Puppy Care

Adult Dogs Senior Dogs

Puppy Advice & Information for New Owners

Congratulations on the newest addition to your family - a puppy!

Welcome to a relationship of unconditional love and companionship! Your new puppy is a great excuse to keep fit, they can teach children empathy and responsibility, and provide fantastic social opportunities!

Many clients describe having a new puppy as similar to having a new baby at home; lots of pee and poop, some sleepless nights and a little creature who is reliant on you for their every need. The world of dog ownership is constantly changing and trying to keep up with the current recommendations can be very confusing. 

Puppy Vaccinations

  • Provide protection from preventable and life-threatening diseases.

  • Dogs are vaccinated against Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus (C3) as well as Bordetella and Parainfluenza (Canine Cough). 

  • Vaccinations are given to puppies at 6-8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks of age. They are then vaccinated annually for the rest of their lives. 

  • All of the diseases we vaccinate against can have lasting harmful effects and, in some cases, cause death. Treatment is often expensive, difficult and the recovery rate is low. Vaccination is the best protection you can offer your pet. 

  • Avoid areas frequented by other dogs until 1 week after your puppy's 12 week vaccination. Areas such as parks, footpaths or beaches may be contaminated. Infections spread when dogs come in contact with infected dogs, or sniff around areas where an infected dog has been.

  • It is important to keep your dog's vaccinations up to date as they receive a full health check and consultation. Boarding kennels, day care, groomers and dog training classes do not accept dogs who do not have current vaccinations.

Parasite Control

Our staff will tailor make a parasite control program for your pet. We recommend a range of modern products and will select the most appropriate treatment to suit your pet, depending on his/her lifestyle. The following paragraphs provide general guidelines on parasite control.

Intestinal Worms in Puppies

Puppies should be treated for intestinal worms: roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. Young pups are particularly susceptible to the effects of worms that can cause weight loss, “pot belly”, anaemia and, in some cases, death. Worm eggs are passed out through the pup’s faeces and become a human health risk – especially for children.

How Often Should You Worm Your Puppy?

Commence worming your pup for intestinal worms. Worming should be done at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10, 12 weeks of age and then monthly for life. Alternatively, your puppy can have the Pro Heart injection at 6 months of age and then only require intestinal worming every 3 months for life.

  • A regular worming program, commencing when your pup is young and continued throughout adulthood, is the best way to prevent ill health due to intestinal worms. 

  • There are two common types of Tapeworm encountered in companion animals. The flea tapeworm is the most common and treatment is carried out only if the worm is present in your pup’s faeces. Good flea control minimises the occurrence of flea tapeworm. The hydatid tapeworm is uncommon, but relevant If you regularly visit country areas where your dog may have access to raw offal. This tapeworm is a health risk to both you and your dog. We advise monthly worming to eliminate the hydatid tapeworm for those dogs at risk.

  • If you regularly visit country areas where your dog may have access to raw offal, your dog can be exposed to the hydatid tapeworm. This tapeworm is a health risk to both you and your dog. We advise monthly worming to eliminate the hydatid tapeworm for those dogs at risk.


Somehow, fleas always seem to find their bothersome way onto our dogs' coats and are a major source of skin problems. Fleas come from any environment where dogs and cats have previously been. Flea eggs are deposited and hatch over a period of time and jump onto the next passing ‘meal ticket' (dog, cat, or even us).

Fortunately, there are now some excellent flea control products available which are safe, effective and easy to use. They come in a variety of forms, such as spot-ons that are water resistant and oral flavoured chews.  


See our tick treatment advice

Puppy Desexing

We recommend desexing. Desexing is performed from 6 - 15 months of age, depending on sex and breed.

Desexing can reduce ‘mate-seeking’ behaviours which can result in escaping, car accidents unwanted puppies. Desexing can also reduce territorial marking of smelly urine, as well as reduce sex specific health risks later in life, which can often be life threatening. (Pyometra, breast cancer, prostate disease and anal masses in male dogs).

Your dog will be in hospital for one day and will need a quiet few days after surgery.

Please phone to book a suitable day. We will advise you about the procedure and the steps you need to take to prepare your dog.


Microchips ensure permanent identification for your dog. Microchips are now compulsory with all councils for pet registration.

It's important that you update your microchip details if you change contact numbers, address or ownership.

If your dog is picked up by the council or animal shelter they will scan for a microchip and contact you.

Council Registration

It is compulsory for your puppy to be registered.

Registration is much cheaper for desexed pets.


Puppies in their growth phase require a special diet which differs from that of adults. It is particularly important for their growing bones. Depending on the size your dog is going to be they could need puppy or growth style diets for minimum 9 to 10 months, and even up to 21 months for giant breeds.

Think about puppy food as an investment in your dog’s development, the first year being the most important. Puppies have very different nutritional needs to that of an adult dog, and even different breeds have different requirements. Therefore it is important to make an informed decision when selecting the right food for your puppy.

