Vaccination

We recommend a C5 vaccination to protect against Canine Parvovirus, Canine Distemper Virus, Infectious Canine Hepatitis and Infectious Canine Tracheobronchitis (kennel cough). An additional vaccine against Leptospirosis is available for at risk dogs.

During the vaccination consult, your veterinarian will perform a general health examination of your pet, and discuss important aspects of preventative care including diet, dental care and parasite control.

Puppies require a series of three vaccinations at ages:

  • 6-8 weeks
  • 10-12 weeks
  • 14-16 weeks

Adult dogs require booster vaccinations:

  • Every 12 months for infectious Canine Tracheobronchitis
  • Every three years for the remaining diseases (sometimes known as the C3)

If your puppy or dog is going into boarding kennels, doggy day care or grooming it will need to be current with these vaccines.

Parasite control

Fleas, ticks, intestinal worms and heartworm are all common parasites that can cause your dog or cat to become unwell. This can vary from mild to life threatening disease. Luckily these parasites can be easily prevented or controlled. In recent years there has been great progress in producing easy to use, effective and safe preventatives. There are topical, oral or injectable options depending on your preference. Please discuss options with the veterinary team. All in one products are now available and very popular.

Intestinal worms

Intestinal worms can cause diarrhoea and poor growth in puppies. Pups can be born with worms already inside them so regular treatment from a young age is recommended. Puppies must be wormed repeatedly as follows:

  • Every 2 weeks until they are 12 weeks old, then
  • Every month until 6 months old, then

Every 3-6 months for life (more often if associating with young children)

Heartworm

This parasite is spread by mosquitos. These worms can cause fatal damage to the lungs and heart of infected dogs. All dogs in Sydney must be protected against heartworm at all times of the year.

Puppies start heartworm protection at 10-14 weeks of age.

Options include an annual preventative injection, or there are oral products given monthly.

Fleas

Fleas are the most problematic parasite in the world.  They cause dermatitis and make your pet miserably itchy. Some dogs will be allergic to flea saliva and only a small exposure can be enough to trigger a severe problem. Anaemia can also occur in puppies that have not been protected. There are many safe and effective products that are easy to use to protect your pet against fleas.

Keep in mind that 95% of flea eggs, larva and pupae live in the environment and not on your pet at anyone time. That could be your carpets, beds, and sofas. Taking a proactive approach to flea prevention with your pets will also keep your home flea free too!

Year-round protection is required in Sydney.  The flea life cycle may slow down in winter but if you take a break from treating your pet it is likely you will experience a flea explosion in Spring and this will take time to get under control again.

Ticks

Paralysis ticks are common in many parts of Sydney, especially near bushland and water. They cause paralysis of all the muscles and if untreated, pets die from respiratory failure. Treatment can be expensive and involves the administration of an intravenous antitoxin. Severely affected animals may need to be placed on a ventilator to be saved. Ticks are most prevalent from August through to April, but they can be found all year round, and all year round prevention is recommended.

Newer preventatives in recent years have greatly reduced the number of cases of tick poisoning that require treatment. They are safe, effective and very easy to administer.

We also recommend checking you pet for ticks every day. This is done by running your fingertips over the skin, feeling for lumps. Most ticks are found on the head, neck and ears but you must check the skin all over the dog.

Early treatment for tick poisoning is important. The sooner they are treated, the less likely they may be to have life threatening complications. If you suspect your pet may have tick poisoning (even if you have not found a tick) please seek immediate veterinary attention.

Signs of tick paralysis may include one or more of the following:

  • Wobbly back legs
  • Difficulty breathing
  • Vomiting or retching
  • Change of voice or bark
  • Coughing or grunting sounds
  • Weakness climbing stairs
  • Reluctance to jump or even to walk

Pet identification

All dogs must be microchipped by law, but in addition to the compulsory NSW register, you can have your pet registered on the national private database (the Australian Animal Register, AAR). Make sure your details are kept up-todate on both registers so that your dog can be reunited with you quickly if he/she is ever lost.

Pets are returned home faster if they always wear a collar with your phone number engraved on the tag.

Feeding

There are many commercial foods designed to meet the exact nutritional requirements of growing puppies. The brands do vary in quality, with the premium brands aiming to provide additional beneficial ingredients to the growing dog. Choose a “puppy” or “growth” variety until the pet reaches 12 months (small breeds) or 18 months (large breeds) when he/she change over to “adult” or “maintenance” food. For breeds expected to grow to more than 25kg we recommend you choose a “large breed puppy” formulation to reduce the incidence of skeletal problems such as hip dysplasia, in later life.

At 8 weeks old most puppies need to be fed 3 times per day. This can be reduced to 2 meals per day by 12-16 weeks, and then if desired you may drop to one feed per day after 6-12 months of age. Meal size guidelines can be found on the food label, but they are often overly generous. Any change of diet must be made gradually, over 3-5 days, to prevent your new puppy getting diarrhoea. We recommend Hills Vet essentials or Royal Canin.

Dental care

Your dog will require regular dental care throughout their life to maintain a healthy pain free mouth. Ideally this would combine a home care plan as well as intermittent visits to the “dentist” for a scale and polish.

A good home care plan might include tooth brushing, specific dental diets and appropriate use of dental chews. Different options will suit different dogs and we can help you decide what might work best for you and your dog.

Tooth brushing is the gold standard in homecare. Training you puppy for tooth brushing at an early age can be very beneficial. Introducing this slowly and with a reward makes it a positive experience.

Desexing

Desexing puppies is important to reduce unwanted litters and reduce aggression and straying. It can also reduce a number of serious diseases including some cancers. Talk with your vets about the best time for this surgery for your pet.

Desexing is performed under general anaesthetic and requires a hospital stay which may be overnight. Pain relief is tailored for each patient for an optimal and smooth recovery following surgery.

Socialisation and training

The experiences your puppy has during it’s first 16 weeks of life will greatly influence the sort of adult dog it grows into. It is important that your puppy interacts with other people, dogs and puppies during this time to help prevent it developing antisocial behaviour.

Puppy preschool is an ideal way to socialise puppies of this age because all the pups attending classes have started their vaccination program and the sessions are moderated by dog trainer who ensures the puppies learn to play nicely. It is preferable to complete the four-week course by the time the puppy is 16 weeks old.

Encourage your puppy to meet new people and dogs under supervision in a ‘clean’ environment such as a backyard (where all dogs that have been in the yard have been vaccinated). Dog parks and beaches should be avoided until 2 weeks after your pup’s final vaccination due to the risk of contagious diseases.

Toilet training involves frequent positive reinforcement rather than punishment. When the pup starts to sniff and circle, and always after eating, playing or sleeping, take the puppy outside to the area you want it to eliminate and stay with it until it does. After the puppy toilets reward him/her with praise and a food treat.

Ignore mistakes because the puppy will not associate any punishment with the mess on the floor.

We run puppy school in clinic on a weekly basis. The class is run by Libby Young of The Sound Hound www.thesoundhound.com.au

Dog training classes are stimulating for dogs and owners! Local training clubs include:

Pet Health Insurance

Pet insurance can be a life saver. Modern veterinary care is surprisingly advanced and we can offer a high level of care if your dog becomes seriously ill or injured. However, unlike the human health care system there is no government funding to help pay for the treatment, and it can become expensive.

A number of companies offer pet health insurance to help you give your pet the best care when they need it.