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At this stage puppies are busy exploring, growing and learning about the world around them.  They prefer being fed a good quality puppy food 3-4 times daily.  We recommend using Advance or Royal Canin Puppy Food as it is a complete diet with all the vitamins and minerals needed for growth. There are special formulations for small breed and large breed dogs.


Potentially fatal diseases that all puppies should be vaccinated against include Parvo-virus, Distemper, Hepatits  and Kennel Cough.  Your puppy should be vaccinated at 6 weeks, 9 weeks and 12 weeks of age. 

Intestinal Worming

All puppies should be wormed every 2 weeks (at 2, 4, 6, 8, 10 and 12 weeks of age). Intestinal worms can cause illness and death in young dogs, and can be transmitted to people where they can cause serious problems in young children.


Fleas are the single biggest cause of itching in dogs, and on the Sunshine Coast, they are active all year around.  Fleas are everywhere and can quickly infest your home and dog.  We recommend using a monthly flea treatment. Please speak to us about other options for flea control.

Paralysis Ticks

Paralysis ticks can be fatal, it is important to protect your dog all year round, by keeping up to date with a quality tick treatment. Please speak to us about options for tick control, so we can recommend the best product for your pet. 


It is now compulsory for all puppies to be microchipped when between 8 and 12 weeks of age.  The chip, which contains a code unique to your pet, is approximately the size of a grain of rice, and is injected under the skin between the shoulder blades.  We can do this when your puppy is in for their vaccinations.


All dogs must be registered with the Sunshine Coast Regional Council by the time they are 12 weeks of age.  Click here for more information.

Puppy Pre-school

Puppy Pre-school is a great place for your puppy to socialise with other puppies and people. They will learn basic training, and it may help rule out any behavioural issues early on in their life. Why not join our puppy pre-school in clinic. Find out more here 



Mosquitoes transmit this deadly disease between dogs.  We strongly recommend the Pro-Heart injection which is a long lasting injection.  The first injection can be given at 6 months of age.  Following this, heartworm injections can be given yearly with the annual vaccination.  Alternatively, monthly chews or spot-on treatments are available to control heartworm.

Fleas, Ticks and Worms

Continuing treatment for fleas, ticks, and worms is important. There are a number of different options, we can help you decide which is the best product for you pet, and help you stay up to date.




A pro-heart injection to protect your pet from heartworm can be given as of 6 months of age.



Annual vaccinations will ensure that your dog remains protected against the more common diseases.  A reminder text will be sent when your dog is due.


Annual heartworm injections will ensure that your dog remains protected against heartworm disease, and can be done at the same time as the annual vaccination.  A reminder text will be sent when your dog is due.

Fleas, Ticks and Worms

Continuing treatment for fleas, ticks, and worms is important. There are a number of different options, we can help you decide which is the best product for you pet, and help you stay up to date.




Positive and consistent training, both in action and in attitude, are needed so that your puppy knows what is expected of it at any time. If the expectations are unclear for the puppy this may lead to a variety of problems, including unruly behavior, disobedience, and even aggression. Behaviors such as nipping, excessive mouthing, mounting, and jumping up should be discouraged by teaching appropriate or acceptable behaviors. These exercises will help you manage your pet, increase its dependability in responding to cues, provide structure and consistency, and help reduce impulsive behavior.


Be fair

1. Be consistent with rewards and interruptions. Set rules that everyone observes. This is the only way that the puppy can learn what is acceptable and what is not acceptable.

2. Don ’ t take good behaviors for granted. Actively look for desirable behaviors and reward them with treats and praise.

3. Be generous with praise!

4. Never hit the puppy or use any type of physical punishment.


Make the puppy aware of your importance in its life

1. Walk your dog so your bond is stronger.

2. Provide a consistent schedule of social play and feeding so that life for the puppy is predictable.

3. Ask the puppy to say please by having it sit before all interactions (dinner, treats, toys, being picked up, walks, petting, play). Although sometimes referred to as “ nothing in life is free ” or “ no free lunch, ” this rule structure is intended to provide clear and consistent communication for your dog so that it learns what behaviors will get rewards and what will not. In other words, if you are predictable and consistent, the pet will quickly learn what is desirable and anxiety and confl ict will be reduced.

