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Puppy Care Information

Bringing your new puppy home is a very exciting time! When you get a puppy there are many things on the list to tick off, from vaccinations, worming, flea and tick prevention, heartworm prevention, and training, just to name a few! We hope this simplified guide will help you keep track of all of the essential facts you need to know to take care of your new family member.


All dogs should be vaccinated routinely for distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza and bordatella infections. Puppies should complete a course of vaccinations, given at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age (or thereabouts) to build their immunity to a protective level and adult dogs should then have regular boosters to maintain protection.

The vaccine for the “core diseases” (distemper, hepatitis and parvovirus) should be given yearly or three yearly, depending on the type of vaccine used. The “canine cough” (parainfluenza and bordatella) vaccine should be given every year.

When we vaccinate your puppy or adult dog, a full examination is performed, which is a great opportunity to monitor the progress of your puppy or for early detection of any problems with your older dog. This is just as important with older adult dogs, who still require booster vaccinations to maintain protective immunity and benefit from early and prompt management of a range of geriatric diseases (arthritis, heart disease, dementia etc.)

Ongoing management of your dog’s health can be just as complicated as managing your own or your children’s health.


Heartworm infestation remains an important disease of dogs locally, and in many other parts of Australia. For that reason, we highly recommend year-round heartworm prevention, especially with the once-a-year Proheart SR-12* injection. Proheart* SR-12 has an excellent safety profile, almost 100% efficacy and the unmatched convenience of once yearly administration by your Veterinarian.

There are also many excellent quality, highly effective, monthly-administered products available, of which we stock a range.  If administering  a monthly tablet or chewable, or applying a monthly spot-on product 12 months of the year is no problem for you, we are happy to make a recommendation for you. Combination products covering heartworm, intestinal worms and fleas are excellent value for money.

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The common intestinal worms of dogs are roundworm (especially in puppies), hookworms (especially puppies and younger adult dogs), whip worm (very uncommon in Queensland), and tapeworm. The latter are very common, and rely on the common flea as an intermediate host. Successful control of tapeworm involves not only an appropriate worm medication being administered, but also attention to flea control on the pet, otherwise re-infestation will occur very quickly.

Puppies should be wormed at three, four, six, ten and twelve weeks of age, and again at four, five and six months of age. After this, all dogs should be wormed every three months, for life.

There are several  excellent broad-spectrum wormers available. We recommend Milbemax and Drontal. There are also some excellent combination products, which include extra cover for heartworm and also for fleas. These products are administered monthly, thus providing exceptional intestinal worm control. They  include Advocate (a convenient spot-on product)  and Nexgard-Spectra (a chewable tablet).


Fleas (Ctenocephalides felis) are the most common external parasite of dogs and cats. Flea allergy dermatitis is the most common skin disease of dogs and cats! Fleas also aggravate a range of other skin diseases. Therefore, scrupulous flea control is very important, and can be a challenge.

The adult stage is responsible for disease, but the majority of the flea population is in the pet’s home environment. In order to effectively control fleas, all life stages of the flea must be targeted. A description of the flea life-cycle helps one understand appropriate control.

The paralysis tick (known as Ixodes holocyclus) is common in the Redlands. Other (non-toxic) types of tick are occasionally found, but it is always safest to assume that any tick found on your pet is a paralysis tick. The “natural” host of the paralysis tick is the bandicoot, but other wildlife and domestic species are acceptable hosts. Native vegetation is the preferred habitat, so there not too many areas locally where your dog or cat is NOT at risk at peak times.

We recommend Bravecto or Nexgard which provide prevention against both ticks and fleas in one easy, chewable tablet. Tick and flea products available at our clinic include:

Nexgard - safe from 8 weeks of age, for fleas & ticks, given monthly

Bravecto - safe from 8 weeks, for fleas & ticks, given quarterly

Frontline Spray - safe from 2 days, for fleas & ticks, given monthly

Frontline Top Spot - safe from 8 weeks, for fleas, given monthly

Advantage Spot On - safe for any age, for fleas, given monthly

Comfortis - safe from 14 weeks, for fleas, given monthly

Tick Collars:

–          Kiltix – 5 months flea control, 6 weeks paralysis tick control

–          Scalibor – no flea control, 3 month tick control

–          Seresto – 8 month flea control, 4 months tick control

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SIGNS of tick paralysis include wobbly back legs, change in voice, coughing, vomiting, laboured breathing, depression and disinterest or total collapse. Seek veterinary attention immediately!


This is usually done at 5-6 months of age and involves a day hospital stay. Desexing prevents unplanned litters and can help control problems such as roaming, aggression, and mammary, prostate and testicular tumours. Your council registration will also be much lower. There is no advantage for your female dog to have a season or a litter first before desexing. In fact, getting her desexed before her first heat (which usually occurs between 6-12 months of age) drastically reduces the chances of her getting mammary tumours later in life.


Feed a commercially prepared puppy diet as these are balanced in all the vitamins, minerals and dietary requirements your growing pup needs. Puppy foods should be fed until your dog is physically mature – until 12 months of age in small breeds, 18 months of age in medium and large breeds and up to 2 years in giant breeds.

When it comes to dog food it certainly is true that you get what you pay for. Cheaper foods contain poorer quality and less digestible ingredients. Simply put, this means more of it passes right through and is deposited on the lawn. The better the quality of food the less of it you need to feed. Typically, cheaper foods will result in larger and softer stools and higher quality foods will produce smaller, firmer stools.

We recommend the premium quality foods Royal Canin and Hills Science Diet.

Puppies less than 6 months old should be fed 2 meals/day. Once over 6 months meals can be 1-2 times/day. Generally we recommend feeding adult dogs twice daily. For many dogs food time is one of the highlights of the day and they will enjoy having two meals. Some dogs are inclined to eat only once a day. Regardless of the frequency of feeding it is important to monitor your dog’s body condition and tailor the amount of food accordingly. Very often this will be less than the recommended amount on the side of the bag of dog food!

Obesity is a major health concern for many dogs and – just as it is for people. It is the balance between calories consumed and calories burned that determines whether we and our pets maintain a healthy weight.

For healthy teeth and gums, large raw leg marrow bones and brisket bones are great. In smaller breeds, raw chicken wings or necks may be more appropriate.

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One aspect of responsible dog ownership is the identification of your pet. Legislation in Queensland requires that all puppies be microchipped between 8 and 12 weeks of age and any dog which changes ownership under any circumstances must be microchipped before transfer. Regardless of legislative requirements microchipping your dog is an important thing to do. If your dog ever strays you’ll be glad you did. A microchip means lifetime identification. The microchip is approximately the size of a grain of rice and is inserted under the skin between the shoulder blades by a simple injection. The one-off fee includes the microchip and lifetime registration on a national database. Remember a collar and tag can be easily lost, but a microchip is there for life.


No matter how much love and care we provide our pets, accidents and illness are beyond our control. We recommend Pet Health Insurance to take the worry out of paying pet health care bills when the unexpected happens. With some procedures and illnesses now costing in the thousands for specialist treatment, having insurance can certainly lead to substantial savings and peace of mind, knowing that you can do the best for your pet should the need arise.


Train your pup to take tablets. You can do this by:-

  1. Starting tablets (for worming) rather than liquids at a young age.

  2. If you have any problems with this, then insert your hand and fingers in the pup’s mouth often whilst patting and stroking to familiarise them to this action. Putting honey on your fingers can be a big help!

If you have any problems or questions about your new puppy, please do not hesitate to give us a call on (07) 3286 4020

Fleas, Ticks, and Worming
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