new puppy checklist

A Veterinarian’s Tips and Tricks to Surviving Puppyhood

As a small animal vet, I usually see an influx of puppies to the animal hospital right after the holiday season. I love this time of year! The hospital is filled with playful, happy, and healthy puppies and kittens. 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 new puppy checklist with you to help navigate the fun, but sometimes challenging, days ahead!

New Puppy Checklist

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. I personally like products from Nylabone and Kong.
  • Put away your garbage, make sure they 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. Hygiene

  • Play with your puppy’s paws and nails, 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.
  • Bathe your puppy every week or two. They will become accustomed to bathing and grooming with your help.

4. Veterinary Care

  • Stay informed on parasite control, and place your puppy on monthly flea, tick, and heartworm preventions. My top picks are Heartgard for heartworm prevention and Nexgard 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 what your puppy needs based upon demographics and where you live with your veterinarian.
  • I highly recommend pet insurance! One of my favorites is ASPCA.

Final Thoughts

Puppies are THE BEST! They are fun, adorable, lovable, and definitely entertaining. I hope this new puppy checklist has all the tips to help you in your journey to becoming a pet parent. Although puppyhood is hard and can be stressful at time, 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 worth the lifetime of love.

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