New Puppy Prep: Part One - A Guide to Health, Vaccines, Grooming, Nutrition & Milestones

New Puppy Prep: Part One - A Guide to Health, Vaccines, Grooming, Nutrition & Milestones

Vanessa LeRoux


Venturing on welcoming a new puppy into your home is a tapestry of choices and cherished moments. Whether you're adopting a furry friend in need or buying a specific breed, the path ahead is filled with decisions that shape their health and well-being.





From safeguarding against parasites and scheduling pivotal vet visits to ensure they're up-to-date with vaccinations and attentive to any signs of discomfort like vomiting and diarrhoea, every step is a testament to your care.





But it's not just about health; it's about happiness, too. Delight in selecting the perfect grooming routine and savouring the joy of choosing the right puppy food and treats. As you keep them warm, comfy and well-fed, you're not just ensuring their well-being but building a treasure trove of sweet memories that will last a lifetime.





Tan and white puppy is ready to be adopted!




Second Chances & New Beginnings: Discovering Your Perfect Puppy Match





When it comes to choosing the perfect puppy, the world is your oyster. From countless breeds with their unique quirks to individual personalities waiting to be discovered, the choices are endless. The world is brimming with wonderful welfare dogs, including breed-specific rescues, all waiting for a loving home.





Adopting a puppy is heartwarming, giving a second chance to a four-legged friend in need. It's a beautiful way to find a loyal companion while making a positive impact.





Both paths, whether adopting or buying, come with their own set of joys and challenges. It's a deeply personal choice. Most importantly, every puppy, no matter its origin, is a joy waiting to fill your life with love.





blue and white vet symbol.




Paw-positive Vibes Only: Your Pup's Health & Well-being Journey Begins!





Setting the Stage for Lifelong Health: The 8-Week Vet Visit!





Yay! It's time for your furry little bundle of joy's first big adventure to the vet! At the tender age of eight weeks, your puppy is all set for their debut vet visit. This isn't just any ordinary visit; it's special! They'll receive their very first vaccinations to keep them healthy and hopping. But that's not all! They'll also get a gentle deworming treatment, protection against those pesky fleas and ticks, and even their very own microchip (it's like their secret superhero badge!).





And oh, those tiny toenails? They'll get a little trim to ensure your pup's paws are perfect. The vet will also share some golden nuggets of advice, including any breed-specific health concerns your pup may have, to help you both on this exciting journey. This visit might be a tad longer, but it's all for a good reason.





New puppy with long ears is getting prepared for a healthy start at his first vet visit.




Your vet will lovingly check your pup's skeletal structure, weigh them to ensure they're growing just right, examine their shiny coat, peek into their mouth for a dental check, and even give those floppy ears a gentle once-over.





By the end of it, you'll have a complete picture of your puppy's overall demeanour and health. It's all about making sure your little one is as happy and healthy as they can be. Here's to the start of many tail-wagging adventures together! ?





A puppy mixed breed scratching because of fleas.




Puppy Parasite Prevention: The Importance of Regular Deworming and Flea Checks





In puppy health, deworming and flea & tick treatments are like equipping our little furballs with the best tools to fend off tiny adversaries. While these minuscule parasites may seem insignificant, their influence on your pup's well-being is anything but. Let's take a look at what is needed to safeguard our cuddly companions, ensuring they wiggle and wag without a worry in the world!





A new puppy is prepared for playing after having a bath.




The Importance of Regular Puppy Deworming: Setting Your Puppy on the Path to Health





Deworming is a crucial aspect of your puppy's health regimen. In their first year, puppies are especially susceptible to various intestinal parasites, so keeping a consistent deworming schedule is essential. Typically, deworming starts at two weeks of age and continues every two weeks until twelve weeks. From twelve weeks to six months, it's recommended to deworm once a month, and after six months, every three months is generally sufficient.





