New Puppy Care

Important Care Guidelines for Your New Family Member

Dog lovers crave the feeling of a new puppy in the house. While its fun to have a new member of the family, puppies need proper care, attention, love and security. As the owner of a new Westie puppy you are in control of every aspect of the young dog’s life including food, sleep, exercise, potty training, and health.

A major part of taking care of your new puppy’s health is ensuring they receive the right vaccinations on schedule. It helps to have a solid understanding of what shots are needed before visiting the veterinarian to get your puppy their vaccination shots.

Importance of Vaccinations

Getting your pet the core vaccinations recommend by the Ontario Veterinarian Medical Association can help your pet live a healthier and longer life free from preventable diseases.

image of 4 new Westie puppies playing on a rug
New Westie Puppies

Diseases of Concern


While Parvo , a highly-contagious virus can affect any dog. It’s usual victims are unvaccinated dogs and dogs four months of age or less. The Parvo virus attacks the gastrointestinal system casing loss of appetite combined with fever, vomiting, and diarrhea. Dehydration caused by Parvo can quickly kill a dog in less than 72 hours. Again vaccination is key for the safety of your pet.


Rabies is the big one every pet owner knows about.  Even books like Stephen King’s Cujo have dealt with the dangerous nature of rabies in a dog. Rabies is a viral disease that can infect many mammals by getting into the nervous system and causing the dogs anxiety, agitation, confusion and excessive salivation that causes the well known foaming of the mouth.  Transmitted through the bite of  an infected animal, rapid treatment is crucial to avoid death. This is a required vaccination in Ontario Canada.

Canine Distemper

Spread through the air from the cough or sneeze of an infected animal, canine distemper is a dangerous virus. It can have a devastating effect on your pet’s health. There is no cure It is known to cause  fever, coughing, diarrhea, vomiting, seizures and death. A vaccination shot is your best defense against canine distemper.

Canine Hepatitis

Although not caused by the same bug related to human hepatitis it has the same devastating effects on your dog. It is however preventable with vaccination.  Canine hepatitis is highly contagious and can cause a range of effects to the dog’s liver, kidneys, lungs, and the eyes. Early symptoms range from fever to jaundice with possible tenderness near the liver. Many dogs can prevail over milder forms of this disease but more severe forms are able to kill a strong, healthy pet. Prevention through early vaccination is the key to ensuring your pets health (Westie Puppies are vet checked before puppy adoption and receive their first shots including vaccination for Canine Distemper).

Bordetella Bronchiseptica

This vaccination is given to defend against a highly contagious bacteria responsible for coughing, vomiting and sometimes death. This bacteria is actually the main cause of kennel cough but is easily preventable with vaccinations.

Canine Para-influenza

An easy one to prevent and one we vaccinate for before adoption. Canine parainfluenza also causes a version of kennel cough.

Corona Virus

A virus that attacks the gastrointestinal and respiratory systems of your dog. While an optional vaccination according to the Ontario Veterinarian Medical Association, it is preventable with a vaccination.

Kennel Cough

Known by your veterinarian as tracheobronchitis, kennel cough is caused by the inflammation of the trachea and bronchial airways. There are a few different bugs that cause it and it can often involve multiple infections at the same time. It is spread by keeping dogs close together hence the “kennel cough” name. It is typically a mild infection and easy to treat however some cases can be more serious to the health of your pet.


Is a disease caused by bacteria in the soil and water that can infect both dogs and people. Contact your vet if you notice signs of infection like fever, vomiting, abdominal tenderness, diarrhea, loss of appetite,  weakness and lethargy.  Vaccination for leptospirosis is available as a non-core vaccination shot as described by the Ontario Veterinarian Medical Association and antibiotic treatment is also effective and can arranged through your veterinarian.

Lyme Disease

Lyme disease is a tick-borne disease that is prevalent in Ontario.  Many an Ontario vet has an office poster with a removed tick count. Caused by the spirochete bacterium, an infected dog can be identified by sudden lameness, fever, lethargy, and enlarged lymph nodes. The majority of dogs respond very well to antibiotic treatment with Doxycycline or Amoxicillin.

Available Vaccines

What shots does my puppy need?

There are a range of shots available and where you live and what your puppy may be exposed to dictates what shots they should receive. From the list we give you an overview of each potential disease and the vaccination shot that goes along with it. Remember this is just general information and all health decisions made for your puppy including shots should be discussed with your vet as they know best about your location and breed.

Core canine vaccines:

  • Rabies (required by law)
  • Distemper
  • Hepatitis
  • Parvo virus

Non-core canine vaccines:

  • Parainfluenza
  • Leptospirosis
  • Lyme Disease
  • Corona virus
  • Bordetella
  • Giardia
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