New Puppy Information

Congratulations on your new puppy!

Welcome New Puppy!This is an exciting and important time in both your life and your pet's, and there is lots to learn. At the Worth Street Veterinary Center, we understand you may have many questions, and we are here to help! If you have any concerns not covered below, please do not hesitate to give us a call at 212-257-6900.

Here's what you can expect at your puppy's first appointment with us:

  • An individualized orientation with a WSVC veterinarian
  • A full physical examination of your puppy
  • A thorough and safe vaccination schedule based on your puppy's medical history and age
  • A fecal test to check for any intestinal parasites
  • Guidance on how to feed and potty train your new puppy

In addition, the first puppy appointment typically presents a variety of services and products to help keep your puppy healthy. This includes information regarding heartworm prevention, flea and tick prevention, house training, obedience training, socialization, diet, dental hygiene, and insurance options. There's a lot of new information, and the staff of the Worth Street Veterinary Center is here to make it as easy and understandable as possible. Please read on for more details, and to learn more of what you can expect in the exciting upcoming months.

We look forward to meeting you and your new puppy!

Physical Exam

Physical ExamOur veterinarian will do a comprehensive, nose-to-tail physical exam of your pet both during puppy visit(s) and at routine annual health visits. The goal of the physical is to alert the doctor to any possible congenital defects or concerns. During the exam, our doctor will:

  • thoroughly inspect your pet's ears, eyes, nose, mouth, teeth, gums, trunk, legs and paws
  • take a temperature, pulse rate and respiratory rate
  • check the skin and perianal area for any sign of disease or parasites
  • listen for any heart or lung abnormalities
  • palpate the internal organs

TIP: One way to ensure that you have positive, stress-free visits with us is to play with your pet's paws, ears and mouth on a regular basis. This will accustom your pet to being touched and examined, and it will help him ultimately be more comfortable when examined by our vet.

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Puppy VaccinationsImmunizations protect your pet from potentially life threatening infectious diseases. Since it takes some time for your puppy's immune system to mature, your puppy should receive a series of vaccinations beginning around 8 weeks of age, and finishing around 16 weeks of age. Your pet will also require boosters a year later. The three types of vaccinations most commonly recommended include:

  1. DA2PP – (Distemper, Adenovirus Types 1&2, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus Vaccine) This is a combination vaccine given 3-4 times at three-week intervals for puppies. (The first of the series is given at 8–10 weeks old.) A booster is given at one year from the last puppy vaccine, at which point the vaccine will only be required every three years.

    Distemper – An extremely contagious, airborne viral disease that attacks the respiratory, gastrointestinal and nervous system.

    Adenovirus – A highly infectious airborne virus affecting the respiratory system. It is one of the causes of tracheobronchitis–also known as kennel cough. The vaccine also protects against the hepatitis virus type 1 and 2.

    Parainfluenza – A contagious airborne virus, parainfluenza produces a respiratory tract infection. It is also one of the causes of tracheobronchitis.

    Parvovirus – A virus affecting the intestines and white blood cells, which is spread by ingesting contaminated fecal material. This virus is highly infectious.

  2. Rabies Vaccine – required by New York State Law

    The first rabies vaccine is given between 12-16 weeks old, usually at the same time or soon after the last DA2PP vaccine. A booster is given one year later, and again every three years thereafter to maintain immunity.

    Rabies: This deadly virus is most commonly transmitted through the saliva of a rabies vector species, such as a bat, raccoon, or skunk. In New York City, it is legally required to keep your pet up to date on its rabies vaccinations.

  3. Bordetella vaccine

    In New York City, it is legally required that your dog have the bordetella vaccine every 6 months if he/she will be attending a doggie day care or visiting a boarding facility. Otherwise, this can be given annually to maintain your pet's immunity. It is first administered around 11 weeks of age.

    Bordetella: This is a highly contagious bacterial infection of the upper respiratory tract, and the main component of tracheobronchitis. The main symptom of tracheobronchitis, also known as “kennel cough,” is a dry hacking cough.

