The best piece of advice for new puppy owners is enjoy this time and have fun. Your pup will grow quickly and soon be sleeping well. You’ll both be in a new routine and you’ll just love that little puppy.
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Make preparations before bringing your puppy home. The transition for the pup should be as easy as possible. Getting these things ready might seem basic, but there are some safety tips and advice you need to be aware of.
We had 4 pups at one time, (and the mum), and I can tell you first hand, it was chaotic. First piece of advice – be organised.
1. Dog food and water bowls
The first thing is to have food and clean water available to your puppy. He might be a little nervous and may not want to eat or drink immediately, but he’ll feel more comfortable knowing that it’s there when he needs it. First tip, choose stainless steel food bowls rather than plastic. There’s very good reason for this recommendation.
Puppies like to chew. It’s their way of exploring new objects and they also chew to relieve the pain of teething.
But chewing plastic food bowls can be detrimental to their health. Chew marks in plastic bowls capture small particles of food, which can become contaminated with salmonella*, making your puppy very sick.
2. Organise dog's bed and sleeping area
Have his sleeping area ready. Your puppy is coming into a new situation and he’ll have to adjust.
He’ll tire easily. There’s a lot going on and he’s going to need a place where he feels safe and secure. Exploring a new environment, being anxious about leaving his litter and getting to know you and his new home.
You need to create a cosy, snug, secure environment for your pup so the transition to his new home is as stress-free as possible. We recommend a washable dog bed.
3. Dog food
Young pups have very different nutritional needs to adult and older dogs. The food that you’re feeding other dogs in your home might not be the best choice for your new puppy, particularly if the pup has come straight into your home from it’s mother.
Puppy owners are advised to feed their dogs foods that are rich in Docosahexaenoic Acid (DHA). Pups naturally receive this fatty acid through the mother’s milk. DHA can be found in many dog foods, and in offal if you prefer to feed fresh offerings.
If feeding a wet or dry dog food, the puppy varieties often contain high levels of protein which helps growth, and added calcium which is essential for developing strong bones and teeth.
DHA is a type of Omega-3 fatty acid which, according to experts, is ‘important for proper neurological development of humans and animals’*. It’s also vital in the developing central nervous system and retinal development.
4. Dog chew toys
If you value your furniture, your carpets, and your shoes, the tip is to be prepared and have some chew toys at the ready to deter your pup from chewing on anything and everything he can get his little teeth into.
Puppies chew for a number of reasons. They gnaw to relieve the discomfort of teething, and because they’re naturally curious little things and want to explore.
If your pup begins to show signs of being interested in inappropriate or destructive chewing, focus his attention on suitable chew toys and praise him for using these toys.
Have a variety of toys on hand. Rather than giving them all to your puppy at once, keep some away and switch them up from time to time so your pup doesn’t get bored. It will be a whole new adventure for him discovering his new toys, (or rediscovering his old ones).
Some dog owners who have ‘been there, done that’ will often suggest using anti-chew sprays that repel the dog from items that they don’t want touched.
These can be beneficial, but if you decide to try this out, opt for those with bittering agents, not aluminium sulfate. Although aluminium sulfate is believed to be safe in small amounts, it’s not recommended. It’s been found to cause abdominal pain, nausea, and sickness*.
5. Make a microchipping appointment
Statistics shows that dogs that are microchipped are 2.5 times more likely to be reunited with their owner if they become lost than dogs without the chip. There’s no reason to be nervous about microchipping – it’s quick, safe, and although your dog may feel a sharp pain, this lasts for just a second, much like a regular vaccination at the vet.
Your new puppy may have been microchipped before you brought him home, but if not it’s very important that you make arrangements to have your pet microchipped as soon as possible.
Anyone with first hand knowledge of a lost pet will tell you this is one of the most important things you can do. More and more countries around the world are introducing microchipping laws* which state that dogs must have a microchip, and for good reason.
Don’t be afraid to ask for advice
Whether you’re an experienced dog owner or bringing home your very first canine friend, having a new puppy in the home can be overwhelming. You should never be afraid to ask for help.
Local dog walkers, friends with pets and vets will all have a wealth of training tips and new puppy advice to help you settle into a happy, healthy life with your pup.