Top 10 Tips About Your New Puppy
Simple Advice for New Dog Owners
So now there’s a new adorable, fuzzy addition to your family, complete with wet nose, sharp teeth and a penchant to chew. Unfortunately, these adorable balls of joy don't come with an owner's manual. Now what?
- Take him to the veterinarian for a complete physical within the first few days at home. Puppies need vaccinationa every 3-4 weeks until they're 16 weeks of age. Your veterinarian is your No. 1 source for questions regarding your puppy's health and behavior issues. Be sure to spay or neuter your dog as this reduces the chances of cancer of the reproductive organs.
- Discuss your puppy's diet with your veterinarian, as it can vary by size and breed. Studies show between 25-40 percent of household pets are overweight, and pet obesity can lead to serious health issues. Table scraps are a no-no and could be dangerous for your puppy, so stick to your veterinarian's recommendation about how much and how often.
- Make sure your puppy has no parasites. Discuss with your veterinarian about preventing external parasites such as fleas, ticks, and mosquitoes with an oral or topical medication as these pests can transmit life-long diseases such as heartworm and Lyme disease. It's also important to control internal parasites such as round worms, hook worms, and tapeworms with a deworming agent from your vet. These parasites can harm your puppy's growth by causing diarrhea and weight loss and can be infectious to you and your family if left untreated.
- Consider getting pet insurance for your puppy. Curious puppies can easily find trouble and are more likely to have an unexpected trip to the veterinary hospital than an adult dog. Insuring your puppy with young and healthy can eliminate issues about pre-existing conditions and allow your pup to be fully insured for any problems that might come his way. Click here to get a quote for your puppy.
- Provide your dog a collar with ID tags and discuss microchipping with your veterinarian. You can't guarantee that your dog won't ever get out of the house or yard, whether by accident, during a natural disaster, or by theft. His ID tags and microchip could be his only chance of returning home to you.
- Puppy proofing is very similar to babu proffing - keep your puppy away from anything that could potentially hurt him. Use electrical cord protectors, and remove poisonous plants. Puppies love to chew, so it's important to redirect them to their safe chew toys such as Nylabones or Kongs.
- Housebreaking can be a time-consuming process. A puppy should be taken outside to the designated "potty area" every two hours, up to six times a day, particulary after meals. A good rule of thumb is after playing, napping, and eating. Crate training or limited roaming access in a small, gated area works well, as puppies usually don't soil where they sleep. Looks for signs, such as circling, that your puppy needs to go. Consistency and patience are the keys in succesfully housebreaking your puppy.
- Crate training provides your puppy with a secure, safe area where he can retreat when he's tired. Put in some soft bedding and even a treat to help coax him in at first so he learns it is a good place to be. A crate is not to be used for discipline or punishment. Start with short stints; Puppies 8-16 weeks old should not be kenneled for more than an hour, except for up to six hours at night. Puppies under six months should not be kenneled for longer than two to three hours during the day. An adult dog can be kenneled for up to eight hours, but he needs to be exercised at least 30 minutes to one hour beforehand.
- Training is one of the most important things you can do for your dog - and your family. Puppies need to learn boundaries and need to know you're in charge. A group class gives him the socialization he needs to build relationships with people ad other dogs. He'll gain self-confidence knowing what's expected of him, and you will learn how to get the best out of your dog. Dogs are social animals and enjoy being part of the pack - which is now you and your family. The more people he meets, whether it's in your home or out and about, the more comfortable and well behaved he will become. It's also importnat to get an early start socializing your puppy with other dogs so her learns how to get along with them. This will help prevent agressive behavior.
- Taking your puppy new places is a great experience for both of you, as is car safety. Puppies like to explore, which is distracting while you are driving. Put your pet in a crate or secure him with a dog seat belt harness. Also available are car seats and boosters that are used in conjunction with a dog seat belt. These products will also keep your dog from being ejected in case of an accident or from jumping out of your vehicle.
Mostly, enjoy! You have a loyal new friend who aims to please. Take care of him, play with him, exercise him and he will reward you with his love. The puppy phase is short, so take lots of pictures!
Be Ready for Anything
Did you know that you can get comprehensive health insurance coverage for your puppy that will reimburse eligible expenses for these conditions? Plus, when you enroll two or more pets, you get an additional discount on your pets' policies. Want to learn more? Click here.