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6 Tips for First Time Puppy Owners

Happy National Puppy Day!

Let’s celebrate (sharp little) puppy teeth, cute puppy barks, the pitter patter of them following you everywhere, rolling around in the grass, and the endless naps they get to take!

So, you’ve decided to bring a puppy into your family. Consider visiting your local shelter or rescue to see if they have abandoned puppies who are looking for a loving home. Contrary to popular belief, shelters and rescues often have purebred puppies if that’s what you’re looking for. Keep in mind, however, that there’s something special about adopting a mixed breed puppy!

PC: @ace_of_spade_gal

More importantly, a first-time puppy owner needs to be fully aware about the costs and responsibility associated with adopting a puppy. Often, puppies are returned to shelters because the adopters are unaware of the extensive time investment required when bringing a puppy into their lives.

Whether you live alone, have a few roommates, or have a large family, rescuing a puppy is a wonderful decision and will bring happiness to your lives. Remember, you’re saving a life! To help you out, we’ve put together some helpful tips for those first few months with your new puppy:

1. Spay or neuter

Veterinarians recommend dog owners spay or neuter their pets if they do not plan on breeding them. Besides reducing the risk of more puppies on the streets, it can reduce the chances of cancer of the reproductive organs.

PC: @elperroray

2. Buy a collar with ID tags

You should also discuss microchipping with your veterinarian or shelter. A microchip and ID tags are sure to get your puppy back home to you if it gets lost. Plus, it will be a fun outing to go shopping for the perfect dog collar and puppy supplies!

3. Get a complete physical

Take your puppy to your veterinarian for a complete physical within a week of bringing them home. A new puppy will need vaccinations every 3-4 weeks until they’re 16 weeks old. Make sure you’re recording which vaccine your puppy is getting and when.

4. Discuss your puppy’s diet

According to some studies, as many as 25-40 percent of household pets are overweight. Your veterinarian can help guide you as to how much your dog should be eating and which dog food is best for the breed and size of your puppy.

PC: @banditojack

5. Crate training

Provide a space that is your puppy’s. Lay some soft blankets, toys, water, and maybe a stuffed animal for the puppy to snuggle while in the crate. This will be their safe and secure place when you are not around. Puppies 8-16 weeks old should not be kenneled for more than an hour, except for at night and six hours is the max for the first few weeks at home. Veterinarians recommend that puppies under six months should not be kenneled for longer than two to three hours during the day.

6. Housebreaking

Potty training can be time consuming, so be prepared with lots of patience, love, and treats. Take your puppy outside about every two hours and after meals to decrease the number of accidents indoors.

PC: @goldenpupcooper

Get ready!

Have plenty of toys to prevent your puppy from chewing on furniture or shoes. Any new pet will most likely need time to come out of their shell and become comfortable with your family, and it can take anywhere from two weeks to two months for the puppy and your family to adjust. Follow our tips to make the transition easier.