Experiencing an Emergency? Contact Us at 401-732-4050. If After Hours, we recommend Ocean State Veterinary Specialists who can be contacted at 401-886-6787 24 hours a day.

Puppy Health

Congratulations on your new puppy!
The following information will help you keep your puppy healthy and explain routine preventive care. We are always available to respond to any questions or requests regarding your dog.

How to prepare for your visit:
Please bring your puppy on a leash or in a crate. Bring a slightly hungry puppy by feeding him/her half their normal meal.We use treats to teach your puppy to have a fun and nice experience. Please bring your puppy's favorite treats and/or toy, records, a stool sample, and a list of any questions you may have.


Your puppy will receive a series of vaccines  every three to four weeks until he or she is 14-16 weeks old.

Distemper / Hepatitis / Parvovirus / Parainfluenza (DHPP): These viruses cause intestinal, neurological, respiratory and liver disease. Any of them can be fatal. These can easily be carried home on shoes or transmitted during a regular walk.

Rabies: Your puppy will be vaccinated for rabies at 12 weeks of age. A rabies vaccination certificate is required for a town dog license.

Lyme: Lyme disease is prevalent in Rhode Island year round. Your puppy will start the lyme series at 12 weeks of age and receive a booster in 2-3 weeks.

Bordetella (kennel cough): Bordetella is one component of the kennel cough complex, which can cause anything from mild tracheobronchitis with an annoying cough to severe pneumonia. This disease is airborne. Dogs might appear healthy but still be able to spread the virus or bacteria to your dog. Grooming salons, training classes, dog shows and boarding kennels are places where your dog could be exposed. Vaccination can occasionally cause a mild case of kennel cough, usually requiring no treatment.

Leptospirosis:  This bacteria is carried by wildlife common in Rhode Island, including rodents, racoons, and opossums.   It is spread to our pets when they drink water or ingest soil that has been contaminated by urine or body fluids of infected animals. We recommend this vaccine around 12-15 weeks old with a booster 2-3 weeks later.

Canine Influenza: This virus is specific to dogs and causes respiratory illness that appears similar to Bordetella infections. Symptoms can be anything from an annoying cough to severe pneumonia.   Grooming salons, training classes, dog shows, and boarding kennels are common places where  your dog may be exposed. We recommend this vaccine around 12-15 weeks old with a booster 2-3 weeks later.


Puppies acquire roundworms from their mothers, in the uterus and through milk. Roundworms can cause disease in humans and are most often a problem for children. The eggs are sticky and can persist in the environment. Your puppy needs to be dewormed even if a stool sample is negative, because a false negative can occur in young dogs.

Your puppy will be dewormed at least twice -- more if younger than 12 weeks. If other intestinal parasites, including tapeworms or whipworms, are found in the stool, your puppy will be treated for them. At least two stool samples should be checked, preferably a few weeks apart.

A pill called Interceptor should be given monthly to greatly reduce the risk of your dog developing intestinal parasites or heartworms.

Heartworm prevention

Heartworms are spaghetti-sized parasites that live in the heart and vessels of the lungs. They are spread among animals by mosquito bites. Heartworm can be deadly and is expensive and difficult to treat. Even primarily indoor dogs are at risk. Prevention is safe and easy: A once a month dose of Interceptor is effective agaisnt heartworm and it must be given year round. This drug is based on your dog’s weight, and we will make sure the dose is adjusted as your puppy grows.

Flea and Tick Prevention

Fleas can cause severe skin disease. Ticks carry Lyme disease, Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Babesiosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and other diseases. We recommend year round monthly flea and tick control with either Frontline plus or K9Advantix.

Spaying / Neutering

Spaying (removing the ovaries and uterus) and neutering (removing the testicles) are recommended at around 5 ½ months. These procedures improve your dog’s health by decreasing the  risk of breast cancer and uterine disease in females; male dogs castrated as immature animals are less likely to roam, bite, be aggressive toward other dogs, urine mark in the house, or develop certain diseases of the reproductive organs. Early surgery provides the most benefit; even one heat cycle increases long term health risks.

We have your pet’s safety and comfort as our number one concern and recommend pre-anesthetic lab work to evaluate organ function more completely.  Your pet will be monitored throughout anesthesia, surgery and recovery, and will be able to go home the same day.  Pain medication will be given to your pet to ensure a comfortable recovery.  Please ask if you have any questions about this procedure.

Puppy Vaccination Schedule

8 weeks

General health examination
First vaccination for distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus
Intestinal parasite exam and treatment
Heartworm preventive and flea and tick control
Socialization/teach “sit”
Housebreaking/crate training
Protocol for leadership/deference
Chewing/chew toys/diet                 

12 weeks

Next vaccination for distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, parvovirus
Rabies vaccination
First Lyme vaccination
Bordetella/kennel cough vaccination (needed for training classes, groomer, boarding)
Intestinal parasite exam and treatment
Heartworm preventive and flea and tick control

16 weeks

Last vaccine in series of DHPP
Last vaccine in Lyme series
Housebreaking update
Dental care
Schedule spay/neuter with presurgical blood and urine screen (for 5-6 months of age)