Congratulations on your new family member! Getting a new puppy is both exciting and a new learning adventure. Since there is a lot of information to learn, we have written down some points you may wish to remember.


Vaccines contain safe viruses that have been altered so that they don’t cause disease. When given a vaccine, your dog’s immune system produces a protective immune response. If later exposed to that disease, your dog quickly mounts a response to destroy the disease-causing virus.

The Nobivac DHP vaccine protects against canine distemper virus, hepatitis, and parvovirus. Your puppy can have it from ten weeks of age. If your puppy has had a vaccine at eight weeks, they will require a final booster vaccine in three to four weeks.

We may give the Nobivac KC kennel cough vaccine at the same time as the DHP vaccine.

You should repeat the Nobivac DHP and Nobivac KC vaccines at one year of age, then once every one to three years thereafter.


Parasite control

Flea treatment

In young puppies, lots of fleas can suck a large amount of blood and cause serious anaemia (not enough red blood cells). Fleas are the most widespread external pet parasite in the world. We stock many flea treatments, some of which you can use safely from two days of age. Ask our vets or our trained nursing staff for a recommendation.

Worm treatment

Worms can present a serious problem to your puppy’s health and can stunt growth if left untreated. We recommend worming with a broad-spectrum wormer at two, four, eight and 12 weeks of age, then three-monthly for the rest of the dog’s life.

Remember that children can pick up worms and other parasite problems from their pets. Encourage children to wash their hands after playing with any animals around the home.

Feeding your puppy

Good premium puppy pet food is specially designed with puppy’s growth in mind and contains all the vitamins and minerals they require. It has the right balance of carbohydrates and protein and everything needed for their joints, bones and muscle development.



All dogs over the age of three months must be registered with the Christchurch City Council (or your local council). The cost varies; please check with your local authority for details.


A microchip is a device which is implanted under the skin and is about the size of a grain of rice. The chip contains an identification number unique to every animal which is read by a scanner (similar to a barcode reader) available at any vet clinic, pound and SPCA. Microchipping is a quick and easy procedure, performed in a consultation without the use of anaesthetic.

Since 1 July 2006, all dogs registered in New Zealand for the first time (except farm dogs used for stock control) must be microchipped when they are first registered at three months old.

De-sexing your puppy

De-sexing ensures you do not have unwanted litters of puppies, plus it can be good for your dog’s ongoing health. We perform ovariohysterectomy (spay) and castration (neuter) at Avonhead Veterinary Clinic.

De-sexing a female dog means she is much less likely to develop breast cancer and infections of the uterus. When you neuter your male dog, the benefits include a reduced chance of prostate problems, and no chance of testicular cancer. Your dog will also be less likely to roam and fight other dogs or show dominance-based aggression towards people.

The operation is performed under general anaesthetic by experienced surgeons. Each patient is monitored closely throughout by our qualified veterinary nurses, from premedication to surgery and through to their discharge home. We use advanced monitoring equipment in our dedicated sterile surgery suite. After surgery, our patients are returned to their cozy, warm kennels. They also have a post-operative pain management regime designed to suit their requirements.

Pet insurance

Pet health can be unpredictable. Pet insurance is available through our clinic, and we highly recommend it so you can easily pay for any unexpected health issues whenever they pop up. See our receptionist for information.


Puppy preschool

Upgrade your puppy’s early training and socialisation skills! Puppy classes provide a safe environment where pups learn to interact with other people and dogs.

We don’t run a puppy preschool at Avonhead Vets, but we recommend these ones:

High Five Puppy Skills
Run by Margaret van Oosten.
0274 239 696

Run by Susan Morton at Hornby Vets
0274 771 281

Puppy-proofing your house

Puppies like to chew on almost anything! Be very careful of what your puppy can chew and swallow, including bones. Intestinal foreign bodies which require surgical removal are most common in dogs under one year of age.

Check your home and yard for anything small enough for a puppy to swallow. When puppy is playing free, you’ll want to keep an eye on them because they also love to chew on furniture, skirting and other household objects!