4. Once the pet learns to stay, ask it to stay for a second or two before following you around the home, in and out of rooms, and in and out of the home.


Teach desirable and prevent undesirable behaviors

1. Ignore attention soliciting and provide another outlet for your puppy. Nudging, whining, barking, mouthing, pushing, and leaning for attention should be ignored. Pull your hands in, lean away from the pet, and look away. Get up and walk away if the pet is exceptionally pushy and diffi cult to ignore. Once the behavior stops for 5 – 10 seconds, the pet can be given attention for responding to a cue such as sit.

2. Always respond to the puppy when the behavior is desirable (e.g., notifying you it has to go outdoors to eliminate).

3. Teach the puppy how to play appropriately with you.

4. Teach the puppy when it should bark and for how long (e.g., notify that someone is at the door). Then train and reward quiet behavior.


Be consistent

1. Train your puppy to respond to cues and do not expect it to be immediately responsive – your puppy is not a robot! If the puppy ignores you, wait a minute and ask again, quietly. If the puppy still does not respond, perhaps the puppy really does not know what is expected. Go back to basic reward training to better train the behaviors. Quiet and calm responses will encourage what is desirable, while angry or frustrated can lead to avoidance or uncertainty (conflict)




Choose the desired location and teach the puppy where to go

1. Ensure that the outdoor location is practical and easy to access.

2. Go out with your puppy every time and immediately praise and give intermittent food rewards for elimination in the desired area.

3. During initial training, take the puppy out to eliminate each hour during the daytime when home to supervise. If it does not eliminate within 5 minutes, return indoors, supervise closely for 15 – 30 minutes and try again.

4. Take the pet out when it is most likely to need to eliminate:

• Following play, exercise, naps, and being released from confinement.

• After eating and drinking. Supervise closely after feeding and take the puppy out to eliminate within 15 – 30 minutes.

• Prior to confinement or bedtime.

5. Consider teaching your puppy to “ go ” on command by saying a command word, such as “ hurry up, ” in a positive tone as it squats to eliminate.


Maintain a consistent schedule

1. Offer food two to three times each day at the same time to help establish an elimination routine.

2. Only leave the food down for 20 minutes or until your puppy walks away. Be sure to discuss with your veterinarian how to assess your puppy ’ s body condition score so that food quantity can be adjusted according to your pet ’ s needs.

3. Consider taking up the water bowl 1 – 2 hours prior to bedtime.


Prevent mistakes

1. Until the puppy has completed 4 consecutive weeks without soiling in the home, it should be within eyesight of a family member or confi ned to a safe puppy-proofed area.

2. Use a crate, pen, or room for confi nement whenever it cannot be directly supervised. The confi nement area is intended to serve as a safe, comfortable bed, playpen, or den for the puppy. The puppy should not be confi ned until after it has eliminated and had suffi cient exercise and social interaction (i.e., when it is due for a sleep, nap, or rest) and should not be confi ned for any longer than it can control elimination, unless paper, potty pad, or litterbox-training techniques are being used.

3. Most puppies can control elimination through the night by 3 – 4 months of age. Owners must be aware of their puppy ’ s limits. During the daytime, puppies up to 4 months usually have a few hours of control, while puppies 5 months and over may be able to last longer.

4. If the puppy eliminates in its cage, it may have been left there longer than it can be confi ned or the crate may be large enough that it sleeps in one end and has room to eliminate in the other; in this case a divider might be used temporarily. Also, if the puppy is anxious about being confi ned or left alone, it is unlikely to keep the crate clean.

5. Leave a leash attached during supervision to interrupt any attempts to eliminate indoors, and direct the puppy outdoors. By observing the puppy closely for pre-elimination signs, the puppy can be trained to eliminate outdoors without the need for punishment and may soon learn to signal when it has to eliminate.


Handling mistakes

1. Punishment should not be used. The goal is to interrupt your puppy if it is caught in the act of eliminating indoors, and direct it to the appropriate location so that it can be rewarded when it eliminates there.

2. If you catch your puppy in the act of eliminating indoors, call the puppy to come and if it does not immediately cease say “ no, ” clap your hands, or pull on the leash to interrupt the behavior. Then take the pet outside and immediately reward upon completion.

