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How to Raise a Puppy: Guide for the First Year

So you are getting a new puppy—what an adventure! But do you know what to expect and how to prepare? Our Brooklyn vets share a guide, including advice on raising your new puppy and what to expect during the first year.

The Art of Raising a Puppy

One thing you will need a lot of when raising a new puppy is patience. Puppies are compelled to chew excessively as their adult teeth emerge. Your puppy will probably try to chew everything, including the living room rug, your shoes, or even your hand.

Having a dog means assuming responsibility for its happiness, safety, and health. It means being able to pay for vet fees when your pet gets hurt or eats something it shouldn't and having a plan in place for its care when you can't be there (pet sitter). It also means not yelling at your puppy; they don't understand English anyway. Here is a guide, including tips, on how to make your puppy's transition into your home seamless.

How to Raise a Puppy

Raising a new puppy? Our tips and advice can help make the first year go smoothly.

Begin by Puppy-Proofing Your Home

Be sure to properly prepare for your new puppy before bringing them home. A good way to figure out what to do is to think of it as child-proofing your home. Electrical cords should be secured, and potentially hazardous plants or chemicals should be moved out of reach. Close any vents, pet doors, windows, or other openings that could let them run away or get them stranded.

Once your puppy is home, house training will likely be the first thing you do. If you intend to crate-train him, have the crate ready. Line it with blankets or a dog bed to make it more comfortable. Make sure it's big enough for him to stand up, turn around, and lie down.

If you plan to crate your puppy, set aside a tiny area, such as a powder room or a kitchen corner, where they can be confined and kept away from other dogs and small children. Make sure you have some puppy training pads on hand to catch any accidents, as well as a dog bed, food and water bowls, and a toy or two.

Meeting the Nutritional Needs of Your New Puppy

Your puppy should have high-quality food specifically made for their age group. The appropriate amount of food is determined by characteristics such as age, size, and breed. Ask your vet how much and how often you should feed your dog.

Small breeds of dogs may benefit from free feeding. This can help ensure that they get enough nourishment. Toy and tiny breed dogs mature physically faster than larger breeds and can be moved to adult dog food and adult-sized portions between the ages of nine and twelve months.

Larger breeds should be fed several meals daily in appropriate portions to avoid issues like stomach bloat and protein or calcium buildup.

Here's a general guideline for a large breed of dog to be fed:

  • Six to twelve weeks old: Four meals per day
  • Three to six months old: Three meals per day
  • Six months and up: Two meals per day

Training Your New Furry Friend

One of the first aspects of training your new puppy will be potty training. To ensure success, you will want to create a potty schedule for your new puppy, taking them out every couple of hours for a walk. Until they are fully vaccinated, you will want to take them to a portion of the yard where they won't be exposed to other animals.

If your dog has an accident or displays undesirable behavior, you should never yell or become physical. Redirection to a good activity is an ideal solution when they are naughty. Obedience lessons are a good way to teach them proper behavior and aid in socialization.

Proper socialization is critical to the success of raising a puppy. To grow into a well-adjusted dog, puppies need to be introduced to as many new people, places, experiences, and circumstances as possible. You should wait until they have had all of their vaccines before taking them out in public or allowing them to interact with other animals. Still, you may begin socializing your puppy right away by playing with it and introducing it to new people, sights, noises, smells, and textures.

Always supervise children or other pets while they are around your puppy's food or favorite toy to reduce even minor resource-guarding habits.

Teaching your new puppy not to bite is a very important lesson. Establishing your position as pack leader will help your puppy remember that it must earn your respect and obey you. Remember that your dog desires your approval but also requires your direction. If your puppy nips or bites, discipline it with a calm but firm 'no.'

Get Them Playing as Much as Possible

Bored puppies cause mischief, such as chewing on things they shouldn't and getting into places and things that may be potentially dangerous. Providing them with toys and outdoor exercise helps to keep their minds stimulated. 

When to Bring Them in for a Checkup

Once your puppy is around six to eight weeks old, you should make an appointment with a veterinarian for a health checkup to evaluate its health.

Speak with your vet to determine the best preventive care program for your new puppy. They can suggest when to bring it in for spaying or neutering, which can help lessen the chance of health and behavioral issues.

You can ask your veterinarian any questions you have regarding dog care, such as what kind of food is best. They can also advise you on puppy care issues such as tooth brushing and nail cutting and even show you how to do them.

Your vet may also suggest scheduling the next appointment before you leave. This next visit is typically once your puppy is about six months old.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Is it time to schedule preventive care for your new puppy? Please contact our puppy and kitten vets in Brooklyn.

New Patients Welcome

Heart of Brooklyn Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Brooklyn companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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