Puppies should be treated for a range of worms, including roundworms, hookworms, whipworms and tapeworms. While deworming treatments are generally safe, it's not uncommon for puppies to experience some side effects. These can include mild stomach upset, diarrhoea or even vomiting. However, these symptoms are usually short-lived and not a cause for alarm.





It's always a good idea to consult your vet about the best deworming schedule and products for your specific breed and region. Remember, regular deworming not only ensures your puppy's health but also protects your family and other pets from potential transmission.





This new puppy Shih Tzu  is ready for its new home.




Puppy's First Defense: Tailored Tick & Flea Treatments





Keeping our furry friends free from ticks and fleas is paramount for their well-being. But it's not just about treating the pup; it's equally essential to address their environment to tackle any lurking eggs or pesky fleas waiting to hop on.





The market is brimming with a plethora of tick and flea treatment options. The choices are vast, from powders that can be sprinkled on their coat to spot-on treatments that offer month-long protection. And let's not forget the handy collars infused with preventive ingredients or the oral medications that keep pests at bay from the inside out.





However, special care is needed for our tiniest companions, especially those little puppies weighing under 2kgs. While they, too, can benefit from tick and flea treatments, it's crucial to proceed with caution. Always seek your vet's guidance, which you'll conveniently receive during their inaugural eight-week visit.





Remember, every puppy is unique, and what works for one might not be suitable for another, especially when they're so petite. Prioritising their safety with informed choices is the way to go!





A young Boxer pup lies down feeling a bit sickly.




Puppy Tummy SOS: Addressing Vomiting and Diarrhea Promptly





Vomiting and diarrhoea in puppies can be very concerning signs. Often, these symptoms arise from food incompatibility or when a deworming medication doesn't quite hit the mark. However, other culprits can include ingestion of foreign objects, bacterial or viral infections, or even sudden changes in diet.





It's essential to remember that our little pups are especially vulnerable. Due to their small size, they can become dehydrated from these symptoms in just six hours. If you notice these signs, a prompt visit to the vet is crucial to ensure your puppy's health and well-being. Always prioritise their safety and monitor any changes closely.





Protexin Soluble Treatment for Upset Tum-Tums





An answer to potential tummy problems is Protexin Soluble, a palatable, multi-strain probiotic suitable for puppies and adult dogs.





This probiotic powder helps ensure a beneficial balance of digestive tract micro-organisms in all animals. It is a completely natural biological product which helps to boost immunity. This, in turn, enables the puppy to resist the effects of stress and infections.





It can be given to your pup to balance the microflora in the digestive system. It aids in controlling diarrhoea of non-specific origin, and should your puppy require any antibiotic therapy, it will restore their gut microflora.





A young Husky pup gets vaccinated by the vet.




The Science of Safety: Vaccination Timelines and Benefits





Vaccinations are highly effective and incredibly safe, a small act that carries big benefits. They protect your puppy from a host of potentially life-threatening diseases and untold suffering.





Adhering to the vaccination schedule is of utmost importance; it's the roadmap to building a robust immune system for your pup. After the initial series, the next set of vaccinations typically comes nine to twelve months later, followed by annual boosters.





Vaccination of Dogs *
6-8 weeks old Combination vaccine
10-12 weeks old Combination vaccine
14-16 weeks old Combination vaccine or Parvo and rabies
Combination Vaccines of Dogs Effectively Protect Against:
Parvovirus A deadly, highly contagious virus
Distemper A much less contagious virus but of equal danger
Adenovirus Upper airway and liver disease
Parainfluenza Upper airway disease
Some Vaccines Include the Following Protection:
Coronavirus Diarrhoea and Simultaneous Infection with Parvovirus resulting in severe disease
Bordetella This bacteria is one of the causes of Kennel Cough




A vet carefully brushed a young Australian Shepherd.




The Grooming Guide: Gentle Care for Your Puppy's Coat





Ready, set, groom! ? From the get-go, it's spa time for your little furball. Introducing them early to splashy baths and gentle brush-outs makes the whole experience a delightful routine. Always reach for that special puppy shampoo – it's like a gentle hug for their skin. And remember, no other shampoos need apply!





