There is no getting away from it bringing a puppy home is very exciting whether it is your first or second pet. This new puppy will instantly be part of your family and will the centre of your world plus receive and bring much love to the whole family. However owning, caring and settling a new puppy into their new home can be tiring, time consuming and requires much patience and commitment, and this type of devotion is hard work but at the same time fun. All of the effort put into these earlier days can pay off and it will help settle in and adjust your puppy to their new home and your rules.
Caring for a new puppy is new to so many owners and includes daily routines, basic health care, feeding, toilet training and sleeping routines.
Before your puppy comes home it is good to be organised by creating areas for your puppy to sleep, eat, play and toilet. Also knowing in your mind any rules and boundaries you wish to stick to. You will also want to buy all the puppy essentials and have them all ready and set up before you collect your puppy.
Your new puppy will be ready to come home at approximately 8 weeks of age, and during the first few weeks you will be creating a routine for your puppy. Your puppy’s day will be split into a selection of times which include feeding at regular intervals during the day, walks when fully vaccinated, quiet/rest time, play time in the garden or socialising time and to end the day bedtime. There will be moments and times throughout the day when your puppy is lively and playful but also times when they just want to relax and have quiet time, it is all about a balance and a creating a routine which suits both you and your puppy.
Basic Health Care
Choose and register your puppy with a local vet surgery you are happy with, as your vet will be great for any puppy or dog advice in the future. Your vet will be able to advise you on vaccination, worming, flea prevention treatments, feeding, neutering, micro chipping and any health concerns regarding your new puppy, so therefore it is very important to build up a good relationship with your vet.
Vaccinating Your New Puppy
Your vet and breeder will help you with any questions you have regarding puppy vaccination and your puppy may have had their first or further vaccinations whilst in their breeders care. The important thing is to make sure your puppy is fully vaccinated to prevent any dangerous diseases affecting your puppy.
Your puppy will require two sets of vaccinations in the UK and the first vaccination course is given at approximately 8 weeks and the second vaccination is required 2 weeks following the first course (approximately 10 weeks old), after which your puppy will be fully protected and after a short period of time (most vets advise one or two weeks after second vaccination, but this may differ) your puppy will be able to go on its first walk and be able to mix with unvaccinated dogs.
Your Puppy’s Vaccinations cover the following:
- Infectious Hepatitis
Your vet will give you a vaccination card which clearly states the date and type of vaccination given to your puppy or dog this record will be updated each time your dog is vaccinated or given a booster, so please keep it safe. Your puppy will require a booster vaccination 12 months after their puppy vaccinations.
Worming Your New Puppy
Worming your new puppy is essential to protect your puppy and your familys health. However it is easy to keep your pet and family safe by following a program of regular worming with your puppy.
Your breeder would have wormed your puppy at the following ages (depending on treatments given) :
- Aged 2 Weeks, Aged 4 Weeks, Aged 6 Weeks, Aged 8 Weeks
- Aged 2 Weeks, Aged 5 Weeks, Aged 8 Weeks
You will therefore need to speak to your vet and have your own worming programme in place, most recommend worming at the following ages (depending on treatments given):
- Aged 10 Weeks
- Aged 12 Weeks (3 months)
- Aged 16 Weeks (4 months)
- Aged 20 Weeks (5 months)
- Aged 24 Weeks (6 months)
- Then every 3 months after
There are many types of worms which include roundworm, tapeworm, hookworm and whipworm, therefore you want to use a good all-round wormer for your dog and your vet will be happy to help. Your vet may recommend the following wormers:
Drontal is available in a selection of strengths to suit your dog’s size and there is a product to treat a 2 weeks old puppy.
Milbemax is a chewable tablet which is safe to use for a two week old puppy and this will treat against tapeworms, roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, prevention of heartworm plus reduces the infection of lungworm.
Panacur is available in a paste, liquid or granules form and can be given to a 2 week old puppy.
Puppy Flea Treatment
Your breeder should have treated your puppy with flea treatment at approximately 8 weeks old, then after which you will need to continue the flea prevention treatment which will be advised by your vet. There are many flea treatments on the market including Frontline and Advocate but please follow your vets advice.
Advocate kills adult fleas, flea larvae, ear mites, mange mites and is effective against heartworms and roundworms, however Advocate use does not replace regular worming and is a spot on treatment.
Frontline prevents adult fleas, flea larvae and ticks plus is easy to apply as a spot on treatment.
