Congratulations on the arrival of your new family member. The following information is provided to help you with all the necessary health care your new puppy will require, including :-

Caring for your dog Index


To safeguard your pet from potentially serious and sometimes fatal diseases your puppy needs to be vaccinated (inoculated). Our vaccines protect against several diseases including Canine Parvovirus, Canine Distemper, Canine Hepatitis and Canine Parainfluenza Virus and Bordetella (Kennel Cough).

Your puppy’s vaccination/immunisation schedule

Puppy vaccinations can commence as young as 6 weeks of age. If your puppy is older we are able to commence a vaccination/immunization schedule anytime during puppyhood. So your puppy can socialise safely with other dogs and go for walks outdoors we aim to achieve full immunity by 12 weeks of age. If you are unsure about your puppy’s vaccination status please contact us before you take him/her outside for walks and to meet other dogs and pets.

When can your dog go to the park and walk outside without risk of infection?

As a rule of thumb, one week after the last vaccination your puppy can socialise with other dogs or go for walks in the park etc. At AdelaideVet this is 7 days after the 10-12 week vaccination booster.

To maintain immunity, adult dogs require an annual canine cough booster and tri-annual vaccination booster to protect against the remaining diseases for life. You will receive a reminder when your dogs’ yearly vaccination is due.


The most common worms that affect dogs in Australia are roundworm, hookworm, tapeworm and whipworm. Worms are a common cause of ill health in pets and can cause problems such as loss of appetite, vomiting, diarrhoea and in severe cases, death.

Puppies need to be wormed at with an all-wormer at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 weeks of age, then every month until 6 months of age and then every 3 months for life. We recommend Drontal or Canex Cubes for younger puppies. Read more about worming here.


Male and female puppies should be desexed at the age of 5 months. This is at a time when your pet is approaching sexual maturity and for females before they come on heat.

As well as reducing the number of unwanted pregnancies, desexing prevents pets from roaming, fighting or causing a nuisance to neighbours. In females desexing significantly reduces the risk of uterine and mammary cancer and in males castrating reduces the risk of cancer of the prostate gland and testicles. In male puppies, desexing can assist in preventing territory marking and leg lifting which adolescent male dogs tend to learn to do inside of the house first. Read more about desexing here.

Puppy Pre-School

We offer Puppy Pre-School classes for puppies between 10 and 14 weeks of age. These classes are a must for any pet owner wanting a well behaved sociable dog. The class places a strong emphasis on the importance of socialization and teaches basic training. Advice is available for any problems or questions you have regarding your puppy.

If you are interested in Puppy classes please call the hospital to make a booking or learn more about our classes here.

A puppy check-up – your puppies start to wellness for life

When your puppy visits us for a vaccination booster your veterinarian will undertake a puppy check-up including a full physical examination. During the first year of life we will also check for expected and non-expected changes in your puppy’s body such as retained puppy teeth, appropriate hip alignment, hernias and dewclaw development. Our nurses will also provide you with a nutritional plan which is critical during the growing phase of their life.

Heartworm Prevention

Heartworm disease can affect dogs and puppies and is very easily spread by mosquitoes. Unfortunately, the impact of heartworm is devastating which is why your puppy will need heartworm prevention medication. This treatment will commence from 12 weeks of age. You can choose to give your puppy a monthly spot-on preventative medication or a heartworm injection. The heartworm injection, Proheart can be given at 12-16 weeks of age, followed by an adult dose at 9 months of age and then a once a year injection thereafter. Heartworm prevention will continue throughout the life of your pet.

Flea Control

Fleas are unfortunately an ever-present nuisance to our pets. If fleas exist in the environment they will find a way onto your dog’s coat. Fortunately, they can be prevented easily and effectively with a once a month topical solution or tablet. All pets in the household need to be treated. Puppies can be given a topical flea treatment as early as 6-8 weeks of age. Our Veterinary Healthcare team can provide you with more information about effective flea control to suit your puppy and his/her environment. Read more about fleas here.

Dental Care

Teeth cleaning and gum massage are very important and best achieved by supplying your puppy with appropriate things to chew on. This helps exercise the teeth and gums and helps to prevent boredom. Be careful when selecting toys as puppies can accidentally break off and swallow pieces of plastic and rubber toys which could make them seriously ill. You can also give your puppy Greenies or Rawhide chews which are great for the teeth and gums and will provide hours of fun. Read more about dental care, chewing bones and more here.

Nutrition – a healthy diet

A balanced diet is essential for growing puppies. We recommend feeding a high quality commercially available puppy or growth formula so your pet receives all of the nutrients their organs and bones need. We stock several varieties of premium quality dog foods at our hospitals.

Puppies have small stomachs and require small meals often. Three to four meals spread throughout the day is best. Milk is unnecessary and can cause diarrhoea in those that are lactose intolerant. Clean water must be available at all times. Read more about feeding your puppy here.

Identification and Microchipping

Your puppy should be registered with the local council by the time they are 3 months of age. Some councils offer discounted registration for desexed pets. Your council will supply a dog tag for their collar but we also suggest a personalised dog tag with your contact details and a more permanent identification, microchipping.

Microchipping is a permanent form of identification in the form of a tiny chip, which is implanted under the skin. Registration details are kept with Central Animal Records and can be updated by the owner if there is any change in owner details. We recommend to microchip at the time of desexing as a tattoo is required in the right ear to identify them as being microchipped.

Pet Insurance

Pet Insurance is now available to cover your pet’s medical expenses including surgery, illness and accidents. Please ask us for a leaflet.


Puppies generally do not require lots of baths, however, if a bath is necessary make sure you use a mild shampoo. Canine skin is very different to ours. We recommend that your dog is bathed no more than once a week. Learn more about bathing your puppy here.

Home environment, bedding and toys

At home, your puppy needs somewhere comfortable to sleep and access to somewhere protected from the weather. When your puppy first arrives at home, he/she will be used to cuddling up with his/her brothers and sisters at night. This means you may experience some crying for the first couple of nights. To settle your puppy in, provide a familiar blanket and a basket or box to curl up in. You can also place a ticking clock under the blanket to simulate the mother’s heartbeat.

To keep your puppy’s bright little mind active, supply a good range of toys such as Kongs, treat balls, rope chews etc which are rotated over the period of a week. This will ensure the toys are appealing a novel each time they are given to your puppy.

If you are out and about you should have your puppy fitted with the correct lead and harness both for you and your puppy’s safety.

House training and training

There are certain signs you should watch out for that will alert you when your puppy needs to go outside. These include walking in circles, sitting or whining at the dog or sniffing on the ground. It is advisable to take your puppy outside first thing in the morning, after sleeping, after being left alone for a period of time, after eating and before they go to bed.

Accidents will happen! If you catch your puppy in the act you should take them outside immediately. NEVER spank your puppy, rub their nose in it or reprimand them after an accident. A puppy is too young to be able to connect this negative feedback with what he/she has done wrong.

Using praise is by far the best method of training. Puppies only want to please their owners. Give your puppy lots of positive reinforcement when they have done a great job. Learn more about puppy training and specific behaviour problems here.