A Guide To Your First Puppy

First PuppyAs a first-time puppy owner, you might be unsure on what to expect.

Here are some of the essentials that you’ll need to know in preparation for bringing your new pet home.

Everyday Essentials

Ceramic or stainless steel feeding bowls are usually recommended – not least because plastic can be chewed! Experts often advise that you keep your puppy on the food that it has been previously been used to eating and gradually wean it off this.

This can help them to feel less distressed with the change of environment.

Other recommended essentials include some chewy accessories, toys and a collar and lead for walks. Bear in mind though that your puppy will need to have their vaccinations before you take them out on the lead for the first time.

Training Your Puppy

You’ll want to train your puppy to go to the toilet outside and to settle down for bed at the appropriate time. Toilet training your puppy can be a challenge but is very necessary to avoid inappropriate urination and defecation. Crate training is often recommended as part of this. Because puppies are not keen on going to the toilet where they are sleeping and resting, crate training can be a great way to teach them about appropriate places to toilet.

If they get into the habit of only going to the toilet outside of the crate, you have the opportunity to steer them outside and reward them for this. Crate training should be done while you are at home as most dogs find it unpleasant.

Your Puppy’s Health 

If this is your first pet, you’ll need to register with a vet. Ask friends and family for their recommendations or look for one in your local area. You can use the search function here to find vets near to you.

Once registered, your puppy can receive a general check-up to assess their general health and after they are eight weeks old, they should be vaccinated against conditions such as Infectious Canine Hepatitis, Canine Distemper Virus, Parvovirus, Leptospirosis and Kennel Cough.

Flea and worm treatments are an absolute must. Fleas are primarily an irritation for most pets but can cause other side effects in susceptible pets. A flea infestation can quickly extend throughout your home and as the flea life cycle makes it extremely challenging to tackle once this is the case, you’ll want to start your puppy on a regular anti-flea treatment as soon as possible. Speak to your vet for advice on when to do this and which products to try.

Tapeworms and roundworms are two of the common types of worms that could affect your dog. Both of these can potentially have serious health effects if left untreated. The symptoms are not always obvious and can be mistaken for other conditions. Speak to your vet about protecting your puppy against the threat of worms and for product recommendations.

You may also want to think about having your puppy neutered (for males) or spayed (for females). This will prevent unplanned pregnancies and can also have preventative health benefits.

Microchipping Your Puppy

It’s your responsibility to ensure that your puppy has an ID system to identify them if they get lost. Many pet owners are moving away from the traditional collar/tag and are veering to have their pets microchipped instead. This involves the insertion of a small chip under your puppy’s skin and is a much more sophisticated option for tracing their ownership if you are separated.

[Photo Credit: Nate Grigg]