We have been seeing a lot of new puppies coming through our doors recently which is a sure sign its spring! Getting a new puppy can be very exciting for your family, but there are many things to be aware of in the first few months of having your puppy around.
When you pick up your puppy from the breeder or the shelter and bring them home for the first time, it can be a terrifying experience for them. They have left a familiar environment with familiar pets/litter mates and transferred to a whole new situation. The people are new, the smells are different, the routine is strange and much much more. To help your puppy aclimateize to their new world, it is essential to provide the puppy with lots of love and reassurance.
Give them space to get comfortable and reassure them that there are people around that will take care of them. Having a comfortable area where they can go can be important to help them establish that confidence – we recommend a crate with a door, but a designated bed or corner of a room could be used as well. This is a place where they can go to feel safe, where they won’t be harassed, and they can relax. The crate should never be used as punishment and care should be taken that they don’t get trapped in there by an enthusiastic child or curious pet.
Establishing a routine with them is also very helpful so they can start to learn what to expect. Sticking to the same times of day for feeding, taking them outside, training sessions and letting them rest gives them confidence in knowing what will happen next. Of course, there will be unexpected situations but keeping it consistent as much as possible is important.
Once the puppy has spent a few days with you, it’s important that you take them to see your friendly neighbourhood veterinarian. Not only is that the time when they are the cutest, but it is a great time to ask the veterinarian all the questions that have come up now that the puppy is living with you! At that first visit, you will be welcomed with one of our “New Puppy Pack” which includes a ton of useful information, a leash, a toothbrush, poop bags and coupons. You will also receive a sample bag of puppy food. The veterinarian will then come in and do a full exam on your puppy – snout to tail! They will discuss training, behaviour issues, diet, bathroom habits and so on.
Two other important items to consider – pet insurance and our Optimum Care plan.
- Pet insurance is a safeguard in case something were to happen with your pet, whether illness or an accident. Most insurance companies will sign up puppies (and kittens) as early as 8 weeks and will typically cover most of the cost of most treatments. The advantage of signing them up early is there won’t be any pre-existing conditions! Optimum Care is our in-clinic wellness plan. The veterinary expenses in the first year of your pet’s life can be a little overwhelming – 3 sets of vaccines, deworming and their spay or neuter and deworming.
- Optimum Care is a 12-month payment plan that includes all of the above, plus more. We discuss this plan with new puppy owners at their first visit because we believe it’s an important consideration for the long-term care of your pet.
Having a new puppy in the family can be very exciting and maybe a little overwhelming, but your veterinary team is here to make it easier! We are always happy to answer questions and we’d love to see your puppy every day if you want to visit!
Written by Amy Field, RVT