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We are always excited to meet new puppies at Animal Care Center of Castle Pines. We know that with proper care and training, your puppy will grow up into a happy, healthy dog. The first 30 days with your new puppy are the most important. Training and socializing are crucial in the beginning, when your puppy is learning good behavior. If this is your first time caring for a new puppy, you will need lots of advice! Here are a few tips on new puppy care to get you started.
Puppy-Proofing Your Home
- Puppies, like toddlers, tend to get up to mischief. Put away anything you value that could be damaged by a puppy. Remove any potentially dangerous objects and secure all hazardous substances. Many common grocery items can be dangerous for puppies, so make sure that all food, medications, toothpaste, cleaning products, and any other harmful substances are out of your new puppy’s reach. Set up a secure area or a kennel for your puppy to stay in when you are away from home.
- Before you bring your new puppy home, you’ll need to purchase some basic puppy equipment. Your vet can recommend the best accessories for your pet. A complete puppy starter kit includes collar, leash, food dishes, puppy chow, treats for behavior training, toys, brush, toothbrush and doggy toothpaste, as well as poop bags for walks and some potty training pads.
- Toys are very important for puppies—they are growing new teeth and need to chew to strengthen and soothe their gums. However, some toys can be dangerous. Always ask your vet about which chew toys are appropriate for your new puppy.
First Veterinary Appointment
- Vaccinations are one of the first priorities for new puppies! Schedule an examination as soon as possible, especially if you have other animals at home. Puppies are susceptible to contagious diseases until they have completed their vaccinations. Their first round of vaccinations is due at 6 to 8 weeks of age, and for their second round 2 – 4 weeks later. Your veterinarian can also prescribe any necessary preventive medications for fleas, ticks, worms, etc.
- Take advantage of your vet’s expertise! On your first visit, you may want to discuss spaying or neutering, microchipping, and pet insurance with your vet so that you can plan for your puppy’s adulthood. Write down any questions that you have about new puppy care and training—your veterinarian will be glad to answer all of your questions, no matter how small.
Introductions and Socialization
- Make introductions in a controlled environment, and keep them brief. Puppies can get overly excited or frightened and confused very easily. Don’t overwhelm you puppy with too many introductions at once. Keep your puppy leashed and supervise new interactions, so your puppy feels safe. Use extra caution when introducing your puppy to other animals or children.
- Socialization should start early, but take it slowly. First, familiarize your new puppy with your family members and any other pets. Carefully socialize with your neighbors and their dogs during daily walks. Start with brief interactions and increase social activity gradually—don’t bring a new puppy to work with you, especially if there are a lot of other people and dogs around.
Training Starts on Day One
- Potty training is the first thing your new puppy needs to learn. Support consistent behavior and avoid accidents with regularly timed trips outside. Puppies need to go potty a lot! Take your puppy outside about once every hour, after eating, and after vigorous play. When you are away, keep your puppy in a confined space with a designated elimination area like a turf patch or a potty pad.
- Set your house rules and stick to them. If you let your puppy sit on the couch with you, you’re going to have to let your fully grown dog sit on the couch, too. Consistency is extremely important when it comes to behavior training. Begin teaching your new puppy basic commands like sit and stay. Reinforce good behavior with praise, pets, and treats.
As always, consult your vet with any new puppy care questions! Contact us here at Animal Care Center of Castle Pines to schedule your first checkup. We are a certified member of the AAHA, so you can depend on us for expert care and advice. We are here to help start your new puppy off on the right paw with the best care and training.