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first night home with a new puppy checklist

A Veterinarian’s Tips and Tricks to Surviving Puppyhood

Since COVID-19 has come on the scene, I have seen a huge influx of new puppies in my animal hospital! The hospital is filled with playful, happy, and healthy puppies. And we could not be happier about it! Whenever clients bring in new family members, my associates and I give our “puppy talk” to get them ready for this fun new adventure. And today, I’m sharing my top tips for the first night with a new puppy and beyond!

Tips From the First Night with a New Puppy and Beyond

Let’s take a look at 5 areas to help navigate the fun (but sometimes challenging) days ahead with your new puppy.

1. Training

Find a trainer early, as early as 8 weeks old. It is always better to have a professional trainer show you the proper tools and methods to work with your puppy. As dogs get older, they develop habits and become more difficult to train.

Crate training is the easiest way of house breaking your puppy.

2. Chewing

Puppies chew and tear apart everything in sight. Choose toys at the pet store that are indestructible, and avoid stuffed animals with stuffing or noisemakers inside. These materials are dangerous for pets. I personally like products from Nylabone and Kong.

Other great tips to discourage chewing are to put away your garbage, make sure your new puppy can’t get near the toilet paper, and pick up anything from the floor that is not a puppy toy. Puppies eat everything, and surgery to remove a foreign body is not uncommon in puppyhood. I promise this one small tip could save you a lot of stress and money!

3. Socialization

The most crucial time when puppies develop fears, anxieties, or aggression is the first 8 to 12 weeks. We call this time “imprinting.” It is a very important time to make sure your puppy is socialized well.

Both interactions with other dogs and interactions with other people are important parts of socialization. These early socializations help your puppy learn what is expected from them.

Set up interactions with other dogs, cats, people, and circumstances in a controlled, positive way so your pup will not develop anxieties and fears as they age.

If you your dog is going to be home alone at times, make sure they learn how to stay home alone. Avoid taking them everywhere with you when they are small. Crate training comes in very handy when you’ll be away from home as well.

Also, make sure your puppy learns how to behave with groomers, veterinarians, and children during this time of their life.

Socializations is crucial in preventing anxiety and behavior issues in the future.

4. Hygiene

Play with your puppy’s paws and nails often, clean their ears weekly (ask your veterinarian to show you how), and use a dog toothbrush set to get them used to cleaning their teeth at a young age. Getting them accustomed to having their nails, ears, and teeth fussed with will help them be more comfortable with the process when they are older.

Also, bathe your puppy every week or two. They will become accustomed to bathing and grooming with your help.

5. Veterinary Care

Stay informed on parasite control, and place your puppy on monthly flea, tick, and heart worm preventions. My top picks are Iverheart Plus or Proheart 6 for heart worm prevention and Simparica for flea and tick prevention.

When your puppy is old enough, please consider spaying or neutering.

Make sure your puppy is on a vaccination protocol as recommended by the American Animal Hospital Association (AAHA). Discuss with your veterinarian what vaccinations your puppy needs based on demographics and location.

And last, but not least, I highly recommend pet insurance! One of my favorites is ASPCA or Nationwide.

Final Thoughts on Surviving Puppyhood

Puppies are THE BEST! They are fun, adorable, lovable, and definitely entertaining. These tips should help you survive puppyhood from the first night with a new puppy well into adulthood! Although puppyhood is hard and can be stressful at times, it goes by in the blink of an eye. Squeeze your cute pup, and take lots of pictures! All the work and dedication in the beginning will be well worth the lifetime of love.

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