While it's tempting to have frequent bath times, it's best to space them out. We want to keep those natural, shiny oils dancing on their coat.





When it's brushy-brush time, be as soft as a feather, gently whisking away any little tangles. Oh, and if you ever find your pup looking like they've had a wild adventure in the underbrush, don't fret! Your vet can play the hero during vaccine visits, sorting out those tricky knots.





A new puppy Spaniel is in the bath getting washed.




The goal? It's all about making grooming feel like a fun cuddle session, not a beauty pageant. So, make it a joyous, tail-wagging time! (Remember your pup can only leave the house to go on adventures when they've had their final puppy vaccinations at sixteen weeks.) Click here for an in-depth look at how to brush and bath your dog.





Puppy Chow 101: Nourishing the Next Canine Generation





Roll out the red carpet because when your little star arrives at eight weeks or older, they'll be ready for the gourmet world of dry puppy food! Puppy food is like the superfood of the doggy world, packed with all the proteins and fats to fuel their adorable growth spurts.





While adult dog food might seem tempting, it's like serving them a salad when they need a hearty meal. Stick to the puppy chow; it's tailor-made for their tiny tummies and big energy needs!





Thinking of introducing a new brand of puppy food? It's simpler than you might think. Whether they started with a breeder's recommendation or a shelter's choice, transitioning is straightforward. Just follow the 25% rule: each day, replace a quarter of their current food with your chosen brand. You'll have seamlessly switched over in just four days, ensuring your pup's tummy stays content and happy.





There are three general types of puppy food to choose from:





A tiny French Bulldog puppy with blue eyes looks up at the camera.




Growing Right: Strengthening the Minds and Bodies of Small & Medium Breeds





Have you ever wondered what fuels the boundless zest in those puppy eyes or the spirited wag of that tail? Dive deep into the world of small and medium breed dog nutrition, and you'll discover the magic!





This food is a tribute to the little dynamos like Maltese Poodles, Jack Russells, Dachshunds, Shih Tzus, and Yorkies, as well as the medium-sized marvels like Spaniels, Bosties, Staffies, Border Collies, Frenchies and Springers.





Crafted with approximately 10% more protein and 20% more fat than your average dog food, it's the dream match for those pups with a weight goal of up to 26kgs.





With their swift metabolisms and hearty appetites, every bite is a nutritional fiesta designed to bolster their natural defences and amplify their immune systems.





A small Dappled Dachshund puppy with one blue eye and one brown eye<br>.




Brainy Bites: And it's not all about brawn. Infused with DHA, this food champions our clever pups, ensuring they're not just lively but also sharp-witted and eager learners.





Energised for Play & Growth: Tailored for our canine friends, from the tiniest ones to those aiming for a solid 26kgs, this food ensures that every nibble is a powerhouse of nutrition. And a loving note for the doting pet parent: always opt for kibbles that fit snugly between those eager jaws, whether tiny or just a bit bigger.





Remember, given their rapid skeletal and muscle development, our petite and medium-sized buddies transition from puppy-specific food sooner than their larger counterparts.





Pups who will achieve an adult weight of up to 10 kgs mature at ten months. Those babies around the medium mark size (up to 26kg) mature at 12 months. So, here's to feeding them right, watching them flourish, and celebrating every wag and woof!





To learn more about food brands, click on the links provided: Food brands that combine small and medium breeds in one size are: Nutribyte, Orijen, Acana, Field+Forest, Montego Classic and Montego Karoo. Many food brands separate small and medium puppy foods; they include: HIll's Science Plan, Eukanuba, Royal Canin, Farmina, and Ultra Dog.





A new St. Bernard puppy ready for a walk.




