Preparing For A New Puppy
Preparation for a new puppy starts before you bring it home. Getting
prepared can be a little overwhelming especially if it has been awhile
since you have had a puppy to care for. We want to give you some
ideas to consider before bringing a new "addition" into your lives.
Finding The Right One
When you are considering adding a puppy to your household, you
need to think about which breed would best fit you and your lifestyle.
For example, if you love running, hiking and swimming with your
canine companion, maybe a Pug isn't the right breed for you!
You need to consider the breed's energy level, size, personality
traits and hair coat. If you are getting a pure bred dog, like a Border
Collie, you need to remember they are specifically bred to run and
herd. Herding breeds require lots of exercise and interaction. If they
are not properly stimulated, out of boredom they will become
destructive. Do a little research, find out what the breed's genetic
predisposition to health conditions. Find someone with who already
owns a similar dog and ask them about its behavioral habits, and ask
your veterinarian about possible health conditions that might arise
with the breed.
Chew toys like Kongs and other hardy toys are great for a puppy. You
want to be sure that the toys you buy cannot be chewed into pieces
and ingested. Stuffed animals have to be monitored carefully! Puppies
love to eat the "stuffing". Although you may not consider an object a toy
doesn't mean your puppy will agree. We know many puppies who
have enjoyed ingesting leashes, shoes, rocks and bark. Providing
your puppy with plenty of toys will prevent him from "finding" them
around the house.
Young puppies need to be fed a high quality puppy food. Puppy foods
have specific levels of DHA (Docosahexaenoic Acid) which is a natural
Omega-3 fatty acid essential in the development of the brain and
nervous system. Dry premium pet foods generally offer more
concentrated nutrition in dense particles. This allows you to feed
smaller amounts than most cheaper foods and still meet nutritional
Once your puppy is between three and five months of age, you can
begin to gradually switch over to an adult maintenance. The pet food
industry encourages people to leave their puppies on the puppy diet
for 1 year. Most puppies do not need the extra calories and
supplements. Choose a premium maintenance diet that your dog will
remain on for long-term. If you have questions about feeding your
puppy please contact us.
There are various ways you can feed your puppy. In most cases, we
recommend that you place a large bowl of food down 3 times a day for
20 minutes. Soon the puppy will understand that it is time to eat and
consume enough food to sustain him until the next feeding time. We
tell our clients that it is best not to make a 'big deal' about meal times.
If the puppy is reluctant to eat, wait a few hours and try again. This will
help the puppy to self-regulate his own intake.
Treats - Although they are cute, avoid buying those processed,
colorful and moist treats. They contain chemicals, dyes, extra sodium
and calories. Giving your puppy a piece of its normal food as a treat
will be just as rewarding.
Crate training is an excellent method for training puppies. Dogs
naturally enjoy a den for their own space to feel secure. Encourage
your puppy to go into its crate with a small treat and lots of praise.
Before placing the puppy in the crate, make sure the puppy has a
chance to go outside for a "potty" break. Once the puppy is in the crate,
he may cry but it is important that you let them get used to the crate.
Puppies generally need to go outside once or twice during the
night. They usually wake up and start whimpering. That is your cue to
pick up the puppy and bring it outside. If you try to get your puppy to
walk outside, chances are there will be a puddle along the way! If your
puppy seems to need to go out more than normal, or is straining to
urinate contact your veterinarian.
A 6-8 week old puppy needs to go outside about every half hour.
Typically, smaller breeds need more visits to the backyard than a large
breed. Within a day or two, you will begin to learn your puppy's pattern.
You will want to take your puppy outside anytime they change
activities. For example:
When you take your puppy outside, you must be willing to stay
- Immediately after it wakes up from a nap
- 20 minutes after a meal
- When the puppy stops playing
outside long enough for the puppy to go. Most people give up, go
inside and then immediately the puppy has an 'accident'. Puppies are
comfortable and secure with their inside environment and it takes
awhile for them to become comfortable with the outside environment.
To a three pound puppy, the outside world can be very overwhelming!
During the puppy vaccination series, it is best to avoid public parks,
Boise Greenbelt, and outdoor functions. The Parvo virus can stay in
the environment for a long time (5 months or longer) and any
exposure to it can place your puppy at risk. The Distemper-Parvo
vaccination (or Vanguard Plus 5) is first given at 6 weeks of age then
boostered every 3 weeks until the puppy is 16 weeks old. These
boosters are very important because during this time the antibodies
from the mother's colostrum are wearing off. Each vaccination
"boosts" the puppies immunity against Distemper, Parvo Virus,
Adenovirus Type 2, and Canine Para-influenza.
The Rabies vaccination is given at 12-16 weeks of age and expires
after one year.
For more information about the puppy vaccination series and
vaccinations required by adult dogs, please visit our vaccination page.
If you have any more questions about raising a puppy, we would be
glad to answer them.
Other helpful websites:
Disclaimer: Vista Animal Hospital makes sincere efforts to ensure
will not be held responsible or liable for errors, inaccuracies or
improper use of information by the reader. Readers who rely on the
information contained on this web site or on other web sites consult
with their veterinarian before acting on it