Welcoming your new puppy into your home is an exciting and rewarding commitment, but can be stressful and filled with questions. Whether you are experienced with dogs or a first-time dog owner, this packet will help inform you with current medical information and advice on raising your new friend. We are here to help you with any concerns that you have about your new family member and serve as your primary resource for any of your pet’s health needs. We look forward to being part of your pet’s circle of care in the coming years and will strive to ensure a happy and healthy future for your puppy!
First Day Jitters
Training and Socialization
What To Expect
Bringing your new puppy home is an exciting day, but it can be overwhelming if you are not prepared. The following are a few recommendations to make the transition easier for you and your pet.
Staying home with your puppy for the first few days will help them acclimate to you and their new environment. It’s a big transition for them and having you with them will help calm their fears and give them consistency.
It’s okay to keep them confined to a smaller area first. Let them explore their new home one area at a time. There’s a lot of new sights, smells, and situations, and it can become overwhelming.
Introduce them to other people and pets that will be in their life slowly. Keep interactions calm and positive. If there are small children in the home, allow them to hold the puppy on their lap instead of picking them up.
Set boundaries! Make sure you have rules in place from day one. Allowing a certain behavior one day, then changing your mind will only add to confusion and make enforcing a boundary harder later on. For example, if you allow your puppy to sleep on the bed the first night, make sure this is a behavior you are willing to allow permanently!
Decide where you want your puppy to go to the bathroom. This may be in a certain spot outdoors or on a puppy pad.
Your young pup is coming to you with an open mind. Using consistency, repetition, praise, patience and kindness will help him develop into a well-trained adult.
Until your puppy is fully vaccinated, it’s best to refrain from the dog park, introductions to other dogs outside the home, and boarding or grooming facilities.
Make sure to make an appointment with us right away! We will want to make sure your puppy is healthy and discuss with you how to keep them that way!
A Note On Puppy Bedtime
Bedtime for puppies can look a lot like bedtime for children. They can get the zoomies, not want to settle, and find ways to keep themselves awake. Playing consistently throughout the day can help them work out some of that excess energy and avoid the nighttime burst. Puppies should eliminate right before bedtime, but depending on your specific puppy, they may still need to be let out during the night for several months.
Make sure that trip is BORING, otherwise they will learn that all hours are playtime hours!
Crate training is also an excellent way to take care of two things at once: potty training and bedtime. Dogs are den animals, meaning they naturally do not want to eliminate into their ‘house’. Giving your dog a den to go to for bedtime and when you’re away is an excellent way to help them feel secure, place instinctual boundaries to promote positive behaviors, and reduce the risk of accidents.
A Note On Rescue Dogs
Bringing a new puppy into your home will take a lot of patience, but the same will go for a rescue dog. Don’t feel discouraged if it takes a while for your new, full-grown addition to catch on!
Focus on making them feel comfortable first! You may not always be aware of the life they had before, and even if it was a good one, it was different. They may hide, be fearful, or
test boundaries. This is normal and you should see improvement quickly.
A routine will help your dog, and yourself, integrate more smoothly. Unlike a puppy, an older dog will already have some kind of routine established in their mind. It may take a little bit, but be patient and you will see the results of your hard work.
Bonding with your new addition is essential, but can take time. Make sure to meet your new dog at their pace and not try to force a bond or affection from them. Your patience will be rewarded and completely worth it.
You will be making a number of trips to see us the first few months of your puppy’s life! Puppies receive many of their initial vaccinations in a series of boosters, so it’s important not to miss an appointment!
Rabies: This viral disease attacks the nervous system and is always fatal. The virus is secreted in saliva and is transmitted to any human or animal by a bite from an infected animal. Texas state law mandates that dogs and cats must be vaccinated against Rabies by four months of age and that the pet must be kept current on their Rabies vaccine throughout their lifetime.
DAPP (Distemper, Adenovirus/Hepatitis, Parainfluenza, Parvovirus): This combination protects against the most common and contagious viral diseases in dogs. Canine Distemper and Parvovirus are serious and often fatal diseases affecting multiple organ systems, usually requiring lengthy hospitalization with a guarded prognosis.
Vaccination against Adenovirus Type 2 virus protects against canine hepatitis which can affect liver and kidneys. Vaccination against Parainfluenza helps protect against one of the most common pathogens of tracheobronchitis.
Leptospirosis: This is a zoonotic disease, meaning humans can contract it as well. “Lepto” is mostly spread by wildlife (rats, mice, rabbits, skunks, etc.). Infection can cause severe life-threatening damage to the liver and kidneys, even with antibiotics and supportive care.
Bordetella: A commonly encountered bacterial pathogen that often leads to clinical signs of respiratory disease in dogs. This vaccine is often required by groomers, training facilities, and boarding facilities.
