Welcoming a new puppy to the home is an extremely exciting time for the family, but with so many things to consider it can also be extremely daunting. Here’s my simple guide on what to prepare, what to expect, and how to keep your new family member safe in their first few weeks at home.
Firstly, before your new puppy comes home, it’s important to get as much information as possible from your breeder about their health status, Find out the details of their last vet check, vaccination status and worming treatments. You’ll need to register your new puppy at your local vet and get them checked out as soon as possible. Make sure you also know about your vet’s emergency provider in case you need a vets help when your normal practice is closed.
Now you’ve got their veterinary health covered, it’s important to get their nutrition right. To avoid upset tummies you should keep them on the same food that the breeder was feeding them. You can change this later but be cautioned that this must be done very slowly and gradually. Also, make sure you feed them from the same type of bowls that they are used to eating from. Believe it or not this can make a significant difference if your fur baby has only ever known plastic feeding dishes as opposed to ceramic or metal ones.
Next is safety. When bringing a puppy home it is vital you implement safe travel practices straight away. There are plenty of pet safe carriers and harnesses that can be secured safely when travelling by car and it is important to get your puppy used to safe travel from the word go.
Puppy proofing your home is also a must. Everybody knows that pups like to chew and generally they like to chew all the wrong things. Charging cables and power leads will need to be plugged in away from ground level where possible, and well-hidden where it is not. Lots of chew toys with a variety of textures are ideal and many of these can be popped in the freezer before giving puppy which is a great tip to help with sore teething gums!
Make sure you also get your puppies microchip number from the breeder when you pick them up. Microchips are now a legal requirement so if the breeder has not done this make sure this is on your list of important to do’s as well as getting an identification tag for the collar.
For new dog owners I’d recommend you look into simple training techniques, so you can get your puppy started straight away. I always recommend positive reinforcement techniques as they encourage and reward good behaviour and make training fun!
I’d also recommend a crate for overnight until puppy is house and toilet trained. This is a great idea as it can also provide a safe haven for your puppy, as he or she gets older. Make sure there is plenty of room for separate sleeping, toileting and eating areas and the crate is placed in a quiet, draught free area.
Finally, despite the inevitable mischief, don’t forget to enjoy these first few weeks. Playing with your puppy is not only fun but it helps to strengthen that bond between you both, which will last a lifetime!
Paul Manktelow regularly appears in the media as one of the UKs leading veterinary surgeons. His accomplished career as a vet allows him to talk on a number of key animal subjects and he regularly provides valuable advice to pet owners across the UK. Appearing on TV shows such as Junior Vets, Animal Madhouse and This Morning, he also writes columns for the Times, Dogs Monthly and blogs on his popular website Vital Pet Health