Other vaccines such as Lyme, Leptospirosis, Canine Influenza, etc. will be tailored to your pet based on his or her specific needs.

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Antibody Titers

An antibody titer is a blood test that is used to measure the antibodies that a pet has to a particular disease. Titers are a great way to prevent over-vaccinating your pet, because they show when the pet's immunity level is low enough to require the added protection of a booster vaccination. We recommend running antibody titers annually.

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Intestinal Parasites

Most puppies contract parasites from their mothers. However, in our New York City environment where there is a high density of pets, these parasites can easily be contracted from other pets, on the ground, in dog runs, and more. These parasites can cause vomiting, diarrhea, weight loss, and other problems if left untreated. We will test a stool sample from your puppy at your first visit to check for any parasites.


Roundworms: These are the most common intestinal parasites. They live in the digestive tract and absorb nutrients from ingested food. Signs of roundworms include: a pot-bellied appearance, vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss. Roundworms can infect humans.
Hookworms: Hookworms are the second most common intestinal parasite and they can also infect humans. They live in the small intestine and can spread through nursing, ingestion, or by the pet coming in contact with infected fecal matter.
Whipworms: These live in the large intestine and can cause bloody diarrhea, weight loss and anemia. Infection is spread through ingesting food or water contaminated with the whipworm eggs. Re-infection is common. While it is rare, whipworms can infect humans.
Tapeworms: These can be spread only through ingestion of fleas and are usually diagnosed by finding the egg sacs (which look like small grains of rice) in the feces or around the anal area. A good flea control program will eliminate this exposure.

Single-Cell Organisms

Coccidia: Some strains of this can be transferred to people. Coccidia causes severe watery diarrhea as well as dehydration, abdominal distress and vomiting.
Giardia: Giardia causes diarrhea and is diagnosed with a special fecal test. It can be difficult to treat, and your pet may need to be treated multiple times to fully recover. Giardia is a zoonotic disease, which means it can be transferred to people.

Fecal Examination

Fecal exams detect the presence of parasites by doing a microscopic assessment of the pet's feces. If any parasites are found, our veterinarian will have you start your puppy on medicine to treat them. After the treatment is completed, an additional fecal test (typically 2-3 weeks after) will confirm whether the treatment was fully effective or whether further treatment is needed. It is recommended that you test your pet's feces once a year at the annual exam and any time that your pet is experiencing ongoing diarrhea.

Tip: It is important to properly dispose of your pet's feces to remove potentially infective worm eggs and prevent them from becoming ingested by pets or humans. You can also reduce the risk of parasitic infection by thoroughly cleaning your pet's behind and paws after a visit to the dog park or other frequently contaminated areas before the pet re-enters your home. Unscented baby wipes can be safely used on your pet for this purpose.

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Heartworm Disease

Heartworm is a serious, potentially fatal disease that is transmitted by mosquitoes with a blood-borne parasite. This disease can cause permanent damage to the heart, as well as damage to the lungs, liver and kidneys. External symptoms include lethargy, coughing, and shortness of breath.

Damage caused by heart disease is due to the damage the worms cause to the blood vessels, which in turn reduce the heart's ability to pump blood to other organs in the body.

Preventing heartworm is much easier than treating it, so it is highly recommended to give your pet a once-monthly heartworm preventative and conduct a heartworm test annually to ensure that your pet has not been exposed. If your pet tests positive for heartworm, we will discuss the appropriate course of treatment with you.

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Tick Control

Intestinal Parasites

Protect your puppy from ticks and fleas.

If you or your pets are in tick-friendly environments at any time, it is important to check for ticks when you return home. Ticks generally live in heavily wooded areas or tall grasses and can survive cold temperatures as well. Make sure to check all the areas where ticks love to hang out, such as behind the ears and between the toes.

