Puppy Care

Recommended Puppy Health Protocol



We Recommend

2 Weeks  

-Intestinal all wormer   


4 Weeks   

-Intestinal all wormer   


6 Weeks 

-Intestinal all wormer

-Milbemax OR Drontal

8 Weeks   

-Health Check & 1st Vaccination  C3

-Heartworm, Intestinal all wormer, flea/tick prevention     

-Puppy Preschool 

-Distemper, Hepatitis & Parvovirus

-Milbemax with Nexgard or Simparica OR Nexgard Spectra

10 Weeks

-Heartworm, Intestinal all wormer

-Milbemax or popantel

12 Weeks  

-Health Check & 2nd Vaccination  C5

-Heartworm, Intestinal all Wormer, Flea/tick prevention 

-Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus & Kennel Cough

-Milbemax with Nexgard or Simparica OR Nexgard spectra

16 Weeks   

-Health Check & 3rd Vaccination  C5

-Heartworm, Intestinal all Wormer, Flea/tick prevention

-Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus & Kennel Cough

-Milbemax with Nexgard or Simparica OR Nexgard Spectra

5 Months     

-Heartworm, Intestinal all Wormer, Flea/tick prevention

-Milbemax with Nexgard or Simparica OR Nexgard Spectra

6 Months

-Desexing (Castration or Spey)

-Annual Heartworm Injection      

-Council Lifetime Registration 

-Continued 3monthly worming and either monthly or 3 monthly flea/tick prevention       

-Day Surgery

-ProHeart SR-12 Heartworm injection

-Popantel(3monthly) with Bravecto (3mthly) OR Simparica/Nexgard (monthly)

15 Months  

-Annual Health Check, Vaccination & Heartworm Injection.

-Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus & Kennel Cough

-ProHeart SR12 Heartworm Injection



These are vital for all dogs to prevent infection with several serious, but preventable diseases. We recommend the following protocol for puppies;

  • 6-8 Weeks – Distemper, Hepatitis & Parvovirus vaccine (C3). An Intranasal Kennel Cough vaccine can also be administered at this age.
  • 10-12 Weeks – Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus & Injectable Kennel Cough Vaccine (C5= C3 + KC Vaccines)
  • 14-16 Weeks – Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvovirus & Kennel Cough Injectable Kennel Cough Vaccines (C5= C3+KC Vaccines)

Annual Health Checks:

These are vital to monitor and detect any problems that may arise during the year (equivalent to 5-6 years for humans). Our ongoing vaccination protocol is then as follows (as per the guidelines provided by the Australian Veterinary Association):

  • 15 months of age - C5 booster vaccination and heartworm injection (SR-12).
  • Annually - Annual Health check, Kennel Cough vaccination (KC) & Heartworm Injection (SR-12).
  • 3 Yearly (Tri-annually) - C3 Vaccination against Distemper, Hepatitis & Parvovirus.

Intestinal Worming:

Treating your puppy from 2 weeks of age fortnightly, until 12 weeks of age. Then monthly until 6 months of age. After this, an adult dog requires worming every 3 months for life. Be sure that the worming product used covers ALL intestinal worms. There are 4 main types; Roundworm, Hookworm, Whipworm & Tapeworm. Always weigh your pup regularly as they grow, so you are dosing correctly each time.

Heartworm Prevention:

Heartworm disease is debilitating and potentially fatal to dogs. The disease is transmitted by MOSQUITOES, not direct contact with other dogs. Therefore, it is essential for all dogs to be started on prevention as a puppy. If prevention is not started while your dog is a pup, they should have a blood test performed by your Veterinarian before commencing a prevention program. There is a choice of monthly preventatives for dogs or a ONCE A YEAR heartworm prevention for adult dogs. Heartworm prevention injections (SR-12), are given at around 5-6 months of age (which will give protection for 6 months), then a booster injection at 15 months. After this, it will then become every 12 months for life. 


Desexing is an important part of pet ownership. It should be looked upon as a means not only of helping to control the number of unwanted strays, but also as a method of prevention against disease later in life.  We understand though, that decisions around de-sexing your dog are complex. There are several pros and cons to de-sexing. Below is a summary of the recent literature surrounding the advantages and disadvantages of de-sexing provided by Dr Abbie Tipler ATCL BVSc MANZCVS (Surgery), Veterinary Specialist Services.

REMEMBER: the humane societies are not able to re-home all unwanted animals.  Every week, hundreds are euthanized.  By desexing our animals, we can keep the numbers of unwanted strays to a minimum.  

Pros of desexing



·         Castration reduces the risk of testicular tumors

·         Ovariohysterectomy prior to the first heat, reduces the risk of mammary tumors by 99.5%. The protective effect is reduced after the first oestrus to 92%. After this there is no proven protective effect.

Some breeds tend to be more prone to mammary neoplasia e.g. Boxers, Beagles, Cocker Spaniels, English Springer Spaniels and Dachshunds. 