3. If urine or stool is found on the floor after the puppy has eliminated, do not consider any form of correction since the puppy will not associate the correction with the elimination. You can prevent soiling in the home by closing doors or moving furniture to prevent access to the location, booby trapping the location with a repellent or motion detector, constant supervision of your puppy, and by consistently rewarding elimination outdoors.

Odor elimination

Clean up any odors from indoor elimination. Be certain to use enough product to get to the source of the odor. Use one of the products that have been specifi cally designed to eliminate pet urine odors (chemical modifi cation, enzymes, bacterial odor removal).


Paper or potty pad training

1. While it is best to avoid indoor training techniques if the goal is to teach the pet to eliminate outdoors, this approach is sometimes necessary for apartment dwellers or when it is not practical to take the puppy outside frequently enough. For paper or potty training, the puppy can be confi ned to a room or pen with paper covering the fl oor opposite to its bedding, water bowl, and toys when it cannot be supervised.

2. Paper training can be combined with outdoor training so that the puppy learns that there are two appropriate places to eliminate. The puppy can be placed in its crate (which can be placed inside the pen) for short-term confi nement and placed in the full pen or room with paper for longer departures.

3. Another option is to train the pup to eliminate indoors using a litterbox. Use the same techniques as for outdoor housetraining except that, instead of taking the puppy outdoors, it should be taken by leash to its litterbox and reinforced with praise and treats for litter use. If the litter is not used within 5 minutes, supervise the dog closely with a leash and take it back to the litter every 15 minutes until it is used.


Allowing time outdoors (in environments where appropriate)

Another option for some households is to allow the dog to spend time outdoors in a pen or run where it can eliminate. When indoors, close supervision is still required to prevent indoor elimination. Accompanying the dog outdoors and reinforcing outdoor elimination should also be incorporated into the training regimen.


Purpose of these exercises

• Gain more control of the pet by consistently rewarding what is desirable

• Reduce uncertainty and anxiety by being structured, predictable, and consistent so that your pet learns what behaviors get rewards

• Train behaviors that are calm and relaxed which might then be extended to other situations where problems might arise


1. Teach the dog to sit on cue. Practice until it is sitting nine out of 10 times when asked.

2. Ask your pet to sit before you give it anything it wants or needs (e.g., petting, play, feeding, going outside, getting on the furniture).

3. Each time your dog approaches you and requests attention in an impolite way, such as pushing on your hand, pushing a toy at you, or leaning on you, ignore it for 5 seconds or more, then ask it to sit and reward it. Continue this until it automatically sits for attention. Then go to the next step.

4. When your pet approaches you for attention or a reward, do not acknowledge it until it sits. This can be diffi cult but you must wait your dog out. If your dog sits, reward it. If any behaviors are exhibited except sit, simply ignore or walk away.

5. You will have another chance soon because your dog is very likely to seek you out shortly. If it offers a sit when you ignore it, praise it, reward it, or lavish it with attention. Your dog is getting it! Within a couple of days your dog should sit for all attention.

6. Very gradually request longer sits and more relaxed postures. If your dog chooses to lie down for attention, this is also acceptable.

7. Continue to reward your dog only if it sits or lies down calmly for attention throughout your dog’s life.

8. Maintain structure and predictability in all your interactions:

(a) Anytime you have something that your pet finds rewarding, ensure that your pet learns what response is expected before the reward is given.

(b) Practice sit before you attach the pet ’ s leash, before going out the door for a walk, and before crossing the street. You might even consider a sit – stay before your pet is allowed to follow you up or down the steps.

(c) During walks, do not allow your dog to walk ahead unless it maintains a small amount of slack on the leash. Have your dog stop or sit if it pulls ahead and only proceed if the leash remains slack.