To prevent Lyme Disease, it is critical to remove any ticks within 24 hours. This can be done safely by lightly pulling on the tick's attachment to the skin with tweezers until the tick lets go. If you are unsure whether you will be able to remove the entire tick without leaving a head embedded in your pet's skin, we will be happy to help you remove it. Simply call us for a brief appointment.

If the tick was not removed within 24 hours, we recommend conducting a blood test to ensure your pet has not contracted Lyme Disease. This test is done 6-8 weeks after the exposure occurred, and our veterinarian will prescribe treatment if the test results are positive. In the meantime, be watchful for signs of lameness, lethargy, lack of appetite or fever.

Talk to our veterinarian about the Lyme vaccination and other tick control if you plan to travel with your pet to heavily wooded areas.

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Flea Control

Fleas are dark brown pests that are about the same size as a sesame seed when full grown. They live on animals and feed on their blood, and can be contracted from the environment or by coming in contact with an infected pet.

Problems such as excessive scratching, anemia, and allergic reactions can be caused by fleas, and your pet may contract any diseases that the fleas carry.

Fleas are much easier to prevent than to treat, so it is recommended that you give your pet preventative treatment once monthly. If you think your pet may have fleas, make an appointment with your veterinarian so that a course of treatment can be started. Be aware that for every flea you can see on your pet, there are generally hundreds more in your environment.

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Spaying or Neutering

Spaying or NeuteringSpaying and neutering is highly recommended when your pet reaches 6 months of age. A spay, which involves surgically removing the ovaries and uterus of a female dog, greatly reduces the risk of uterine infections and breast cancer. It also eliminates the possibility of unwanted pregnancies and puppies. A neuter, which involves surgical removal of the testicles and is also known as castration, eliminates the risk of testicular cancer and decreases the risk of undesirable behavioral problems and prostate cancer.

Spaying or neutering at 6-8 months of age will not change your pet's weight or personality in terms of intelligence, affection, and playfulness.

On the day of the procedure, pets can be dropped off between 8am and 9am. A veterinary technician will provide personalized care for your pet during its time with us. Prior to the procedure, a catheter is placed intravenously and your pet is given a pre-operative sedative. The catheter allows us to deliver medicines and fluids efficiently throughout the process. The highest quality human-grade anesthesia is used during the surgical procedure, and we monitor your pet's temperature, heart rate, and blood oxygen level while giving IV fluids to maintain a consistent body temperature.

After the procedure, a veterinary technician will stay with your pet while (s)he recovers, making sure (s)he is kept pain free and has warm blankets to keep comfortable. After a routine recovery, we will contact you to provide an update, keep your pet overnight and then (s)he will be ready to be picked up the next day. We will take every step to make the spaying or neutering as comfortable as possible for your pet and family.

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MicrochippingWe encourage you to microchip your pet. A microchip is a small electronic chip that is placed just beneath the skin between your pet's shoulder blades and is approximately the size of a grain of rice. In the event of being lost, a microchip gives your pet a permanent source of identification. The chip's number is registered in a national database with your personal contact information so that you can easily be contacted and reunited if your pet is found. Microchips are often required for international travel as well.

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Dental Care

Dental CareBrushing your pet's teeth is an important part of maintaining his health. It is important to start early, and we recommend brushing daily to prevent plaque build-up. If you have trouble brushing or find it difficult to do often, enzymatic chews are a great alternative to help prevent periodontal disease. When brushing, a toothbrush and specially formulated enzymatic toothpaste should be used. For a 5-minute video on how to brush your pet's teeth, visit

Baby Teeth – Puppies have 28 deciduous (or “baby”) teeth that usually fall out by the time he is 6-8 months old. If they have not fallen out by this time, they should be surgically removed during the time of spay or neuter surgery. If they are not removed, they can impede the adult teeth from emerging.

Adult Teeth – It is important to take your pet for regular dental health check-ups as they get older. It can also be done at the same time as your annual appointment for your convenience.