·         Reduces the risk of Benign Prostatic Hyperplasia, chronic prostatitis, perianal adenomas and perianal hernias.

·         Overall increase in lifespan. Increased death by neoplasia, but decreased death by trauma, infectious disease.

·         Ovariohysterectomy reduces the risk of ovarian neoplasia, uterine neoplasia and vaginal tumors.

·         Reduces the risk of transmissible venereal tumours, a sexually transmitted disease

·         Ovariohysterectomy reduces the risk of transmissible venereal tumours, a sexually transmitted disease

·         Ovariohysterectomy prevents pyometra, metritis and ovarian cysts as well as problems associated with pregnancy and parturition.

Some breeds are more prone to pyometra for example, Border Collies, Golden Retrievers, Labrador Retrievers, Rottweilers and German Shepherds.

·         Overall increase in lifespan. Increased death by neoplasia, but decreased death by trauma, infectious disease.

Cons of desexing



·         Increased risk of obesity

·         Increased risk of obesity

·         Increased risk of cruciate ligament disease

·         Increased risk of cruciate ligament disease

·         Increased risk of prostatic carcinoma

·         Increases the risk of urinary incontinence

·         Increased risk of transitional cell carcinoma

·         Possible increase in the risk of lymphoma

·         Possible increase in the risk of lymphoma

·         Increases the risk of transitional cell carcinoma

·         May increase the risk of Mast Cell tumours but this is not seen in all breeds (see below for individual breed studies if they have been performed)

Behavior, both sexes



·         There is a reduction in roaming, hormonal inter-dog aggression and urine marking.

·         The most serious bite injuries involve sexually intact dogs.

·         Intact males and females are more likely to be referred for aggression and reactivity.

·         There is increased dominance aggression towards family members in females and puppies that had already shown signs of aggression had the highest risk. This risk is reduced the older they were desexed.


When should I desex my pet?

Pyometra, unwanted pregnancies and mammary neoplasia, prevalent in populations of entire dogs, provide an unexpected and possibly high expense to dog owners. There is also a high rate of euthanasia in shelters. Therefore, the recommendation is to de-sex dogs at 6 months of age as pyometra can occur as early as 9 months of age, unless otherwise discussed with your veterinarian. 

Female dogs undergo a procedure called an ovariohysterectomy (spey). In this operation the uterus (womb) and ovaries are removed. The female will therefore have no further seasons and will not be able to fall pregnant. 

Male dogs undergo a procedure called castration. In the operation, the testes which produce the male hormone testosterone and sperm are removed. This means that males can no longer cause pregnancy.  


The key to a good balanced diet is variety and the right mix of nutrients. Dry dog food is essential as it ensures your dog receives the correct balance of vitamins and minerals, especially important in puppies that need the correct amount of calcium and phosphorus for their growing bones. Puppies require a ‘puppy’ diet for the first 12 months of their life. The hard consistency of dry food is important as it breaks away plaque and tartar from your dog’s teeth, helping with dental hygiene and reducing the need for dental procedures.

Raw bones are great for cleaning dogs’ teeth as well as keeping them occupied for periods of time. Raw chicken necks and wings are ideal for puppies and small breed dogs. You should NEVER feed your dog cooked bones as they can splinter and can cause obstructions, which can require surgery to remove. 

Up until 3 months of age, puppies require three small meals a day. Two meals a day are usually sufficient until 6 months of age, then once your dog is fully grown, once or twice daily. Foods to avoid are chocolate, onions, macadamia nuts, grapes, sultanas and avocados, as these can be toxic, even in small doses. Fresh water should be available at ALL times.


From July 1st 1999, a law was introduced, that any new dogs/puppies being sold, rehoused or born, must be microchipped BEFORE being housed. Microchip implantation is required to be performed by 12 weeks of age. Payment of a lifetime registration fee is due at the local council when the animal is 6 months of age. We recommend desexing your puppy before this age to take advantage of a lower fee for desexed animals.

Flea Treatment and Prevention:

Remember that 95% of fleas live in the environment and can stay dormant for up to 6 months, so as well as regularly treating the dog, it is also important to treat the environment. Cleaning your dog’s bedding regularly by washing and vacuuming. It is best to start flea prevention as soon as you welcome your pet into your home. This will minimise the chance of fresh flea eggs contaminating your environment. There are several flea products to suit your pet’s needs.

Tick Poisoning

Tick poisoning, caused by the toxic saliva from the female tick “Ixodes Holocyclus”, is a serious condition in dogs and cats, and in fact all susceptible mammals. The Ixodes Holocyclus (Paralysis Tick) species occurs only along the Eastern Australian Coast, so that means ticks are found just about everywhere in the Hastings region. They are blue-grey in colour and vary in size from 3mm to 20mm. Ticks are most commonly active between the months of August and January, so daily searching of your pet is a must during these times. Most ticks are found on the front section of your pet. Usually starting from the shoulders, around the neck and head area. However, ticks can attach themselves ANYWHERE on your pets’ body. 


