Always supervise young children and pets.
When you first bring your puppy home, it can be a big change – for you and for them. To make the experience better for everyone, it’s a good idea to make a few preparations before they arrive.
It is important that your puppy has an initial check-up, so select a veterinarian before you take them home. If you don’t already have a vet, friends or family members with pets can be excellent sources for a recommendation or you can visit the Royal Canin website to find a vet clinic in your area.
Once your puppy has arrived, it can be an exciting, yet stressful time. Your new puppy will have left the security of their mother and littermates, and will also be experiencing a multitude of new sights, sounds and smells. Here are a few tips to keep in mind.
When you introduce your puppy to children, other pets and family members, there are a few things to keep in mind:
Always supervise young children and pets.
First and foremost, teach children how to approach and stay safe around dogs.
Teach children to be gentle and careful with their new puppy.
Have children sit down and let the puppy come to them.
Introduce your puppy to older dogs and cats in a neutral area. Let them sniff and get used to each other. Never leave your puppy unsupervised with other pets.
Allow all pets in your home a territory of their own that other pets can’t access.
It’s a good idea to have a collection of the basics before your new puppy arrives. The right food is vital, but don’t forget somewhere to eat and drink, a place to sleep, and things to play with. .
Brush & Comb
Food & water bowl
The closeness we feel for our dogs sometimes leads us to think that what is good for us is good for them. But dogs have very specific nutritional needs that are quite different from ours. In fact, variety in a dog’s diet can often be more detrimental, and may lead to gastrointestinal upsets. The same food, served in the same dish, in the same place, at the same time, is comforting and satisfying for a dog.
Depending on their age, your puppy should be given up
to three meals a day at scheduled times. Always give
your puppy their food in the same bowl, placed in the
same place. This will teach your puppy good eating
Overweight puppies don’t grow well. Review the feeding guidelines recommended on the puppy food packaging and carefully measure these servings accordingly. Remember that the amounts stated on packaging are usually for an entire day, so you will need to split this into 2 - 3 smaller meals for your puppy.
With positive reinforcement being a large part of puppy training, you’re going to need some treats on hand while your puppy is developing and learning new skills. A treat should always complement your puppy’s diet, and only be given at the right time and for the right reason. It can be very easy to overfeed and compromise your puppy’s diet with extra rewards and treats. So you will need to keep a very close eye on how many treats they’re getting and how often they’re getting them. A treat that is suited for training that complements your puppy’s food is ROYAL CANIN® Educ. This treat is low in calories and has reinforced levels of vitamin E and C to support cellular function. If you use a treat like Educ, all you have to do is lower your puppy’s regular food a little to account for these extra calories.
Your puppy must always have access to a bowl of fresh, clean water, and preferably have several water bowls around your home. Change the water regularly, as puppies tend to play with it.
As your puppy reaches adulthood, their nutritional
requirements change. It is important to provide your
adult dog with a diet that will meet their nutritional
requirements and needs. When changing your dog’s
diet, make sure you gradually mix the food over a
seven day period, increasing the amount of the new
food added each day so that 100% of the new food will
be provided to your dog by day seven. This will help to
avoid any digestive stress and diarrhoea.
This food transitioning should be done with any and all
diet changes your dog goes through at any stage in
75% usual food +25% new food
50% usual food +50% new food
25% usual food +75% new food
+100% new food
A puppy’s diet not only has to supply them with energy,
but it also has to build and maintain the body’s cells. A
super premium diet is precisely formulated to support
your puppy’s digestion, joints and encourage vitality as
they mature. If your puppy is not fed a balanced growth
diet, they could suffer from major nutritional
deficiencies or excesses, resulting in developmental
issues and potentially even long-term damage to their
As your puppy moves into adulthood and beyond, it is important to understand the dietary needs of each life stage.
Most puppies will not be house trained when you bring them home, so it’s important to train them yourself.
