Puppy Care Guide

If you've added a new puppy to your family then there are a number of things you will need to know and do to keep them happy and healthy. Today our puppy vets in Doraville share a guide that contains everything you need to know about puppy care at every stage over the first year.

Puppy Care For the First Year

When you decide that you would like to bring home a new puppy it is important to ensure that you are prepared to not only bring the puppy into your home but also to provide the appropriate care for the first year of their life.

The vets are our puppy clinic in Doraville are here to share some information about caring for your puppy through each stage they will go through during the first year of their life.

0 to 8 Weeks: Preparing For Your New Puppy

These first steps may be taken by either you, the breeder or the shelter depending on where your puppy will be coming from. The very first things you should consider when it comes to the care of your new furry friend are:

  • Between the ages of 6 - 8 weeks, your puppy should receive their first round of vaccinations from a vet for puppies in Doraville
  • Early-stage toilet training should begin to help ensure success as they grow
  • Begin early socialization by introducing your puppy to new people and dogs that you know have been fully vaccinated

Here are a few things that you can do to help prepare your home and family for the new puppy:

  • Create a dedicated space in your home that is just for your puppy with a comfy bed and puppy safe toys. The area should be protected from drafts but somewhere not too isolated. You will likely want to purchase an appropriately sized crate to keep your puppy when you aren't able to supervise, or indoor fencing to create a small pen for your pup.
  • Purchase puppy safe soft toys and chew toys. Be sure to choose items that are a good size for your new fur baby. Do not give large breed puppies toys that are designed for small or toy breeds as these can pose a choking hazard for your puppy.
  • Puppy-proof your home! Remove all plants that are poisonous to pets, clean up children's toys and store them out of your puppy's reach, and ensure that all chemicals (such as cleaning solutions) are stored safely out of your puppy's reach. 
  • Choose a vet for puppies in Doraville and the surrounding area which is close to your home and offers all the services your puppy will need to stay healthy throughout their lifetime. Be sure to check the veterinary clinic's opening hours to see if they are convenient for you.
  • Set up puppy training classes early as these tend to fill up fairly quickly.

8 to 12 Weeks: Your New Puppy Comes Home

Is there anything more exciting than bringing your new puppy home? No doubt you will be smitten by your delightful puppy's unique personality, but it's important to remember that what they learn in these early days will have a huge impact on their future behavior. 

  • When you pick up your new puppy ask if you can have a blanket, toy or other fabric that was used by your puppy's mother, siblings or human caregiver to help your puppy feel more comfortable in their new home.
  • Keep in mind that until your puppy receives all 4 rounds of vaccinations and booster shots. If your puppy hasn't had their first round of vaccinations and parasite prevention yet, booking your puppy's first vet appointment should be your number one priority.
  • Socialization at this stage is essential for building your puppy's social skills and confidence. Have friends and family stop by to meet your puppy and continue to introduce your new fur baby to other pets that you know are fully vaccinated.
  • Introduce new experiences gradually such as grooming, having their ears or feet touched, and being carried or held by family members.
  • When out in public carry your puppy until they are fully vaccinated. Some highly contagious, potentially life-threatening conditions can be contracted through even very brief contact with an infected dog's urine or feces. 
  • Establish routines at home for feeding times, play times and bedtime. Also, begin setting rules by positively reinforcing good behavior and when safe ignoring bad behavior. Positive reinforcement will go a long way toward helping your puppy learn what behavior is acceptable.
  • Choose a reputable, nutritious food for your puppy and stick to it. Changing foods frequently can lead to tummy trouble for your pup and some very messy accidents. Begin with the food being used by your breeder, then gradually introduce the new food a little at a time in order to avoid GI issues.
  • Begin to leave your puppy alone for short periods of time then gradually increase the time as your puppy becomes comfortable with being alone.
  • Continue toilet training, and be sure to always use positive reinforcement to encourage appropriate toileting habits.

12 Weeks to 6 Months: New Puppy Training

During this time you will want to focus on training and reinforcement with your puppy along with:

  • Once your pup is fully vaccinated it's time to head out and explore the neighborhood with on-leash walks, stopping to say hi to new people and other dogs along the way.
  • Begin puppy training classes to establish good obedience and on-leash behaviors.
  • Get some good insight into your puppy's likes and dislikes so that you can utilize their favorite toys and activities as part of positive reinforcement during training.
  • Don't be alarmed if your puppy sleeps more than you had expected. Puppies are growing and learning fast which means they need a lot of sleep to keep up with this learning curve.

6 Months to Adulthood: Time For Preventive Puppy Care

While your puppy may be starting to look like an adult they are still very much developing and so there are a few other puppy-related considerations:

  • Speak to your puppy and kitten vet in Doraville to learn when reproductive care is recommended for your puppy.
  • Now that your dog is out exploring more of the world and meeting other dogs parasite prevention becomes increasingly important. Your vet will be able to inform you of the parasite dangers that are present in your area.
  • Continue to attend obedience classes and work on your puppy's on-lease walking skills.
  • Gradually switch to high-quality adult dog food. Speak to your puppy and kitten vet for advice on which brands or foods would be best for your dog based on their size, breed and lifestyle.

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.

If you have a new puppy that is in need of routine care and vaccinations, contact our puppy and kitten vets in Doraville.