Bringing home a new puppy is almost as labor-intensive as welcoming home a newborn baby. Puppy ownership requires careful planning and plenty of supplies to ensure you give them the best start possible in life. Without a good foundation, your pup may not develop into the happy, healthy, well-adjusted companion you want. You can help set your puppy up for success in health and happiness by following these five essential tips.
#1: Teach puppies the household rules
We’ve all visited friends or family with a rambunctious, out-of-control dog. Avoid letting your tiny pup grow into a dog with no manners by setting boundaries and teaching the household rules from day one. Puppies need a substantial amount of guidance to learn what you expect, and to become the ideal companion. Break your puppy’s training sessions into the following categories:
- House training — Many puppy owners put the most time and effort into house training. Consistency is key, and sticking to the same routine will help your puppy learn more quickly. For example, puppies typically need to eliminate after they wake up, when they stop playing, and after they’ve eaten or had a drink. Take your puppy out the same door, to the same spot outside, and use the same cue word each time, and your new pup will quickly catch on, especially when heaped with praise and a small treat for eliminating outside.
- Crate training — Crate training teaches puppies that their crate is their own private, safe space, where there is always food, water, and sometimes a treat. Crate training also helps keep your puppy out of trouble when you can’t watch them, and it can become a powerful house training tool.
- Obedience training — Obedience training helps puppies learn good manners, such as walking on a leash without pulling, refraining from running out an open door, and not jumping on people. Puppy classes can play an essential role in obedience training. Consistent human-puppy interaction, including teaching new tricks, is also a form of obedience training.
#2: Positively expose puppies to new things during their socialization window
The socialization period, which occurs from 3 to 14 weeks of age, is critical for every puppy’s development. During this time, puppies will form a lifelong opinion about everything and everyone they meet. For example, a puppy could become terrified of a vacuum cleaner for years after only one scary experience. Ensuring these experiences are positive is critical to healthy development. Always let puppies approach at their own pace, and reward them with treats and praise for exploring and being brave.
#3: Feed puppies an appropriate diet
Puppies need an appropriate diet formulated to meet their specific growth needs to ensure their good health from the start. Choose the correct diet for your puppy’s size, and avoid overfeeding. Giant breeds in particular need a special giant-breed formula to ensure they grow slowly and steadily, rather than in rapid spurts. Talk to your Westerville Veterinary Clinic veterinarian about the best diet choice for your puppy.
#4: Accustom puppies to a dental health care routine
Did you know that almost all pets have some form of dental disease by age 3? Introduce toothbrushing and dental care as early as possible to avoid painful gingivitis, oral infections, and loose teeth. Twice-daily toothbrushing is the best way to keep your pup’s teeth healthy, but you can also use appropriate dental chews, and food and water additives. Our veterinarian will help your puppy’s teeth stay healthy through adulthood by removing persistent deciduous teeth, and recommending dental cleanings as needed.
#5: Protect a new puppy with a health membership
As puppies grow, they require a series of vaccinations and other wellness care to ensure they’re protected against numerous life-threatening diseases. Between physical exams, vaccinations, parasite preventions, and more, medical care costs can add up, especially for a puppy who is prone to mischief and requires emergency care. All these services will be covered if you enrol in our Platinum Health Membership. Our team is available 24 hours per day, seven days per week for plan members, so you will never have to search for an emergency hospital in the middle of the night, plus life-saving care costs much less. For example, a foreign body surgery to remove the sock your puppy ate typically costs between $3,500 and $5,500, but that cost is reduced to $300 to $400 for plan members. Learn more about the many benefits that our Platinum Health Membership provides by scheduling a consultation.
Keep your new puppy in tip-top shape with essential wellness care. Contact your Westerville Veterinary Clinic team to schedule your puppy’s first visit with our veterinarian.