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Top 5 Tips for New Puppy Care for Lakeland, FL Dog Owners

If you have recently brought a new puppy home or will be doing so soon, congratulations!

A new puppy is sure to be an exciting and lovable addition to your home. As adorable as new puppies are, most people know that they need a lot of care and attention. However, there are five main tips for new puppy care that will help prepare you and your home for the arrival of a new puppy.

new puppy care in Lakeland, FL

These tips will also help your puppy to feel comfortable, safe, and happy in your home.

1. Prepare Your Home

There are a lot of things about your home that might not be the best for a new puppy. Below, we’ll go over some key parts of preparing your home for your new puppy.

Puppy Proofing

To puppy-proof your home, consider which rooms in your home will be accessible to your puppy and which rooms will not. If you have a yard, include the yard in this process. Will the puppy have access to the entire yard or only an area of the yard? Where will the puppy be running, playing, walking, and doing its business? Once you know where your puppy will be spending time, both inside and outside, you can streamline your puppy-proofing measures.

First, remove any potential hazards in the spaces that your puppy will be able to access. Hazards are anything that could harm your puppy or anything that you don’t want your puppy to get into.

Electrical cords, plants, cleaners, chemicals, and trash bins are hazardous for puppies and need to be removed from your puppy’s accessible environment. Examine the indoor and outdoor spaces that your puppy will have access to and remove anything that could harm your inquisitive and energetic new puppy.

Then, consider what items are in the environment that your puppy may ruin. Puppies like to chew and are sure to have a few potty-related accidents in the first few days and weeks of coming home.

Because of this, you may want to keep your puppy off of carpeted areas, especially when unsupervised. Think of the furniture that your puppy will be around. Wooden furniture legs are likely to get chewed on, and blankets and pillows may also suffer some damage if your puppy likes to dig or shred.

Purchase and Set up Puppy Supplies

Prepare your home by purchasing and setting up puppy supplies before bringing your new puppy there. The most essential puppy supplies are the following: a food dish, a water dish, puppy food, a collar, a leash, a bed, puppy toys, and a crate or gates.

Decide where the food and water dish will be kept and place them. Purchase high-quality puppy food at least one day in advance of bringing your puppy home. Place your puppy’s bed or crate and situate any gates that you plan to use. Gates are extremely helpful in keeping your puppy out of certain areas of your home. Scatter puppy toys near the bed and in the rooms your puppy will live in.

Lastly, have the collar and leash on hand for when you go to pick up your puppy!

2. Start Training Your Puppy Right Away

Puppies start learning from the moment they are born, and training a new puppy is an essential step in caring for it. Dogs learn best from positive reinforcement, which means rewarding the dog for exhibiting good behavior. To effectively train your dog, conduct some research and consider reading a training book or two. This will teach you how to train your new puppy effectively and get the most out of your efforts.

Another option for training is to sign your puppy up for a training class. This is another way that you can learn how to be a good trainer since most training classes involve both the pet and the owner.

Training classes are extremely helpful, and they are generally worth the time and money. With effective training, you and your dog will benefit from a lifetime of good pet behavior.

3. Socialize Your Puppy ASAP

The goal of socializing your puppy is to teach them how to respond appropriately to new stimuli, and this should start as soon as you bring the puppy home. You can begin socializing your puppy by cautiously and continuously exposing your puppy to new things, experiences, animals, and people.

When exposing your puppy to new stimuli, do so carefully by observing how your puppy reacts. If your puppy gets too stressed out, fearful, or aggressive, it is time to take a break. Developmentally, a puppy needs to be socialized before 16 weeks of age. If this is not accomplished, your puppy will likely face lifelong challenges with anxiety and getting along with others.

Always supervise your puppy when it is interacting with a new animal or new people and reward good behavior with positive reinforcement. Be careful with food and treats, however. When multiple dogs are around, certain dogs can become aggressive when food is introduced.

4. Make Your First Appointment with Your Vet

Find a good veterinarian and schedule an initial appointment for your puppy. It is important to establish this relationship early to ensure that your puppy is getting the right medical care.

During the first several months of life, your puppy or kitten will need to see their veterinarian frequently for checkups, vaccinations, and adjustments to their health regimen.

They need plenty of care to build up their immune systems and give them the protection they need to avoid infection.

With routine pet wellness care and prescribed preventives, your pet will have a chance to live longer and offer more years of companionship.

At Lakeland Animal Clinic, we offer a range of pet wellness plan options that will help keep the costs low during your time as a pet owner. 

5. Adopt the Right Mindset as a New Dog Owner

Raising a new puppy does take work, but it is an important investment into the well-being of the dog and the well-being of you, the owner. By adopting the right mindset, you can prepare yourself to be the best pet owner and trainer you can be, which will pay off repeatedly over the lifetime of your dog. A well-behaved, fun-loving dog is the product of a good relationship with a patient, loving, and dedicated owner.

Expect to establish a routine that is tailored to meet the needs of your puppy. Plan on having some sleepless nights. Remember that your new puppy is a baby and will act like it. Prioritize training and socializing your puppy and know that your hard work will be worth it!

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Family is family, whether it has two legs or four. At Lakeland Animal Clinic, we've spent the last 40 years healing and caring for your pets. As a family-operated practice, we know that family is about more than simply being related. Animals give us the ability to develop strong bonds and feel great compassion for a fellow living creature.