If you’ve decided to adopt a puppy or are considering adopting, you’re in the right place. Welcoming a puppy into your life is exciting, but it’s also a big commitment.
We’re here to help make this transition as smooth as possible by giving you vet-recommended tools and tips for preparing to bring home a puppy.
It's a good idea to think about the commitment of adopting a dog, Dr. Aliya McCullough, Fetch by The Dodo’s on-staff veterinarian, says. Training, socializing and caring for puppies requires a lot of time, energy and attention, so it’s important to consider how your current lifestyle will accommodate a new pup.
Here are a couple of thought-starters to get you going:
Scheduling your first vet visit should be a top priority, Dr. McCullough says. Puppies need rabies and distemper vaccines, which are mandatory. Dogs are usually given distemper vaccines at 6 to 8 weeks and rabies vaccines when your pup is 12 weeks old.
Other vaccines depend on your pup’s lifestyle, like vaccines for Lyme disease, kennel cough, canine influenza or leptospirosis. Besides giving the necessary vaccines, a veterinarian can ensure your dog doesn’t have common health issues like foreign body ingestion, wounds, parvovirus or respiratory infections, skin mites, intestinal parasites, low blood sugar, hernias or hip dysplasia.
It’s good to prep your home before your pup arrives, so their first moments in their new environment are safe. Start by puppy-proofing your space, which includes the following steps:
Next, it’s time to shop! You can buy some accessories in advance to make sure you’re all set up for your pup’s first day at home. Dr. McCullough recommends adding the following items to your next shopping list:
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“Chew toys should have some give and flexibility like rubber toys, ropes and stuffed toys,” Dr. McCullough says. “Avoid nylon bones, antlers, hooves and anything else that is very hard as they can break your puppy and adult dog’s teeth.”
Pet insurance is a great option for so many reasons. It gives you the freedom to get your pet the best care possible, which sometimes includes expensive procedures and medications. It’s a good idea to sign dogs up for pet insurance as soon as possible to have their injuries and illnesses covered, Dr. McCullough explains.
It’s exciting to have a multi-pup household. Dr. McCullough has some tips to get your current dog all set for the arrival of their new sibling:
When you finally bring home your new pup, there are some ways you can make the transition smooth for all dogs involved. Dr. McCullough has a couple of tips to make it a great first introduction:
It’s essential to establish a routine on your puppy’s first day at home because it helps them know what to expect and will inevitably help with socializing and training, Dr. McCullough says. Their daily plan should include time for naps, play, feeding and training, she explains. Another key part of their routine is getting them to sleep in their crate from day one.
“It is ideal for puppies to sleep in a crate for naps and at night starting from the first night,” she explains. “This helps set a routine and establishes their crate as a calm and restful place.”
Your veterinarian can recommend the best food option for your new pup depending on their breed, size and health status. But, if your dog isn’t eating, you should take them to your veterinarian for a checkup and to work out a solution as puppies can quickly experience low blood sugar.
Cheers to the start of a new relationship with your puppy. We’d love to see how your journey unfolds together. Send us a DM or tag us on Instagram at @fetchbythedodo.
The Dig, Fetch by The Dodo’s expert-backed editorial, answers all of the questions you forget to ask your vet or are too embarrassed to ask at the dog park. We help make sure you and your best friend have more good days, but we’re there on bad days, too. Fetch provides the most comprehensive pet insurance and is the only provider recommended by the #1 animal brand in the world, The Dodo.
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