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There are many things to think about when you look at bringing a new puppy into your family. From how to pick out the right puppy for you to what you will need to prepare for your puppy’s arrival, there is so much to plan for! The planning doesn’t stop after your newest family member comes home either. The life of a new puppy owner is almost as hectic as the life of a new parent; however, fortunately for a new puppy owner, the baby phase is much shorter and much less expensive than having a human child.
Many thanks to examiner.com for their recent mention of this advice in their article regarding how to plan for a new puppy.
Bringing a New Puppy Home: Everyone On Board?
The first thing that you should take into consideration when you are looking to bring home a new puppy is whether everyone in your household is on board. From roommates to family members, it is important to make sure that every single member of the family is happy about the newest addition. Adding a new puppy to a family that is not completely welcoming can be difficult both for family members as well as the puppy itself. Puppies are extremely sensitive to changes in behavior and mood so living with an individual who resents the puppy can cause the dog undue stress. There also exists the possibility that bringing a new puppy home to a household where not everyone is accepting could open the puppy up to abuse – some roommates have been known to feed dogs beer when the dog’s owner wasn’t home simply because they felt no sincere attachment to the dog and wanted to “see what would happen.”
The Owners’ (and Families’) Responsibilities
Once everyone is on board to bring your new dog home it is also important that the family know what duties are expected of them once the dog comes home. Taking care of a new dog (especially a puppy) is hard work and involves a variety of chores. Someone must be willing to feed your new puppy, walk it, pick up after it when it goes to the bathroom, train it in basic obedience, reinforce housebreaking (learn more about housebreaking a puppy), and someone must even be willing to play with the puppy.
Some of these tasks can become extremely repetitive (particularly taking your dog out to reinforce potty training) so it sometimes helps to put chores on a rotating schedule so that no one family member comes to resent the new puppy due to their repetitive chores. Aside from the chores of puppy ownership there are also the more fun duties such as whose room the puppy’s crate will be placed in, who will get to wash the puppy, who will get to shop for (or pick out) toys. If there are younger children in the household it is important to highlight the positive as well as the not so positive chores of taking care of a new dog.
Getting Your House Ready For Your Puppy
Now that the chores have been designated and your puppy has been selected it is time to puppy proof your house. Puppies, for the most part, will chew. Puppies will chew anything and everything they can get their teeth on so it is important to emphasize picking up toys and clothes that should not become puppy food. It is important not only for the safety of your possessions but also for the safety of the puppy – intestinal obstructions from ingested toys and clothing cost thousands to remove and put the safety of your puppy at risk.
Just as with children it is also important that you childproof items like electrical sockets that your puppy can reach, tie up and cover wires that can be chewed and remove small items that can be choked on from your puppy’s reach. Puppy proofing a house does not just entail proofing items in the house but it also includes teaching children in the house acceptable and unacceptable behaviors when it comes to their new family member. Toddlers especially have a difficult time understanding the importance of gentle play, not only can rough play scare an eight week old puppy but it can also physically hurt the dog as well.
Young children should also be warned about the sharpness of puppy teeth and reminded to keep their hands out of the puppy’s mouth. A helpful trick to teach young children is to have them give the puppy an acceptable puppy chew toy in replacement of the hand that the puppy was trying to chew on. Lastly it is important to teach a child that they should never wake a sleeping dog. Like people puppies are unaware of their surroundings when they are sleeping and being shocked awake by a young toddler can lead to biting incidences.
Bringing a Puppy Home: Must Have Items
Now your family is ready to accept your new puppy and your house is puppy proofed it’s time to go shopping for those must have items for your new family member. Most people tend to over shop for their new puppy and there are really only a few items that absolutely have to be on the puppy list. These include:
List of Must-Have Items for a New Puppy
- Stainless steel or another good dog bowl
- A crate that is just big enough for your puppy to stand in; dividers can be purchased for larger crates to make them smaller and prevent the need for buying more than one (crates give your puppy somewhere safe to sleep and assist with housebreaking and training) – learn more about crate training
- A comfortable dog bed
- Carpet cleaner (there will be accidents)
- Bedding for the crate (a large blanket or a fleece crate liner)
- An entertaining teething toy (the Puppy Kong is the most recommended toy)
- A comforting item (a soft toy that mimics a heartbeat or a t-shirt that has been rubbed on the puppy’s mother or siblings – just be sure this doesn’t get ripped and ingested)
- A bag of puppy food
- Pet insurance to be prepared for major medical bills
Finding the Right Dog Food for Your New Puppy
Picking a dog food for your new puppy can be incredibly confusing. With so many dog food brands it can be extremely difficult to pick one that is right for your dog and one that works with your budget. Most breed specific rescues, breeders and shelters will all have a puppy chow that they have been feeding their puppy, it is important if you intend on changing away from this food that you do so gradually, replacing ¼ of the old puppy chow with ¼ of the new puppy chow over the course of a few days until you are feeding all new puppy chow.
Check With Your Previous Owner/ Shelter
When you talk to the current owner about your puppy make sure to ask why they are feeding a certain food. Often times puppies are fed a certain brand of puppy chow due to special offers shelters receive on that brand, sometimes breeders have great results with a certain brand of puppy chow and use it for that reason and sometimes the particular puppy you may be looking at might have a food allergy and be on a special needs puppy chow diet. Whatever the reason your puppy is feeding on a certain food brand it is important for you to know before you switch your puppy to a new food. If you are considering switching your new puppy to a different brand of food do so gradually as stated above.
Finding Good Quality Puppy Food
Need a little help in picking a good puppy chow? Look at the ingredients list, a good quality dog food can be determined from the first three ingredients on the list. A dry dog kibble that lists grains as the first ingredients should be passed over for a better quality food that lists meats as the first ingredients. An example of a good “first three” comes from Fromm Family Gold Nutritionals Puppy Kibble: Duck, Chicken Meal, and Chicken. It is also crucial that you feed your puppy a puppy formulated food as the needs of a young dog are much different to the needs of an adult dog.
Finding a Veterinarian for Your Puppy
So now your family is ready, your home is ready, you’ve been shopping and you’ve picked out your food, what’s next? Finding a good vet to help you take care of your new family member! It may seem silly to find a vet for your new puppy before you have even brought it home but it is important to find a vet that you are comfortable with before your puppy is in need of veterinary care. One great way to find a vet is to ask friends who they use, or ask your breeder, shelter manager or rescue group owner who they can recommend in your area. Don’t be afraid to visit vets offices and interview vets to find one that you are comfortable with. It is important that you are completely comfortable with your vet since it is entirely possible that you will be visiting them more than once a year for shots – because some dogs are just born making trouble!
Schedule Your Puppy Shots and Vaccinations in Advance
You can also find out from your shelter, breeder, or rescue group when your puppy is due for its next round of puppy shots and set up an appointment with your new vet to get these shots done on time. It is crucial for your puppy’s health that it stays current on vaccinations so if your puppy does not come with all of its puppy shots it is your job to find out when they are due and make sure they get done.
Video: Tips for Bringing Your Puppy Home
This video has many more tips and tricks for you to consider before, during and after bringing your new addition home.
What did you learn the hard way with your new puppy?