Advice for a new puppy


Before you buy...

Spend some time considering your family and your home.  A Great Dane is probably not the ideal dog for a town house or unit and a Sharpei is probably not a great choice for a family with young children. 

Some important things to consider in this regard are;


  • Size 
  • Temperament
  • Activity level
  • Ability to get along with other pets

Also consider your new pets coat and the demands of having a long or thick coated dog.  A Maltese Shihtzu is not a good choice for a farm dog where grass seeds are likely to be a major concern and a Lhasa Apso or poodle will need a lot of grooming.  

If you need some help with this decision feel free to give us a call. Also it is worth discussing the breed with the various breed associations. If you would be happy with a mixed breed dog consider adopting one from a welfare organisation and giving a dog a second chance at life.  

  • If you are looking for a breeder of pure bed dogs try to;
  • ask for recommendations from the breed association
  • ask if the dogs have been vet checked, micro chipped and vaccinated
  • ask about the health of the parents of your new pet.  Have they had any testing done to check for inheritable diseases?


So you have your new little furry companion, what now?


Puppies should be fed on a good quality puppy food.  For large breed dogs like golden retrievers, labs, German Shepherds etc. it is important to feed a large breed puppy food and stick to the packet guidelines for how much to feed.  Choosing the wrong food may result in poor bone growth and lifelong problems. For more information see our 'feeding my dog' page. 



There are two general types of worms that we need to consider;

Intestinal worms

There are a variety of worms that can infect dogs and many of these can also infect humans.  Even with the best worming practices all puppies will get worms from their mother. It is especially important to treat these in puppies as their immune system has not yet learnt how to fight worms and they can get so many that they can get very sick or even die.  Puppies should be wormed according to the following program with a good quality intestinal wormer such as Drontal syrup or tablets.  Avoid supermarket preparations as these may be less effective. 

  • Every 2 weeks from birth to 12 weeks old
  • Monthly from 12 weeks to 6 months
  • Then every 3 months for life



Heartworm is spread by mosquitoes which deliver the tiny larvae under the dog’s skin. Over time these migrate to the heart where they grow into very large worms.  These can lead to heart failure, which is usually the first sign that a dog has heart worm. 

Heartworm is treatable but the damage caused to the heart by the worms is not and the treatment can be dangerous. For this reason prevention is far better than a cure.  

There are two commonly used types of prevention.  Monthly treatments (tablets or spot ons) are very effective however these are often forgotten.  Missing only one of these monthly treatments can allow a heartworm infection to become established. For this reason these are only recommended for people who are confident they will not forget to give them!

Many people choose the annual injection because it takes away the stress each month.  A second injection is given when your dog gets its annual vaccination each year.  This prevents a heartworm infection becoming established. 

Puppies grow quickly, so they do need more than one injection in their first year of life; initially an injection is given with the second vaccination and a booster is given at 6 months old. After this they are due with their usual annual vaccination when they are around 15 months old.



Your puppy may have had a vaccination with the breeder, in which case they should have a vaccine card signed by the vet that will tell you when they are next due for a needle. If not please contact the clinic as soon as possible to discuss what to do next.

Generally at Vet 2 Pet puppies will get one vaccination at 6-8 weeks old.  This starts to develop immunity against 3 key diseases: Distemper, Canine Infectious Hepatitis and Parvovirus

The second vaccination is given at 12 weeks old and boosts the first injection. At this time your puppy will usually receive another vaccine dribbled down their nostrils.  This vaccine develops protection against canine cough and is more effective when given this way. It also removes the need for your pet to have a third vaccination.  This means you can start socialising them earlier.

Generally we recommend you do not start walking you dog until 10-14 days after this vaccination.  Starting puppy school is allowed after the first vaccination as all dogs attending puppy school should be healthy and vaccinated.  This scenario is low risk and we believe the benefit of early socialisation is worth it!



