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Health and Safety

A black Labrador puppy, looking up at the camera, rests on grass


In order for puppies and mature dogs to be protected from disease they must be vaccinated. Puppies are vaccinated at 6 weeks of age, 10 weeks of age, and then every 12 months to maintain their immunity.

Age Vaccination
Age-appropriate vaccinations
6 weeks C3
10 weeks Canigen C5
Yearly C5

A veterinarian is the only person who can administer all vaccinations. Your chosen veterinarian will also give your puppy a general look over, ensuring that it is healthy and developing properly. Use this Vaccinations Record (PDF) to keep track of your dog's vaccinations.

Heartworm prevention

Heartworm is a parasitic roundworm that is transmitted through mosquitoes. Any dog can be affected by this particular parasite, and can be fatal if not prevented.

With the use of preventative treatments your puppy will stay safe and not come into contact with this disease.

A heartworm chew/tablet must be given to the puppy every month. To make it easier to remember, the team at Guide dogs NSW/ACT suggests giving the tablet on the first of every month. Record the date the tablet was given using this Heartworm Prevention Record (PDF).


The four most common worms that affect young puppies are hookworm, roundworm, whipworm and tapeworm.  Each of these worms can cause illness in puppies, and has been known to be life threatening if untreated.

Regular worming tablets can be given to your puppy as a preventative measure. Ensure you read the dosage correctly on the tablet packet. There will be directions and an explanation on the dose required which is always related to the puppies’ weight.

An important tip: Always round up to the closest 5 kilograms, for example, a 12kg puppy should be rounded up to a 15 kg dose as under dosing decreases the chance of the tablet being affective. Make sure you record when you worm your puppy using this Worming Record (PDF).

Flea and tick prevention

To ensure your puppy is protected from fleas and ticks you will need to apply a flea and tick preventative treatment. Rural, coastal and bush areas run a higher risk for paralysis ticks. If untreated, these ticks can cause severe illness and even death.

It is important to ask your local veterinarian to check if ticks are common in the area. If this is the case, your dog may require preventative measures more frequently.

Check your puppy’s skin daily. Doing so will minimise the chance of your pup having an undetected tick for a lengthy period of time. If a tick is found contact your local vet for further advice on removing the tick.

Record the date when you give your puppy its flea and tick preventative treatment using this Flea and Tick Treatment Record (PDF).

An important tip: There are preventative tablets that can protect your puppy from all 3 parasites. For information on this visit a veterinary clinic near you.


The choice to de-sex your puppy is entirely up to you as the pet owner. At the Guide Dogs Centre puppies are generally de-sexed at the age of 6 months. Ask your local vet for more information about the desexing procedure.

Vet care

Have your veterinarian’s contact details readily available. Write down the clinic name, address, contact number, opening hours, and emergency contacts. Use this Contacts List (PDF) to record important contact details.

Safety and security

  • Remember that your puppy’s immune system is still vulnerable. You must ensure your puppy does not come into any contact with animals, faeces, kitty litter or unknown dogs in the first few weeks. If your puppy develops diarrhoea or blood in the faeces you should contact your local Veterinarian clinic straight away.
  • Some garden plants can be toxic to pups. A few examples of plants that can be toxic include:
    1. Lily plants
    2. All parts of the Castor Bean or Castor oil plant
    3. Yesterday-Today-Tomorrow shrub (Brunfelsia bonodora)
  • Get your puppy used to wearing its collar and tag. It is important to purchase a tag with the puppy’s name, address and a contact number on it.
  • Do not let the puppy jump off high or elevated areas. Supervise your puppy when it is going up or down stairs. At a young age it is important to decrease any traumatic or negative experiences your puppy may face.
  • When you are unable to fully supervise your puppy, place it in a safe and secure area.
  • Snail pellets, mice and rat baits look very exciting for a young puppy. Ensure toxic materials are stored up high, if you have these products in the home. If ingested they can cause death.
  • Tying your pup outside of shops is never a good idea. Not only can your puppy get stolen but your pup will become stressed very quickly. Do not mistake your puppy not barking as a sign that it is okay.

Travelling in the car

Never leave any animal in a car unsupervised. Even in winter, cars heat up very quickly. Animals are susceptible to heat exhaustion within a matter of minutes. As puppies are curious beings they can swallow and chew on items in the car as well.

Rules and regulations for car travel with your dog:

  • Do not put the dog in the boot of a sedan type car

  • Place the dog in the cabin or behind a cargo barrier

  • If the dog will be placed on the back of a ute or trailer, it must be tethered or caged properly.

  • The dog can also be placed in a suitable sized crate or carrier with adequate ventilation.

  • Restrain the dog when inside the vehicle.

  • Do not allow the dog to put their head out of the car window while the vehicle is moving.

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