Caring for Your New Puppy
Congratulations on your new puppy!
Congratulations on your new puppy! Before you bring him or her home, there are several items, including key health and medical products, you'll need to stock up on. Having these items on hand in advance will help ease your new puppy's transition into your home and family.
- Flea and tick preventatives: Your puppy was likely treated for fleas and ticks already, but with so many dogs around, it's likely he/she may bring some home as well. Starting your puppy on a flea and tick preventative right away can reduce the risk of pests and prevent an infestation. Learn more in our How to Kill Fleas on Your Puppy article.
- De-wormer: It's also likely that your new puppy was dewormed; however, puppies can be born with intestinal parasites that are passed to them in the womb by their mothers. Intestinal parasites can lead to a host of problems, including vomiting, diarrhea and weight loss, so it's best to de-worm your puppy several times or start him/her on a worming product (such as Panacur C).
- Heartworm preventative: Heartworms are transmitted to dogs when an infected mosquito bites a dog. Your puppy can be infected at any time, so it's best to start your pet on a heartworm preventative right away and keep him/her on it. Heartworm preventatives are prescribed by vets, so ask your vet about starting your dog on a preventative during your first visit.
- Food and water bowls: These bowls should be dishwasher-safe, durable and easy to clean to cut down on bacteria. The water bowl should be large enough to hold a one-day supply of water for your dog.
- Dog bed: Having a comfortable place set up for your new puppy to relax and sleep will help ease his/her transition into your home.
- Pet food: It's important to feed your dog a good-quality food, tailored to his/her age, size and energy levels. Your vet can help you pick an appropriate food for your new dog, based on these factors. If at some point you decide to switch foods, it's important to slowly integrate the new food into the old since switching your foods too quickly can lead to dietary upset. For more information, read our Pet Parent Guide to Puppy Nutrition article.
- Toys: It's natural for all puppies to want to chew and play. Providing your puppy with appropriate toys may save your shoes, furniture and other items from being chewed on. Toys and play-time can also be good outlets for the boundless energy your puppy may have at times.
- Treats: Having some tasty, low-calorie treats on hand make it easy to reward your puppy for good behavior and aid in training. Look for treats that are small or that can be broken into little pieces if you want to use them for training, to prevent accidently over-feeding your puppy.
- Collar/ harness: You should have a collar for your new puppy, complete with identification tags. Should your puppy ever get loose outside, this will help return him/her home. A harness may be a good option for a dog that pulls. There are many different options and fits, so be sure to measure your pet to find the best fit.
- Leash: A leash is a must-have when adopting a new dog. Your pet may be timid at first, so walking him/her on a leash, even in the backyard, ensures that your pet stays close. Regular walks will also help with housetraining your new puppy.
- Crate: When used correctly, a crate can be a great training tool. Dogs generally try not to soil the area they sleep in, so crating a dog while you are out of the house for a short time can be a good way to prevent accidents. It's important to remember that puppies need to be let out frequently to use the bathroom, so crating a young dog for several hours may be too long for his/her bladder.
- Puppy training pads/Wee Wee pads: Although a puppy should not be left alone for long periods of time, if this cannot be avoided, training pads are an ideal option. These pads are made of absorbent material, designed to soak up urine and can help minimize messes left by puppies still working on housebreaking.
Puppies need frequent trips outdoors to use the restroom when they're young. If it's possible, you should arrange to let your puppy out several times during the day, to prevent accidents and encourage housebreaking.