Puppies are normally weaned by 6 weeks of age. They can be separated from their mother and are able to eat solid food.
This should start as soon as you get your puppy home. Take the puppy outside about 15 minutes after it has eaten, as soon as it wakes up from a nap or finishes playing, and before and after bedtime. If, at any other time the puppy starts to go to the toilet inside take it outside IMMEDIATELY. Never punish your puppy for an accident but when your puppy does get it right remember to praise him or her so that it quickly learns this is acceptable behaviour.
Your puppy should have been introduced to solid food before it leaves its mother. Puppies have high-energy needs and require nutrients such as calcium and phosphorus to aid their rapid growth. Specially formulated puppy diets are available.
This means you do not have to add any mineral or vitamin supplements or feed milk. They have the added advantage of aiding good dental health and minimise digestive problems. It is important with these diets to always have water readily available.
Feed your puppy small regular meals 4 times daily, reducing to 3 times daily at 8 weeks then twice daily at 12 weeks. Consider once daily after 6 months of age.
Raw meats can be very rich for puppies and do not provide the nutritional balance of the specially formulated diets. It is illegal to feed raw sheep meat or offal (unless it has been thoroughly cooked or deep-frozen for two weeks) due to the risk of sheep measles and potentially hydatid tapeworms.
There are rawhide bones and solid rubber chews available for your puppy to chew on.
All puppies are infected early in life with roundworms, which left untreated can cause poor condition and gut problems. Puppies need to be wormed every 2 weeks from 2 weeks of age until they are 3 months old with a product effective against roundworms. Then treatment at 3-4 monthly intervals with a product effective against whipworm, hookworm, roundworm and tapeworms.
As some worms can affect humans, it is important to wash your hands after handling dogs of any age. Dispose of dog faeces as frequently as possible.
Flea control is not just a summer problem. Fleas can cause anaemia in puppies and significant skin disease in dogs. There are a number of easy to use, safe and effective products available from our clinics for year-round flea control. Ask one of our team to advise you on the best flea control for your puppy.
Female dogs can be desexed from 4-6 months of age before they come into season. This saves the worry of unwanted pregnancy and significantly reduces the risk of diseases of the mammary glands. Male dogs can be neutered (castrated) at 4-6 months of age. This may greatly reduce wandering and aggression towards other dogs.
Vaccination significantly reduces the risk of disease. Every dog has a different risk depending upon the environment in which it lives, works and plays and the amount of interaction it has with other dogs. Our vets will discuss the best vaccination programme for your dog. We recommend vaccination against Parvovirus, Distemper, Hepatitis and Leptospirosis. Kennel Cough vaccination may be recommended if your puppy will be staying in boarding kennels, attending dog shows or going to doggy daycare.
Vaccination can begin as early as 6 weeks of age. Vaccinations are given at 3-4 week intervals and usually finish at 16 weeks of age. Before your puppy is vaccinated he or she will be given a complete physical examination to assess overall health. Puppies are particularly susceptible to parvovirus, which is spread through faeces from infected dogs. It is recommended to limit your puppy’s access to public parks, footpaths and other dogs until 10 days after the vaccination programme has been completed at 16 weeks.
Adult Dogs require a health check once a year along with appropriate vaccinations to ensure continued protection. The clinic will send you an annual reminder when the annual health check is due.
Between the ages of 4 and 16 weeks of age, puppies go through their socialisation period. This is a critical period in a dog’s life when it needs to experience all types of situations and people in a positive friendly way. This will help develop your puppy into a well-mannered, enjoyable pet.
During the socialisation period, try to introduce your puppy to many learning situations and a variety of people and dogs. Obviously, until the vaccination course is completed, be careful not to take your puppy to areas which pose a threat of infectious diseases.
Puppy pre-schools are a great way to socialise your puppy with other dogs. Ask our customer service team about our puppy pre-schools that are available.
All dogs must be registered once they are 3 months old. This is done at your local council office. As part of registration, all dogs (except working farm dogs) need to be micro-chipped within 2 months of being registered. A small ‘chip’ is injected under the skin on the back of the neck area where it remains for life. This provides life-long undisputable identification of your pet. The details on the chip are easily detected with a special scanner and those details are kept on a readily accessible database.
Franklin Vets is a New Zealand Veterinary Association approved micro-chipping centre. As well as micro-chipping your dog, we provide all the documentation and verification required by the local councils.
The pet equivalent of our health care plans are well worth considering. There are a number of schemes and there are brochures in our waiting area outlining the policies available.