(d) Before giving your dog its food, a feeding toy. or a chew toy, have it sit calmly or consider having it lie on a bed or mat next to its feeding area before giving the



Even though dogs have been domesticated for thousands of years, each new puppy that comes into our world must learn about humans. Socialization is the process during which puppies develop positive relationships with other living beings. The most sensitive period for successful socialization is during the fi rst 3 – 4 months of life. The experiences the pet has during this time will have a major infl uence on its developing personality and how well it gets along with people and other animals when it grows into adulthood. It is very important for puppies to have frequent, positive social experiences during these early months in order to prevent asocial behavior, fear, and biting. Puppies that are inadequately socialized may develop irreversible fears, leading to timidity or aggression. This is not to say that socialization is complete by 4 months of age; only that it should begin before that time. Continued exposure to a variety of people and other animals, as the pet grows and develops, is also an essential part of maintaining good social skills. It is also extremely important that your new puppy be exposed to new environments and stimuli at this time (e.g., sounds, odors, locations, sights, surfaces) to reduce the fear of the unfamiliar that might otherwise develop as the pet grows older.


Puppy socialization – what to do

It is essential that every puppy meets as many new people as possible (including babies, children, adults, and seniors), in a wide variety of situations, but be careful not to overwhelm it. Begin with calm introductions to one or two people at a time. If the pet handles this well, then more people, increased noise, and more activity can be added. It can be beneficial to ask each person who meets the puppy to give it a small piece of kibble or a tiny treat. This will teach the puppy to look forward to meeting people. It will also discourage handshyness, since the puppy will learn to associate new people and an outstretched hand with something positive. Once the puppy has learned to sit on command, have each new friend ask it to sit before giving the treat. This teaches a proper greeting and will make the puppy less likely to jump up on people. You should make certain that the puppy has the opportunity to meet and receive biscuits from a wide variety of people, especially those who differ from those in the family home. In the case of puppy socialization, variety is defi nitely the spice of life. The fear that might arise from the way a person looks, acts, sounds, moves, or perhaps even smells might be prevented by exposure during the socialization period. In particular, every effort must be made to see that the young pup has plenty of opportunities to learn about children. They can seem like a completely different species to dogs since they walk, act, and talk much differently than adults. Running, screaming, bicycles, roller blades and skateboards are also some of the varied stimuli that might be more common when children are around. Puppies that grow up without meeting children when they are young may never feel comfortable around them when they become adults. In addition, if you consider that perhaps you might want your pet one day to be a service or visitation dog, the range of possible sights, sounds, smells, actions, and interactions to which your dog might be exposed could also include riding on elevators, the sounds of hospital equipment, wheelchairs or the patient in a nursing home with a cane, walker, oxygen tank, or iv pole. Lack of experience with a variety of people during puppyhood is a common cause of social fear, avoidance, and biting. Landsberg G, Hunthausen W, Ackerman L. 2013 Behavior Problems of the Dog and Cat. Saunders, Edinburgh © 2013, Elsevier Ltd. All rights reserved. 2/2 Take the pup to visit friends ’ homes to interact with them and with their pets. The ideal home is one with calm children and calm pets that don ’ t go out to parks or other areas where they might pick up disease organisms and bring them back home, and where the pets have received appropriate immunizations and parasite control. As soon as your veterinarian determines that your puppy is adequately vaccinated, take it on as many walks and outings as possible. Just be careful to avoid areas where stray dogs roam that might carry diseases.


Puppy classes

Attending puppy classes during the primary socialization period (which begins to wane by 12 – 14 weeks of age) is another excellent way of ensuring multiple contacts with a variety of people and other dogs. This relatively new concept in training involves enrolling puppies early, before they pick up bad habits, and at an age when they learn very quickly. Puppy training and socialization classes are now available in many communities where, with the proper healthcare precautions, puppies can be admitted as early as 8 – 10 weeks of age. These classes can help puppies get off to a great start with training, and offer an excellent opportunity for important social experiences with other puppies and a wide variety of people. Since there can be some health risks when exposing young puppies to other dogs and new environments, the best age to start your puppy in classes, and the best classes in your area, should be discussed with the family veterinarian. For further guidelines on puppy socialization and puppy classes, visit the American Society of Veterinary Behavior website at


Avoid unpleasant experiences

A young puppy ’ s interactions should always be supervised to ensure nothing happens that might make it afraid of people. Go slow with socialization exposure, and if the pet ever seems anxious, take some time out and then re-expose it to people in slightly calmer situations. In addition, avoid all physical punishment. Harsh scolding or punishing a young pet will damage its bond with you and weaken its trust in people. Techniques such as swatting the pup, shaking it by the scruff, rubbing its face in a mess, and roughly forcing it onto its back should never be used. Pets that are raised using these methods may grow up to fear the human hand, and are more likely to display avoidance or become fear biters. In general, any interactions with people that might make a puppy anxious should be avoided, particularly during the early months of its life. Socializing takes time and patience, but the benefi ts are worthwhile, so be sure not to miss the opportunity to guide your pup through this important process. Proper socialization will help ensure that your pet grows up to be social, friendly, and well adjusted. Best wishes for a long and happy relationship!