Feeding Your Puppy
Feeding your puppy correctly is highly important as your growing and developing puppy requires a balanced diet including protein, carbohydrate, fat, minerals and vitamins.
- Protein in your puppy’s diet is essential for muscle growth
- Carbohydrates are needed to provide your puppy with an energy source
- Fat is required to provide energy, healthy coat and skin too
- Minerals and vitamins are required to ensure your puppy remains healthy and these vitamins and minerals can be gained naturally from food sources
General Feeding Guideline for Your New Puppy
You will need to follow feeding guidelines which are available on the package of your chosen puppy food, this will give you a clear indication of the amount of food required for each feed depending on your puppy’s weight.
Puppy Meal Planning
- Aged 8 weeks Four small meals a day (8am, 12pm, 4pm, 8pm)
- Aged 12 weeks Three meals a day (8am, 1pm, 6pm)
- Aged 6 months Two meals a day (morning and afternoon)
Your puppy will require its meals spread out evenly during the day and the number of meals required each day will decrease as he/she grows. Your puppy has a small but growing stomach therefore by giving him/her more frequent smaller sized meals this will help with food digestion and ensure your puppy gets food energy evenly throughout the day.
It is important to always have fresh water available for your puppy and any leftover food should be thrown away to prevent germs. If you feel you wish to change the food your puppy is on, please do this gradually and also stick to a food you are happy to feed your puppy and one your puppy enjoys too.
Your puppy only has a small bladder and poor control in the first few weeks so toilet training can take much effort from you as a new owner, just don’t expect too much and get a good routine going, your puppy will soon get the hang of the toilet training routine and leave you a very proud owner.
Your puppy may need to urinate frequently in the early days approximately every 1-2 hours, so getting a routine is important to avoid those puppy puddles on the floor. Take your puppy out into the garden frequently, especially as soon as he/she wakes up after a sleep, and shortly after eating too, approximately 10 minutes after eating but you will soon work out the timing for your puppy’s toilet behaviour.
Praise and encouragement during toilet training is essential and by using a word such as toilet, wee, potty etc you can also teach your puppy to associate this word with their toilet time. Accidents will happen but it is all part of puppy ownership and toilet training requires commitment, effort and patience from you as an owner. Please don’t be surprised if your puppy has a toilet accident when excited as this is quite normal at the puppy stage.
Night Time Routine for Your Puppy
There is no right or wrong when it comes to finding a night time routine for your puppy, as a pet owner you need to decide where your puppy will sleep and what your puppy will have access to during the night.
Some owners like their puppies in the kitchen or utility room to sleep each night whereas others like their pet in their bedroom. There are no rules, only your rules and whatever you decide simply needs to work for you and your puppy.
Many owners use crates for their dogs, some dogs like having this special place to rest and sleep each night but others just don’t adapt to it. Other owners will sleep near their puppy for the first few nights to comfort their puppy and others will leave their puppy to settle on their own. Whatever routine you decide on has to be your preference, just make sure you are in control of whatever arrangements you plan, and it’s not your puppy calling all the shots.
Puppy Bedtime Routine and Suggestions
- Lots of play and activities
- Settle down time
- Toilet time in the garden
- In the crate or bed have scented blanket of mum and litter mates
- Use a hot water bottle wrapped in a towel or blanket will provide comfort and mimic the presents of a littermate (Snugglesafe are available too)
- Low lighting or dark area to sleep
- Provide your puppy with a sleeping area and toilet area during the night
- Use a blanket over a crate to provide a secure feel to a dark and cosy den
- Put a radio on low volume to settle your puppy
- Talk to your breeder about your puppys routine and try to mimic the routine as best as possible
Whilst your puppy is settling in he/she may whimper or cry during the night and at this time you can either leave them knowing they have all they need, or go to your puppy and take them outside for a toilet then return them to bed. You don’t want to be on call to your puppy as your puppy will learn that a whimper and a cry means you will come running, however you do have to do what suits you, your puppy and the rest of your family, so do what works for you, just be in control.
Puppies do not like to toilet in their bed area so by having a clearly defined sleeping area and toilet areas available this can stop any unwanted accidents or whimpering to go to the toilet. Not toileting during the night is mastered with age and each puppy is different some are excellent through the night and others struggle with the routine.
Now enjoy your puppy and bond with your puppy through play and training too.
Happy puppy days :).