Puppy Care FAQ

Puppy Packages

Click a link below to read our frequently asked questions about puppy care:



What should I feed my puppy?

We recommend puppy food for your growing pet to receive the proper nutrients their growing bodies need. If your dog is a large breed we recommend a large breed food. There are many diets out there and it can be confusing choosing the best option for your furry family member but that’s where we come in!

How often should I feed my puppy?

We recommend 2-3 meals a day as a puppy and tapering down to 1-2 meals per day depending on the needs of your dog (which we will discuss at your first few vaccine appointments).

Should I feed my puppy canned food or kibble?

There are pros and cons to both types of commercial pet food. While wet food helps keep your puppy hydrated, but it does not have a long shelf life once opened and must be used before it spoils.

Kibble on the other hand is easy to store and takes much longer to go bad and can help reduce the amount of tartar on the teeth.

Should I feed my puppy a raw diet?

There are many concerns regarding raw diets, most notably bacterial contamination, nutrient balance and the risk of bacterial infections to other members of the family.

I’ve heard grain free diets are the best for my pet, is this true?

Although many grain free diets are nutritionally balanced, whole grains can contribute valuable vitamins, minerals, essential fatty acids and fibre to diets. The vast majority of dogs are efficient at digesting grains and utilizing their nutrients.

While some puppies are sensitive or allergic to specific grains, these allergies are no more common than allergies to other food products such as beef, chicken and dairy.

Is there anything I shouldn’t feed my puppy?

There are many foods and plants that are toxic to your pet. Below is a list of the most common foods and plants that are toxic to cats & dogs:

  • Grapes & raisins
  • Onions, garlic, chives
  • Macadamia nuts
  • Chocolate
  • Raw dough with yeast
  • Avocados
  • Moldy foods
  • Alcohol
  • Coffee & caffeine
  • Xylitol (artificial sweetener)
  • Lilies
  • Mistletoe
  • Holly
  • Ivy

This is not an exhaustive list so please contact us or the ASPCA Poison Control (1-888-426-4435) if you are concerned your pet may have ingested something toxic.

If you have any questions or concerns about your puppy’s diet please don’t hesitate to contact us!



What can I do to train my puppy at home?

Puppys are continually learning this is why you, as their new owner, play a vital role in socializing and training them to develop into a well rounded pet. Many behaviours that seem cute as a puppy can become destructive as they get bigger and haven’t been taught otherwise.

One of the bigger hurdles to overcome with any new pet is everyone in the house being consistent. If everyone has the same rules and commands for your pet the easier it will be for them to learn!

Should my puppy attend obedience class?

We strongly recommend all puppies go to a puppy class to socialize and learn proper dog behaviours and to give you, their owner, the tools necessary to teach your pup new things in a safe environment at home.

We could write for days about pet behaviour but every pet is different so if you have any questions or concerns please let us know and we can give you advice for your specific situation!



Should I buy my dog chew toys?

Any item you give to your dog to chew may end up in little bits & possibly swallowed which bears some risk of gastrointestinal (GI) upset or blockage or may be hard enough to break teeth!

RULE OF THUMB: if you would not want to be hit in the knee cap with the chew toy, do not let them chew on it! Avoid natural bones, antlers, dried hooves, nylon toys & ice cubes. If you are ever unsure call us to chat about it!



Should I spay/neuter my puppy?

Acton Veterinary Clinic strongly recommends spaying (removal of the ovaries and uterus) or neutering (removal of the testes) your puppy.

What are the benefits of spaying/neutering my puppy?

Spaying and neutering can help prevent many future health concerns related to these sex organs. These health concerns include pyometra (an often fatal infection of the uterus if left untreated), mammary cancers, prostatic hyperplasia (enlarged prostate making urinating and defecating very difficult and can be life threatening), testicular cancers in addition to behavioural traits found in intact animals and population control.

At what age should I spay/neuter my puppy?

We recommend spaying/neutering your puppy by the time they are 5-6 months of age, before they mature. Spaying and Neutering is included in our Puppy Packages.



What vaccines do puppies need?

Core vaccines are recommended for all puppies and adult dogs. They protect against diseases that are common, highly contagious, easily transmissible, have significant public health risk and/or have high rates of mortality. Non-core vaccines are given based on the risk factors of your dog’s lifestyle.

You can see a list of puppy and dog vaccines here.



Should I deworm my puppy?

Every puppy should be dewormed for intestinal parasites multiple times before the age of 6 months. We also check a fecal sample for abnormal parasites that are not included in our normal deworming protocol. Deworming is included in our Puppy Packages



What is Heartworm?

Heartworm is a parasite that is transmitted to dogs by mosquitoes. When a mosquito bites your dog it introduces the heartworm into the bloodstream. We recommend all dogs, regardless of age, be on heartworm preventives during the heartworm season (June to November in Ontario).

When should I get my dog tested for Heartworm?

Your dog should be tested every spring to ensure the preventive medications are safe for them to have. We will remind you every spring that your dog is due for their heartworm test and preventive medications. Animals that travel to areas that have mosquitoes year round may need extended protection.

Is Heartworm prevention included in Deworming?

Unfortunately, because heartworm is a blood borne parasite deworming does not cover heartworm.



What is a microchip?

A microchip is a permanent form of identification that give lost pets the best chance of returning home to you. The microchip is approximately the size of a grain of rice and is placed under the skin between the shoulder blades.

When should I get my puppy microchipped?

Usually at the time your puppy is spayed or neutered. We register the microchip for you with your most current contact information, if you ever move or your information changes you must change your information with the microchip company. Microchipping is included in our Gold Puppy Package.



Should I groom my dog? How often?

Every dog, no matter what type of coat, will need some grooming. Thicker, longer coats will need grooming more often. We recommend having your puppy seen by the groomer as early as possible to familiarize them with the process.

What is the grooming process?

Grooming can include bathing, brushing, trimming fur and nails in addition to de-matting, ear cleaning and cleaning out anal glands. Speak with a groomer today to inquire about when your puppy should be seen and what a typical grooming appointment will entail for their breed.



Should I get pet insurance for my puppy?

At Acton Veterinary Clinic we strongly recommend pet insurance to our patients. Unfortunately, unforeseen things can happen to any of our pets and insurance is there to help you pay for large, unexpected or unplanned veterinary bills in addition as routine preventive care.

At what point should I purchase pet insurance?

We recommend insurance as soon as you get your pet, it will be too late to purchase once your pet has already become ill or injured.

What are the benefits of pet insurance?

Having pet insurance in place allows you to say yes to procedures or treatments that may normally be too costly.

How does pet insurance work?

Pet insurance has a monthly premium, much like car insurance, and is much easier to incorporate into a budget than unexpected veterinary bills. There are many insurance companies that offer various options for pet insurance to allow you to find one that fits your wants and the needs of your pet.


As always, please don’t hesitate to contact us with any questions or concerns about your newest family member!

Acton Veterinary Clinic    |   Copyright 2015