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Congratulations on the new addition to your family! Bringing home, a new puppy is going to be a very exciting time in your life. You will have many years of companionship, playtime, and love. But adopting a new puppy also comes with a great deal of responsibility. You’ll need to do many things to keep your puppy safe and healthy.
From vaccinations to choosing the right dog food to puppy-proofing your home, thinking about everything you must do to keep your puppy safe can be overwhelming.
I have simplified the process for you by putting together eight easy-to-follow basics “new puppy checklist”. Read on to learn some best practices for protecting your dog.
1. Choose a Veterinary Practice
Forming a positive relationship with a licensed veterinarian should be at the top of your list when adding a dog to the family. If you’re not already associated with a vet’s office, you should find one before bringing your puppy home.
Here are some things to keep in mind when choosing a veterinarian:
Location: It’s convenient to find a vet’s office near your home.
Reviews: Ask your friends or family members and look up reviews to find a well-received vet from others in your community.
Hours: Choose an office with operating hours that work with your schedule.
Rapport: You want to register your puppy with a vet’s office with a helpful, caring, and understanding staff.
2. Follow the Recommended Vaccine Schedule
Just like humans, puppies require several vaccinations to prevent potentially fatal illnesses like Bordetella, parvovirus, and giardia. New puppies will receive these vaccines in a series of shots. Some of the vaccines require boosters as well. Your puppy must receive all the recommended injections to protect against common illnesses.
Recommended Read: When Do Puppies Start Teething
3. Begin Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Treatment Early On
Vaccines are critical when it comes to keeping your puppy healthy. Something else that’s equally important is parasite protection. Fleas, ticks, and heartworms pose a severe risk to dogs of all ages, regardless of their breed or where they live. You can help protect your dog by starting them on flea, tick, and heartworm prevention right away. Your vet can recommend the best products for your dog.
In addition to parasite prevention treatment, pet owners should also educate themselves on the best practices for avoiding fleas and ticks. Know which conditions and locations put your dog at a greater risk. You may also learn to recognise the heartworm symptoms in puppies to catch any potential health issues before they become too serious.
4. Get Your Puppy Microchipped
In a perfect world, your dog will never leave your side. But the reality is that puppies (and even older dogs) are curious creatures who may not have the impulse control needed to not run after a cat or squirrel. Even the most well-cared-for dogs can run off at times.
It’s every dog parent’s worse nightmare!
Microchipping is a process where the vet places a small electronic chip beneath your dog’s skin. It’s a quick, simple, and non-surgical procedure. Some puppies may already come with a microchip. In this case, you will need to update of details of the chip. If your dog does escape, microchipping offers the best chance for reuniting you with your dog.
Any time your dog gets away, whoever finds them can take your dog to a vet’s office, humane society, or dog warden to be scanned for a chip. The chip will reveal important contact information that vets or dog wardens will use to bring your beloved puppy back home where they belong.
5. Consider Buying Pet Insurance
Pet insurance may seem pointless if you’ve never owned a dog before. After all, how costly can dogs be? The answer: very. Please read my story here! My experience of not having pet insurance will undoubtedly encourage you to get some insurance.
Pet insurance certainly isn’t necessary, but it will pay off if your dog needs a lot of medical care later. Paying out-of-pocket for standard checkups and vaccines isn’t a big deal if you have an unlimited supply of cash. However, for most of us, this isn’t usually the case. But what would happen in case of an emergency?
Accidents happen, and dogs need additional medical care every day. Pet insurance can be a massive relief if this ever happens to you. Typical pet insurance policies cover prescription medication, broken bones, surgery, and more.
6. Puppy-Proof Your Home
Like finding a veterinarian, puppy-proofing should be done before bringing home your newest family member. Avoiding health scares is one thing but protecting your dog from external threats is entirely different. Is your home prepared for a curious and rambunctious puppy?
Before bringing home your puppy, take some time to puppy-proof your home (both inside and out). Look at the environment from a puppy’s point of view and put away anything that could harm your dog. This includes cleaning supplies, toxic food or plants, electrical cords, and medications.
It would help if you also moved the furniture around to eliminate any spots where a small puppy could become trapped.
7. Choose the Right Food for Your Puppy
It would help if you were wary of all dog food manufacturers regardless of whether they are big brands. Regardless of what it says on the front packaging when choosing a puppy food, always read the back label and avoid any with bone meal, fillers like corn, cereal or any long, confusing words within as these are unhealthy and offer your dog the most minimal of good nutrition.
The most healthy foods will be labelled with ingredients like pure or fresh meat, herbs and botanicals.
Choosing healthy dog food for your dog’s nutritional needs is one of the best things you can do to keep your dog healthy and able to live a long life with a strong, robust immune system ready to tackle any threats that comes its way.
8. Basic Must-Have Accessories
It’s not hard to spoil your puppy; there is endless stuff online, or in the shops, you could buy. However, I have rounded up the essential must-haves you need.
Before bringing your puppy home, it’s essential to have the basic stuff for them. Such as some toys to keep them entertained, two separate bowls to eat and drink from and something lovely to sleep on. Oh, and don’t forget the puppy pads! See here how I train my dogs to go on the puppy pad.
When training your puppy, you will need something tasty. However, instead of unhealthy shop-bought treats, try what I do. Instead, I cook up a chicken breast and use these as treat pieces. They are healthy, and adding extra fresh protein to a puppy’s daily intake is perfect for their growing needs. Here you will find how I cook chicken and other best practices using the healthy chicken treat method.
Good luck and happy puppy parenting!