If your not planning to breed your dog then we highly advise that you consider desexing.  Desexing has many health benefits including:

  • Reducing behaviours driven by the so called 'sex' hormones: oestrogen and testosterone. This includes aggression, sent marking and even roaming.
  • Removing the risk of nasty cancers like uterine and ovarian cancer as well as testicular cancer
  • Reducing the risk of other tumours drastically like breast cancers.
  • Reducing the risk of may other diseases such as prostate infections and uterine infections (pyometra)
  • Stopping unwanted pregnancy

If you are planning to breed from your dog we highly advise that you seek advice before doing so and get both parent animals thoroughly health checked.  Consider the risk to your pet and the number of unwanted puppies that are euthanised every year in shelters. Breeding is a big commitment and will need you to do a lot of research and time, especially if things don’t go well!

We generally recommend desexing at 16 weeks old as the body is mature enough to undergo the surgery with similar safety to that of an adult animal, however the reproductive organs are far less developed. This means a shorter surgery, a smaller incision and a faster recovery.  It also minimises the risk that have a heat which increases their risk of breast cancer drastically.

At desexing we generally pick up your pet from your house in the morning and take them back to our base clinic. They get a premedication injection that makes them relaxed and includes a pain relief.  They then have an anaesthetic very similarly to how a human would.  In injection is given into a vein that makes them sleepy, then a tube is passed into their trachea (the tube they breath down) and anaesthetic gas is used to keep them asleep while the procedure is performed.  Afterwards they het an antibiotic and a pain relief injection as well as some pain relief tablets to take home.

Spey: A spey is the name given to neutering a female dog.  This procedure is a complete ovariohisterectomy  - that is we remove both ovaries and all of the uterus down to the cervix.

Castration:  A castration involves removing both testicles from a male dog from an incision made just in fornt of the scrotum. 

Afterwards we will return your dog home to you. Generally we do this on the same day.  They will usually be fitted with an Elizabethan collar (as worn by the German Shepherd in the picture to the right) following at their stitches which will need to be removed in 2 weeks time. 

Blood testing and Intravenous Fluids

We are proud to offer in house pre anaesthetic blood testing and intravenous fluids during all surgeries at Vet 2 Pet. 

While optional for young puppies doing these things allows us to offer the safest procedure for your pet.

Blood testing allows us to screen for hidden disease and also establish a normal baseline for your pet. 

Intravenous fluids keep you pet hydrated during their procedure and help to replace any fluids lost. This can mean a faster recovery. They also help to maintain blood pressure during the procedure. 

Please ask your friendly staff if you have any questions or would like more information. 


Puppy Pre School

Socialisation is important in developing a happy well adjusted puppy. Your dog may associate with other family pets however this is similar to children having siblings and is not a replacement for meeting the outside world.

The optimal age to socialise a dog really starts before the vaccinations are complete and this is why puppy school is a good idea. It is a great way to get a group of like minded people with animals of similar age that are healthy to come together in a group.  The number one aim of puppy school should be teaching your dog how to react to strange dogs, people and places. It is not so much about learning to sit and stay however these things are a definite plus! Many places run puppy classes so ask at local pet shops.

Once your pet is vaccinated we recommend you start doing everything with them that you will do later in life. This may include professional grooming, lead walking, visits to the beach etc.  Only do what is safe however and do not ask too much of your young dogs growing body.  Long, vigorous exercise is generally something to limit while young dogs are growing but can be discussed in depth with one of our vets. 


Pet insurance

Pet insurance is something we believe every pet owner should consider and when you get your new puppy is the perfect time to start. This is because you are starting before any health problems arise so they are unlikely to be excluded under your policy. Please see the pet insurance page for more information.



Many people ask how often to bath their dog. There is no right or wrong answer provided you use the right shampoo. Generally choose a product that is not a flea treatment and not overly scented.  Oatmeal based products or the paws puppy range are often good choices as these should not strip oil from the coat.  It may help to use a good conditioner.  When bathing remember little bodies get cold quickly do make sure not to leave them wet when it’s cold.  A hair dryer is useful but always keep your hand between the drier and the dog to be sure you are not burning them.  It is a good idea to get long haired dogs used to the sound of a drier early in life.


Getting Water into your dogs ear canals is a good way to start an ear infection so try to avoid this or consider using a recommended ear cleaner (i.e.: paws or epiotic) after bathing.  To do this simply fill your dogs ears with the cleaner, massage for a minute or two then wipe as much away as possible.