Confinement training is intended to provide a comfortable and safe area or “ den ” for the dog, while restricting access to areas where it might housesoil, do harm to itself, or cause damage. Crate training should be considered akin to placing a young child in a playpen or crib for playtime or sleeping. Other alternatives for confi nement include housing the dog in a pen, run, or dog-proofed room, where it might have more freedom to stretch out, chew, or play with its toys. If you don ’ t provide a safe confi nement area at times that you cannot supervise, your dog may engage in stealing, chewing, or ingesting household possessions, eliminate in undesirable locations, and get into potentially dangerous situations. The location and methods should be designed to keep the experience positive. For example, the dog should be encouraged to sleep, nap, or play with its chew toys in its confi nement area. On the other hand, if the dog is confi ned at a time when it is in need of play, attention, or elimination, then escape attempts and anxiety are to be expected. If a dog ’ s attempts at escape are successful, then future, more ambitious attempts to escape are likely to occur; therefore always use a secure, inescapable form of confinement.


Benefits of a crate/confinement-trained dog

1. Security – a specifi c area that serves as a den or resting area for the dog

2. Safety for the pet

3. Prevents damage (chewing, investigation, elimination) to the house

4. Aids in the training of proper chewing and elimination by preventing failure and encouraging success

5. Traveling: accustoms the dog to confi nement for traveling and kenneling

6. Improved bond: fewer problems, less discipline for the pet and less frustration/anxiety for owner


Crate training

1. A metal, collapsible crate with a tray fl oor or a plastic traveling crate works well, provided it is large enough for the dog to stand and turn around. Some dogs adapt quicker to a small room, run, or doggy playpen.

2. Because dogs are social animals, an ideal location for the crate is a room that the family frequents such as a kitchen, den, or bedroom, rather than an isolated laundry or furnace room. If you have observed your dog choosing a particular corner or room to take a nap, or you wish your dog to sleep in a particular location at night, then this might be the best location for the crate.

3. For the crate to remain a positive retreat, it should never be used for punishment. If social isolation (time out) is used, consider placing the dog in a laundry room or bathroom until it is calm.

4. A radio or television may help to calm the dog and may help to mask environmental noises that can trigger barking. A pheromone (Adaptil) spray in the crate or a diffuser in the room may help to calm the puppy.


Puppy crate training

1. Introduce the puppy to the crate as early as possible. Place a variety of treats, toys, or food in the crate so that the puppy is motivated to enter voluntarily. Training to respond to a cue (e.g., “ Go to your kennel ” ) can also be useful.

2. The first confinement session should be after a period of play, exercise, and elimination (i.e., when it is time for the puppy to rest). Place the puppy in its crate with a toy and a treat and close the door. If you remain nearby and the puppy is tired it might soon settle and nap. Alternatively, if the puppy lies down to take a nap, move the puppy to the crate for the duration of the nap.

3. Leave the room but remain close enough to hear the puppy. Some degree of distress vocalization may be expected the fi rst few times the puppy is separated from its family members. Always reward the pet when it is calm with quiet praise. Try not to let it out when it cries or whines. Release the puppy when the crying stops, when it awakes from its nap, or if it is time for you to wake the puppy for feeding, play, or elimination (e.g., prior to your departure).

4. If crying does not subside on its own, a mild interruption may be useful. Any interruption that causes fear or anxiety must be avoided since it is not psychologically healthy for the pet and could aggravate the vocalization or cause elimination in the crate. During the interruption, you should remain out of sight, so that the puppy does not learn to associate the interruption with your presence. A sharp noise, such as that provided by a shake can containing a few coins, can be used to interrupt barking. Then, after 5 seconds of quiet behavior, reward the puppy for being quiet by softly praising.

