Dog & Puppy Care
Owning a dog is an invaluable experience bringing so much joy to the lives of adults and children. Dogs are loyal and affectionate animals requiring a lot of care and attention, and for this reason they can be a big responsibility, but the commitment is a rewarding experience.
Any further enquiries regarding canine health can be directed to our clinic staff who are happy to help.
The enjoyment and satisfaction you get from your dog will largely be determined by their behaviour. An adult dog’s behaviour and character is predominantly established by 16 weeks of age. During this critical socialisation period we recommend that puppies attend Puppy Preschool classes.
Attending such classes, along with ongoing at-home training, will greatly improve the chance of your dog developing into a safe, well-adjusted, and enjoyable adult dog.
We believe prevention is the best approach to healthcare and vaccinations play a key role in this. Puppies typically require three rounds of vaccinations at 6-8 weeks, 10-12 weeks, 14-16 weeks, and every 12 months after this.
Routine vaccinations will protect your puppy or dog against Distemper, Hepatitis, Parvo Virus, Parainfluenza and Bordetella. Try to avoid your puppy’s exposure to public areas until 7 days after the 10-12-week needle and eliminate their contact with unknown dogs until 7 days after the 16-week needle, as they won’t be completely protected against Kennel Cough until then.
We also recommend treating your dog against intestinal worms, heartworm and fleas. This usually occurs every 3 months for intestinal worms, and every moth for heartworm and fleas.
It is essential that dogs are given a complete and balanced diet to maintain good health. Diet largely contributes to weight control, oral health, gut health, healthy stool, and coat condition, all of which are important to support to prevent illness, infections, and disease.
When choosing a puppy food it is best to consult the pet shop staff or breeder from whom the puppy was purchased to avoid sudden changes in their diet, as this can result in an upset stomach early on.
As a guide, frequency of feeding should be:
12 weeks and under: 4 meals per day
12 weeks – 6 months: 3 meals per day
6+ months: 2 meals per day
After this either one large or preferably two smaller meals should be provided.
The amount fed to your dog will depend on the puppies age, breed, activity level, and the type of food. Most dog foods will have a feeding guide on the packet. We recommend feeding at the lower end of the recommended range to avoid maximum growth rates and therefore reduce the likelihood of developmental bone problems. If your dog or puppy is in ideal condition, you will easily feel their ribs under their skin. If not, they could be overweight and you may need to consult a veterinarian.
We recommend desexing your puppy between 5-6 months old, however this procedure can be undertaken at any age. Desexing is a safe and routine procedure with little downtime and minimum discomfort for your pet.
There are numerous behavioural and medical benefits of desexing your dog. In male dogs these include reduced fighting, reduced wandering (and therefore reduced chance of car accidents or impoundment by ranger), and reduced incidence of hormone related medical conditions such as prostate enlargement and anal tumours.
In females it eliminates the problems associated with being ‘on heat’ such as blood spotting and of course the chance of unwanted litters. In older females the risk of life-threatening infections of the uterus are eliminated and the risk of mammary or breast cancer is also greatly reduced.
The surgery involves a general anaesthetic and a day in hospital and most dogs recover very well within a few days. Occasionally other procedures such as repair of an umbilical hernia or removal of retained baby teeth can be coincided with this visit.
Puppy preschool is a great opportunity for your new pup to socialise and learn basic behaviours that will lay the foundation for building good habits. Puppies should be enrolled between 8-16 weeks old while they’re going through a critical learning and socialisation period.
After many years we unfortunately no longer run Puppy Preschool classes at Cannington Veterinary Hospital, however we highly recommend Billy’s Day-Care for Dogs located in Belmont. Their classes run every Wednesday evening from 6:30-7:30pm, focusing on behaviour, body language, psychology, and socialisation.
Billy’s Day Care also holds training courses for puppies aged 8-20 weeks every Saturday morning for 4 weeks.