different options:

A commercially prepared diet, either dry, wet or semi-moist. All commercially prepared diets are required to be balanced for your dog’s needs, however, differences do exist. Generally speaking, premium type foods such as Science Diet contain less cereal, higher quality and quantity protein and fewer preservatives and colourings. The importance of this is that they are better digested, your pup produces fewer stools and a smaller quantity can be fed.
A good quality biscuit-type diet can provide the basis for a pup's growth. Because of the different requirements of a growing pup, it is better to provide a premium puppy food, which is fed for the first 6-18 months, depending on the packaging guide.

A home-prepared diet: breeders will sometimes provide specific recommendations for feeding your pup. If not, the best advice is to give a little of everything. Dogs and pups especially should not be fed an all-meat diet as meat is low in calcium and other nutrients. So provide a variety of fresh and cooked vegetables such as carrots, potatoes and green vegetables, as well as rice, pasta, etc.

Most people elect to feed a combination of commercial and home prepared food. Whichever option you choose, it is important to ensure that your pup always has an adequate source of fresh, clean water. In addition, it is a good idea to feed a raw meaty bone 2–3 times a week, to help maintain the health of your pet’s teeth and gums. This is particularly important for small breeds of dog, which generally are more susceptible to dental disease as they get older.

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