Cuteness Overload: New Puppy Care 101
Bringing home a new puppy may well be one of life’s great pleasures. Whether you’re a newbie or a seasoned pet owner, you are no doubt aware of the large amount of work that goes into new puppy care. Your pet needs so much more than food and water to grow into a happy and thriving adult dog.
Your health care team at Highway Veterinary Hospital is committed to providing you with the tools you need every step of the way.
The Basics of New Puppy Care
Caring for a new puppy is a challenging and exciting time, and being prepared can ease your stress and leave more time for bonding.
- Supplies – Make sure you have all the basics before bringing your new pup home, such as food and water bowls, a bed, chew toys, collar, tags, leash, and crate if using. Consider baby gates or other creative ways to block off areas of the home or yard you don’t want your puppy exploring.
- Veterinary support – Your puppy’s first preventive care exam should occur as soon as possible after they’ve arrived home. We’ll provide a complete physical examination, deworming, and the initial set of immunizations. Microchipping, spaying/neutering, and parasite prevention will also be discussed.
- House training – Taking your puppy outdoors to eliminate multiple times per day (including first thing in the morning, after naps and meals, and before bed) is crucial to successful house training. If you can’t be available on a set schedule, make sure someone else can fill in.
- Puppy proofing – In case you haven’t noticed, puppies love to chew on and put everything in their mouths! Choking, intestinal blockage, and accidental poisoning are serious concerns, so make sure to remove or secure anything you don’t want your puppy to get their paws on.
Your Puppy’s Diet
Your puppy’s body is still growing, making proper nutrition and calories an absolute must in order to reach their full potential. Select a high quality commercial dog food that is specially formulated for puppies, and feed at the same time each day.
- Puppies age 6-12 weeks should have 4 meals per day
- Puppies age 3-6 months should have about 3 meals per day
- Meals can be reduced to twice daily after 6 months of age
Keep in mind – there are large breed growth formula diets available for dogs expected to be over 50lbs. A dry food is much better for your puppy’s future dental health. Feed your puppy three times daily until 12 weeks of age, then feed your puppy twice daily. Feed a puppy formula diet until approximately one year of age.
The Importance of Socialization and Training
Socialization is necessary for a puppy to become a happy and safe member of human society. Socialization should ideally take place in the first few months of life, and involve exposing your puppy to as many new people, animals, places, and things as possible.
Adequate socialization creates a dog that is relaxed, flexible, and confident in a wide variety of situations.
Raising a dog that behaves appropriately and is easily controlled can be achieved through ethical and humane obedience training. A properly trained dog is safer around other people and animals and helps to form a stronger bond with their owner, becoming a well-adjusted member of the family.