Pets make life better

Puppy Care

Congratulations on your new puppy! CareVets has put some important tips together to help you & your new friend.


Puppies require typically three vaccinations to aid in the prevention of various diseases. These commence at 6-8 weeks of age and are repeated at 3-4-week intervals until 16 weeks of age or older.

Parvovirus / Distemper / Hepatitis

A core vaccine combined in one vial. Parvovirus is a serious problem in New Zealand and it is caused by a virus that can live in the soil for 100 years. Parvo disease causes vomiting, bloody diarrhoea, dehydration and death in unvaccinated dogs of any age. Distemper and Hepatitis are two other serious and potentially fatal canine diseases. Boosters can be administered by your vet or nurse up to 3 years apart, however, we recommend annual health check consultations.

Canine Cough

This is a highly contagious and infectious disease that causes a hacking cough that can last for weeks. Dogs that come into contact with other dogs at dog parks, neighbours’ fences, doggy day-care, or boarding kennels are highly advised to be vaccinated. Canine cough vaccination does not 100% prevent disease, however, it does significantly reduce the symptoms and severity of the illness. Boosted vaccinations are required annually by intranasal or injectable preparation.


A core vaccination in the North Island and starting to be seen in the South Island. Leptospirosis is a bacterium that is shed via the urine of infected dogs and is often spread by rodents. Leptospirosis causes death in dogs and can be transferred to humans. An annual injectable booster vaccination is required.


All dogs should be desexed to prevent unwanted puppies, undesirable behaviours and potential health problems. Your puppy can typically be desexed from 6 months of age, however this may differ based on the size of your dog. There is no benefit to your female dog having puppies before having them desexed, if anything it is the opposite, with the risks of reproductive cancers and pyometra being increased by pregnancies and each heat cycle. We recommend you speak with your CareVets team who can advise when the best time is to have this done.


Microchipping is a legal requirement for any pet dog when they are first registered. This is a means of permanent identification – if they get lost you are more likely to have them returned to you and if stolen you have proof of ownership. We recommend having the microchip registered on both the local and national databases – our team will be able to discuss these with you.


Premium dog food is formulated to ensure it has all the nutrients that your dog needs. Dogs need a mixture of plant-based and animal-based food sources. Optimal nutrition results in a glossy skin and coat, and reduced stool volume and odour. Usually a dry, dull or excessively moulting coat indicates poor nutrition or a disease.

Puppies should remain on a puppy food until about 1 year of age (size/breed dependant), from when they should transition onto an adult maintenance formula. They should transition onto a senior diet around 7 years of age, again dependant on the size of your dog. Each life stage diet contains nutrients that are tailored specific to your dog’s needs at that age. Puppy diets help growth and development, adult diets prevent obesity and senior diets contain nutrients that prevent age related diseases such as kidney disease and arthritis.

Dental disease is also common in dogs as they do not clean their own teeth. Small breeds are particularly prone to bad breath and dental issues. Premium dental diets, available only from your Vet, will help slow the build-up of tartar. Regular dental check-ups are recommended to keep their teeth in tip-top shape!

Worm & Flea Prevention

Puppies should be wormed more regularly while young as they are more vulnerable (every 2 weeks until 3 months old, then monthly until 6 months old). Throughout the rest of your dog’s life worming should be done at least every 3 months with a quality wormer, although monthly may be recommended in some cases. Most topical flea and mite treatments are applied to the back of the neck, typically once per month. Some flea treatments are combination products that double as wormers, killing both external and most internal parasites. Your CareVets team will be able to advise on the best treatment plan for your puppy.


It is important to ensure your puppy always has access to fresh, clean water. We have found that the incidence of urinary crystals, especially in small breeds, has become more common. Ensuring your dog is drinking enough water can lower the incidence of painful crystals. Adding wet food to their diet can also help.

Dental Care

There are many preventable problems caused by bad teeth. Apart from smelly breath, yellow calculus and pain, bad teeth can cause liver, kidney and heart problems in your dog.

The best way to prevent these problems is by regular toothbrushing and the earlier you can start with your puppy the better. Teeth should be brushed daily, of course this is not always possible but 3 or 4 times a week would suffice. Good technique, canine toothpaste, diet, chews and toys all help to keep the teeth clean and plaque free – saving you & your puppy discomfort, pain & costs later on!


At a young age, puppies should be introduced to as many new experiences as possible so you don’t encounter difficulties later on – this includes nail trimming, grooming and bathing. Talk to our team about what grooming requirements there may be for your particular breed of puppy. Ensure you use a sensitive puppy shampoo as their skin tends to be more sensitive while young.


We strongly recommend getting pet insurance for your puppy. As much as we like to think “it will never happen to me”, you never know when an emergency may happen. From broken limbs, swallowed socks & car accidents, there are times when vet bills can be unexpected and cause us financial and emotional stress at a time we don’t need it! Having pet insurance can give you peace of mind that you won’t have to make difficult decisions at a stressful time and can ensure your pet gets the best treatment immediately.

There are many different plans offered by several providers in New Zealand and we would suggest you do your research on which plan is the best fit for you and your dog. Some companies may offer a complimentary trial policy through CareVets, speak to our team for details.

Essential Items

  • Vaccinations & annual wellness checks
  • Microchipping & annual council registration
  • Nutritionally balanced food
  • Fresh water
  • Parasite control
  • Collar / harness and lead

Recommended Items

  • Bed
  • Treats & toys
  • Crate (talk to our team about crate training)
  • Puppy Pre School
  • Pet insurance
  • Brush and nail clippers
  • Teeth cleaning tools
  • Warm coat for winter (short coat breeds)
  • Poo bags