Puppy Care Guide
Getting a puppy can be one of life’s greatest joys—not only are they adorable, they grow up to be some of the most loyal companions! However, getting a puppy is a huge commitment that requires a lot of time and effort. Think of it like adopting a furry little baby that could pee, poo, and chew on anything in the house. A lot of things go into good puppy care, including preparing the house, booster shots, training, and more!
Thinking about getting a big dog? Learn more about large breed dog care »
To learn more about the best puppy care, contact Germantown Vet today at 240-252-7467240-252-7467!
Our Puppy Care Guide for New Owners
Here is our five step puppy care guide to help new owners get ready for their newest addition to the family:
Puppy Care Step 1: Preparing the Household
The first step of our puppy care guide is to prepare the household, and it’s broken into two parts:
- Preparing the house – Puppy-proofing the areas of the house where your new pet is going to spend most of his or her time is incredibly important. This includes things such as:
- Taping down loose electrical cords
- Storing household chemicals on high shelves
- Removing plants, rugs, breakables, and basically anything else you don’t want chewed or broken
- Putting up gates if necessary
- Preparing the family – There’s more to getting ready than setting up the house—you and your family are going to need to talk about a couple very important scheduling details. Straighten out the answers to questions like:
- Who will take the puppy out in the morning? Afternoon? Evening? Your puppy is going to need to use the bathroom every 1 – 2 hours when he or she is awake, so it’s important to know who’s going to be in charge of taking the puppy out!
- Who is going to do the feeding 3 – 4 times a day? Puppies need to eat multiple times a day for the first few months, so you’re going to need to accommodate your work or school schedule around these feedings.
- Who is in charge of making veterinary appointments? You can’t let this one slip between the cracks because going to a reputable veterinarian and getting the necessary vaccinations and deworming is very important to your puppy’s health.
- Who is going to be in charge of training? Although multiple family members can take part in training the puppy, it’s important to choose one person to designate as the head trainer. That way the training can remain consistent.
Puppy Care Step 2: Getting the Right Supplies
A big part of good puppy care is getting all the right supplies. You’re going to need things such as:
- Food and water bowls
- Crate – we recommend getting a crate for the adult size of your dog, and just partitioning it off while your dog is still a puppy.
- ID tag
- Food – getting the right kind of food for your puppy is very important. You should always buy the highest quality dog food you can fit into your budget—talk to the professional vets at Germantown Vet to learn more.
- Chew toys
- Cleaning supplies – you should get something that has an odor neutralizing enzyme in it—ask one of our experts for a list of great cleaners.
- Grooming supplies – dog shampoo, a brush, toothbrush, dog toothpaste, nail clippers, etc.
Puppy Care Step 3: Making a Vet Appointment
One of the most important parts of our puppy care guide is making their first vet appointment. Puppies require a lot of vaccinations and initial vet care to ensure a healthy life. There will be a series of shots, including a rabies vaccination, a Bordetella vaccination, distemper vaccinations, and more. These are absolutely essential to your puppy’s health and need to be administered on a routine schedule. He or she will also need dewormings, heartworm medication, and flea and tick control.
These procedures, along with all other vet care, should be handled by an experienced and professional veterinarian, like the ones at Germantown Vet. We can help you get your new puppy started on the right track, and we even offer an affordable puppy health care plan that includes all of the necessary vaccinations, lab work, and parasite control, as well as discounts on certain products and services. Contact us today to learn more!
Puppy Care Step 4: Training Your Puppy
Training your puppy is going to take time and dedication, but there are things you can do to make it a little easier!
Consistency – Get the vocabulary for your training figured out right away. Imagine if Mom is saying “down” to get the puppy off the couch, Dad is saying “down” to get the puppy to lay down, and son is saying “sit down” to get the puppy to sit! You’re going to have one confused pup!
Use one syllable words whenever possible as your commands, some of our recommendations include:
- Sit – sit down
- Down – lay down
- Off – get off (the couch, jumping, etc.)
- Stay – stay in place
- Here – come here
- Heel – walk beside me without pulling on the leash
However, as long as you and your family agree on commands and use them consistently, it doesn’t really matter which words you choose.
If your puppy doesn’t listen to your command the first time, don’t continue to repeat the command over and over or say “Sit, Fido, sit!” You should say the command again, and if the puppy doesn’t respond, firmly say “no” and say the command again. If he or she still doesn’t respond, say “no” again and fix the behavior while repeating the command. Once your pet is doing the right behavior, reward him or her immediately with your voice, petting, and treats.
Timing – Puppies have a short attention span, and they can’t train for hours on end—you probably have about 10 minute windows in which you should be doing training, and if your puppy is completely distracted, sometimes it’s best to just play for a while and then come back to it later in the day.
Attitude – Do your best not to get frustrated when your puppy doesn’t listen or seems to take a step backwards in training—this is going to happen, we promise! Try and stay as positive and upbeat as possible and throw a party every time your pup does exactly what you want. Positive reinforcement is the best way to train your puppy successfully.
Don’t forget that Germantown Vet offers excellent puppy training to help your pup get started on the right paw—contact us to learn more!
Puppy Care Step 5: Housebreaking Your Puppy
The final step in our puppy care guide is housebreaking. Housebreaking your puppy is much like any other training—it requires consistency, patience, a positive attitude, and timing. Like a human baby, puppies don’t have great control over their bladders, and once they need to go, they need to go!
Designate a specific area of your yard as the elimination spot and bring your puppy there every time he or she needs to go. This will help your pet understand that it’s the area where he or she should use the bathroom.
Consistently use positive reinforcement for potty training—act incredibly excited every time he or she goes to the bathroom outside and reward with treats, your voice, and petting.
Remember, your pet will most likely end up going to the bathroom in the house, and is likely going to have setbacks in his or her training. This is normal and is nothing to be worried about, just continue with your training and positive reinforcement!
Learn More About Puppy Care & Schedule Your Vet Visit
Make sure your pet’s life is happy and healthy by following our puppy care guide and scheduling your first vet visit with Germantown Vet. Our friendly veterinarians have been trusted by your friends and neighbors since 1983—let us put our experience to work for you! Bring your pup in for his or her first vet check-up and we can go over any other questions you may have about your newest family member.