Plaque: A film that develops on the teeth when bacteria attach.
Tartar/Calculus: A form of hardened plaque that develops when minerals in the saliva accumulate on existing plaque.
Gingivitis: An inflammation of the gum tissue, caused when plaque and tartar irritate the gums. This also causes bad breath.
Periodontal Disease: Develops when tartar accumulates under the gums and separates the gums from the teeth, allowing more bacteria to grow in the space created. This disease can result in abscesses, infections, bone loss and painful problems with the heart, lung, and kidneys.

If your pet has developed tartar, an anesthetic procedure will be necessary to remove the tartar and polish the teeth using ultrasonic scaling. The scaling is done above and below the gum line, and tooth extractions may be necessary in some circumstances to maintain your pet's health. To establish a dental care plan for your pet, talk to our veterinarian.

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NutritionTo ensure your pet maintains optimum health, we recommend feeding high quality dog food that has the proper balance of protein, carbohydrates, fiber and fat. The food you choose will affect your pet's energy level and the condition of his coat, eyes, and body.

Recommended Food Brands:

  • Nature's Variety
  • Wellness Grain Free
  • Wysong
  • Solid Gold
  • Acana
  • Merrick
  • Before Grain
  • Halo

This list changes frequently as new foods come onto the market, so feel free to call us and ask for advice.

Your pet's weight should be maintained at a level appropriate for his age, breed, and activity level. Our veterinarian can determine whether your pet is at his ideal weight, and your pet should especially be seen if he is overweight or has lost weight. Sudden weight changes can be a sign of other underlying problems.

Transitioning to a new food – Sudden changes in your pet's diet can affect his digestion and create an upset stomach. Because of this, it is important to transition slowly by gradually combining in more of the new food with less of the old food. We suggest combining 20% of the new food with 80% of the old food for the first three days. If your pet has no trouble with that transition, you can then increase to 40% new food and 60% old food, and gradually continue until you have completed the transition. Consult one of our veterinarians if your pet experiences intestinal upset at any time.

Prescription Food – These foods are specially formulated to address specific medical needs and may be prescribed for short-term or long-term use.

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House training

House training*Disclaimer: The below information simply explains our general philosophy on pet house training. However, we strongly suggest contacting a pet behaviorist and trainer. We would be happy to give you names and contact information for several.

House training is accomplished by managing when and where your puppy has access in your home. To start, you will want to provide an area where your puppy can be confined on a short-term basis when he is being left unattended. Your puppy should not be left unsupervised until he is fully house trained.

Crate Training – Using a crate is an effective way to confine your puppy for short-term periods and can also be useful for long-term confinement when incorporated correctly. The size of the crate is extremely important in its success. Your puppy should be able to comfortably stand, turn around, and lie down. If the crate is too big, there is a chance your puppy would be willing to eliminate on one side of the crate and sleep on the other, which would undermine the training process. If your puppy is anticipated to grow substantially as he gets older, you can buy a larger crate. Many companies sell large crates with dividers that would allow you to make it smaller temporarily.

To ensure that your puppy sees the crate as a safe place, it is important to introduce it slowly. Keep the crate door open and place chew toys and treats inside and allow him to explore it at his own pace. When your puppy goes into the crate, praise him and let him know he did a good job.

Short Term Confinement – When your pet has become accustomed to his crate, you can begin to confine him for short-term periods. Praise your puppy whenever he enters and stays in the crate, and reward him with a treat. Then try closing the door and repeating this, remembering to praise and treat your puppy while in the crate, not when releasing the puppy. Otherwise you will mistakenly be teaching your puppy that the reward is being released from the crate. Continue to repeat this process while slowly increasing the amount of time that the door is shut.

When you are not working on this training, always leave the crate door open and leave toys and treats inside the crate to continue to encourage your puppy to enjoy it.