Allambie Vet recommends a high-quality dry food. Good quality foods are specially formulated to provide growing pets with the precise balance of nutrients to develop to their full potential. Lower quality puppy food, such as supermarket brands, often have nutrient excesses and poor-quality ingredients. Vitamin and mineral supplements are unnecessary when feeding a high-quality dry food, and supplements such as calcium are dangerous for puppy growth. Home-cooked food involves a lot of preparation and is often unbalanced for a puppy's needs. If you are considering a home-cooked diet, we strongly recommend consulting a veterinary nutritionist.

It is important that you choose your puppy's diet. A fussy eater can be created by trying to cater to their likes and dislikes. Please speak to the nurses if you require help with a fussy puppy!

Puppies need to be fed twice daily, and it is important they receive their daily recommended intake. It is also important not to overfeed puppies; follow the feeding guide and re-evaluate your puppy's body condition score regularly.

Always have a plentiful supply of fresh water.

Dental Care

Most dogs have 28 temporary teeth by the age of eight weeks. These are then replaced by 42 permanent teeth by the age of seven months.

Implementing a good dental health regime from puppyhood is very important for oral health, and to avoid large vet bills for remedial dental work in the future. Your pet's teeth are checked at their annual vaccination consultation, and Allambie Vet offers Free Dental Checks throughout the year if you feel your dog's teeth need assessment.

Severe periodontal disease is a common cause of serious ill health in our patients. The associated severe inflammation and infection can be the source of the other systemic illness.

Prevention is far preferable than the discomfort, distress and expense of treating existing dental disease which often involves permanent tooth extractions.

Tooth Brushing

Daily brushing is the best proven way to maintain good oral health - but this MUST be started early so your puppy becomes accustomed to having their mouth touched. You can buy rubber finger brushes, but a child’s soft toothbrush will also suffice. Dog toothpaste is also available in flavours such as chicken and beef; remember not to use human toothpaste, as it will make your puppy sick. Please contact the nurses at the clinic for them to show you how to brush your puppy's teeth.

Puppy Nail Care

Nail trims should be introduced gradually. For example, gently touching the puppies paw when he/she is relaxed and give quiet praise. Then slowly get the puppy used to human fingers by gently pressing against its footpad and separating the puppy's toes. Make sure you reward the puppy at all stages.

When trimming, be cautious to avoid blood vessels and nerves in the nail base.

If your puppy has dark nails, the nail base may not be easily visible so owners should consult the veterinarian, vet nurse or professional groomer about performing the trimming.

Walking on concrete or tar will help wear nails down. Do not forget the dewclaws.

Allambie Vet offers free nail trims. Please phone to book an appointment.

Puppy Exercising

Exercise expends energy and helps the puppy cope better with its owner's absence. Separation-related misbehaviour may be reduced in dogs who are ready for a long nap by the time their owners leave. Puppies that have their physical, intellectual and social needs met by regular exercise and activity are less prone to misbehaviours like digging, chewing, barking and mouthing. Exercise helps prevent obesity and associated health risks as the puppy ages, including heart and joint diseases.

Caution! Owners with Large Breed Puppies should avoid high intensity and long endurance exercise. This may adversely affect their growth and development. Their bones are growing and their growth plates have not yet joined. Hard exercise on hard surfaces or over exercising can damage a young puppy’s growth.  We do not recommend long walks, runs or hikes until large breed puppies are fully grown. 

Please be sure to discuss exercise with our veterinarian if you have any concerns.

Puppy Grooming 

All dogs should be brushed regularly to optimise the condition of the skin and remove loose hair from their coat. Dogs with a medium to long coat may need to be brushed daily. 

Puppies can be brushed from a young age. Initially, use a soft brush gently for short periods of time until your puppy is accustomed to it.

Dogs with long coats may also need to have their face trimmed from a young age, to prevent eye irritations. 

Puppies can be bathed from a young age, but an appropriate puppy shampoo should be used. Do not use human shampoos or velvet soap or other such preparations on your puppy; They can be too harsh, and it will dry the coat out. You can ask our staff about what shampoo would suit your puppy. Using a conditioner is important to help return moisture to the coat.

Puppies only need to be bathed as infrequent as possible. I.e., every four-eight weeks. 

Some longhaired breeds require their coats to be clipped regularly to keep them manageable. They should be kept short in summer, so they do not get too hot. A short coat also helps to reduce the amount of grass seeds and burrs getting caught, and it is also worthwhile to have the feet trimmed short for the same reason. We can recommend a groomer for you if required.

Ensuring your puppy is a well-adjusted member of your family: training!

Puppies have a Critical Learning Period between the ages of eight and 16 weeks. This means that socialisation must occur within this time. Socialisation refers to exposing the puppy to as many different experiences as possible and all experiences must be positive!

Everyone wants a dog who is well behaved at children's sporting events, happy to travel in the car, content to sit at your feet at a cafe, and comfortable spending the night at someone else's house. However, puppies do not naturally exhibit these behaviours - we must teach them everything we want them to know - and within the Critical Learning Period!

It is difficult to cover all aspects of puppy training here, and there is nothing like face-to-face learning (and meeting other gorgeous puppies!), so we recommend Amy's Puppy Preschool. 

Amy runs puppy classes at Allambie Vet one night a week, for four weeks from 7:15pm. Please speak to our receptionist to book your puppy in - her classes fill up fast!

For a checklist for new puppies see our advice.

For more information on how do I train my puppy?

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