Fecal Testing: Why do run fecal tests on puppies? Puppies are regularly born with internal parasites inherited from their mothers while in utero, via milk, or through fecal ingestion. Some common parasites include Hookworms, Roundworms, Whipworms, Coccidia, and Giardia, and can cause diarrhea, vomiting, and lack of weight gain. These parasites can be diagnosed easily with a fecal test then the proper dewormer can be administered so your puppy can stay happy and healthy.
Heartworms: The name says it all. They are parasitic worms that live in and around your pet’s heart and should be prevented at all costs. Heartworms are prevalent throughout the United States and are spread by a single bite from an infected mosquito. These heartworms then grow and develop throughout the body until they reach areas in and around the heart where they breed and multiply. Treatment for this deadly disease is expensive and fraught with serious complications. Prevention is the best way to keep your pet healthy and heartworm free. One added benefit of using a heartworm preventative is that most also kill some common intestinal parasites like Roundworms and Hookworms.
Flea and Tick Preventatives: These pests are not only annoying, they can cause preventable medication conditions and, in the case of ticks, dangerous diseases such as Ehrlichiosis, Anaplasmosis, Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever and Lyme Disease.
Luckily there are a number of preventatives to keep your pet protected and fit your lifestyle.
Adult fleas are what you will commonly spend the most time on your pet, but hundreds of eggs, larvae and pupae can roll off your pet to contaminate carpet, furniture, and clothing, thus continuing the lifecycle for months on end. Ingestion of fleas can also lead to tapeworms, an intestinal parasite that grows in the GI tract.
Ticks are prevalent throughout the United States and carry numerous preventable diseases, several of which can affect you! Ticks can be as small as a pinhead and difficult to see under your pet’s fur. With the hot Texas weather and relatively mild winters, it is important to keep your pet on preventatives year-round! There are numerous options to keep them protected and fit your lifestyle. Please speak with us about any questions you may have about your different options.
Spaying and Neutering
An average of 1.5 million shelter animals are euthanized each year. Help keep animals out of shelters by spaying or neutering your pet. Even if this isn’t on the top of your list, there are numerous benefits to spaying (female) or neutering (male) your pet that you should take into consideration.
- Your pet may live longer and healthier. Spaying has been shown to prevent dangerous uterine infections like pyometra. It has also shown a massive reduction in the chance of developing breast cancer, and eliminates the chance of uterine Neutering has been shown to help prevent prostate problems and eliminates the risk of testicular cancer.
- While definitely not a cure-all, spaying and neutering has been shown to help with undesirable behaviors, including marking, dominance issues, and pets are less likely to wander or escape.
- It is vastly more cost effective than an unexpected litter of puppies to care
We generally recommend spaying or neutering your pet after six months of age, but please consult with the veterinarian with questions or concerns, and for specific recommendations for your pet.
Post-surgical care instructions will always include the following:
- Medication to help manage
- An e-collar will need to be worn around their neck to restrict access to the incision area.
- Activity will need to be limited (no running or jumping!) for approximately two weeks.
- Keep the incision area clean and dry – no baths or swimming!
A balanced, nutrient-rich diet is essential to your dog’s health and longevity, but dogs at different stages of life require different nutrition. Your puppy will need more food than your adult dog, and your senior dog may require food containing extra vitamins and minerals, such as glucosamine. It is important to feed your dog appropriately throughout their lifetime to maintain optimal health. You should never overfeed your puppy to accelerate growth! This will only lead to health problems later.
Your pet will require different basic nutrients to maintain their health:
- Water: Fresh, clean water should always be made available to your pet. Stagnant water, ponds, lakes, and river water may contain contagions and cause
- Proteins: Your pet will require the complete proteins found in Vegetables, grains, and soy contain incomplete proteins and are not adequate in nutrition alone.
- Fats: These are essential for energy, hormone production, and the absorption of
- Carbohydrates: Carbs are essential for energy, healthy digestion, and
- Vitamins: While vitamins are essential, it is surprisingly easy to overdose a dog on vitamins by giving them supplements. Do not give your dog vitamin supplements unless directed by the veterinarian.
- Minerals: Minerals will also come directly from your dog’s These help ensure strong bones, teeth, fluid maintenance, and a healthy metabolism
If you are still weaning your puppy: Puppies don’t need anything but their mother’s milk (or a specially-formulated milk replacement) for the first four weeks. After this time, a young puppy will need high-quality puppy food, generally containing 25-30% protein, which can be softened using warm water or a milk replacement.
If you are switching your puppy to a different type of food: Transitioning between foods can be simple, but must be done slowly. Transitioning using the 25/75, then 50/50, then 75/25 ratio between new and old formulas over a two week period will lessen the chance of GI upset, vomiting, or diarrhea for your dog.
A grain-free or raw diet is not recommended! The FDA has linked feeding a
grain-free diet with non-hereditary heart disease. Raw diets have not been proven safe or nutritionally sound.
