Looking After Your New Puppy
Adding a new puppy to the family is a big and exciting step and it can be overwhelming teaching them where to wee and what not to chew. Being prepared will not only save your sanity but will keep your pet happy and healthy, so we've put together some useful information to get you started on the right track.
Microchipping & Registration
Microchipping your puppy is the most effective way to ensure that they can be easily re-united with you if they are lost. Microchipping involves a veterinarian or accredited veterinary nurse implanting a small microchip, about the size and shape of a grain of rice in the loose skin between the shoulder blades using a large needle.
Once implanted, the microchip will last for the lifetime of your dog and acts in a way similar to a barcode. If your puppy or dog is found and presented to a shelter, pound or veterinary clinic, staff can use a special scanner to read the microchip number, which will then allow them to locate your contact details in a database. This makes it essential to keep your pet's microchip details up to date if your contact details change.
Most local councils require pets to be microchipped as part of their registration, and in many states and territories microchipping is mandatory for dogs and cats. The laws and requirements for microchipping and registration can vary in different areas, so it is best to check your local council's website to get more information.
All puppies require a series of vaccinations to protect them from some serious and life threatening illnesses, including parvovirus and distemper. The first vaccination is usually given between 6 and 8 weeks of age and then depending on the type of vaccine used will need to be followed by one or two boosters, usually at about 12 and 16 weeks. Your puppy is not fully protected until they have finished the full course of their vaccinations, so it is important to ask the vet when it will be safe to take them out and about, particularly to high risk areas like dog parks, beaches and other public spaces.
Thousands of animals are surrendered to animal shelters every year as a result of unplanned, accidental breeding. Desexing your puppy before they reach sexual maturity will not only prevent unwanted breeding, but it also can have positive behavioural and health effects for both male and female dogs.
Female dogs who are desexed before their first or second heat cycle have a significantly reduced risk of developing mammary (breast) cancers, as well as other medical conditions like uterine infections and false pregnancy. Desexing male dogs can help to reduce undesirable behaviours such as roaming, aggression and territorial urine marking, it can also reduce the risk of prostate problems. To prevent unwanted breeding and maximise the benefits of desexing, most veterinarians recommend that the operation is performed by about 5 to 6 months of age at the latest.
Exercise, training and socialisation
Your dog's most impressionable age is when they are a puppy. Teaching them to respond to their name and simple obedience commands like sit, stay and come are important. Dogs are not aware of the dangers and we are their protectors for many situations. If your dog is about to run into oncoming traffic or if they have picked up the scent of another dog while off leash, these commands can save a lot of trouble.
When your pup is young, socialising them in a safe environment is important for their interactions with both people and other animals and can help to prevent problems like aggression and fear later in life. Most local vet clinics will run puppy school classes, which are the perfect place to start socialising your pup in a safe, controlled environment.
Exercise is an essential part of any dog's life. Granted for toy breeds like Chihuahuas it may just be running through the house but larger dogs will need daily exercise. Without this physical exertion, dogs can become destructive and depressed. Once your puppy is fully vaccinated it's time to get started with a regular exercise routine to keep his mind and body active and healthy.
While getting a new puppy is not without its trials, their love and companionship is well worth the time, money and half chewed sneakers.
Owner of a small Chihuahua army and lover of all things pets; when Jess isn't managing her pup Nacho's instagram you can find her writing about all the awesome new products on the Pet Circle website!
Suggested for you