- Bringing your puppy home
- What to feed and how often?
- Get your pup vaccinated
- Protect against fleas
- Puppy check list
Owning a puppy will be one of the most enjoyable and rewarding things you will ever do.
To enjoy all the benefits of owning a puppy, it is vital you take the steps to ensure he or she stays healthy and happy. This information guide will help you achieve this.
While it's exciting bringing a new puppy home, remember the environment is new and your pup may be very apprehensive or scared. Act calm, not too rowdy, and provide a warm, soft and cosy area for your pup to feel secure. Certainly a toy or two will help in these early days.
Feed your pup their current diet for the first week before aiming to integrate a premium quality puppy food. Wet food is fine but it is important to always feed some dry dog food too, as it's much better for your pup's teeth! Keep the diet consistent as transitional diarrhoea can occur.
Feed your pup four times per day until 12 weeks of age, then 3 times daily until they're 5 - 6 months old. Once or twice a day is fine from then on.
Premium puppy food is recommended as it is full of the right nutrients in the right proportions, unlike many supermarket foods. The quality of your pup's food can be indicated in the condition of their coat.
Keep your pup on a puppy or growth diet until they're 12 months of age before switching to an adult dog food.
There are certain foods that can be fatal to dogs and should be avoided in their daily diet. These include: cooked bones, onions, grapes, sultanas, avocado, coffee/tea, alcohol, chocolate and too much high energy human foods such as barbecued or cured meats.
You should also avoid feeding raw eggs, fatty marrow bones and lily plants.
TIP: After a pup is weaned from their mother, there is no need to give milk. Fresh water is far better and helps with digestion.
Puppies are at risk of a number of serious diseases, including parvovirus, distemper and hepatitis among others. These diseases are debilitating and can be fatal so vaccinating against them is vital. Your vet will guide you on the right vaccination regime for your pup.
The first vaccination is generally given at 6 - 8 weeks of age, 12 weeks for the second vaccination and 14 - 16 weeks of age for the final vaccination. Boosters are then recommended yearly.
Excluding taking your puppy to the vet, it's a good idea to keep them at home until they are fully vaccinated.
If your local PETstock store offers a PETvet service you can get your pup vaccinated conveniently in store.
Your puppy should be treated for intestinal worms every two weeks until 12 weeks of age, then every four weeks until six months of age. After six months, worming should continue every three months for life.
The most common intestinal worms include roundworm, hookworm, tapeworm and whipworm.
TIP: 'All wormers' are a good way to protect your pup from all types of intestinal worms. Remember, worms can transfer from dogs to humans, so be diligent - especially if you have children.
Fleas carry tapeworm and can cause severe scratching and allergic reactions, known as flea allergy dermatitis.
Cover your puppy with a good quality flea control product on a monthly basis, all year round. You can start from 6 - 8 weeks of age and continue for life.
Heartworm is a parasite that lives in the heart and lungs of dogs and is spread by mosquitos. This disease is usually fatal without treatment and contrary to popular belief, is present in all states of Australia.
It is vital to protect your puppy against heartworm rather than waiting for them to contract it. The old saying 'prevention is better than cure' definitely applies here.
Heartworm prevention should start at 12 weeks of age, and comes in the form of yearly injections, tablets, chewables and spot-ons.
TIP: Most 'all wormers' do not prevent heartworm, so check them carefully.
A microchip is a permanent identification device implanted under the skin, allowing a quick and easy return if your puppy ever gets lost.
Pet microchipping is mandatory in most Australian states, so ask a PETstock staff member or your local council if this is a requirement in your area.
Your pup can be microchipped at any age but the earlier the better. Microchipping is quick and easy, causing very little discomfort.
If your local PETstock store offers a PETvet service you can get your pup microchipped conveniently in store.
TIP: It's essential to inform the microchip registry if you move, or your contact number changes. TIP: As well as microchipping, it's a good idea to purchase an I.D tag for your puppy's collar, engraved with their name and your contact number. This will also increase their chance of finding their way home if they should get lost!
Training should start as early as possible (usually before14-16 weeks of age) and is vital for a happy and healthy relationship between you and your pet. Dogs are pack animals and are used to a social hierarchy. Set your rules and stick to them. You should be fair, firm and consistent but most of all you must become the dominant pack leader.
Always praise your puppy for good behaviour and correct undesirable behaviour with a firm 'no' before ignoring them for two minutes. Ceasing 'playtime' is a good punishment for a pup. Rewarding with treats is a great way to train your puppy when he does things right.
TIP: PETschool is offered at most PETstock stores. It's a great, fun way to socialise and train your pup in a group environment.
TIP: Speak to your vet about what age your pup can start walking on a leash and mixing with other dogs.
Due to various health and behaviour problems it is highly recommended your puppy is desexed at 5 - 6 months of age. This will not change the personality of your puppy.
- Flea & tick control
- Heartworm prevention
- Premium puppy food
- Bedding Food & water bowl
- Training treats
- Collar & lead
- ID tag
- Shampoo & grooming
- Council registration