Top tips to keep your new puppy safe, happy and healthy
Settling your new puppy into your home and your routine can be daunting for both of you. Like a new baby, your puppy will need a lot of attention, they may give you disturbed nights and will need toilet training.
A healthy puppy has a shiny coat and is well covered, not skinny. Check they look happy and healthy; that there is no discharge from their eyes or nose, no black wax in their ears and that they don’t have a cough. Their bottom should be clean.
If the puppy is a pedigree, research potential health problems and ask the breeders for proof that the parents have been tested and are not potential carriers.
Register with a vet and take your puppy for a check-up as soon as possible. If the vet spots any health problems, immediately contact the breeder or charity you got the puppy from.
Feeding your puppy
Puppies are able to leave their mothers from around eight weeks old. Have a discussion with the breeder or charity about what they are usually fed. Continue with the diet they are used to at first, and introduce any new food gradually. Always use food suitable for the puppy’s breed and size. Several small meals are better than fewer large ones. Always make sure fresh water is available. Never give dogs milk. Always follow the manufacturer’s instructions when feeding, and do not allow your puppy to become fat – obesity is a problem for dogs just as much as for humans.
Read our article on poisoning in dogs or download our free e-book – find out which human foods can be poisonous for dogs. Human chocolate can be particularly hazardous for dogs and dark chocolate is especially poisonous as it contains high levels of Theobromine.
The best place for your puppy’s bed is likely to be a draught-free corner of the kitchen. Kitchens are usually warm, with washable floors. Teach children to be sensitive to the puppy’s needs; never allow them to drag a tired puppy out of bed to play!
On the first few nights in your home, expect your puppy to whimper, but after the first few nights, the pup should soon start to settle in quite happily. Take your puppy out to the garden to go to the toilet and gently praise when it happens.
Start a Bathroom Routine
Create a designated area for bathroom activities. Every time your pup urinates, take her to that area. She will soon get the idea and will start going there herself.
Things to buy for your new puppy:
- Puppy food Water Bowl
- Collar and leash
- Cleaning agents
- Toilet rolls
- Grooming accessories
- Puppy chew toys
- Flea and tick repellents
- A crate, carton or basket for new pup
Puppy Safety and Legal Requirements
It is essential that your puppy has a collar and tag and is micro-chipped. Micro-chipping, collars and tags are a legal requirement for all dogs and puppies over eight weeks. Remember to regularly check the fit of their collar as puppies grow quickly and you don’t want the collar to become too tight!
You should take your new puppy to the vet as soon as possible, who will give a thorough check to see that all is in order. Your vet will make a vaccination schedule and give you some basic advice on parasite control, and how to check for signs of illness.
Learn to examine your dog from an early stage as when you know what is normal for your pet. This will make it much easier to quickly spot if something is wrong.
Puppy-proofing your Home
Take a look at your home from puppy level. At a puppy’s line of vision, you will be amazed at how much you can see that could be harmful to your new pup, like loose electrical wires, scattered objects and so on.
Puppies are sensitive to loud noises and sudden movements. Limit visits from children to just a few minutes for the first day or two and be sensitive to the needs of your puppy, ensure they are able to get away somewhere peaceful if they need to. An exercise pen can prove a great safe bolt hole for them to be near you, but remain safe.
Written by Emma Hammett from with valuable contributions from Cindy Grant, founder of NolongerWild.com a wonderful resource for all pet owners.