Many people do not realize that, just like human babies, puppies also lose their baby teeth, called deciduous teeth. Below is a timeline so you know what to expect as your furry friend continues to grow.
Your puppy will teethe, just like a human baby, for a number of months. This process can be uncomfortable and chewing behaviors will facilitate teething as well as help their gums feel better. Some chewing behavior in adults is normal, but training at an early age is key to preventing destructive behavior. It is also a good idea to start getting your puppy used to having their mouth touched regularly to assist in examinations, teeth brushing, and mouth shyness later in life. If any deciduous teeth remain after six months of age, these may need to be surgically removed by the veterinarian. Typically this can be done at the same time as their spay or neuter.
Can you imagine what your dentist would say if you went one year without brushing your teeth? The sad statistic is that 8 out of 10 dogs have signs of dental disease by age three. Food and plaque stuck on your pup’s teeth will quickly lead to stinky breath and periodontal disease. While they are young is the best time to begin regularly brushing your dog’s teeth to help reduce the need for invasive medical treatment later. Special toothpaste and brushes can help you and your dog establish this helpful routine.
Pet insurance has exploded in popularity over the last decade with dozens of companies now available, including some employers offering pet insurance as an add-on to your own health insurance policy! Frankly, there is no right or wrong answer when it comes to pet insurance, it just boils down to what you would like covered and your budget. One thing is common no matter which company you choose: the earlier you enroll your pet, the more cost-effective it is. Pet insurance can be a literal lifesaver when it comes to caring for your pet. Unexpected incidents, injuries, or just routine care can all add up. Pet insurance can cover up to 100% of costs and give you the ability to say yes to giving your pet the best. Below are a few companies that we found offer a wide range of services and price points.
Pumpkin https://www.pumpkin.care/ 1-866-ARF-MEOW
Nationwide https://www.petinsurance.com/ 1-888-899-4874
ASPCA Pet Health https://www.aspcapetinsurance.com/ 1-888-716-1203
Trupanion https://trupanion.com/ 1-855-210-8749
A microchip is an easy, convenient, life-long means of making sure your best friend will always be able to make their way back home. The size of a grain of rice, this implant carries a chip that can be scanned at almost any veterinary center, humane society or shelter if your pet is ever lost or stolen. Once scanned, the identification number attached to the chip will be able to provide your contact information to get your pet safely home.
Puppy-proofing your house is essentially like child-proofing your house, and just like human children, if they can get into something, they will. You can never completely anticipate what a puppy will find entertaining to get into, but you can greatly reduce the possibility of harm by following some simple guidelines.
- Keep an eye on them! If you are going out or unable to monitor your puppy, it is a good idea to keep them in a penned area or crated. It is not recommended to lock them into a room as there are still numerous items at their disposal. Safety gates are also a useful tool to restrict access to staircases, unsafe areas, or to create a safe area for your puppy.
- Electrical cords, shoes, socks, undergarments, tissues, paper towels, diapers, feminine products, children’s toys, and household garbage should all be kept secure and out of reach.
- Toxic substances such as cleaning solutions, paint, gasoline, antifreeze, mouse/rat poison, pesticides, should all be secured and out of reach.
- Keep over-the-counter and prescription medications, vitamins, and supplements secure and out of reach.
- Numerous plants and foods can be toxic and cause serious injury or death if ingested. For a list by item, please see the following link for information. https://www.petpoisonhelpline.com/poisons/
If you suspect your pet may have ingested any detrimental foreign object or substance please call the Pet Poison Hotline and seek help at your closest veterinary center!
Training and Socialization
There are a plethora of different training methods, classes, and trainers out there. You are welcome to find any system that works well for you and your puppy. We will simply outline some of the basics that are essential to a good foundation to grow your puppy into a well-balanced dog.
It is never too early to start training! Many puppies are able to begin picking up basic commands and instructions from a very young age. Consistency and routine are keys to any successful training regimine.
It is important to have realistic expectations. Accidents will happen, your favorite pair of shoes may become chew toys if left out, midnight potty breaks might be part of your nighttime routine for a while. It’s all part of the process, but it will be worth it.
Physical and mental exercise is vital. A bored dog will always find something to amuse themselves, and you may not like what they choose! Different breeds of dog will require different amounts of physical and mental activity. Make sure you do your research before bringing your puppy home as your decision will be a daily commitment for the next 10-15 years.
Leash training is an absolute must, but can actually be overlooked as an assumed skill with your puppy. No matter their size, it is important that your pet learns how to properly walk on a lead, greet and pass other animals and people, remain safe through traffic, and to follow your lead, not you following theirs, while on the move.
Socialization should begin early, preferably as soon as your puppy has completed their puppy vaccinations, and should continue throughout their life. Just like people, different breeds and individuals are more prone to being extroverted social butterflies… and some not. While all dogs need socialization, some breeds are prone to needing extra emphasis on correct social behaviors and interactions. In any case, patience and consistency are key in promoting positive social behaviors.