Puppy Care Guide

Puppy Care Guide



Vaccines are essential in keeping your puppy healthy and happy. Most of the diseases we prevent through vaccination are potentially deadly; others are an annoyance but are very common (like the flu).  Puppies should be vaccinated at 8 weeks, 12weeks, and 16 weeks of age. The vaccines they need to stay healthy are as follows:

  • Distemper, Hepatitis, Influenza, and Parvovirus- this is a combination vaccine which is given at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, and 16 weeks.
  • Rabies-this vaccine is administered at your puppies 16 week visit. It may not be a common disease in our part of the world but it’s 100% deadly to humans and animals.
  • Bordetella- also known as kennel cough. This can be administered as drops in the nose (intranasal vaccination) or as an injection under the skin. The injection is used when your puppy will be routinely at risk, such as frequent trips to doggy daycare, puppy classes, the dog park or regular boarding or grooming. We will help you decide if your puppy is high risk enough to require vaccination every 6 months. The drops in the nose are used when we need fast-onset protection, like an unplanned trip to the boarding kennel. It can also be used for regular prevention, if your pet does not do well with needles. This vaccine may not entirely prevent your dog from getting kennel cough but if they do contract the virus, the symptoms are less severe and of shorter duration.
  • We will boost all of these vaccines one year after the last set given at 16 weeks so your pet’s immunity does not fade. We will then design a life-long immunization program for your pet’s specific needs.

Nutrition and Feeding

  • It is important for growing puppies to get the appropriate nutrition for their requirements. These requirements change as they grow. We will discuss nutrition at each exam and calculate your puppy’s caloric and nutritional needs to help you make the right diet choices.
  • Puppies should be fed at least 3 times daily until they are 6 months of age, then twice daily thereafter. Puppy food is different from adolescent, adult and senior formulas because it is more calorically dense, it has higher quantities of fat, carbohydrates, protein, sodium and the right calcium/phosphorus ratio for growing bones.
  • With so many dog foods out there, it’s hard to know if you’re making the right choices for your pet. With our staff, trained in animal nutrition and our range of trusted, quality pet foods there’s no need to worry. We will help you choose the right food for your puppy through the growth stages and on into its adult life.

Parasite Prevention

  • There are a number of parasites which may pose a threat to your pet and your family. Thanks to our cold weather, fleas, ticks and heartworm are uncommon.
  • Intestinal roundworms and a microscopic parasite called Giardia are very common in Edmonton, especially in dog parks, boarding facilities and doggy daycares. Left untreated, these parasites can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss and malnutrition. They are also zoonotic parasites. This means they can infect humans as well, with children being more easily infected than adults.
  • Based on scientifically proven guidelines from the Companion Animal Parasite Council (www.capcvet.org) and the Centre for Disease Control, we recommend deworming puppies every two weeks, beginning at two weeks of age, until they reach three months of age.
  • Because there is ample opportunity for your pet to infect themselves (remember, they eat poop!), we recommend a monthly parasite preventive medication. Don’t worry; it’s disguised as a treat!
  • If your puppy is being boarded regularly, goes to doggy daycare, is going camping, hiking or travelling with you, it may become necessary to provide additional parasite prevention against fleas, ticks, lice and heartworm.
  • Please be aware that parasite medications from pet stores are often ineffective and can actually be dangerous if used incorrectly.

Dental Care

  • Your dog’s teeth are just as susceptible to buildup of plaque and gingivitis as yours. Over time this will result in diseased gums and loose, painful teeth and an unhealthy pet; not to mention horrible breath. Imagine what your mouth would be like if you NEVER brushed your teeth!
  • We strongly advocate brushing your dog’s teeth daily and it should begin from day one.
  • It is important to get your puppy used to having their mouth handled at an early age. This will make daily brushing much easier and much more successful. We offer a range of safe and comfortable pet tooth brushes and flavored pet toothpastes with enzymatic properties formulated for dogs to help get you started. You could also begin with a Baby Oral B brush.
  • Do not use human toothpaste as it is toxic to dogs and cats because it contains fluoride. It is best to brush your puppy’s teeth when they are tired, after a long walk or play session. Always have your puppy facing away from you and then gently place the toothbrush just under their lips and start brushing. It is not necessary to open your dog’s mouth to brush their teeth, just slip the tooth brush between their lips and teeth; this is more comfortable for your puppy. If they struggle, do not fight them. Stop and discuss training methods with one of our staff.
  • It is always important to reward your puppy after brushing their teeth so they learn to associate teeth brushing with something positive and fun!

Spay and Neuter

  • We recommend having your puppy spayed (female) or neutered (male) between 5 and 7 months of age.
  • Stray animal population control is a civic duty we take seriously at Companion Veterinary Clinic. One visit to the Edmonton Humane Society to see all the beautiful animals without homes should be enough to encourage even the most skeptical that spaying or neutering your puppy is an essential part of responsible pet ownership.

Pet Insurance

  • It is important to be prepared for all the potential health concerns your puppy could face throughout their lives. Remember, accidents happen!
  • Pet insurance is a great way to ensure your puppy will always be able to receive the care they may require, especially when it’s unplanned.
  • There are two companies trusted by most veterinarians: Trupanion and Petsecure. Research these companies and their policies to choose a plan that is right for you and your family.
  • Two providers we recommend:  Trupanion and PetSecure
  • Have questions? We can help!

Puppy Training

  • At Companion Veterinary Clinic our goal is not only to nurture your puppy’s health but also the bond you share with your new best friend. It is important to get started off on the right foot when training your puppy.
  • We achieve proper behavior (manners) through positive reinforcement and negative punishment. This means rewarding the behavior you want to see repeated and ignoring the behavior you find undesirable.
  • We will discuss puppy behavior at each puppy exam as new problems and new questions will arise between visits, as your puppy matures. Common behaviors discussed include:
  • Biting
  • Chewing
  • Barking
  • House soiling
  • Crate training
  • Leash training

Dr. Kevin Benoit and the team at Companion Veterinary Clinic are here to ensure you get to enjoy many healthy, happy years with your new addition.

Should you need further advice regarding the health and well-being of your pet: