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How to Raise a Puppy: Guide for the First Year

So you are getting a new puppy, how exciting! But what will you need to prepare for during that first year? Here, our Orange vets share a guide including tips on how to raise your new puppy and what to expect after you first bring them home.

The Art of Raising a Puppy

One thing you will need a lot of when raising a new puppy is patience. Puppies are compelled to chew excessively as their adult teeth emerge, your puppy will probably try to chew everything including the living room rug, your shoes, or even your hand.

Having a dog means assuming responsibility for their happiness, safety, and health. It means being able to pay for vet fees when your pet gets hurt or eats something they shouldn't, and having a plan in place for their care when you can't be there (pet sitter). It also means not yelling at your puppy, they don't understand English anyway. Here is a guide, including tips, on how to make your puppy's transition into your home seamless.

Puppy-Proof Your Home

You will need to be sure to properly prepare for your new puppy before you even bring them home. A good way to figure out what to do is to think of it as child-proofing your home. Electrical cords should be secured, and potentially hazardous plants or chemicals should be moved out of reach. Close any vents, pet doors, windows, or other openings that could let them run away or get them stranded.

House training will likely be the first thing you start once your puppy is home. Have the crate ready if you intend to crate-train him. Line it with blankets or a dog bed to make it more comfortable. Make sure it's big enough for him to stand up, turn around, and lie down.

If you do plan to crate your puppy, set aside a tiny area, such as a powder room or a kitchen corner, where they can be confined and kept away from other dogs and small children. Make sure you have some puppy training pads on hand to catch any accidents, as well as a dog bed, food and water bowls, and a toy or two.

Provide Your Puppy With a Proper Diet

Your puppy should have high-quality food specifically made for their age group. The appropriate amount of food is determined by characteristics such as age, size, and breed. Ask your vet about how much and how often you should feed your dog.

To guarantee enough nourishment for some tiny breeds of dogs, it may be best to free-feed. Toy and tiny breed dogs mature physically faster than larger breeds and can be moved to adult dog food and adult-sized portions between the ages of nine and twelve months.

Larger breeds should be fed several meals each day in appropriate portions to avoid issues like stomach bloat and protein or calcium buildup.

Here's a general guideline for a large breed of dog to be fed:

  • Six to twelve weeks old: Four meals per day
  • Three to six months old: Three meals per day
  • Six months and up: Two meals per day

Train Your New Puppy

One of the first aspects of training your new puppy will be potty training. To ensure success you will want to create a potty schedule for your new puppy, taking them out every couple of hours for a walk. Until they are fully vaccinated you will want to take them to a portion of the yard where they won't be exposed to other animals.

If your dog has an accident or displays an undesirable behavior you should never yell or have physical contact with them. When they exhibit bad behavior, attempt to redirect them to something positive. Obedience lessons are a good way to teach them proper behavior, and they will also aid in socialization.

Proper socialization is critical to the success of raising a puppy. They need to be introduced to as many new people, places, experiences, and circumstances as possible to grow into a well-adjusted dog. You should wait until they have had all of their vaccines before taking them out in public or allowing them to interact with other animals but, you may begin socializing your puppy right away by playing with them and introducing them to new people, sights, noises, smells, and textures.

Always supervise children or other pets while they are around your puppy's food or favorite toy to reduce even minor resource-guarding habits.

The most crucial lesson is to teach a puppy not to bite. Establishing your position as pack leader will help your puppy remember that they must earn your respect and obey you. Keep in mind that your dog desires your approval but also requires your direction. If your puppy nips or bites, discipline with a calm but firm 'no'.

Keep Your Puppy Active

If your new puppy becomes bored they may begin to display an array of naughty behaviors. Providing them with toys and outdoor exercise helps to keep their mind stimulated. 

When is it time to visit the vet?

You should make an appointment with a veterinarian for a health checkup to evaluate the health of your puppy once they are around 6 to 8 weeks old.

Speak with your vet to determine the best preventive care program for your new puppy. They can suggest when to bring them in to be fixed, which can help lessen the chance of health and behavioral issues.

You can ask your veterinarian any questions you have regarding care for your dog, such as what kind of food is best to feed them. They can also advise you on puppy care issues such as tooth brushing and nail cutting and even show you how to do it.

You should also schedule your puppy's next checkup before leaving the clinic. This next visit is typically once they are about 6 months old.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

If you would like to book a visit including an exam and vaccinations for your new friend, please contact our puppy and kitten vets in Orange.

Now Welcoming New Patients

If you are looking for a veterinarian in Orange contact us at Vet4HealthyPet Animal Hospital today, to schedule your cat or dog's first appointment! Our vets are passionate about what they do and always provide the best possible veterinary care.

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