Puppy Care

All about Puppies

So, you’ve got a puppy. A couple of kilograms of love, energy, enthusiasm and fur! There are few things that compare to the sight of your puppy running to greet you, their face alive with joy and excitement, tail wagging, bounding along on those little legs. But with custodianship of your pup come a lot of responsibilities: the responsibility to safeguard their health, to ensure that your pup’s behaviour as they grow older – is acceptable to the people around you, and to keep them safe from unexpected dangers (e.g. cars, strange dogs, etc). So how can you meet these responsibilities?


Growing pups need a tremendous amount of calcium, protein and vitamins to meet their growth requirements. Failing to meet these requirements can result in stunted, unhealthy pups with soft, fragile bones. Unfortunately, there are still a lot of people who think that mince and milk is all their puppy needs. In fact, it has been estimated that a 3-5 month old Labrador pup, to meet his calcium requirements, needs to eat 97kgs of mince or drink 20 litres of milk, every day!! Obviously, this is just not possible. The West Toowoomba Vet Surgery recommends feeding high quality commercial puppy foods to young dogs till they are 8-12 months old. Premium brands, such as Eukanuba and Hills, consistently give us healthier pups than those fed on cheaper brands or homemade diets. There are different puppy foods available for different sized dogs, call into the Surgery and our trained staff will discuss with you the best diet for your pup.

Don’t feed your puppy onions, grapes or large amounts of chocolate (these are poisonous to dogs), stone fruit or corn on the cob (these can lodge in the intestinal tract, requiring surgical removal) or excessive amounts of fatty foods.


Puppies are vaccinated at 6-8 weeks, 12 weeks and 16 weeks, and then annually after that. Your puppy should be vaccinated by a veterinarian, not the breeder, and there should be a vaccination certificate with your pup. (Only a vet can properly check the pup over to ensure it is healthy before administering a vaccination, a key requirement to ensure the vaccine does work.).

Vaccines can be divided into “core” and “non-core” vaccines. Core vaccines are distemper, hepatitis, and parvovirus; non-core vaccines are parainfluenza and Bordetella (Kennel Cough), leptospirosis and coronavirus. When you bring your pup to the West Toowoomba Vet Surgery we will tailor a vaccination programme to suit your pup’s requirements. We do not routinely vaccinate against leptospirosis as there have not been any diagnosed cases from within Toowoomba. If you are travelling, then please let us know.

Our vets use a special type of parvo vaccination. The manufacturers of this vaccine guarantee it will work. So much so, they will cover the cost of parvo treatment, if your pup gets the disease, after we have used it (with certain restrictions).

Please be aware, that pups are NOT covered until 7 – 10 days after the last vaccination. We have also had pups come down with parvo virus, even when they have been kept indoors and had their first vaccine. So always be aware of your pup’s behaviour and appetite.

Often, the dogs that develop parvo virus are older dogs, whose vaccination has lapsed. So please pay attention to any reminders we send you.


Puppies, because they are young, have a relatively poorly-developed immune system and are therefore both more likely to pick up intestinal parasites and then to suffer severely from their effects. Every vet has seen puppies, wormed with cheap supermarket or pet shop worm tablets, with severe diarrhoea and anaemia from heavy worm burdens, and many of these puppies have died.

Round worms and hookworms can be transmitted to the pup while still in utero and through the mother’s milk. This means even new born pups can have worms if the mother hasn’t been wormed.

We recommend worming every 2 weeks till the puppy is 12 weeks old, then monthly till 6 months and after that, every 3 months. It is important that your pup receives the correct dose of the worm medication and that requires you know your pup’s weight. Follow this link to see what the risks to you and your family with worm parasites: Diseases you can catch from your pet’s worms

Flea Control

Fleas are a common parasite of puppies. At the West Toowoomba Vet Surgery we have seen puppies, covered with so many of these blood-sucking parasites, so anaemic that they needed a blood transfusion to survive.

Don’t let this happen to your puppy! Effective flea control is readily available at the West Toowoomba Vet Surgery. Flea collars, powders and shampoos just don’t work well enough, and so we do not recommend them at all.

There are many products on the market that will treat fleas. There is no one-size fits all solution. Which is why we recommend that you discuss control with the staff at West Toowoomba Veterinary Surgery when you come for vaccination. Be warned – if you buy a multipack of product, your pup may outgrow the product before you get to use it. That is why we apply single dose flea products. Again, you will be pleasantly surprised to find that our prices are cheaper than the pet shops – and you will get expert advice on their use from our trained staff!


Heartworm is a worm that lives in your dog’s heart, eventually causing heart failure and death. It is spread by mosquitoes. Worm tablets for intestinal worms do not prevent or treat this parasite. It is also capable of spreading to humans.

A recent Australia-wide survey found 16 cases of heartworm diagnosed in the Toowoomba region last year. It can be carried in foxes and wild dogs, creating a reservoir of infection for your dog. Treatment can have some nasty side effects, as well as not reversing the damage the worms do to your dog’s heart.

Fortunately it is easy to prevent, with options including monthly tablets or “spot-on” applications, or annual injections.

At the West Toowoomba Vet Surgery we can tailor a preventative program for your pup that will not only keep your pup safe from this parasite, but will suit your budget and lifestyle. Call in and discuss this with our friendly professional staff.

Puppy Pre-School

The West Toowoomba Vet Surgery has been offering Puppy Pre-School for more than 15 years, longer than any other practice in Toowoomba or district. Follow this link to learn more.


Every week between 10-20 dogs and puppies are destroyed in Toowoomba by the City Council and the RSPCA.

You can do your bit to prevent this horror by having your pup desexed before it breeds. Desexing is done at around 6 months of age. It is a day surgery, with your pet going home that afternoon. As well as preventing unwanted puppies, desexing also prevents your dog from tumours. For males, it also prevents a lot of unwanted behavioural problems, including straying and roaming. Consider the cost of getting your pet out of the pound is almost as much as it costs to get him desexed.

For females, it completely prevents ovarian cancers and unwanted puppies, while decreasing uterine infections and mammary tumours.

If you were wanting to breed, but not for a while, there is a chemical castration available which lasts between 6 – 12 months. Please call to discuss more details. For more information, follow this link.

Need more information?

Do you have specific questions about your pup’s health and well-being? Try looking in our Pet Library here. If you still can’t get the answers you need, please call us at the West Toowoomba Vet Surgery!