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Congratulations on adopting your new puppy! Here are some tips from CAP to help you keep your puppy happy, healthy, and growing.  You will need supplies, like food, dishes, a collar and a leash.  Bringing a new pet into the home, particularly if you have other pets, requires a period of acclimitization.  Puppies are playful and may chew on or eat hazardous objects - make sure to puppy proof your home so your new friend stays safe.  Consider weather conditions before keeping your puppy outside - always give plenty of water and ensure shade when they are out of doors.  Just like other family members, your puppy will need yearly health checkups so a good veterinarian is a must.  To help your puppy fit in and flourish, teach him good manners and to eliminate when and where you want him to through training.  And last but not least, play with your puppy.  Puppies have a lot of energy and need the exercise - playing tug of war with a chew toy is a perrenial favorite.  Welcome to the community of canine friends!


Supplies

  • Food - only feed high quality 'puppy' food
  • Treats for training
  • Food dishes - always get separate water and food bowls which are Not attached to each other
  • Collar with license and ID tag
  • Leash
  • Flea comb and dog brush - dogs need to be groomed regularly
  • Carrier for small dogs
  • Training crate
  • Nail clippers - use caution when using nail clippers and never cut below the cuticle line in the nail
  • Dog toothbrush
  • Toys, toys and more toys, including safe chew toys
  • Dog bed or pallet
  • Doggie door if the dog will spend some time unsupervised in the yard
  • Get an 'easy to read' first aid, emergency book such as The First Aid Companion for Cats and Dogs or Pet First Aid

Feeding

Feed PUPPY food to dogs less than one year old....even if they look big, their bones are still growing and they need puppy food. LARGE Breed puppies who are less than one year old (who will grow to be 60 lbs. or more) should be fed LARGE breed puppy food, such as Hill's Large Breed Puppy food. For small breed puppies, there are also specialty puppy foods, such Hill's Small Bites. If you are unsure as to your puppy's estimated adult weight, ASK your vet to give an estimate.


Acclimatization

When you bring your new friend home . . . .Please remember that this is probably your puppy's first time away from the only home she has ever known. Give the puppy time and don't expect her to be best friends with you right away. Keep the puppy's introduction to other family members and pets as quiet and stress-free as possible and, most of all, allow her a day to become used to the new surroundings.

Use caution when introducing pets to each other. Some may eventually become friends and others will just co-exist. Before introducing your new puppy to pet(s) already in your home, play with the puppy or if the puppy is old enough, take for a walk to release energy. Then allow him to sniff where the other pet has been. Introduce slowly and keep other dogs on a leash. If introducing a puppy to a cat, do not allow the puppy to chase the cat and be careful the cat does not scratch the puppy.

It is IMPORTANT to give equal attention to your original pet. Do Not ignore him as this may cause resentment of the new pet, and most important is that the original pet too needs to feel loved, even more so because of the new addition to your family.

Be aware that the puppy might cry a lot the first couple of nights. Although he is completely weaned, he may miss being around other puppies or his mother, or just feels insecure and lonely. As soon as he makes friends with you and your other pet(s), this crying should stop. If the puppy does not stop crying, there could be another problem and you should consider consulting your vet.


Safety

Puppyproofing - before you let your puppy loose in your home or yard, check the following safety hazards.

  • Poisonous plants - our non-exhaustive list of poisonous plants for cats, amy of which also apply to dogs
  • Medicines - ibuprofin, in any dosage, is toxic to dogs
  • Electrical and phone cords left dangling
  • Keep toilet lids closed (puppies can drown or drink the water which contains chemicals and other toxins)
  • Make certain they cannot get in the fireplace.
  • Open stairways (kittens, puppies, cats and dogs are at great danger in home with a 'half wall' or even open rails on an upstairs room. They can easily fall through or jump over a half wall, pluging down to the floor below! Take precautions!)
  • Human food (especially chocolate) and accessible garbage (especially any kind of bones - bones can either splinter and perforate the stomach or intestines, or form an intestinal blockage)
  • Needles and/or thread; knitting and/or crocheting materials
  • Rubber bands (which can wrap around the intestines)
  • Plastic wrap or bags (the dog can eat, or strangle or suffocate on)
  • Styrofoam (especially packing "peanuts") which the puppy may eat
  • Cigarettes (puppies may eat)
  • Cellophane (turns glassy in the stomach and can cause internal lacerations)
  • Christmas tree needles, tinsel and decorations
  • Open refrigerators, dishwashers, microwaves, ovens, washers, dryers - always check for puppy before shutting or turning on any appliance!
  • Keep your workshop off-limits (puppies will jump at moving objects such as drills and power saws - may also swallow screws, nails, wire and other small parts)
  • Cleaning products and other chemicals
  • Fences that have loose posts or are easily escaped from
  • Compost or other waste material (may contain toxic molds)
  • Litter box (both litter and waste may be of interest to curious puppy)

