Congratulations on the newest addition to your family! You’ve picked up your new best friend and came up with the perfect name so the question is: What’s next? 

First and foremost, you will need establish a veterinarian and set up an appointment as soon as possible. It is crucial for your new puppy to receive an immediate wellness check to ensure they are healthy and up-to-date on all their vaccines. Just like with a child, puppies need booster vaccines up to 6 months of age and then will need their yearly wellness visits and vaccinations.

Puppies have a tendency to chew on everything. Remember to put your shoes away, keep electrical cords hidden, and make sure you have appropriate sized chew toys and treats available at all times. A good treat to have on hand are frozen baby carrots, this will help soothe irritated gums while also supporting dental health. Puppies can not distinguish between old and new things, so don’t let them gravitate towards items such as old shoes because then you may lose a new pair of shoes you just brought home.

It typically takes four to six months for a puppy to be fully potty trained. To help with training, it is crucial to have your pet on a strict schedule. This will help make overall training easier for both you and your puppy. Giving your puppy a defined space, such as a crate, will help them understand to not go in their personal areas, which encourage them not to go to the bathroom in the house. Make sure the crate is large enough for the puppy to stand, turn around, and lie down in but not so big that they use a corner as a bathroom. Keep your puppy on a regular feeding schedule and take away the food in between meals. You should take your puppy outside first thing in the morning then once every 30 minutes to an hour after. It is also important to take your puppy outside to do his or her business after meals and right before bedtime. Take your puppy to the same area outside each time, switching up a spot will confuse the puppy on why it should be taken outside. Once your puppy goes to the bathroom outside, praise them and treat with a reward. Rewards are an important part in the training process, whether its to potty train or teach a new trick, it helps the puppy stay focused on achieving the task.

From six to 12 weeks of age, puppies need to be fed four times a day for five minutes each time. You don’t want to over feed your puppies so after five minutes, take the food away. Once your puppy is three to six months, you can start feeding three times a day. After six months of age, you can begin feeding your puppy twice daily with food measured out properly to their size. When your puppy reaches one year old and is considered an adult, gradually switch them from puppy food to adult food. Start by mixing a little bit of the adult food into their puppy food then slowly increase the amount of adult food until you no longer have puppy food left. Sudden changes in your puppies diet may cause stomach issues so keep an eye on your puppy and contact your veterinarian if you notice any sudden changes in their appetite or when they go to the bathroom.

When it comes to a new addition to the family patience is key so keep in mind that your puppy is still learning. Stay on top of which boosters and vaccinations that your puppy still needs, keep an eye on what they’re chewing on, and monitor their food intake. Mistakes happen, and that is okay! Puppies can be overwhelming in the beginning but with the right care, and a lot of love and patience, it’s all worth it in the end!