If you’ve recently added a new puppy to your home or are thinking about getting one, let us congratulate and prepare you for the fun. Puppies are as cute as they are in need of constant care during that first year of life. Here are some tips.
- Offer security and routine. We recommend using a crate to create a ‘safe place.’ This is where they can sleep, rest, eat treats, and hide from commotion. Crating your puppy will also create a routine, which is especially important for potty training.
- Be prepared to take them outside as often as possible, even every hour. Puppies are not capable of holding their bladder or bowels those first few months. Remember, the more you take the puppy outside, the quicker they will become potty trained. Offer praise and affection each time the puppy uses the restroom outside.
- Puppy-proof your home. Chewing is your puppy’s way of teething. Close doors to rooms you can’t fully supervise. Use gates to block areas or to confine your puppy. Bundle electrical wires and raise trash cans off of the floor. Use a scolding voice when the puppy chews on an item that is not their toy.
- Schedule their shots. Deworming starts at three weeks old. Other puppy vaccines begin at six weeks old. Typically, puppies need vaccines every three weeks until they reach 4 months of age. Ask your veterinarian when to start Heartworm prevention. Usually, this is at two months old. Your vet’s office can help you keep track of the needed shots.
- Do not take your puppy to public places, like parks, before they are fully vaccinated. Puppies explore with their noses sniff- ing the ground, which can expose an unvaccinated dog to many germs. It breaks our hearts when we have tried to save a puppy who has contracted Parvo virus, knowing this might have been prevented with the full cycle of vaccinations.
Once your puppy reaches six months of age, he or she enters adolescence and becomes more independent. Pat yourself on the back for conquering the puppy stages!