Getting a new puppy is a very exciting time! Your family is expanding and you NEED to be prepared.

What should I have prepared before the puppy’s arrival?

You should already know where the puppy will sleep and have a bed ready. Puppy pads will need to cover carpets and flooring to prevent the damage caused by toilet accidents. You should speak to the current owners to see what diet the puppy currently has and buy some of that food ready, so there is no sudden change in the diet. This helps to prevent stomach upsets. Toys should be purchased prior to your puppy’s arrival to prevent boredom. Chewing hard toys can help to maintain healthy teeth as well as providing entertainment.

If you are able to take toys and blankets from the previous home, this can help to keep your puppy calm when moving. They will recognise smells making their new environment seem more homely.

How should I socialise my puppy?

It’s really important that your puppy is socialised – that they get used to all the situations you’ll be expecting them to cope with in adulthood.

Puppy classes are a great way to meet other puppies and owners to chat about the progress you are making. Puppy classes allow social learning to occur and help to prevent dogs from being frightened of each other as they get older. Allowing puppies to play is an easy way to tire them out without you having to do any extra strenuous exercise! Your puppy can be socialised with any dog following their full course of vaccinations.

You should handle your puppy as much as possible. Get them used to human contact, loud noises and a range of people. You should introduce your dog to the lead and make them familiar with its use.

Once your puppy has had its booster vaccinations and is able to go out on walks, you could post on a local social media page and see if anyone would like to join you!

Between 4 and 12 weeks old is the best age to socialise puppies.

How do I introduce my puppy to resident dogs and cats?

You should introduce your pets slowly. You should make sure you keep them under supervision and do not leave them alone together for long periods of time until they are comfortable together. Keep their beds separate to start with. Keeping feeding times separate at the start is important to make sure all pets are getting the correct volume of food and to avoid food aggression.

Many puppies learn lots by living with and copying adult dogs. It is also educational to meet cats at this stage and learn some respect for them!

How do I introduce my puppy to young children?

You should always keep an eye on children playing with puppies. They can have great fun together and share an amazing bond, but sometimes children handle puppies too roughly, or in potentially dangerous ways. You need to make sure children do not pull at your puppy’s tail or be aggressive towards the dog in any way. A bad experience with a child can cause your puppy to be fearful or even aggressive towards children in later life. Remember, children are rarely able to read a dog’s body language, so when puppy’s saying “I’ve had enough now, leave me alone”, you’ll probably have to step in.

What medication and treatment do I need to start with?

You should register your puppy with us as soon as possible – in case of illness or injury, but also for preventative treatment that they will need. You should start a worming programme from 2 weeks old; the vaccination programme can start as early as 6 weeks old.

As a puppy, regular visits to the vets are needed to complete the vaccination programme. These routines are great as they help to teach your puppy to embrace the vets and not be frightened of the visits. These checkups allow us to monitor weight changes and ensure the growth and development is normal. You should ensure your puppy is microchipped and the microchip details are registered online.

Should I insure my puppy?

We strongly recommend insuring your puppy as soon as possible. After any condition is diagnosed, insurance becomes much harder and more expensive to purchase.

Should I spay/neuter my puppy?

If you do not intend to use your puppy for breeding, neutering is generally recommended. Spaying and neutering have many health benefits – preventing cancers, infections in the genital region and in some ways improve behaviour. In most cases, neutering should be performed at around 6 months old, or after the first season, although in giant breeds it may be wise to wait a little longer.

Any additional tips?

Getting into a routine is a great way to toilet train your puppy. A routine can help to control behaviour too. Feeding, exercising and sleeping at similar times are good for your pet’s health and should make your puppy easier to handle. Adding tooth brushing to the routine 3 times a week is a great addition to prevent disease and money saver in the long run!