A Survival Guide to Care for Your New Puppy

Jul 4, 2024

Bringing a new puppy into your home is an exciting and joyful experience. However, it also comes with a set of responsibilities and challenges that can be overwhelming, especially for first time pet owners. To help you navigate the early days and set the foundation for a healthy and happy life for your new furry friend, here is a comprehensive survival guide to caring for your new puppy.

1. Preparing Your Home

Before your puppy arrives, ensure your home is puppy proofed. Remove any hazardous items such as toxic plants, electrical cords, and small objects that could be swallowed. Create a safe space where your puppy can relax and feel secure, equipped with a comfortable bed, toys, and water. This area will serve as your puppy’s haven, especially during the initial adjustment period.

2. Nutrition and Feeding

A balanced diet is crucial for your puppy’s growth and development. Choose a high-quality puppy food that meets their nutritional needs. Puppies typically require more frequent feeding than adult dogs, usually two to three times a day. Always provide fresh water and avoid giving them table scraps or human food, which can upset their stomach and lead to unhealthy weight gain. Also try not to swap foods too frequently as this can lead to a fussy puppy.

3. Socialisation and Puppy Training

Early socialisation is essential for your puppy’s development. Expose them to different environments, people, and other animals to build their confidence and reduce the risk of behavioural issues. Vetmed offers puppy training classes which are an excellent way to start basic obedience training and socialise your puppy in a controlled setting. Consistent positive reinforcement methods, such as treats and praise, work best for training.

4. Health and Veterinary Care

Regular check-ups, with your local Vetmed veterinarian, are vital to ensure your puppy’s health. Schedule an initial visit shortly after bringing your puppy home to check for any health issues and begin vaccinations. Your Vetmed vet will create a vaccination schedule to protect your puppy from common diseases. Additionally, discuss flea and tick prevention, as well as deworming treatments.

5. Exercise and Play

Puppies have abundant energy and need regular exercise to stay healthy and happy. Daily play sessions and short walks help burn off energy and prevent boredom-related behaviours. Provide a variety of toys to stimulate their mind and body, such as chew toys, puzzle toys, and fetch toys. Remember, young puppies have delicate joints, so avoid high-impact activities until they are older.

6. Dog Grooming

Regular grooming is essential to keep your puppy looking and feeling their best. Brush their coat regularly to remove loose hair and prevent matting, especially for long-haired breeds. Introduce them to grooming tools gradually to make the experience positive. Bathing should be done as needed with puppy-safe shampoo. Additionally, check their ears for signs of infection, trim their nails, and brush their teeth to maintain oral health. Vetmed’s professional dog grooming services can help keep your puppy’s coat and nails in top condition.

7. Desexing Your Puppy

Desexing is an important aspect of responsible pet ownership, helping to prevent and reduce a number of health risks and unwanted litters. The best time to desex your puppy is usually between 5 and 6 months of age, but this can vary depending on your puppy’s breed and how big they will grow. Consult with your Vetmed veterinarian to determine the optimal time for your puppy’s desexing procedure.

8. Establishing a Routine

Puppies thrive on routine and consistency. Establish a daily schedule for feeding, toilet breaks, playtime, and sleep. Consistent routines help your puppy understand what to expect and reduce anxiety. Toilet training should begin immediately, with frequent opportunities to go outside and plenty of praise when they succeed.

9. Handling Separation Anxiety

Puppies can experience separation anxiety when left alone. To ease this, gradually increase the time they spend alone, starting with short periods and slowly extending them. Provide a safe space with toys and comfort items and avoid making a big fuss when leaving or returning home. Consistency and patience are key to helping your puppy adjust.

10. Understanding Your Puppy’s Needs

Every puppy is unique, and understanding their specific needs is crucial. Pay attention to their behaviour and body language to identify signs of stress, discomfort, or illness. Building a strong bond through positive interactions, training, and spending quality time together will help you understand and meet their needs effectively. If you find yourself concerned about your new puppy’s behaviour as they grow, don’t hesitate to call Vetmed. We offer in-clinic and in-house consultations to provide your pet with humane and effective treatment plans.

Welcoming a new puppy into your home is a wonderful journey filled with love and joy. By following this survival guide, you can ensure your puppy gets the best start in life and grows into a healthy, well-adjusted dog.

At Vetmed, we are always here to help and provide you with all the information you need to make an informed decision when it comes to the health and well-being of your pet. Vetmed offers comprehensive pet care services, including puppy training, dog grooming, and pet desexing, across the North Shore and Eastern Suburbs. With four clinic locations across the Eastern Suburbs and the Northern Beaches, including Lindfield, Randwick, Forestville, and Northbridge.