Meeting Your Puppy's Basic Health Needs

11 November 2014
 Categories: , Blog


Bringing your puppy home is sure to be an exciting day, but are you really clued-in on your responsibilities as your new puppy's owner? It's true that dogs give lots of love and bring joy to their human family, so you need to ensure that you meet their basic needs and give them the healthy life they deserve in return. Here's an overview of your responsibilities:


Your puppy should be vaccinated against the following diseases:

  • Distemper - This is a viral disease that is contagious to dogs and can cause lethargy, vomiting, convulsions and conjunctivitis. It's common for dogs with distemper to develop brain damage and die.
  • Hepatitis - This disease is often fatal in puppies and can be spread through urine for several months after a dog recovers. Symptoms of the disease include fever, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and loss of appetite.  
  • Canine Cough - This highly contagious disease can be passed between dogs in areas where they socialise. It's caused by the combination of bacteria and a virus, and infected dogs develop a hacking cough that's difficult to treat.
  • Parvovirus - This is a robust virus that is spread when dogs come into contact with infected excrement. The virus is difficult to kill and attacks the gastrointestinal system, causing vomiting, diarrhoea, abdominal pain and fever. Parvovirus is associated with a high mortality rate.

Your Puppy should be vaccinated at 6-8 weeks old and will require a follow-up vaccination at 12 weeks. You will then be required to have them vaccinated annually to ensure they remain protected from the aforementioned diseases. You should not take your puppy outside for exercise or socialisation until they have had their second vaccination at 12 weeks, as they will not be fully protected.

Worm And Flea Treatments

Your puppy is susceptible to roundworm, hookworm, whipworm and tapeworm. A worm infestation can result in your puppy experiencing abdominal pain, vomiting and diarrhoea. Puppies should be wormed every 14 days until they are three months old, then every four weeks until they are six months old. You should then continue to treat your dog every three months, and your vet can advise you on the best worming products for your dog.

Fleas can cause skin diseases in dogs and can also bite humans. Once they get onto your dog and your carpets, they can be difficult to get rid of, and you may have to have your home professionally treated to kill the larvae. The best cure for fleas is prevention, so use a topical flea treatment once a month. Not all treatments are suitable for puppies, so ask your vet for their recommendation.


Your puppy will grow quickly and requires a nutritious and balanced diet to thrive and remain healthy. Their dietary needs will change as they grow, and nutritional imbalances can cause digestive disorders, bone disease and skin conditions. Opt for high-quality dog food that's been specially formulated for the size, age and activity level of your dog. Your puppy will require a high protein diet to support the development of their bones and muscles, and their food should contain essential fatty acids for skin and coat health.

Additionally, many foods that you enjoy are toxic to dogs, so don't be tempted to share your lunch with your new buddy. Currants, garlic, onions, chocolate and grapes are just some of the foods that can harm your dog, so don't risk their health even if they have the cutest begging routine going on.

The best way to ensure your puppy's health needs are met is to register with a good local vet who is happy to give you advice on caring for your dog. You should feel comfortable asking questions, and they should provide you with details of their emergency and out-of-hours care procedures.

For more information, contact a business such as Ivanhoe Veterinary Clinic.