Are you a new dog owner? Are you about to bring home your new fur baby and want to be sure you do everything right? There’s nothing better than a healthy and happy puppy, and while it may sound relatively easy to achieve, there are some important tips and information worth familiarizing yourself with. This will make the transition period easier for you as a new dog owner, and easier on your puppy too as it gets used to its new family and routine.
Schedule a Visit with the Vet Right Away
Your priority should be to schedule a visit with the vet as soon as possible. The vet will have an entire checklist of items to go through with your new puppy, which can include:
- Weighing the puppy
- Doing a physical exam
- Taking its temperature
- Listening to its lungs and heart
- Examining the puppy for worms (you’ll need to bring a fresh feces sample)
- Looking at their mouth and teeth
- Discussing and potentially performing vaccinations
- Discussing any necessary medications or treatments
If you don’t have a vet that you’ve used in the past, you can always look up reviews online or ask for recommendations from friends and family members.
Training Starts on Day One
While it may be tempting just to let the new puppy settle in and not worry too much about a routine, experts will tell you that training should begin right away – the moment you get home. Consistency will be very important for your new puppy, and that needs to be evident from the start.
As for what rules to start with, just focus on the basics in the beginning. This means teaching your puppy their name, sit, stay, and come. The rest will happen later, but for now, the basics will be important.
Slowly Introduce Your Puppy to Its New Surroundings
You also need to think about how your puppy must be feeling; there is so much new for them to experience, so it’s bound to be a bit scary. This is why it’s important to slowly introduce the dog to its family members and other pets that you may have. Let your puppy set the pace and decide when they feel comfortable socializing and coming out of their shell.
Give Them a Safe and Quiet Spot
This brings us to the importance of providing a safe and quiet spot for your dog. They need to be able to escape when they want and know they won’t be bothered. It can be a perfect spot for napping, downtime or even keeping them contained when you can’t watch them. A crate is usually the perfect solution.
Puppy Proof the House
Speaking of keeping an eye on your puppy, just as you would baby-proof a house, the same needs to be done with a new puppy. Puppy proofing the house means you remove anything that they could potentially get into that could be harmful to them. It may also involve using gates to keep them contained while you’re housebreaking them, blocking off stairs while they become more confident going up and down on their own, and giving them chew toys to play with rather than your furniture and flooring.
Any time you need to leave the house, or you can’t keep an eye on them, they need to go to a safe spot – such as the crate mentioned above.
Understand the Importance of Good Quality Food
When it comes to picking the food that you give your puppy, it can be quite overwhelming. With so many options on the marketplace, it’s hard to know what is best, what ingredients to look for, what your puppy needs and even how to read the labels on the various dog foods. Gut health for dogs is something that pet owners have become more aware of over the past decade as they start to get a grasp of how it affects the animal.
Without proper gut health, your dog may suffer from excess weight gain or loss. Their coat may not look healthy, they can be tired all the time, and they may even suffer from gastrointestinal problems which can be very uncomfortable. You want to give your puppy the best start possible, which means a healthy gut, achievable through a high-quality diet.
You can refer to this resource from Native Pet that acts as a guide to all things gut-health related. Native Pet has developed several different products including chews, powders, oils, and toppers, all meant to ensure that your dog’s diet is balanced, nutritious and takes their gut health into account. You won’t have to worry if you’re missing out on key essentials and ingredients.
Expect Your Puppy to Sleep a Lot
Another surprising thing about puppies is just how much they sleep in a day. Some will sleep up to 20 hours a day. That’s okay and normal; after all, they are still babies and babies need their sleep. Naps and bedtime are important for their health and growth, which is why they need a comfortable sleeping spot.
How About Puppy Playtime?
Just as important as naptime is playtime. When your puppy is awake, expect them to be full of energy and ready to go. This is a great time to play with dog-safe toys, take them for a walk, let them run around outdoors or in the house if safe, and get that energy out. This is also a great bonding activity that will help them to feel part of the pack and build trust and love for you.
The more time you spend with your puppy getting to know them, the more their personality will start to shine, and you’ll learn what they love to play and what they aren’t as interested in. Remember, this is a learning time for both parties.
The fact is that bringing home a puppy is a very exciting time, but it’s important to remember these basics that will ensure the new fur baby stays healthy and happy.