Vet Advice – A Checklist for First Time Puppy Pawrents
By Dr Jarrett Brown BVSc (Hons), Veterinarian
Bringing home a new puppy is an exciting time for everyone involved, however it can be met with anxiety or fear of doing the wrong thing. This will be particularly true if you have never owned a dog before or haven’t done so since a child! Apart from the obvious food and water bowls, bed, toys, collar and leash, what else do you need to consider? Our vet expert, Dr Jarrett Brown, lists some of the key considerations for first time puppy 'pawrents'...
Breed due diligence
Researching breeds before settling on your new life companion is by far the most important aspect as a “match made in heaven” is crucial. Consider the AdvanceTM Breed Selector (https://www.advancepet.com.au/breed-selector/) to help you shortlist potential choices based on your family, lifestyle, home set up, time commitment and other preferences.
All puppies need to be microchipped by law before they are sold. Never purchase one that is not. Once you bring them home, you will need to update your own details on their microchip to assist in them being reunited if they go missing.
All puppies before they go home to you should have received their first C3 vaccination. It is typically given between 6-8 weeks of age and is extremely important as it provides initial protection to harmful and potentially fatal infectious diseases.
The last thing you want is for your new dog to have a worm burden. Ensure that intestinal worming has been given within the last two weeks before they are brought home.
The stress of travel and coming into a new home can affect a puppy’s appetite. Ask what they have been eating before you pick them up, so that you can keep their diet consistent for the first week or so. Remember, puppies have very unique dietary requirements, so a high-quality commercial puppy food is important. If you need to improve and change their diet, do so gradually (over 1-2 weeks). If you want to stray from commercial foods, you need to get advice from your vet or an animal nutritionist.
Puppy proof your house
Puppies are always eager to explore and “chew” their way through a new environment! Make sure all cables and cords are tucked away, food and anything harmful is sealed in containers and kept out of reach and rubbish bins are sturdy so they cannot be tipped over. In summary, store away anything you don’t want chewed! Ensure any stairs or large drops are also blocked off to prevent any falls.
Take some time to consider where you want your new companion to sleep and begin this routine right from day one. Remember, once your warm cosy bed is experienced, you may have a friend for life in the bedroom. Receiving a blanket or something containing a familiar scent from their previous life can assist in helping them settle at night. If your pup is to sleep separately, be prepared for some noisy, sleepless nights initially. But do not be deterred! Stay strong, and they will quickly learn the deal.
Health checks by a vet
Getting a health check with your local veterinarian within the first few days of ownership is recommended. It can allow for the early detection of any pre-existing health conditions and provide you with a chance to discuss all of the upcoming preventative health management of your pup, including vaccinations, parasite control, diet, dental care, desexing and socialisation.
The more prepared you are with the above considerations, the smoother the transition will be for both pawrents and fur-child!