Snuggling your adorable new puppy all day sounds like an easy job, but that cute ball of fluff requires a lot of work and attention. Help your new pup get off to a good start in life with the following 10 tips. 

#1: Pet-proof your home

Puppies are like toddlers—they get into everything, including items you think are safely secured. While you run around your home, picking up stray objects that may appeal to your pup, she will soon teach you that many things are fair game to a teething puppy. A few key items to keep out of your puppy’s reach include:

  • Electrical wires and cords
  • All human and pet food
  • Medications
  • Plants
  • Trash can
  • Household cleaners and chemicals
  • Small toys that pose a choking hazard

Essentially, an item that can fit in your puppy’s mouth needs to be safely hidden. And, while you can’t hide your couch or curtains, you can prevent your pup from accessing these “tasty” temptations with an exercise pen or baby gates. As your puppy grows and learns the household rules, you can allow more access to other areas.

#2: Purchase puppy supplies in advance

Similar to a human baby, you don’t want to run out of any critical supplies in the middle of the night. Stock up on these necessities to be prepared for your pup’s first few days:

  • Food
  • Dishes
  • Training treats
  • Toys
  • Crate
  • Bedding
  • Waste bags
  • Leash
  • Collar
  • Harness

#3: Sign up your puppy for school

Nothing provides a better foundation for a happy, well-adjusted dog than puppy classes with positive socialization and training experiences. Pair up with the owner of Wag it Better, Heather Moore, who will help your pup get off to the right start. She also can answer those important puppy questions about house-training, leash-walking, jumping, chewing, and basic manners.

#4: Teach your puppy that grooming is fun

Depending on your pup’s breed, you may need to brush her every day to prevent matting, or she may need only a quick, weekly once-over to remove loose fur. Regardless of your puppy’s hair coat, begin early to acclimate her to grooming tools, such as brushes, nail clippers, and toothbrushes, to help her learn that baths, nail trims, ear cleaning, and toothbrushing can be rewarding. Make each grooming session fun with plenty of treats for rewards and distraction. If your puppy could use a professional haircut, we can help with her new ’do.

#5: Play crate games with your puppy

We strongly recommend that you crate your puppy, not only to help with house-training, but also to keep her out of mischief when you aren’t home. But, many puppies do not appreciate being left out of the action, so teach your pup that the crate is appealing and fun by playing a variety of crate games.

#6: Provide your puppy with proper nutrition

As your puppy grows, her nutritional needs will change. Start her off right by ensuring she’s fed an age- and breed-appropriate diet, as giant-breed puppies have vastly different nutritional requirements than toy breeds. During your pup’s wellness visits, ensure you discuss any dietary concerns.

#7: Enroll your puppy in Animal Care Veterinary Hospital’s Total Wellness Program

Puppies require a great deal of care in their early months. Our Total Wellness Program can help you rest easy, knowing your pup’s every single need to ensure her good health will be met. Our program covers wellness visits, physical exams, necessary vaccinations, parasite screening and prevention, blood work, and spay or neuter surgery. Talk to our team for more information about enrolling your puppy.

#8: Form a relationship with your puppy’s veterinarian

No one—except you—better champions your pet’s health than your veterinarian. Whether your puppy develops a relationship with Dr. Blaylock, Dr. Daniel, Dr. Robinson, or Dr. Masters, rest assured that she is in good hands. With one of our doctors as your puppy’s primary care veterinarian, who will care for your pup through her younger years, well into her senior status, we will be able to spot changes and potential issues more quickly. Of course, if your pooch’s primary care veterinarian is unavailable for a same-day emergency, the others on our team will be delighted to step in and care for your pet. 

#9: Discuss when your puppy should be spayed or neutered

Although there is no magical age that each pet should be spayed or neutered, we can guide you on what is healthiest for your puppy. Toy and small breeds can be spayed or neutered at a younger age, with females spayed right before their first heat cycle. Larger dogs can wait until they are 8 to 12 months old, while some giant breeds may benefit from delaying surgery until 18 months or older. While hormones can create problem behaviors or medical issues, they also are a crucial part of healthy bone and joint development, especially in giant breeds. 

#10: Stop in for “happy visits” with your puppy

One of the best ways to set your puppy up for success is to simply stop by Animal Care Veterinary Hospital for “happy visits.” Teach your pup that our hospital is a source of tasty treats, plenty of pets, and lots of love from our team. We’re not saying this so you will swing by with an adorable puppy for us to snuggle—although that is definitely a perk—but so your pet learns that our hospital is not a scary place. At happy visits, we can also teach your pup to sit still on the scale, which is often challenging. With weekly visits, we can lavish your pooch with affection, monitor her weight, and protect her with the appropriate dose of parasite preventive as she grows.   

Congratulations on your new puppy! We are eager to meet your fluffy bundle of joy—contact us to schedule a new puppy visit.