What should I feed my puppy ?

Good nutrition is vital at this age when bones are quickly growing. A puppy diet is required as it contains the right balance of nutrients, significantly calcium, and a high quality diet means it is readily digestible (undigested food results in soft, smelly faeces, and also flatulence).

Table scraps, all-meat diets and cat food are not adequate to maintain the health of your puppy or dog.

There are many different brands of premium pet foods that we can recommend to you.

Tinned food contains the same nutrients as dry food, but considerably more water, so dry food works out as less expensive, and easier to store, and also helps clean the teeth.

Large breeds of dogs have specific nutritional requirements during the rapid growth phase, so Large Breed Puppy diets are recommended for these dogs.

There is no need to provide milk. Many puppies are lactose intolerant, amd feeding cows' milk may cause diarrhoea. Ensure your puppy always has a good supply of clean fresh water.

On a good balanced diet as described, vitamin and calcium supplementation is unnecessary, and may lead to over-supplementation and disease.



What vaccines does my puppy need and how often ?

Your puppy should receive a number of vaccinations depending on the age and breed of the pup, and the type of vaccine used. A vaccination program should start at 6-8 weeks of age, and boosters are given at approximately 4 to 6 week intervals until the puppy is 18 to 20 weeks of age.

The reason for these boosters is that the antibodies the puppy got from his mother actually interfere with the vaccine’s effectiveness. Since these maternal antibodies are lost at different ages in different puppies, we need to give boosters to ensure we have protective levels of antibodies in all puppies. Annual vaccination is recommended to keep antibody levels high throughout life. Your vet will advise you of the best program for your dog.

The most basic of vaccines protects against the 3 fatal viral diseases Distemper, Hepatitis and Parvovirus (C3). You may wish to use a vaccine that also includes protection against a viral form and a bacterial form of kennel cough (C5). Which vaccine is used depends on your situation and your vet's



Should I be worried about worms ?

Puppies get intestinal worms from their mother, either before or after birth, and both puppies and adult dogs can be infected with internal parasites. All dog need worming regularly to control roundworms, tapeworms, hookworms and whipworms. This is especially important if you have children, as the majority of these worms can be transmitted to humans, especially young children, and are a potential health hazard.

Puppies should be wormed every 2 weeks until 3 months old, then every months until 6 months old. After that, all dogs should be wormed every 3 months for life. Beware of pet shop or supermarket brands, as many of them do not kill all types of worms. Please ask our advice.



Should I protect my puppy against fleas ?

Some puppies come to their new homes with some free loaders - fleas!!! These can multiply very rapidly - each female can lay 50 eggs per day! So one or two fleas can become millions in as short a time as a few weeks, especially in summer.

Also remember that only 5% of the fleas live on your pet, 95% live in your animal's environnement. When you see a few fleas on your pet, it means there are hundreds of them in your pet's environnement, often meaning your house!

There are different ways to prevent fleas, ask your vet for advice. Remember that if you are treating your animal with a spot-on treatment, it is important that he/she hasn't been washed or gone swimming 48 hours before and after the treatment.



Should I protect my puppy against ticks ?

Paralysis ticks are found in scrub and bushland over much of the eastern coast of Australia, including Queensland.

Are all ticks paralysis ticks?

No. There are many species of tick in Australia, including the common bush tick. Whilst all species of tick are parasites which feed on the blood of animals and sometimes humans, only one species, Ixodes holocyclus, carries the toxin able to cause paralysis in dogs and cats.

How does the paralysis tick affect my pet?

Tick paralysis is a life-threatening emergency. The saliva of the tick contains a potent toxin which affects the neurological system, causing a paralysis which not only affects the limbs and body, but also the muscles involved in breathing. Without early intervention this can result in inadequate respiration, leading to respiratory arrest and death. The toxin also affects the muscles of the heart, which can result in heart failure and death.

Effective tick control spot on are available from your veterinarian, as well as anti-tick collars. We also encourage owners to search thoroughly the coat daily and keep the coat as short as possible. Combination therapy (eg, spot on and collar) may give better results by using 2 different modes of action, but there are no published data to support this concept.



At what age should I start heartworm prevention ?

Heartworm is a type of worm that lives in the heart and blood vessels. It is spread when mosquitoes bite an infected dog, take up heartworm larvae (microfilariae) with the blood, the larvae develop in the mosquito and then the mosquito inject these into another dog.

We can protect against this devastating disease, by providing preventative medication for the life of your dog.

There is a yearly injectable prevention for heartworm disease. It is the same drug as the monthly tablets, packaged like “slow release fertiliser” and given in a single injection annually. We can use this from 3 months old. Once-a-month tablets or spot-on are also available.



Should I have my puppy desexed and at what age ?

Desexing of both male and female dogs is recommended before they reach sexual maturity. At our clinic we recommend desexing at 5 or 6 months of age.

Desexing of female dogs (spaying) will prevent unwanted puppies or the annoying attention of male dogs when they come into season twice a year. From a medical standpoint, spaying at a young age will lower the risk of mammary tumours (breast cancer) and prevent from pyometra (infection of the uterus which is often a surgical emergency).

Neutering, or castration, of male dogs before puberty will decrease the problems of aggression, urine marking, tendency to roam, and hypersexuality (usually with the furniture or with visitors!) seen in entire male dogs. Medically, castrated dogs cannot develop testicular cancer, and reduces the risk of prostatic problems in the older dog.



How big will my puppy get ?

Adult size will depend on the breed of your dog, whether it is male or female and its overall health. With mixed breed puppies, it can be difficult to predict their adult size, but they will generally be smaller than, or not significantly larger than, their biggest parent. Your vet may be able to give you an idea of your puppy’s adult size. By providing your puppy with a complete and balanced diet, regular exercise, and the required preventative medical care, you can ensure you puppy will reach its full growth potential and become a healthy, happy adult dog.



What is microchipping? Does my dog need a microchip ?

Microchipping is recommended for dogs as a permanent and safe form of identification. In some states it is compulsory at 12 weeks of age, or when they go to a new home. Unfortunately, many family pets are euthanased every day because they cannot be identified. Microchips cannot be altered and do not fade over time, whereas tags and collars can easily be lost. The microchip is injected under the skin between the shoulder blades and remains there for life, ready to be identified by a special scanner and your pet promptly returned to you if lost. Ask your vet for more information on microchipping and the requirements in your



How often should I bathe my dog ?

Washing or bathing your dog can be an important part of your dog’s regular grooming program, which is essential for general skin and coat care. The frequency will depend on your personal preference, the breed and the nature of your dog. A weekly bath is important for some people to have a clean and fresh smelling dog, while for others it is on a needs only basis.

Once a month is generally sufficient, unless your dog more frequently likes to roll or wallow in smelly things. However, washing too often, or using an inappropriate product, can leave the coat dull, and cause dry, flaky and itchy skin. Longhaired dogs may need regular washing and clipping to help remove tangles and prevent



Can I insure my pet ?

Taking out pet insurance is strongly recommended for all pets. In the eventuality of an illness or if your pet needs surgery, you will have peace of mind knowing that you are able to afford necessary treatment for your pet.