Most “accidents” happen by allowing too much freedom too soon. Confine your puppy to one or two rooms in the house where the family spends the most time, so you can prevent accidents. Crate your puppy when you can’t supervise them. In the event of an “accident”, disinfect the spot using a non-ammonia based product followed by a pet odour neutraliser to remove the smell. Never use bleach based products, and to avoid stimulating their interest, don’t clean up their mess while they’re in the room with you.
Dogs are pack animals. From the very beginning, puppies need a single person who can be their teacher. Your training program should start as early as possible, while your puppy naturally has an excellent capacity for learning. Ensure everyone in your household has the same understanding when it comes training and obedience, and ensure they stick to it. Don’t shout when you call your puppy as they will be very sensitive to variations in your voice, and will understand different tones very well.
The best approach is to use a short and sharp tone for commands, and a happy/positive tone to reward them. Always use the same words for the same commands and get family members to use the same words. Start off with three short training sessions lasting just five minutes a day, and extend the sessions little by little as your puppy gets older. If you’d like to know more, we have some great training videos made with the trainers from Seeing Eye Dogs Australia.
Exercise should also be a part of your puppy’s daily routine to keep them in top physical condition. Consider your puppy’s age (young puppies get tired very quickly), stamina, and overall physical capabilities then choose an exercise routine accordingly. As an example, a walk around the block may meet one puppy’s exercise needs, but another dog may require more substantial activity than that.
Socialising your puppy with other dogs and people is
very important. It should be encouraged as early and
frequently as possible to prevent the development of a
range of behavioural issues. The key window for your
puppy to learn these social behaviours is between 8 and
16 weeks of age.
First and foremost, make sure that the dogs your puppy
is socialising with are fully vaccinated and healthy, as
puppies are more susceptible to a range of diseases
because of their immature immune systems.
When introducing your puppy to other dogs, make sure
you take it slowly. Where possible, ensure the other dog
and owner can clearly see you approaching in order to
avoid startling them. As you know, puppies are full of
energy, so ensure you keep an eye on them when
around new dogs.
Puppy school is a great way to introduce your puppy to new skills, as well as helping them meet other puppies. These events are generally held in small intimate groups. You will learn a variety of valuable tricks and obedience tips, as well as specific commands. Ask your vet clinic if they run a puppy school and get your puppy enrolled as close to 8 – 10 weeks of age as possible.
Your puppy’s first visit to the vet is not just a simple consultation, it is used for an in-depth examination. By the end, your vet will be able to confirm the health of your new family member and make sure there aren’t any issues you need to worry about. When you make the appointment, ask if there is anything you need to bring with you, especially paperwork. At the conclusion of the appointment, the vet will complete your puppy’s health record. They can also give you some useful advice about your puppy’s general health and breed-specific behaviours to watch out for.
Puppies usually begin a vaccination course at the age of six to eight weeks. Your vet will help you choose the vaccination course best suited to your puppy, depending on the risks they face from their lifestyle and your local environment. Vaccinations are used to help prevent contagious and sometimes fatal diseases, and are most effective when they are given at fixed dates with booster vaccinations.
It is important to weigh up the benefits of neutering
against the possibility of being able to breed from your
dog in the future. Neutering your dog not only helps
prevent unwanted litters of puppies, but there are also
numerous health and behavioural benefits. Remember
that neutering causes metabolic change that can lead
to weight gain. If your puppy does undergo the
procedure, monitor their weight to ensure they stay in
the healthy range.
Controlling parasites is an important part of puppy and dog preventative health care. This includes parasites that live on our pets such as fleas and ticks, and those that live in them such as intestinal worms and heartworm. The type of parasites that are most important will depend on your dog’s age, lifestyle and where you live. It’s important to recognise that even dogs that don’t visit the park regularly or interact with other dogs still need parasite prevention since there are multiple ways that parasites can enter your home. As puppies are more susceptible to parasites, they may have a specific parasite treatment regime. Your veterinarian will be able to recommend what parasite prevention approach will work best in your puppy now and in the future.