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Puppy Care | Pet Advice | North Road Veterinary Centre

Puppy Care

A happy dog is one that is kept active, well trained, well socialised and healthy.

A new beginning with your puppy

  • Your new puppy needs an abundance of attention and care
  • When naming your puppy, remember short names are easier for puppies to learn
  • Teach your puppy its name by using it constantly
  • Buy collars that allow for two finger widths of space between the neck and collar, and check the collar's fit every week while your puppy is still growing
  • You can comfort your puppy at bedtime by providing a blanket or plush pet toy to cuddle, a ticking clock wrapped in a blanket can also help as it mimics the mother's heartbeat
  • Your puppy's baby teeth will be completely replaced with adult teeth by 5 or 6 months of age. Most baby teeth are swallowed, but you may occasionally find a baby tooth in your puppy's bedding
  • Regularly brush your puppy's coat
  • Get your puppy used to having its feet and face handled- regularly brush its teeth, check its ears and clip its nails.

Play with your puppy for a happy, healthy life

  • Puppies whose physical, intellectual and social needs are met by regular exercise are less prone to digging, chewing, barking or nipping
  • Buy intellectual toys, like a rubber toy that can be filled with kibble, to challenge and stimulate your puppy
  • Make sure toys are large and sturdy enough that they can't be swallowed and discard any broken toys
  • Alternate toys during playtime so your puppy won't get tired of them
  • Give your puppy pet-safe chew toys so your furniture, shoes and remote controls won't be destroyed. Puppies chew to investigate new objects and to loosen baby teeth
  • Playing fetch is great exercise for your puppy and can be great fun for you
  • Avoid games that teach aggressive behaviour (such as tug-of-war) or that encourage dogs to wrestle with or chase children or adults
  • Give your puppy opportunities to play with other dogs while supervised, especially dogs close in age, to promote positive social behaviour

Regular vet visits keep your puppy healthy

We recommend you make an appointment for a health check soon after you bring your new puppy home.

If your puppy is suffering from diarrhoea, vomiting or showing other unusual symptoms contact us immediately.


Puppies should begin vaccinations as early as 6 weeks of age. They will then typically require further vaccinations at 12 and 16 weeks of age. At the North Road Veterinary Centre we  recommend a vaccination program tailored to best meet your puppy's needs.

The following diseases are preventable by vaccinations:

  • Distemper: Viral disease that affects the respiratory, digestive and nervous systems
  • Hepatitis: Viral disease that affects the liver
  • Parvovirus: Viral infection that causes fatal or severe diarrhoea and vomiting
  • Canine Cough: Viral and bacterial infections that can cause bronchitis and bronchopneumonia

Desexing your puppy is in you and your puppy's best interest

  • Research shows that speyed or neutered pets live longer and have reduced risks of a variety of serious health problems, including certain types of cancer
  • Desexing at a young age (4-6 months) often helps prevent behavioural problems, like urine marking and aggression
  • Speying or neutering your pet helps control pet overpopulation.

The Desexing Procedure - What to Expect

Nutrition and your puppy

Due to their rapid growth and development, it is very important that puppies are fed an appropriate diet. The most rapid stage of a puppy's growth is in the first 6 months.

At least 80% of a puppy's diet should be a high quality, well balanced puppy food. Puppies are generally quite happy to have a diet entirely composed of puppy food.

Find the perfect balance:

  • The professional range of puppy and dog foods (eg Hills and Royal Canin) are not only completely balanced but also offer a very high standard of nutrition and high digestibility. A full range of these diets is available at our clinic, and the team is always happy to guide you and provide advice.
  • It is acceptable to supplement your puppy's diet with freshly cooked food such as meat, chicken and vegetables.
  • Do not feed any rich or fatty leftovers and certain foods should be avoided (see below). 
  • Puppies should be fed 3 times a day until 6 months of age. After this you can reduce to twice daily feeding, and by 12 months of age to once daily feeding (or it is also acceptable to divide their total daily intake into twice daily feeding).
  • Be careful not to overfeed. This is particularly important in large breed puppies, as this can cause them to grow too quickly, leading to joint problems and arthritis later in life.
  • Remember scraps have calories too.
  • Any changes in diet should be introduced gradually, helping to prevent any stomach upsets
  • Fresh water should always be available.

Parasite Control

  • There are three main categories of parasite that are of concern for puppy and dog health: intestinal worms (roundworm, tapeworm, whipworm and hookworm), fleas/ticks and heartworm. Control measures for these should be introduced from 6-8 weeks of age.
  • Treatments and preventative medications are available at the clinic in the form of tablets, spot-ons and injectable (heatworm); these should be continued as ongoing preventative care throughout your dog's life. Our team can advise you as to the best option to meet you and your dog's needs.
Parasite Control in Puppies and Dogs Advice


Certain human foods are toxic to dogs. Do not feed:

  • onions, onion powder or any food containing onion, so no bolognaise sauce!
  • garlic
  • grapes
  • chocolate- even small amounts can be toxic
  • fatty foods


Enjoy the many years of love and companionship with your very best friend.

Homepage header image by Cara Dione Photography