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How to Take Care of a New Puppy
Wednesday January 4th 2017
Adding a new puppy to your home is a huge decision to make, and there are steps which need to be taken whilst they’re still young in order to introduce them to your home, and settle them into routine which will help them grow into a happy and healthy dog.
Find a Good Vet
The first and foremost thing to sort out before you even collect your new puppy, is finding a safe and reliable vet, as you will need to pay them a visit within the first few days of bringing your puppy home. During this visit you will need to get your puppy a general check-up to ensure they don’t have any underlying illnesses or birth defects which you need to know about. This is also a good time to consult the vet on a plan regarding vaccinations, worming and whether you should consider getting them spayed or neutered. If you don’t already have a vet, a great place to start is to simply ask your friends for recommendations so that you can feel safe in the knowledge that they’re competent and reliable.
It’s now required by law that all dogs are microchipped and registered on the database by the time they are eight weeks old. If you have purchased your new puppy from a breeder, this should have already been done by the time you bring them back to your home, as they should not be separated from their mother before they are between the age of eight to twelve weeks. However, if you have had the puppies in your own home, it is up to you to make sure you get them microchipped before their first eight weeks.
When you bring a new puppy home, it’s best to start with feeding them the diet they are already used to, introducing any new food gradually into their eating plan. A puppy’s diet is very important, so always make sure to do your research and ensure you are feeding them the suitable food and appropriate portions for their size and breed. During the early stages of their life, you should only be purchasing food which is specially formulated for puppies. Try to feed them regular small portions, rather than fewer large ones.
Vaccinations and worming
It’s important that you stay on track with your puppy’s vaccinations from day one. Once they reach eight weeks of age, they need to receive their first vaccination. This should be followed up by a second vaccination at 12 weeks, which will allow them to be taken outside in public areas. As well as these vaccinations, it’s important to get your puppy wormed as soon as possible. Worming should be done every two weeks until your puppy reaches 12 weeks of age, following this it should be done once a month until they are six months of age, and then every three months after that.
One immediate priority when you bring a new puppy home, is to get them started with toilet training, the sooner you begin enforcing this habit, the better. As your puppy is not allowed out in public places until their second vaccination at twelve weeks old, the first priority is to find an enclosed outdoor space which no other animals have had access to. If this cannot be done, the next best option is to use toilet training mats to create an assigned area of the house where they should learn to go when they need the toilet.
Signs that your puppy needs to go to the toilet may include sniffing the floor and circling, so make sure that you look out for these behaviours, and when you do notice them, take your puppy out to the garden straight away. When your puppy does succeed in going outside to use the toilet, make sure you reward them with plenty of positive reinforcement. The most important aspect of toilet training your puppy is patience, so try to stay calm when they have the occasional accident and refrain from punishing them. Your puppy will learn better from positive reinforcement rather than negative.
Socialising from a young age is an extremely important aspect of raising a puppy, and will help them to avoid behavioural problems with both other animals and with humans further down the line. Whilst they are still young, it’s important that you expose them to the things which you expect them to consider normal when they grow up. If this is not done, your puppy may grow to be fearful and aggressive in everyday situations which should be common to them, and this can then have a negative impact on both their mental health and general well-being.