PUPPY MATTERS

Congratulations on your new addition to the family. This information sheet will hopefully guide you through the first exciting months of puppy ownership. If you have any questions or problems at all, please don't hesitate to give us a call.

Vaccination schedule

Unless specific outbreaks in the area warrant a more intensive vaccination program, our usual vaccination schedule is as follows:

1st vaccination 6-8 weeks C3 (distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus)
2nd vaccination 12 weeks C5 (C3 plus kennelcough)
3rd vaccination 16 weeks C5 (C3 plus kennelcough)

From then on, your pup needs a yearly health check-up and vaccination booster. We send out reminders notes for the boosters.

A very small percentage of pups may react to the vaccination by being a bit quiet for 24-48 hours, developing a small lump at the injection site or get puffy faces/ears etc. Usually this will resolve without treatment, but please let us know if you have any concerns.

Worming

Regular intestinal worm treatments are very important in puppies. Roundworm (a long worm resembling spaghetti) usually infects pups while still in the mother’s womb (even when the bitch has been wormed regularly and the breeder has an optimum hygiene regime). Once born, pups will reinfect themselves and each other through shedding worm eggs in the faeces. Tapeworms live in the gut attached to the intestinal wall and pass small wormy egg segments that look like grains of rice, you may see them in the faeces or around the bottom in the fur. Hookworms and whipworms are very small and thready (not easily seen) but can attach and damage the gut wall and cause diarrhoea and anaemia. Most of these worms are zoonotic, meaning they can cause disease in humans, often as larvae lodging in tissues such as liver, eye or brain, and hookworm larvae can penetrate our skin and create very itchy burrowing tracts under our skin.

We recommend worming pups every fortnight until about 4 months old, then monthly until 6 months old, then the adult schedule of an intestinal worm treatment every 3 months applies.

Weigh your pup before each worming as he/she will be growing, so your pup won't be underdosed.

TIP weigh yourself on bathroom scales, then pick up your pup and reweigh, the difference is your pup's weight.

Heartworms

Heartworm is prevalent in Australia and may prove a serious threat to the health of your pet. Heartworms are spread by mosquitos. Larvae circulate in the blood and grow to adult worms which live in the pulmonary artery, heart and lungs where they can cause heart failure and death. Heartworm infection can be prevented by giving your dog a monthly preventative tablet, chew, or spot on, or better still, an annual heartworm prevention injection.

Fleas and ticks

Fleas can cause extreme skin irritations. A scratching dog can damage his/her skin so much that secondary skin infections can occur. In some cases a pet can develop an allergy against flea saliva, so one flea bite per week can keep the skin inflamed and itchy. A good flea control is very important.

Fleas are small and dark brown in colour. If you part your pet's fur you may notice them moving about close to the skin. Other warning signs include black specks of flea dirt in the coat or bedding, frequent scratching or nibbling the fur and even small "insect-type" bites on your own body.

Only 5% of the total flea population lives on our pets as adult fleas, and 95% of the flea population lives in the environment as flea eggs, larvae and pupae. Your flea prevention will be most successful if all the pets and the environment are treated together regularly with a good flea product.

The paralysis tick is deadly. The Eastern Sea border, including the Sutherland Shire, is a paralysis tick area, so it is vital that you regularly use an effective tick prevention treatment. It is also advised that you check your pet all over daily for ticks by running your fingers through its coat, particularly around the head, ears and neck regions.

Microchipping

In NSW under the Companion Animals Act, all dogs (and cats) must be microchipped by the age of 12 weeks. The actual lifetime registration fee does not have to be paid until 6 months of age (giving owners the chance to desex their pet beforehand for a cheaper registration fee). Pup and owner details will be on the council’s record as soon as the paperwork has been processed, so in case of your pup getting lost, once found, it is still possible to contact you. Don’t forget to update your details with council when you move or change phone numbers.

If the pup has not been microchipped by the breeder or pet shop, we can do it for you at the time of vaccination. It is a simple procedure, with a grain of rice sized chip being injected between the shoulder blades.

Desexing

We advise desexing of both male and female pups at the age of 5 - 5.5 months. We strongly recommend desexing female dogs, because apart from unwanted pregnancies desexing before the first heat can prevent some potentially serious health problems. Undesexed dogs have a higher chance of breast cancer later on in life and a higher chance of developing pyometra (a pus filled womb which can cause infection and poison the body). Male dogs can also develop problems later on in life if left undesexed. Testicular tumours are common, especially if (one of the) testicles has not dropped. Other problems that can develop are prostate problems, tumours growing under testosterone influence (produced by the testicles), and rectal wall hernias (which may require specialist surgery). Desexing may also reduce the urge to wander, and prevents testosterone based aggression.

Nutrition

Growing puppies need more calories, protein, minerals and vitamins than adult dogs and cats respectively. They should be fed a specific puppy food until their first birthday. The price and suitability of pet foods varies enormously. Ideally choose a premium quality food from a proven reputable manufacturer. These foods are complete and balanced and no other foods or additives are needed. However, if you prefer to add some homecooked food for variety, make sure at least 75% of the daily intake is covered by the complete and balanced puppy food. This way you are sure your pup still gets most of the necessary vitamins, minerals and nutrients in the correct ratios. RAW bones such as chicken wings or necks can be fed if chewed properly and as long as the pet can handle it. Fatty foods, spicy foods and cooked bones should never be fed!

Dental health

Dog's and cat's teeth are deciduous just like ours. This means they will lose their small "baby" teeth and adult teeth will grow in their place. You should start brushing your pet's teeth from day one, so that they accept it as part of normal daily life. Don't try using your own toothpaste, as pets will swallow and this can cause tummy upsets. Dog and cat toothpastes are available. Finger brushes or baby human toothbrushes can be safely used. Dental problems in pets are common, and brushing ideally once daily will help keep your pet's teeth and gums healthy. Please ask us how to get your pup used to this.

Puppy Preschool

Puppies need to learn how to interact with those around them; this process is referred to as socialisation. The socialised dog develops communication skills which enable them to recognise whether or not they are being threatened, and how to recognise and respond to the intentions of others. The period between 3 - 16 weeks is the sensitive period known as the socialisation period.

Puppy preschools are a safe and effective way for puppies to socialise with other puppies and to learn how to communicate appropriately.

Cronulla Veterinary Clinic offers Puppy Preschool, run by Instructors accredited by the Australian Veterinary Behaviour Services and trained in canine development, class management and learning theory. Our class sizes are small to maximize interaction, and we focus on positive reinforcement training methods and use highly desirable rewards to achieve maximum results.

Pet Insurance

Accidents or sudden illness can happen at any time and the cost factor of the necessary veterinary care can be an unexpected burden. Veterinary treatment is not covered by medical benefits so pet insurance is well worth considering.

Just like private health insurance for humans, specialised pet insurance plans exist to cover for accidents, illnesses and some plans even support routine care such as vaccination, desexing, etc.

We are not affiliated with one particular pet insurance and don’t receive referral incentives but we do have some brochures we can supply to you

Cronulla Vet Clinic wishes you and your new pup all the best for the coming years and hope we can work together to keep your pet in the best possible health.