Building Bigger, Better Pups: Large Breed Puppy Nutrition





Imagine you're prepping a meal for a future basketball star – that's kind of what feeding a large breed puppy feels like! These gentle giants, from labs and goldens to rotties and saint bernards (and all the delightful mixes in between), come with big paws and even bigger appetites. They're destined for greatness, and their food should match that promise.





Think of large breed puppy food as the ultimate power meal. While regular dog food is like your everyday breakfast cereal, large breed puppy food is the hearty oatmeal loaded with all the toppings. Here's the scoop:





Calcium & Phosphorus:





These big pups need their bones to be as strong as their spirits. A special balance of calcium and phosphorus ensures they grow sturdy and healthy without the risk of skeletal issues.





Protein Power:





Just like athletes need their protein shakes, these puppies need an extra protein boost for muscle development. It's all about helping them grow strong and lean.





Fats – The Good Kind:





While fats are energy boosters, we want our large puppies to grow without packing on unnecessary kilos. So, their food has just the right amount of fat to keep them active and healthy.





Caloric Punch:





Despite their size, these pups have relatively small tummies. So, every bite they take needs to be packed with nutrients and calories to fuel their adventures.





Vitamins & Minerals Galore:





To top it all off, large breed puppy food sprinkles in some extra vitamins and minerals. Think of these as the cherry on top, supporting everything from joint health to a robust immune system.





So, next time you're feeding your soon-to-be colossal canine, remember you're fueling a legend in the making! To view the products of these brands, click on the links provided. Brands offering large breed to giant puppy formulas include Royal Canin, Orijen, Eukanuba, Montego Classic, Montego Karoo, Field+Forest, Ultra Dog and Acana. Farmina offers medium and large together.





All-breed puppy food comes in the following brands: Wuma, Omega and Monty & Me.





Royal Canin's Puppy range, from extra small to giant, there's a bowl of nutritious puppy for perfect for all size pups.




From DNA to Dinner: How Genetics Shapes Your Dog's Diet





Royal Canin Breed Health Nutrition offers tailored nutrition specifically designed to meet the individual needs of your breed-specific canine companions.





They research breed-specific traits and combine scientific and nutritional research from their network of experts to create precise nutrition for the various dog breeds. 





The basis for the start of the individualisation journey was the launch of Genetic Health Analysis (GHA). This test scans dogs' DNA, allowing veterinarians to create customised health plans that reflect each dog's unique genetic code. ?





Breed Health Nutrition features high-quality protein sources and unique nutrients and is designed with specific shape, size and texture for each dog's facial and jaw structures and biting patterns.





Breed-Specific Food from Royal Canin Includes the Following Breeds:
Beagle English Bulldog Jack Russell Terrier Rottweiler
Boxer French Bulldog Labrador Retriever Schnauzer
Chihuahua German Shepherd Pomeranian Shih Tzu
Cocker Spaniel Golden Retriever Poodle Yorkshire Terrier
Dachshund Great Dane Pug Breed-Specific Mix




Bowls & Brands: Celebrating the Diversity of Doggy Diets!





Hey, puppy parents! Remember, just as we all have our unique tastes, our puppies do too. Different brands offer varied nutritional blends, so it's not a one-size-fits-all.





Before settling on a food choice, it's wise to chat with your vet. They're the go-to experts to ensure your pup gets the best plate possible. Here's to happy and healthy munching!





A Bernese Mountain Dog happily enjoys her treat.




Beyond the Bark: A Guide to Nutritious Puppy Treats





When it comes to our puppies, every morsel they munch on matters. During their early months, they undergo rapid physical and mental growth. So, their diet needs to be spot-on.





Remember, treats are just that – a treat, so let's make sure they're both delicious and nutritious! Here's a guide to treating your puppy right:









Stick to the Plan: Your puppy's primary diet should be based on the feeding instructions from the puppy food brand you've chosen. This ensures they get the right balance of nutrients they need.





Treats in Moderation: Between two and four months, it's wise to limit treats. While they might wag their tails for more, treats should never make up more than 10% of their diet.





