When you first consider welcoming a new puppy into your family, you’re likely overwhelmed with choosing the perfect size, breed, and gender, as well as their color. Choosing the best fit for your family may push the other puppy considerations to the side, because you are so excited about getting your new best friend. However, they will require a great deal of care and attention to ensure they grow into a happy, healthy dog. Follow these five recommendations from Colony Veterinary Hospital to help set your new puppy up for success from the day you welcome them home.

#1: Puppy-proof your home

Before your new puppy walks through your door, ensure your home is safe and secure from a young pup’s inquisitive personality. Puppies explore their environment with their mouths, so anything puppy-height or lower is fair game for chewing. This propensity for chewing means your puppy can easily be exposed to potential toxins or objects that can cause a gastrointestinal obstruction. Keep your furry pal safe from harm by placing the following objects well out of reach:

  • Household cleaning chemicals
  • Medications
  • Fertilizers and herbicides
  • Pesticides
  • Toxic plants
  • Toxic foods
  • Small toys
  • Electrical cords
  • Sharp objects

Ensure your puppy has plenty of pet-safe chew toys to help satisfy their teething needs. Also, keep a close eye on them, as they will need guidance to learn the difference between their plush toy and your daughter’s favorite stuffed animal. With monitoring and training, your new pup will quickly learn what’s appropriate to chew.

#2: Teach your puppy the household rules

Behavior issues are one of the most common reasons pets are surrendered to animal shelters. Eliminate potential problems by getting your puppy off to a good start with training that lays a strong foundation for good behavior.

  • Crate training Training to use a crate, which provides puppies with a comfortable place to relax and sleep, and keeps them safely confined when you cannot supervise them, is essential. Once your puppy learns the household rules, you may be able to leave them out of their crate unsupervised. 
  • House training — Crate training and house training go paw-in-paw, because house training your puppy is much easier if you are also working on crate training. Most pets prefer not to eliminate where they sleep, so keeping your puppy in their crate while unsupervised will help teach them bladder control.
  • Obedience training — Obedience training taught through a puppy preschool and other classes will help your new pet learn proper manners, and how to interact with other dogs and people.

#3: Purchase a pet health insurance policy

Since puppies are prone to mischief that can result in urgent veterinary visits, consider financial assistance in case of emergencies. Enroll your puppy in a health insurance plan as soon as you welcome them home to ensure they are covered for accidents or illness. And, by signing up when your puppy is young, you minimize their likelihood of pre-existing conditions, which are typically not covered by insurance. Some plans also offer wellness care, which can help offset the costs of routine preventive care, such as wellness exams, vaccinations, parasite prevention, and dental cleanings.

#4: Socialize your puppy

Puppies have a short socialization period in which they learn a great deal about their world and how to interact. From 3 to 14 weeks of age, expose your new pup to as many situations, people, pets, and places as possible, ensuring it’s done in a positive manner. Let your puppy approach strangers at their own pace, never forcing them into scary situations, and reward them with tasty treats and plenty of praise for being brave. Use this socialization checklist to help monitor your pup’s progress.

#5: Schedule regular veterinary visits to vaccinate your puppy

As your puppy grows, they will require a series of wellness visits and vaccinations to ensure they are growing properly and remain protected from life-threatening diseases. At each of your puppy’s visits, we’ll discuss proper diet, behavior, exercise, and disease and parasite prevention. We understand that we disclose a lot of information during these puppy visits, so feel free to ask us questions at any time to learn how to best take care of your new four-legged friend.

Have you recently welcomed a new furry bundle of joy into your home? If your family has grown by four paws, ensure your new puppy is set for success by scheduling their first wellness visit with their Colony Veterinary Hospital veterinary team. Give us a call to schedule an appointment.