There is nothing quite like bringing your new puppy home for the first time. But before taking the big leap, take the time to make sure your household is ready. That means puppy proofing your home. You will need to purchase supplies ahead of time and read up on puppy behavior so you know what to expect. Furthermore, it is hugely important to prepare children for the new responsibilities that lie ahead and to teach them to handle your new puppy correctly. Here are a few tips to help integrate your new pet into the family:
The new puppy stories often become family lore! The stories are fun but only if the scenario has a happy ending. You can prevent injury even death by making sure your house is pet friendly. Literally get down on all fours and scoot around each room in your house to look for problems. This will give you a puppy’s point of view.
- Consolidate electrical cords then hide them in hard plastic cord keepers and cover outlets with plastic plugs.
- Move houseplants out of reach until your puppy can be trusted. Never give your puppy access to plants such as azaleas, rhododendrons, dumb can, Japanese yew, oleander and English ivy. These plants are just an example of the many plants that are TOXIC to pets!
- Put away breakable treasures and beloved toys.
- Place all household chemicals into cabinets and consider locking them with baby hinges. This is imperative with engine lubricants and antifreeze, which are especially interesting to puppies and deadly.
- If you have an outdoor dog run or kennel, check the path of the sun during different times of the day. If your puppy will receive full exposure, ensure there is shelter available for her to take refuge
The allure of the outside world is strong for pets. That’s why you will want to make sure your home has appropriate fencing to keep your pet safe. Note too, that you might need a fence within a fence to secure your pool or hot tub. Though canines are known for their ability to swim, some pets fall in but can’t navigate to steps or leap over tall walls to get to safety. Fencing choices include:
- Privacy fences. These tall barriers have no openings.
- Chain link. This material is very durable.
- Underground fencing. These wire systems are invisible to the eye because they’re buried underground and connected to transmitters which are linked to a special collar. This collar emits a small shock when the puppy nears the barrier.
- Dog runs. A covered concrete slab will protect your pup from adverse weather and ensure she doesn’t climb or jump out of the cage. This type of flooring keeps your pet from digging a hole underneath and escaping.
No matter how much thought you put into keeping your dog contained, there is always the chance that your pet might get lost. Therefore, you’ll want to make sure your pet is properly identified. Think about:
- Purchasing a breakaway collar that includes an inscription featuring her name, address and your permanent telephone number as well as the name and number of her veterinarian.
- Having a microchip surgically implanted with contact information.
What equipment do you really need? Put the items listed below on your “must” list!
- Specially formulated puppy food (Note: The basic needs of growing pups differ significantly from that of adult dogs)
- Stainless steel no-tip food and water bowls
- Puppy treats for use in training
- Identification tags, adjustable collar, 6-foot-long nylon leash between ½-3/4 inches wide with a breakaway feature (Tip: Make sure the collar is sized correctly. One way to measure is to make sure two of your fingers can slip between the collar and the puppy’s neck.)
- Home and travel crate large enough to accommodate your puppy when they are full grown
- Stain remover specially formulated for pet odors
- Brushes and combs to suit your pets coat
- Dog shampoo, toothbrush and paste
- High quality chew toys to ease teething (Note: It is important to make sure playthings will not break apart easily.)
- Parasite controls such as heartworm and flea medications
- Nail clippers
- Expandable baby gate to isolate puppy
The incorporation of your new pet into your family begins the minute you pick them up at the kennel or shelter and will continue for many months. During these days you will want to gently impart upon them that you’re the leader of his pack and that there are rules to be followed. If you establish good habits right off, you’re likely to save yourself grief later on. Veterinarians recommend the following strategies to help socialize your pet:
- Bring your new puppy home when the house is relatively quiet and “normal.” This means no spontaneous vacations or holidays where the pup will be left alone, and no late nights at the office. Instead acclimate your little one to the usual household routines.
- Before you even enter the actual house, take your new pet to the area in your garden or yard (or to the park) that will serve as his toilet. Allow him time to sniff and snort. If he goes potty, praise him! If there is no action, try again later.
- Introduce your pet to one room in the house at a time to avoid overwhelming them. Cordon off a small section of the house with a baby gate or door and keep him there to get used to things for a couple of days. If you aim to crate train your pet, place the kennel in this space. Leave comfy bedding in the room, but quickly remove it if it becomes soiled!
Children of all ages need to be taught how to handle your family’s animals in an appropriate manner. Consider these ideas:
- Before introducing puppies and children and lay ground rules with the kids provided they are old enough to understand them. Remind them to be gentle. Show them exactly what you mean by petting their forearms and heads as you would your pet’s. Ask them to practice by stroking you.
- Remind kids to use a gentle voice when addressing the puppy as though they are talking to a baby.
- Teach children to respect the animal’s space, especially at mealtimes, as even the best puppies might bite if they feel threatened.
- Instruct kids to allow the pup to come to them and to never chase the family pet.
- Limit puppy-child play sessions to between 15-30 minutes 2-3 times per day. Articulate that pets needs rest time just like the rest of us.
- Explain that teasing behaviors such as holding a ball just out of a puppy’s reach will only reinforce bad habits like jumping and barking.
- Always supervise interactions between youngsters and pets.
The addition of a new puppy can be tremendously exciting for your current pets. Special precautions should be taken to lay a foundation for friendships. Experts suggest:
- Separate your new puppy and the current pets for a few days by putting up a baby gate between two rooms. (Or, keep the new puppy contained in a kennel.)
- Allow the pets to sniff one another through the bars for several days.
- Finally, supervise “dates” between the two pets, resorting to separation if need be.
Whether your family is large or small, the addition of a puppy is always a happy time! Enjoy your new pet!
Please feel free to contact us here at Falls Road Veterinary Hospital with any questions or concerns. (301) 983-8400. http://www.fallsroadvet.com