The earliest signs seen in dogs and cats usually occur two to five days after the female tick commences to feed on the host. The signs are extremely variable and can include any of the following:

  • Weakness or loss of coordination in the hind legs.
  • Difficulty breathing or rapid breathing.
  • Change in meow or bark.
  • Progressive paralysis to include in the forelegs.
  • Retching, coughing, gagging or vomiting.


As soon as the symptoms of tick paralysis appear, the animal MUST receive immediate veterinary treatment to ensure survival. NEVER UNDER ANY CIRCUMSTANCES ASSUME THAT AN ANIMAL WILL IMPROVE BECAUSE THE TICK HAS BEEN AND REMOVED. Animals may continue to worsen for up to 48 hours following the removal of the tick/s. The longer the delay before treatment is commenced, the poorer the prognosis. NEVER give anything by mouth as affect animals have difficulties swallowing and may choke. When removing the tick, it has been shown the best method is to simply use tweezers to remove from the head with being careful not to squeeze the body. It is not recommended to kill the tick whilst still attached. Medical treatment consists of sedation, followed by the injection of anti-serum, which is specific for the toxin of the tick. The anti-serum will save most patients if given early enough. More advanced cases which are having difficulty breathing and swallowing, need intensive care and treatment to avoid fatal complications such as aspiration or asphyxiation. Insecticidal rinses and sprays are used to kill any remaining ticks and to aid in keeping the patient cool. Careful hospitalisation is an absolute necessity!

Despite the best treatment, complications can sometimes arise. These include heart failure, anaphylactic serum reactions and aspiration pneumonia. 


No product is 100% effective against ticks, so it is still recommended to give you pet daily searches. There are many tick preventative products on the market. The most common and most effective include: Nexgard and Bravecto chewable tablets for dogs & Bravecto for cats.

House Training:

It takes a long time to toilet train a baby, yet puppies are expected to know what to do almost instantly. 

Your puppy is still learning to control its bladder and bowels, though it will develop these rapidly over the next few months.

If we reinforce or reward a correct response such as urinating outside, then the puppy will tend to respond by urinating outside again when it is stimulated by a full bladder. House training should start the moment you arrive home with your puppy to avoid accidents from the beginning. Even before taking your pup inside, it is a good idea to let it explore the area you want them to use. If your pup obliges and urinates/defecates, use praise and reward with a small piece of training treat. Incidentally the spot you choose for the toilet area should be no too far from the house, as you won’t want to walk too far on cold or wet nights!

There are no magic remedies, though try and follow these instructions:

Set your alarm to ring in 1 hour. When the time is up, walk your puppy outside to “The spot” and stay there for 5 minutes or so. If your puppy wees or poos, praise it and give it a small treat, then take it inside and set your alarm again for another hour and so on. If your puppy does not oblige during the five-minute period, take it inside but go out in 10 minutes later and keep doing this until your patience is rewarded. Take your puppy out as soon as it wakes from sleep, after eating and drinking, and when it has been chewing on a toy or after prolonged play. Observe its body language carefully for any signs, which may include a need to go out. Circling and sniffing are often signs that it needs to go to the toilet.

When you are not able to watch your puppy for a while, either leave it in a secure part of the garden or confine it to a small part of the house such as a baby playpen. The playpen should contain the puppy’s bed and a non-spill bowl of water. A playpen has the distinct advantage of being portable so you can move it from room to room and keep half an eye on the puppy. Puppies have a natural tendency not to soil their sleeping area so it will tend to move around or whine in the playpen when it wants to go out. This should give you ample opportunity to take your puppy outside to your selected toilet area. A puppy is rarely able to go through the night without urinating. You can deal with this by taking your pup out just before you go to bed. You will then need to set your alarm and take your puppy out a maximum of five to six hours later. Leaving your puppy for example in the laundry all night and expecting it to hold on all night is counterproductive to your house training program as the pup will be forced to urinate in the house.

Inevitably, one or two accidents will happen, nobody is perfect! It is extremely important never to punish your puppy for eliminating in the house because the pup will associate the punishment with “the act” rather than its location. When accidents happen, you should clean the area thoroughly and then deodorise it so that there is no smell of urine left otherwise the puppy will tend to go back and use that spot again. 

Kongs And Toys

Dogs in the wild spend 95% of their time looking for food. Bowl feeding at the end of the day lasts approximately 2 minutes. Why not make the highlight of their day last hours? Try using everlasting treat balls, chew toys and bob-a-lots. Treat balls can be stuffed with honey and kibble. Pack it in tightly then refrigerate, the honey will set and be a challenge for your pet to get out. They can also be stuffed with food and then frozen. You don’t have to limit your dog to just one treat ball either. Leave their daily food amount hidden throughout the yard in several kongs / treat balls. Your imagination can make your dog’s life more interesting, therefore adding to their quality of life.