5. Repeat the cage and release procedure a few more times during the day, including each naptime and each time your puppy is given a toy or chew with which to play. Always give the puppy exercise and a chance to eliminate before securing it in the crate.

6. Prior to bedtime, the puppy should be exercised, given a fi nal chance to eliminate for the night, and secured in its crate. Do not go to the pup if it cries but ensure that the puppy is not hurt or overly distressed. If the puppy cries in the middle of the night, it should not be ignored if it is indicating that it needs to toilet. Release the puppy when it is quiet and time to get up. Puppies under 4 months of age may not be able to keep their crate clean for the entire night, so it may be necessary to get up during the night initially as well as provide an early-morning walk for the fi rst few weeks. Sometimes the best way to reduce distress vocalization is to locate the crate in the bedroom.

7. Never leave the puppy in its crate for longer than it can control itself or it may be forced to eliminate in the crate. If the pup must be left for longer periods, a larger confi nement area with paper for elimination, a puppy litterbox, or access to an elimination area outdoors through a dog door will be necessary.

8. Until a puppy has been housetrained (no accidents for at least 4 – 6 consecutive weeks) and no longer destroys household objects in your absence, it should not be allowed out of its confinement area except under supervision. During supervision, desirable behaviors should be rewarded and undesirable behaviors prevented or redirected.


The adult dog

1. The two most important principles for effective crate training include locating the crate (or confi nement area) in a location where the dog feels comfortable about sleeping or napping and gradually introducing the dog to confi nement in a positive manner.

2. Set up the crate in the dog ’ s feeding area or sleeping area with the door open for a few days. Place the dog ’ s food, treats, and toys in the crate so that it enters the crate on its own. 3. Once the dog is regularly entering the crate voluntarily, begin closing the door for very short periods of time and follow the same principles as puppy training above.

4. At this point, the dog could be left in its crate during bedtime or during short departures.

5. Some dogs may adapt quicker to crate training by having the dog sleep in the crate at night. 6. If you are leaving your pet in a crate be certain to determine how often it needs to eliminate and how long it can be confi ned without social contact or exercise. While some dogs may manage for a full work day, it is likely in most dogs ’ best interest to arrange for a midday dog walker if you are going to be gone for more than 4 – 6 hours.


Crate-training problems

If your dog is particularly anxious or eliminates in its crate, then it may be an indication that some part of the cratetraining technique needs to be revisited.

1. It may be possible that the dog is being left in its crate longer than it can control elimination. Confi ne the dog for a shorter time and be certain that it has eliminated prior to confi nement.

2. If the crate is overly large some dogs may sleep in one end and eliminate in the other. Consider a smaller crate or a divider.

3. If your dog is anxious or attempts to escape when left in its crate, then it may not have been accustomed to its crate in a gradual and positive enough manner. Review the steps above so that the crate is in a comfortable bedding location, that each introduction is positive, and that the crate is not used for punishment.

4. If the dog has previously escaped from its crate, this may encourage further escape attempts. Change to a more secure confi nement area or ensure that the crate is inescapable. It may then be necessary to supervise the dog in its crate for a period of time to help reduce anxiety and deter further escape attempts.

5. Some dogs are particularly resistant to crating. These dogs may adapt better to other types of confinement such as a pen, dog run, small room, or barricaded area (e.g., using a child gate).

6. Rule out separation anxiety as a cause of crate anxiety.




Desexing is a surgical procedure performed on animals to stop unwanted litters and unwanted behaviour such as urine spraying, marking territory. Desexing has traditionally been done at six months of age. This was performed before the first heat in females and in males before testicular maturity. Sunshine Coast Regional Council still goes by these guidelines. Lately, scientific research and statistical analysis of animal health, has changed our opinion on desexing times for dogs.  We still recommend desexing at six months for cats. 

It appears that early desexed dogs may have more health problems later on in life. At CPVS we believe that it may be better not to desex actively growing dogs. Maturity relates to the size of the animal eg Great Danes will mature at about fifteen months, while Chihuahuas will mature at about eight months of age.  We generally recommend desexing females between the first and second heat which for most dogs is between 1 and 2 years of age. Very small dogs can be desexed from around 9 months of age. 

