Bringing home a new puppy requires a substantial amount of work, before and after your fluffy bundle of joy enters your life. To make your preparations a cinch, we’ve teamed up with one of our favorite puppy patients, Chance. By sharing his training tales as he met his new family and settled into his forever home, you can learn the steps you should take to help your own pup set out on the right life path. Let’s learn from Chance’s wisdom.
Preparing for a new puppy
A new puppy seems to need as many supplies as a human baby. But, before you buy out your local pet store, prepare for your puppy’s first day by creating a list of essentials, which should include:
- ID tags
- Waste bags
- Food and water dishes
- Long-lasting treats
- Training treats
- Food puzzles
- Teething toys and chews
- Pet-safe cleaning supplies
Chance’s story — After entering his new home, Chance was delighted to see that he had a cozy bed all ready to curl up in, as his first day had been exhausting. Outfitted in his snazzy collar with jingly ID tags, he had taken a long walk to see the neighborhood sights. Now, he headed over to his water dish, slurped up some water, and hopped into bed. After a brief nap, he was up and ready to go, and “go” he went—in a big puddle on the floor. Fortunately, his new owners were prepared with non-toxic cleaning products, so Chance stayed safe.
Puppy-proofing your home
As puppies explore their new home, they get into everything, particularly into places they shouldn’t. And, because your puppy is teething, he will also chew on items he shouldn’t. Keep your puppy and your home safe by setting up baby gates, and placing all potentially dangerous items out of reach.
Chance’s story — “Man, what tasty smells are coming out of that room. I wish I could sneak in there and check them out, but this silly gate is stopping me.” Chance was easily tempted by the scents wafting from the kitchen, but was unable to get underfoot while food was cooking on a hot stove, or to explore the trash can. Instead, he lounged in the barricaded living room that was littered with squeaky toys and chew toys, and stayed occupied with his favorite long-lasting treat.
Socialization with new places, people, and pets
Positive socialization, which is how a puppy forms his world view, is critical for development. Allowing your puppy to approach new people, pets, and places at his own pace, and rewarding and encouraging him, will help him form positive associations, and reduce his risk of anxiety development. Socialization also includes teaching your puppy to accept handling and grooming, such as brushing, ear cleaning, and nail trimming. Since these tasks are necessary for your pet’s good health, ensure they are enjoyable by pairing them with treats and praise. Socialization is especially important when a puppy is between 3 and 14 weeks of age, but should be a lifelong process to ensure a happy, well-adjusted dog.
Chance’s story — As Chance slowly approached the tall man with the deep voice, he felt unsure of the thick beard and hat. “Wow, I’m glad my mom taught me to appreciate my grooming sessions, so I don’t end up with a large mat on my face like this guy. Maybe his mom needs to bribe him with peanut butter, too, and he’ll be as nicely groomed as me, because he’s pretty scary-looking right now,” he thought. Fortunately, the tall man saw that Chance was nervous, so he knelt down, and turned to the side to appear less threatening. He sat still, allowed Chance to approach him, and didn’t try to reach out to pet his head. Chance sniffed him over, decided he wasn’t so scary after all, and was not scared as the man reached out to scratch his chest, rather than his head. Lulled by gentle pets and tasty treats, Chance quickly became friends with the man, and hoped every new person he met would be understanding, and give him time to become accustomed to them.
Preventive care for your puppy
Preventive care is essential to ensure your new puppy grows strong and healthy, and remains by your side for many years to come. During your puppy’s wellness visits, we will booster his vaccinations based on his lifestyle and exposure risk, discuss training and problem-behavior prevention, find the right diet, and set him up with a parasite prevention program.
Chance’s story — “This isn’t so bad,” Chance thought to himself, as he focused on his helping of puppy treats during his vaccinations. “Dr. Putman and Brittany are really laying it on thick, but that’s probably because I hear them telling my mom when I should be neutered, and they don’t want me to listen to that.” At Chance’s last visit, he had received his final puppy-series vaccinations, and had been weighed to determine his appropriate dose of heartworm, flea, and tick preventive. Now Chance listened as his veterinary team also discussed the best age to switch him from puppy to adult food, and when he should be neutered. Sadly, it was Chance’s last puppy visit, but he knew his owner would bring him to the hospital monthly for his weight to be checked, and to ensure he had the proper parasite prevention. “And, I can’t wait for more puppy snuggles,” he thought.
Have you welcomed a new puppy into your family? We’d love to meet your new furry pal, and welcome him to the Countryside Veterinary Hospital family. Give us a call to schedule your pup’s first wellness visit.