Is there anything more exciting than bringing home a tail-wagging, tongue-kissing, barking ball of fluff? We don’t think so. But, with all the excitement surrounding your new furry family member, you can easily forget important items and tasks that are necessary to keep your puppy happy and healthy. Start your new pup on the right path in life with the following eight tips. 

#1: Purchase necessary puppy supplies

Puppies require not only a significant amount of love and attention, but also a great deal of supplies to keep them happy, healthy, and entertained. Before bringing your new puppy home, stock up on the necessities, and avoid emergency pet-store runs. Ensure your shopping list includes:

  • Food and water dishes
  • Leash and collar
  • ID tags
  • Breed-appropriate puppy food
  • Teething toys and treats
  • Small training treats
  • Long-lasting chews
  • Toys that cannot be easily destroyed
  • Crate
  • Bedding
  • Brushes
  • Nail clippers

Always choose puppy toys and treats that cannot be easily chewed into pieces. While your puppy is teething, she may quickly tear apart toys, or chew treats in large chunks, which can lead to stomach upset, or an intestinal obstruction. 

#2: Puppy-proof your home

Puppies are notorious for getting into everything, including items that seem safely hidden, or that do not seem appealing. TV remotes, table legs, and electrical cords hold a strange attraction for puppies, and can quickly fall victim to sharp teeth if your new pet is not appropriately supervised. Before bringing your new pup home, determine which areas you will allow your pet to access, and block the rest with baby gates. Clear your puppy-friendly areas of items that may be irresistible, such as shoes, children’s toys, and that bag of potato chips on the end table. 

#3: Delegate puppy-care duties

Parents often are wooed by their children’s promises to care for a puppy’s every need, only to bring home a new pet and have to take over walking, feeding, training, and cleaning duties. Delegate each family member a specific role to ensure your puppy is properly cared for, and to allow each member to develop a relationship with the new pet.

#4: Teach your puppy household rules

Since the entire family is involved in caring for your new pup, ensure everyone is on board with the same household rules. For example, your spouse lets your four-legged friend snuggle on the couch when you’re not looking, but you have a strict, no-furniture policy for pets. Without consistency, your puppy will be confused about the appropriate behavior in her new home. 

#5: Socialize your puppy with new pets, people, and places

Positive, lifelong socialization is one of the most important tasks for creating a happy, friendly, well-adjusted dog. Puppies who lack adequate socialization, or who have many negative experiences during the optimal socialization period between 3 and 14 weeks of age, can develop generalized anxiety, and become fearful in new situations. When exposing your puppy to new people, pets, places, sounds, and sights, ensure each experience is positive by using plenty of praise, treats, and rewards. Allow your pup to approach each new situation at her own pace, keeping her comfortable and unafraid. 

#6: Accustom your puppy to grooming

While socializing your puppy, acclimate her to grooming tools, and to standing still for brushing, ear cleaning, and nail trims. Nail trims are most unpleasant for many dogs, so starting at an early age to form a positive association with this necessary grooming activity is a must. To keep your wiggly puppy still and distracted while you’re brushing her or clipping her nails, use a Kong stuffed with peanut butter or spray cheese. Your pup will be so busy focusing on her special treat, she won’t notice what you’re doing, and remain relaxed. If your long-coated pooch needs a haircut, or you require assistance with a bath or nail trim, we offer professional grooming services to help your pup look her best.

#7: Enroll in a puppy class

Whether this is your first puppy, or you’re a veteran dog owner, a puppy class always provides an excellent start to your new pup’s relationship. Not only will the trainer help you manage any problem behaviors, but your puppy will also learn proper manners from other puppies, and bond with you as you train

#8: Protect your puppy with preventive care

While socialization takes care of your puppy’s mental and emotional health, the Fairfax Veterinary Clinic team will take care of her physical health. As a puppy, your furry friend will require a series of vaccinations to ensure she is appropriately protected against deadly diseases, and we will tailor your pup’s vaccination protocol to fit her needs and risk exposure. We will also protect your puppy from heartworms, fleas, ticks, and intestinal parasites with a parasite prevention program. By engaging in preventive care for your new best friend, we can help ensure a lifetime of wellness

Bringing your new puppy home can be an exciting adventure, but also stressful, so call us if you 

have any questions about your new furry friend’s care. Also, remember to schedule your puppy’s vaccination booster visits.