Welcoming a new puppy into your home is a joyous occasion. To ensure that your new pup gets the best start in life, we have outlined a few ideas to consider to ensure they remain a healthy and happy part of your family for years to come.
Preparing Your Home
Puppies love to chew, mouth and bite all around them. Ensure you puppy proof your home to prevent them ingesting something dangerous or toxic. Also protect any possessions you deem too valuable to have little teeth marks on. A safe fenced area within your home is ideal to help settle in your new dog whilst they learn the rules of your home.
Think about what ground rules you wish to set before you take home your little bundle of fluff. Will they be allowed in every room? Will they be allowed on the sofa or in your bed? Once you have decided on the boundaries it is best to keep to them from day one to prevent confusion.
First Vet Visit
It is always a good idea to make an appointment with your chosen vet as soon as possible. The vet will give your new puppy a full physical examination, including listening to their heart and lungs and checking their eyes, ears and mouth. They will be looking for signs of parasitic infection, illness and birth defects.
This first visit is a great time to ask specific questions about your puppy's health and well-being, such as which is the best type of food to feed and when should you book in for your pup's vaccinations. Depending on the age and health of your puppy, your vet may recommend a vaccination course is started at this first visit.
Since April 2016 it has been compulsory for dog owners and breeders to have their dogs microchipped and registered on an authorised database, these details must be kept up to date.
A small microchip is injected under the skin between your dog's shoulder blades using a sterile needle. This microchip can be read with a hand-held scanner to give a number, this number is held by a national database alongside the owner's contact details. Veterinary practices, local dog wardens and animal welfare organisations will all have hand-held scanners.
If your dog escapes, or is stolen, this microchip could help reunite you, so it is important to keep your contact details on the microchip database up-to-date. You can have your puppy microchipped by your veterinary surgeon during their puppy check. If they have already been microchipped by the breeder it is important to register yourself as the new owner.
It is worthwhile considering whether you want to take out insurance for your puppy. Many veterinary practices work with insurance companies to give a few weeks free cover with your puppy check. There are many different types of insurance companies and covers; and costs will vary greatly depending on factors such as the type of policy and breed of dog you have chosen.
If you decide not to take an insurance policy out for your pet, it may still be worthwhile setting some money aside monthly in case of an unexpected vet bill.
Fleas and Worms
Puppies are more vulnerable to getting parasites than adult dogs and they can have a greater health impact on younger animals too. Your veterinary surgeon will be able to give you advice on products suitable for your puppy's age and weight. Once they reach three months of age, Protect My Pet can help you to ensure your pup has consistent, convenient, life-long protection from parasites.
Puppy Socialisation and Training
The first sixteen weeks of your dog's life are key to them learning life skills that will enable them to become confident, friendly adults. Ideally socialisation starts by their mother's side in the home of their breeder. Here they will be exposed to the normal sounds and smells of a family home. Once they come home with you this education should continue with careful introductions to different situations and environments. Controlled, enjoyable exposure to crowds, traffic, children and travelling in the car whilst very young will help to create an adult dog that is capable of coping in any environment.
Puppy classes are a great way to socialise your new dog and are offered across the country by veterinary practices, dog behaviourists and charities. These classes should only be attended after a full course of vaccinations has been completed to prevent spread of disease. Many of these classes will also offer some basic training in addition to socialisation.
All of us at Protect My Pet wish you and your new puppy a lifetime of happiness together. We love to get photographs of puppies, so please share your pictures with us!!