So you’re getting a new puppy! Before you bring your fur ball bundle of joy home, here are 4 steps to take when welcoming your new family member.
1. Schedule a vet visit! First things first, you’ll want to schedule an appointment at the vet for general puppy care. Setting up a vaccination and medication schedule and scheduling a spay/neuter are important steps in helping your puppy grow healthy and strong. Even if your pup has already been given their basic vaccinations and fixed, it’s still a good idea to introduce your pup to their new vet and come up with a nutrition and medication plan that is appropriate for your pup’s breed, age and weight.
Many pet owners don’t know how much to feed their pet, how often and which foods are recommended. Your vet can give recommendations appropriate for your new family member. You’ll also want to discuss exercise recommendations, appropriate for age and breed. According to the Association for Pet Obesity Prevention, an estimated 59% of cats and 54% of dogs in the United States are overweight or obese. Your pup relies on you to feed them the proper foods as well as get plenty of proper exercise for each stage of life. When pet owners exercise with their pet, it’s a win-win for all!
2. Puppy-proof your home! Pups are still learning what to do with their mouths and their mouths stay quite busy for eating, playing and as a form of communication. Keeping non-edible items such as shoes, furniture, household items and any other items that are not appropriate for a puppy to chew on or eat out of sight is important during the puppy stage! Other than food, some basic puppy items you’ll need to purchase include a dog bed, crate, leash and harness, and appropriate dog toys to keep those mouths busy!
3. Enroll in puppy obedience school! Contact your local pet store or dog obedience professional to sign up for puppy obedience classes. The earlier you can get your pup trained, the easier it will be for them to learn such basic commands as sit, stay, heel, and leave it! Once your pup has graduated from puppy class, he or she can move up to intermediate training and if your breed is up for it, there are also special classes for agility skills and other fun tricks!
4. Practice patience! Puppies can be as much of a handful as they are adorable. That cuteness can be forgotten if they’re caught chewing up your favorite shoe or purse (so don’t leave items like these accessible!) and accidents in the house are common until they learn how to control their bladders! Having patience is important as they are new to this big world and to your home. As a responsible pet owner, keep in mind that your pup relies on you to teach them how to be a delight to the rest of the world!
When in doubt, always seek your vet’s guidance as well as trusted dog professionals for questions and concerns. The American Kennel Club has valuable information on breed personalities and other great resources to help you with common topics.
Getting a new puppy is a rewarding experience, and the dreaded puppy stage won’t last forever! The companionship, loyalty and joy and unconditional love your growing dog will bring you for years to come starts with a healthy beginning.
Happy National Puppy Day!