If you're planning to add a new puppy to your family, it's important to know how to take care of them properly during their early stages of life. Our veterinarians in Vancouver have provided a general guide to help you navigate the first year of owning a puppy.

Puppy-Proofing Your Home 

Raising a puppy can be a thrilling experience, but it is more challenging than adopting an adult dog. You are responsible for shaping the puppy's behavior and temperament in its early stages of life, which requires more patience and attention. Puppies are naturally curious and energetic, which makes them more prone to accidental injuries.

During the first year of your puppy's life, it is important to be mindful of its behavior and personality development. To begin with, puppy-proof your home to ensure it cannot reach anything dangerous that it may chew, scratch, or ingest. If you have stairs, consider installing physical barriers at the top and bottom to prevent your puppy from falling and injuring itself.

You'll also need to be ready to house-train your puppy when it arrives home. If you plan on crate-training your puppy, make sure to have the crate prepared with cozy blankets and toys in a calm area of your home.

The Art of Raising a Puppy 

As a new puppy owner, teaching your little companion safe ways to explore the world is important. Setting boundaries from a young age can help keep your dog healthy and safe as they grow older.

Puppies tend to sleep a lot during the day, which can give you some breaks. However, they may not always sleep through the night and could whine or bark if left alone.

Your puppy will likely chew on anything they can get their teeth on as their adult teeth come in. This can lead to them destroying items around the house. Fortunately, this behavior should not last too long, as your pup will be fully grown by the time they are a year old. Most of these puppy tendencies will be left behind once they reach this milestone.

Raising a puppy requires a significant investment of time and commitment. If you're considering bringing a new pup home, ensure that someone can always be with them. This will allow you to let them out to go to the bathroom and monitor their behavior to ensure that you can address any undesirable habits before they become entrenched.

Puppy Diet

Puppies have different nutritional needs compared to adult dogs. It is essential to choose high-quality puppy food that is specially designed to support their growth and development. The amount of food that a puppy needs varies based on their breed, age, and size. To determine the appropriate quantity, consult with your veterinarian.

Free-feeding young puppies could be the best option for small breeds to ensure they get enough nutrients. Toy and small breed dogs typically reach physical maturity faster than large breeds and can be switched to adult dog food and adult-sized portions between 9 to 12 months of age. Conversely, larger breeds can take up to two years to reach physical maturity and require different nutritional needs than small breeds.

They should be fed puppy food that is specifically formulated for large breeds. Consult with your veterinarian to determine the best time to switch your growing large-breed dog to adult food. Additionally, they should be fed multiple meals a day with controlled portions to prevent complications like stomach bloat.

For puppies between 6 to 12 weeks old, feeding them 4 times a day is recommended. From 3 to 6 months, 3 meals a day are ideal. Two meals a day are sufficient once your puppy reaches 6 months or older and matures into an adult dog.

What You'll Need

Here is a list of resources you should get before bringing your puppy home:

  • A crate or dog carrier
  • A dog bed
  • Food and water dishes
  • High-quality puppy food and healthy dog treats
  • Fresh, clean water
  • A dog brush or comb
  • Puppy-safe shampoo
  • Puppy-safe toys
  • A collar with ID
  • Dog toothbrush and dog-safe toothpaste
  • Nail trimmers
  • Poop bags
  • Travel bag
  • Pet-safe home cleaner
  • Patience

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.

Do you have questions about welcoming your puppy into your home? Contact Mountain View Veterinary Hospital today.