Few things are as exciting as bringing home a new puppy. Their sweet smell, playful attitude, and propensity for cuddling are some of their all-too-irresistible characteristics. To ensure that you and your family are ready to embrace this special time to the fullest, we’ve taken the headache out of puppy preparations with our helpful guide to your puppy’s first year. The following eight suggestions will help for a smooth transition into that first delightful, busy year of puppyhood.
#1: Hold a family meeting about the new pet
If you share your home with other people, ensure everyone is on the same page by setting a few ground rules. You may want to discuss things like housetraining, your puppy’s schedule, or the words you will use for basic commands. You can create a schedule and assign each person an individual task involving the puppy’s care, such as feeding or bathing.
#2: Pet-proof the home
For the safety of your new, curious puppy and your family, you will need to look closely at your home for any hazards. Hide electrical cords, move breakables, and place items that may tempt her on higher shelves, or stow them away. These can include candles, plants, pens, and paper, and essentially anything that smells good, or may be fun to chew. You should also consider placing baby gates at certain rooms that are off-limits for the puppy.
#3: Shop for your new pet
This is the fun part. Your new puppy will need quite a few items, including food and water bowls, an appropriately sized collar and leash, high quality puppy food, training treats, and a variety of engaging toys. Other items that may be helpful include training pads, a crate, and pet bedding. Keep in mind your dog’s breed and size when choosing these items.
#4: Learn about your puppy’s history and routine
Before leaving the shelter or breeder, get as much information as possible about your puppy. You’ll want to know the type of food she has been eating, how often she is fed, if she’s been seen by a veterinarian, any health concerns, and her vaccine and deworming records. If you plan on changing your puppy’s food, do so gradually over five to seven days to minimize gastrointestinal upset.
#5: Focus on the puppy’s homecoming
This exceptionally exciting time for you and your family can be one of stress and anxiety for your new puppy. A new home with people and animals she doesn’t know can be overwhelming. Set up a special retreat in your home where your puppy can relax. Try to keep the homecoming calm, quiet, and loving, allowing your new little love to adjust to her new surroundings in peace.
#6: Decide on a housetraining technique for your pup
Whether you decide to crate train or use a different technique, sticking with the same method is key. Get the whole family on board, and ensure that your puppy receives consistent, continuous training from everyone involved. Some puppies learn to housetrain more quickly than others, but patience and diligence are always vital for success.
#7: Schedule your pet’s first veterinary appointment
One of the most important things you can do for your new puppy is taking her to the veterinarian as early as possible. Not only will Dr. Cagle ensure that your puppy is healthy from nose to tail, but he will also get her started on her vaccination series, which is incredibly important for her protection against harmful diseases. He will also discuss deworming and parasite prevention against fleas, ticks, heartworms, and other pesky bugs. Other discussion topics may include spaying or neutering, training, socialization, and normal puppy behavior. Come prepared with questions.
#8: Look into puppy-training classes
You may prefer to train your new puppy on your own, but puppy classes are an invaluable way for her to socialize with other dogs in a controlled environment. Early and frequent socialization is key to a well-mannered, confident adult dog, so don’t miss the opportunity for your pet to be around other dogs, animals, and people in a safe environment. Of course, follow Dr. Cagle’s specific guidelines for your individual pet, as puppies are also more vulnerable to communicable diseases during their early weeks.
At The Urban Vet, we will be thrilled to meet your new puppy, and we look forward to taking care of her veterinary needs well into adulthood. Contact us with questions, or to schedule an appointment.