Emergency Numbers: Keep the phone numbers of your vet, an emergency 'after hours' clinic, and local poison control center, posted by your phone. The number for the National Animal Poison Control Center is (888) 426-4435 - they may charge $65 for a consultation.

Outdoors: When allowing your puppy outside, make sure your yard is secure. Also, monitor weather conditions - extreme temperatures (heat or cold) are difficult for all pets but especially bad for puppies and older animals (see our article on heatstroke). Keep in mind that puppies are artful escape artists because of their size and can hurt themselves easily if left unsupervised outside. Leaving your new puppy outside all of the time by himself may also have an impact on your relationship with him or lead to behavioral problems. As the puppy gets older and you want to let him roam the yard for longer periods of time, consider purchasing a doggie door, to facilitate re-entry into the home if the dog tires of being outside or weather conditions change. Pet doors also allow a fire escape and can assist with housetraining. If you cannot install a pet door, read out article on winter / summer outdoor safety for dogs.

Health

Find a veterinarian immediately and establish a relationship. Waiting until you have a sick animal is not the time to find a vet you like and feel comfortable with. Make sure to ask the vet about who would you contact during the hours their clinic is not open. Some vets treat their own emergencies and other vets send you to an animal emergency clinic. Keep the phone numbers of your vet and an emergency 'after hours' clinic (you may want to drive by the emergency clinic so you know how to get there) readily available. Also, keep a vaccinations/worming schedule and all other health information in a place you can easily locate.

The AMVA recommends the following vaccinations for puppies:distemper, canine adenovirus-2 (for hepatitis and respiratory disease), and canine parvovirus-2. Other vaccines include leptospirosis, coronavirus, canine parainfluenza and Bordetella bronchiseptica (for kennel cough), and Borrelia burgdorferi (which causes Lyme Disease). Your dog's lifestyle and circumstances will play a large role in what vaccinations he needs - talk with your veterinarian about the best vaccination plan for your puppy. If you have adopted your puppy from CAP, the puppy's vaccinations will be up to date, he will be wormed, spayed/neutered, and checked for heartworms.

Fleas: Do not use flea collars, first because their effectiveness is questionable and second, because flea collars can cause skin sores on long-haired dogs due to the concentration of poison around the neck. Rather, a good rinse or monthly single dose of products such as Frontline or Advantage (available from your vet) is a better solution to the problem of fleas. Consult your vet for the best option. Flea products contain toxic substances and their use should be minimized to the extent possible.


Training

Sadly MANY people take dogs to shelters between these puppies are between the age of 6 months to 1 year. People think puppies are 'adorable' when they are small. Then when the dog is no longer a baby and the big puppy is too rowdy or going through their chewing stage, the adopter returns the dog to the shelter. Educate your puppy and avoid this scenario - you will determine whether your puppy becomes a well-behaved, well-tempered dog. Your role as educator begins the moment you bring your puppy home - houstraining, walking on a leash, "table manners,"and following simple commands are not genetically programmed skills.

Housetraining

Housetraining your puppy is a vital part of your puppy's education. Housetraining requires some patience, skill, and as always, love on your part. Given the right combination of these, your puppy should be making fewer puddles on your favorite oriental rug and more in the great outdoors. Remember that once trained, you are responsible for disposing of your puppy's waste while on a walk or in the park. For more information on housetraining, see the ASPCA guide.

Play

Puppies have a lot of energy and you should encourage them to release that energy constructively. Play time is also an excellent opportunity to train your puppy. You should not play 'rough' with puppies because they will continue to play rough when they become an adult. Supervise children playing with the puppy. Often, children will play rough with the puppy, thus teaching the puppy that aggression is an acceptable form of play.

Dogs generally need safe chew toys - do not give them household objects, like old shoes, because they teach the puppy that socks and shoes are chew toys and she will not be able to distinguish between non-chewable shoes and chewable ones. Also, these items may contain toxins that if ingested in high enough levels can harm the puppy.