Choose Soft Chew or Meaty: At this tender age, puppies have sensitive gums. Opt for soft chew and meaty treats and avoid anything sharp that could harm their mouth or throat.





Rows of dog biscuits on the drying rack, perfect for new puppies.




Nutrition boosted: Puppy treats come fortified with essential vitamins and nutrients. These are the gold standard. They not only satisfy their taste buds but also contribute to their health.





Watch Out for Nasties: Steer clear of treats loaded with additives, artificial colours, flavours, excessive carbs, salt and sugar. Natural is the way to go.





Consult the Expert: While the treat aisle can be tempting, always remember to consult your vet. They can provide guidance on the best treats for your pup's unique needs.





Mixed breed tri-coloured puppy runs in the forest.




Puppy Milestones: From Paw Prints to Parties to Digital Diaries






  1. ? Puppy Growth Chart: Maintain a physical or digital chart where you note down your puppy's weight and measurements at regular intervals over time. If you've got a big puppy, make use of the scale at your vet's office.




  2. ? Monthly Photo Sessions: Take a photo of your puppy in the same spot (next to a specific toy or piece of furniture) every month to visually capture their growth. Soon, you'll have a series of pictures that show their transformation from pup to adult dog. Use your cellphone to upload your pics in a digital revolving photo frame, place it on your desk and enjoy the cuteness overload that is a puppy's growth and development.




  3. ? Video Montages: Record short video clips of your puppy's antics, play sessions, training moments and other significant events. Compile these clips annually or semi-annually into a montage. Make a corresponding audio record of how your pup's bark changes from a young pup's sweet little yap to a full-grown barking session.




  4. ? Paw Prints: Capture your puppy's paw print using non-toxic ink or a clay imprint kit. You can repeat this as they grow to see how their paws have grown. For an easy-to-use imprinting template, make salt dough (Mix 1 cup of salt, 2 cups of flour and 1 cup of warm water, knead the mixture, roll it flat, and your pawprint template is ready!).




  5. ? Interactive Apps: There are several pet-focused apps available that allow you to track your puppy's growth, vaccinations, training progress, photos, grooming and more. Check out Dog Diary for Tracking Pets or DogLog.




  6. ? Scrapbooking & Puppy Journaling: Create a scrapbook dedicated to your puppy. Include photos, notes and mementoes like their first collar or a snippet of fur from their first grooming session. Jot down milestones, funny moments, new tricks learned and any changes in behaviour or habits.




  7. ? Social Media Account: Start an Instagram, Facebook, TikTok or Twitter account specifically for your puppy. Share photos, videos, and updates regularly. Before you know it, your pup could be boasting a serious following!




  8. ? Puppy Parties: Round up your friends and family's dogs and celebrate your puppy's monthly or yearly milestones with a small party. Not only will you see more of your loved ones, but you'll also socialise your pup. Don't forget to hold the first one after they've all their vaccines.





The key is consistency. Whichever method(s) you choose, try to update it regularly to get a comprehensive view of your puppy's transformation. Always use the same background as a yardstick against which to measure their growth. These records will become cherished memories of your doggo's journey from a tiny pup to a full-grown dog.





Look who just got adopted! Young pup with "adopted' superimposed.




Paw-sitively Prepared for Puppyhood!





In the whirlwind of puppy kisses, wagging tails, and those irresistible "play with me" eyes, it's essential to remember the foundation of a happy puppy life: health, grooming, and, of course, those scrumptious treats! From timely vaccinations that shield them from the big, bad world of germs to grooming sessions that transform them from muddy rascals to fluffy divas, every step counts.





And let's not forget the culinary delights – the right food to fuel their boundless energy and treats that make their tails wag at lightning speed. As you embark on this joyous journey of puppy parenthood, remember: with the right prep, every day can be a fur-tastic adventure!





Sources





* http://www.bergbosvet.co.za/Inenting/hondenteng.htm#kombinasie