So you’ve just adopted the softest, fluffiest, most adorable puppy, and you can hardly stop staring into their loving eyes. You think of the years ahead and smile as you picture all of the adventures you’ll have together. You just know your puppy will be one of those pets that learns to bring you the mail and keeps your children safe. Yes, life is going to be pretty great with your—ouch!  As your puppy’s tiny shark teeth sink into your ankle, your daydreams are interrupted. Perhaps caring for your new puppy is going to be a bit more complicated than you had expected. Don’t worry, our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Nasa team has your back. We adore our puppy patients, and we also know they take a ton of work. However, we promise, your puppy is absolutely worth your effort and time. Learn to support your adorable new fur ball by following our team’s puppy care do’s and don’ts. 

DO educate yourself about puppy care

When preparing to bring home a new puppy, plenty of resources are available to help you become your new furry bundle of joy’s best parent. Ensure you read books on puppy care and training, reach out to your veterinarian for health resources, and seek out advice from friends and family members who have successfully raised a happy, healthy puppy. Keep in mind that learning about puppy care before you bring home your new rambunctious ball of fur is easier than trying to learn while you’re in the thick of raising them.

DON’T forget the puppy essentials 

Before you bring home your new best friend, ensure you have several essential items on hand. By having these items ready, you’ll be all set to enjoy those first few days with your puppy. Essential puppy items include:

  • Crate
  • Bedding
  • Leash
  • Collar
  • Identification tags
  • Waste bags
  • Food and water dishes
  • Food
  • Long-lasting and training treats
  • Toys
  • Food puzzles
  • Teething toys and chews
  • Pet-safe cleaning supplies

DO protect your puppy’s health

To ensure your new puppy grows strong and healthy, veterinary care is essential. Schedule your new puppy’s wellness visit right away, so your veterinarian can perform a thorough physical exam and determine your puppy’s appropriate vaccine schedule. By keeping your puppy’s vaccines up-to-date, you provide them with protection from many dangerous diseases. To protect your puppy from external and internal parasites, your veterinarian will prescribe safe, effective preventives that will keep your pup parasite-free and healthy through their first year, and into adulthood.  

DON’T leave your puppy unsupervised

Puppies are curious and explore the world with their mouths. Sometimes, this behavior can get them in trouble if they find something potentially harmful to chew or ingest. Puppy-proof your home to help reduce your new pet’s injury risk or to prevent them from ingesting something harmful. Even after thoroughly puppy-proofing your home, always supervise your rambunctious pup unless you have secured them in an enclosure or crate. 

DO socialize your puppy

Socializing your puppy early is key to helping them become a happy, well-behaved adult dog. The first few months of your puppy’s life are an important time to expose them to new experiences, people, noises, and other animals. Praise your puppy frequently, and keep treats on hand to reward them when they experience a new situation. The goal is for your puppy to see these new situations favorably, and to help them avoid making unpleasant or fearful associations. Dogs are empathic creatures, and if you are anxious when you present your puppy with a new experience, they will become stressed as well. So, ensure you remain calm when socializing your puppy. Keep socialization interactions long enough for your puppy to process the experience without exhausting or boring them. During socialization sessions, you will need to watch your puppy closely for signs indicating they are tired or have lost interest, which will also prevent them from making unpleasant associations.

DON’T wait to start training your puppy

Puppies need consistent training to learn good manners, and become well-behaved adult dogs. From the moment your puppy comes home, set boundaries and ensure they know what behaviors earn rewards. Enrolling in puppy classes are also a great way to help train your puppy and strengthen your owner-pet bond.

Nothing is better than bringing home a new puppy, and our Neighborhood Veterinary Centers of Nasa team is here to help you start off your puppy on the right paw. We are eager to meet your new pup, so schedule their wellness exam with our team, and we will initiate your puppy’s lifelong health plan to ensure they stay happy and healthy.