Wednesday, October 2, 2013

I just got a puppy! What do I do now?

Make no mistake about it but bringing a new puppy into the household is like adopting a new family member. Parenting a puppy is no easy task and requires a lot of work and observation but the rewards are plentiful since these adorable creatures give back tenfold in affection and loyalty. A sound training, exercise and health regiment will set the foundation for the years ahead.

The Importance of the Vet and Primary Health Care

When getting a new puppy, you should contact a veterinarian to schedule a visit within the first two or three days. The puppy's health is of prime importance at this early stage since it could have come from a kennel and have been exposed to parasites and diseases. A vet will administer a general exam and look for any potential health issues. This is also the time to schedule dog vaccinations to protect their immune system. They may prescribe external parasite soaps and lotions or medication in the form of pills for internal worms. To easily administer the pills, owners can use Hide-A-Pill for Dogs to make their puppies take them without any issues. Another important issue to be considered is whether to spay or neuter the puppy.

The Puppy's Environment

Puppies should be provided with a comfortable bed or mat to sleep on; using a crate is recommended especially if the puppy is going to be home alone. In the event that you want the puppy to remain outdoors, a suitable shelter (like a dog house) with comfortable pillows and blanketing materials should be provided. A food bowl and clean water dish should also be close by and the pups should never be left in extreme heat. You should keep an eye out for any potential threat to puppy’s health including exposed wires or breakable objects. Puppies should be watched for habitual chewing and a firm ‘No’ is suggested when a puppy is caught in action.

Puppy Food & Treats

A veterinarian is the best source for recommending the perfect puppy food because they’ll consider the age, weight and breed to determine the proper ingredients. Remember to choose based on its vitamin and mineral content as well as how much the puppy enjoys eating it. Treats should be given in moderation and as a part of training to show them praise and encouragement.

Potty Training

Housebreaking a puppy requires diligence, patience and planning. Puppies cannot control bowel movements or urinating. You may want to place several layers of newspaper in proximity to the puppy's sleeping spot and hope to direct them there if spotted starting to go potty. However, the best course is to anticipate their needs and take the puppy outdoors. The word “Potty” should be spoken at the time of the deed. Positive reinforcement is very important and housebreaking aids can also help.

Obedience and Social Behaviorism

Puppies should be taught to obey basic commands such as sit, down, and stay from the very beginning to ensure their safety and keep them under control. Spoken commands require repetition with a firm voice but nothing harsher than that. Treats can be given as a reward, but sparingly. Puppies become socially aware of other people and animals and the owner must correct its behavior and temper the aggression before the dog is allowed to approach other people or other dogs. Using dog behavior aids for bark control and anxiety relief can be helpful if you are unable to discourage them just by commands.

Just like you, the puppy is getting used to the new environment and people. They need constant attention and care so that you can gain their trust. Be patient and you know you have a found a life-long friend in them. And remember that it always starts with love.

For any new puppy products or dog supplies, your friendly veterinarians at Medi-Vet are here to help.  From vaccinations and shampoos to ear cleaners and flea medicine, we have your pooch covered!