Crate training will also begin to develop your puppy's bladder and bowel control. In the beginning, give your puppy the opportunity to use the bathroom in his appropriate spot every hour, praising and treating him when he does so. No puppy should be crated more than 4 hours, and no adult dog should be crated for more than 6 continuous hours. If you will be gone for longer periods of time, consider using long-term confinement methods.

Long Term Confinement – Long Term Confinement utilizes a safe penned-in area where your pet can stay while you are away during the day. It should contain the crate, toys that are safe while unsupervised, water, and puppy pads. To help your puppy become accustomed to using the puppy pads, it is recommended that you cover the entire floor in “wee-wee” pads for the first week. Then, slowly decrease the number of pads you are using until you only need to leave one or two. Increase the amount of pads if your puppy has an accident elsewhere, then decrease again once their eliminations are consistently on the pads.

Supervision: The Tether – Tethering can be used when you are at home together but ready to give your puppy some freedom to play while still being able to supervise them and prevent them from making mistakes. After he has eliminated, secure his leash to you or to a piece of furniture near you. Be sure to give him an opportunity to eliminate every hour or two to be sure he doesn't have an accident and to continue positive reinforcement. This technique is intended to be temporary until your pet is housetrained and learns to use chew toys.

Elimination Schedule – It is vital to implement a consistent elimination schedule in order to be successful in house training your puppy. Give your puppy the opportunity to eliminate immediately upon waking in the morning, either inside in his appropriate spot or outside if he is old enough and have the proper vaccinations. You should also take him out before you leave him unsupervised, when you return home, before bedtime, and 30 minutes after feeding him. Please consult our veterinarian if you are having problems with your puppy eating his stool.

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It is important to expose your new puppy to many different people, animals, and situations to ensure that he will become properly socialized. If a puppy is not socialized, he may become scared or aggressive towards unfamiliar things. The best way to socialize your puppy is to be patient, encourage him to investigate new things, and provide a safe environment in which he can do so. Create positive associations so that your puppy looks forward to new situations when they are paired with treats, play, and calm praise. Make sure that older animals that your puppy is meeting are healthy and vaccinated.

Socializing Your Puppy

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AAHA Accreditation Counts

AAHA LogoWhen quality medical care matters, clients take their pets to AAHA-accredited hospitals. Only 15 percent of animal hospitals in North America are accredited by the American Animal Hospital Association, and the Worth Street Veterinary Center is one of them.

Superior care is clearly a priority for you and your family, so it should be reassuring to know that your hospital made the grade. We continually exceed rigorous reviews that include more than 900 standards created by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA) which evaluate quality care and client service.

AAHA accreditation is a trusted sign of excellence. It shows that veterinary professionals are knowledgeable, equipment is well maintained and updated, medical procedures are cutting-edge, and facilities deliver high quality veterinary care.

To maintain accredited status, we voluntarily undergo comprehensive on-site evaluations about every three years.

AAHA accreditation keeps us at the front of the veterinary pack. We are dedicated to providing your pet with the best health care possible. Take pride in the knowledge that your pets are in great hands.

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For Your Information

Appointment Policy – Though we can usually accommodate appointments with short notice, we ask and suggest that you schedule an appointment with a doctor in advance. We will accommodate walk-ins and emergencies to the best of our ability.

Treatment Plans/Estimates – A written treatment plan can be provided upon request for any services to be performed.

Pet Health Insurance – We recommend visiting for information on various insurance companies and the services they can provide for you and your pet. If you'd like to discuss pet insurance companies with us directly, please feel free to call us at 212-257-6900.

Emergency Services – The Worth Street Veterinary Center has a veterinarian on call until 11pm to assist you with any urgent medical questions. After 11pm, calls are directed to Blue Pearl Veterinary Partners, a 24-hour emergency service provider. Please do not hesitate to call if you're concerned. They can be reached directly at 212-767-0099.

Payment and Fees – We accept all forms of payment. These include cash, credit cards, debit cards, and Care Credit. Payment must be made in full when services are rendered.