Planning on Bringing Home a Puppy for Christmas?

Read this first.

Preparing for your New Puppy

Dear Pet Lovers,

It's very exciting to get a new puppy, but if you don't properly prepare, it could be a nightmare.  You should read at least two books about raising a puppy. If you're getting a purebreed, a book about the breed is helpful, but also a book about what to do in preparation for your puppy, housebreaking, combatting unwanted puppy behavior and obedience.  There are also online sites and DVDs that can be helpful.

A crate is essential to get, as crate training is the best way to housebreak your puppy. You will also need to get a food/water dish, leash and collar.  Since your puppy will be teething, chew toys are also very important. There are several different types. I recommend rubber toys like a Kong, a rope toy, a non-filled stuffed animal (the stuffing is removed to avoid your puppy tearing it up and ingesting it), a protein chew such as a bully stick, and some sort of hard nylon bone, such as nylabones.

I do not recommend rawhide since it is difficult to digest. I also don't recommend pigs ears, as they often times cause vomiting or diarrhea. Keep in mind, any edible treat or chew toy can cause gastrointestinal side effects, so when introducing them to your puppy, do one at a time to be sure he/she tolerates it.  It is also important to get a good training treat.

Puppy proofing your house is essential to avoid mishaps and to make sure the puppy doesn't chew on dangerous items.  Similar to having a baby, hide away wires, strings and anything on the floor that you don't want chewed or ruined.  I highly recommend gating off a certain area of the house, usually a kitchen or bathroom where the crate will be kept, and the puppy can safely be out of the crate, but not have too much free run of the house. Again, this helps in housebreaking and avoiding accidental ingestion of things.

If you are planning on training your dog outside, you should clear an area for the puppy to eliminate.  Puppies will put anything and everything in their mouth, so clear the area of sticks, leaves, and things like acorns or berries. You should designate one place for the puppy to eliminate so it learns at a young age that this area is the "bathroom." In the beginning of housebreaking, and if you have a small dog that you plan on " wee wee pad" training, purchase some type of absorbent underpad/ wee wee pad. To avoid the puppy tearing it up, purchase what looks like a plastic frame to hold the pad in place.

I can't emphasize enough the importance of reading and gaining as much information as you can prior to getting your puppy. It will make your puppy experience much more pleasant and start you on your road to having a healthy, happy puppy.

Remember, love your pets as much as they love you.

Dr. Ali


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