Later desexing can cause a few problems for the owner which are: 

1. Females can get pregnant. Male dogs can hang around your house. 

2. Your pet can escape looking for a mate. 

3. Female dogs will bleed in the first part of the oestrus. 

4. Cost of late desexing is increased, mainly in females. This is due to the size of the uterus which has to be removed. 

5. Higher council fees of registration for non desexed dogs. 

The decision about the best time for desexing is still being debated. It is up to you to decide when you would like to get your pet desexed. If you have any questions about desexing please talk to one of our vets.



Not all dogs require frequent nail clipping. For some very active dogs who run all day long on varied surfaces, cutting nails may not be necessary as high mileage wears them down naturally. However, for many suburban dogs who may only get one short walk a day, long toenails are more common. Having toenails that are too long can result in painful paws, abnormal posture and in the long-term painful muscles, joints and even arthritis.

Before starting you need to make sure you have all the right tools required:

Nail clippers-use scissor style or guillotine style clippers. Ensure they are kept sharp by either replacing or sharpening them regularly. Use small size clippers as you will have better control. Only giant breed dogs require large clippers.


Treats-to make the experience more rewarding for your dog.


A bar of soap, corn flour, styptic powder or Condy’s crystals- to stop bleeding if you do happen to cut into the quick (the sensitive part of the nail containing nerves and blood vessels). Try to avoid this by removing only a small piece of nail with each cut. 


For very nervous dogs:

Speak to the vet about medication to keep your dog calmer during a nail clip. Pre-visit pharmaceuticals or PVPs are typically used for nervous dogs prior to vet visits to help make the experience less stressful. These can also be used prior to nail clipping to help ease your dog’s anxiety. Alternatively, you can always book in with us to have your dog’s nails clipped but PVPs or even sedation may be recommended if your dog gets very distressed during nail clipping. 

Tips and Tricks.

  • Trim nails in a well-lit room.

  • If you need glasses for reading, use them for nail clipping also.

  • The insensitive nail will show as a chalky ring around the sensitive quick. 

  • Use a pair of blunt edged scissors to remove excess toe hair, nothing dulls clipper blades more than cutting hair.

  • Make the experience fun for your dog by rewarding them with treats and praise, and if you do accidentally cut the quick be sure to give them a yummy treat quickly.

  • For maintenance, cut nails every 2 weeks. To shorten nails, cut every week. Once the insensitive nail is thinned out and isn’t supporting the quick, the quick will dry up and recede. This will allow you to cut your dog’s nails even shorter.


The diagram above shows how to cut long nails in a manner that will encourage the quick to recede so that you can gradually shorten the dog’s nails.

On the left you can see the interior structure of a dog’s nail, along with the suggested angle to cut the nail, while not cutting the sensitive quick. On the right is a cross section view of the nail after the first cut, as well as the next 2 recommended cuts. On a black claw the interface between the sensitive and insensitive nail is usually chalky and white. On cross section, the sensitive quick will look almost translucent and glossy, like living flesh. Think of cutting your dog’s nails like sharpening a pencil, where the nail is the wood and the quick is the lead.

In untrimmed nails there is often a notch below the quick. It is usually safe to initiate your first angled cut at this notch. 

Final Notes:

  • Some dogs will act like cutting their nails is their worst nightmare. This can be a learned behaviour from their painful, over stimulated toes which will slowly reduce along with the pain once the nails are short. It can also be a learned behaviour from a past bad experience. 

  • Start on the hind feet, those nails tend to be shorter already and less sensitive.

  • You can’t make an accurate cut on a moving target, so use the help of a second person to help hold your dog.

  • Make the experience “quality time” with your dog. Lots of treats, praise and an all-round positive attitude will go a long way.

  • Teach puppies from an early age to enjoy having their paws handled by feeding them treats while you do so. Then start touching nail clippers to their paws while continuing to feed treats. Finally, you can start clipping a small amount of nail being very careful not to cause any pain.

  • You do not have to clip all your dog’s nails at once. You could do them at the rate of one paw or even one nail a day if you wish.


If you have any questions or need advice we are always happy to help, please contact the clinic on 54455288

Puppy Health Care
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