Absolutely use heartworm preventative. Heartworm has always been in NJ but since Katrina and the recent wave of rescue groups bringing shelter dogs north for adoption the incidence has increased. The drugs used whether ivermectin based(heartguard) or milbemycin(sentinel) are incredibly safe. They are only in your dog's system for 48 hours so your dog doesn't have the drug in them the whole month. On top of that they also protect your dog from some of the common intestinal parasites. I've personally seen the effects of heartworm disease and you would not want your dog to go through either the disease or the treatment. And congrats on your new pup. If you have any other questions you can pm me.
Great looking pup, congrats! Absolutely you should have him on Heartworm prevention meds as well as a quality tick repellant. Heartguard Plus is great stuff and recommended by most vets. You don't want to roll the dice with Heartworms, it's serious and can be fatal. I've dealt with it before with foster dogs and the treatment is brutal - essentially it's a series of injections of poison (a form of arsenic if I remember correctly) and the dog must be completely stationary (kenneled) for the duration and a period of time afterwards. The poison does hurt the dog and it's tough to watch. In fact one of the two pups that were rescued from Great Meadow 2 weeks ago is Heartworm positive, we'll be having him treated soon and i'll be fostering him for the duration of the treatment (I have his sister now). He's also positive for Lyme's, which is exactly why the tick repellant is important as well.
Nice pup. Looks like my brown monster. Yes I give her Heartgard ( ivermectin/pyantel) plus once a month. Get a Lyme shot for the pup and remember that the first rabies shot take at least 2-3 weeks for it to take effect. Ask the vet. May I ask where you got the pup ?The breeder I was dealing with is out of business.