Top 10 “must knows” for new puppy parents

by | Dog Care Pet Planning |

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Must know #1 – Obtain a crate & interactive toys

These websites are a great place to start for information on crate training and interactive toys:
Canadian Kennel Club –
American Kennel Club –

Must know #2 – Schedule your puppy’s 1st visit before pick up

Ask family, friends, your adoption organization or breeder for a veterinary recommendation. You can also find a list of veterinarians on the College of Veterinarians of Ontario website at

Must know #3 – Take digestive disorders seriously as they are common

The immunity gap – occurs at four to 12 weeks old when puppies begin losing immune protection from their mom and are not yet fully vaccinated. Caution must be exercised.

Infectious diseases and GI (digestive) immaturity – parasites such as giardia and coccidia along with viruses like parvo can be serious causes of diarrhea.

Make sure to check with your veterinary team about vaccines and deworming schedules.

Must know #4 – Exercise your puppy safely

It’s important to give new puppies lots of exercise on soft surfaces and rough terrain. Let them get their “puppy possessed” moments out.

Must know #5 – Provide excellent nutrition right from the start

Consult the World Small Animal Veterinary Association website when selecting pet foods.

Treats should never make up more than 10% of the total daily caloric intake.

Must know #6 – Use a gram scale to portion out food and monitor your puppy’s weight

Use a gram scale – in order to know exactly how many grams/ounces to feed a new puppy right from the start.

Body condition scoring (BCS) – New puppy owners can ask their vet to keep a close eye on their puppy’s BCS. This way they can monitor their puppy’s weight.

Must know #7 – Give serious thought to pet insurance

Let new puppy owners know about pet insurance websites as well as some of the costs associated with the first year of life.

Must know #8 – Discuss when to spay or neuter with your vet

We know there are many benefits to spaying or neutering (controlling pet overpopulation, reducing the risk of mammary cancer etc.)

Discuss this surgery with your vet as studies show the benefits associated with the timing of when to perform the procedure in your puppy.

Must know #9 – Continue to practice healthy socialization habits with your puppy

Make sure to provide mental and physical stimulation for your puppy.

Get your puppy used to being in their crate and on their own, soon after arrival home. A good rule of thumb is one hour for every month of age PLUS one, but be gradual about this by starting with five to 10-minute intervals.

Visit Free Happy Homes for behavior and socialization resources.

Must know #10 – Prepare for the unexpected

Know how to contact animal poison control services: or 1 (855) 764-7661 or 1 (888) 426-4435

Have a printed list and book-marked sites for essential veterinary care.

Never leave young children unattended with your puppy – no matter how well behaved they may be.

No table scraps please!