|Bringing Your Puppy Home
Use the information in this section to prepare your home and family for life with your new puppy.
The Supplies You Need
Before you bring your puppy home, be sure you have the following supplies:
- Premium pet food to get your new puppy off to a good start.
- Stainless steel, non-tip food and water bowls.
- Identification tags with your puppy's name, your name, phone number and your veterinarian's name and phone number. A collar and a leather or nylon 6-foot leash that's 1/2 - 3/4 inches wide (consider using a "breakaway" collar with plastic clips that will unsnap in case your puppy gets hung up on something).
- A home and travel crate that's airline approved and will accommodate your puppy's adult size. This crate will serve as your puppy's new "den" at home, when traveling or riding to the veterinarian's office. His scent in the crate will provide comfort and a sense of security during these stressful times.
- Stain remover for accidental soilings.
- Brushes and combs suited to your puppy's coat; ask your veterinarian or breeder about an appropriate brush or comb for your dog.
- Dog shampoo, toothbrush and paste.
- High-quality, safe chew toys to ease teething.
- Flea, tick and parasite controls.
- Nail clippers.
- Use stainless steel, non-tip food bowls, which won't break or absorb odors.
- Toys with parts that squeak or whistle can be dangerous if swallowed.
- For a comfortable collar fit, allow for two-fingers of space between the collar and your dog's neck; consider using an an adjustable collar.
Making a Home Safe
To make your home safe for your new puppy, eliminate potential hazards around the house and pay attention to the following items:
- Keep breakable objects out of reach.
- Deny access to electrical cords by hiding or covering them; make outlets safe with plastic outlet plugs.
- Safely store household chemicals.
- Keep the following house and garden plants out of reach: poinsettias, azaleas, rhododendrons, dumb cane, Japanese yew, oleander and English ivy among others.
- In the garage, be sure engine lubricants and other poisonous chemicals (especially antifreeze) are safely stored.
- If you own a pool or hot tub, check the cover or the surrounding fence to be sure they're in good condition.
- If you provide your puppy with an outdoor kennel, place it in an area that provides sun and shelter in the pen; be sure the kennel is large enough to comfortably accommodate your puppy's adult size.
The First Days at Home
The ideal time to bring home a new puppy is when the house is quiet. Discourage friends from stopping by and don't allow overnight guests. First establish a daily routine and follow these steps:
Step 1: Before bringing him in the house, take him to the area in your yard that will serve as his "bathroom" and spend a few minutes there. If he goes, praise him. If not, proceed into the house but be sure to take him to this spot each time he needs to use the bathroom.
Step 2: Take him to the room that accommodates your crateóthis restricted area will serve as his new "den" for several days. Put bedding and chew toys in the crate, leave the door open and line the area outside of the crate with newspaper, in case of an accident. Let him investigate the crate and the room. If he chews or urinates on his bedding, permanently remove it from the crate.
Step 3: Observe and interact with your puppy while he's acclimating to his new den. This will help forge a sense of pack and establish you as the pack leader.
Special Puppy Concerns
Don't treat a puppy as young as 6 to 12-weeks old like an adult dog. Treat him the same way you would your own infant: with patience, constant supervision and a gentle touch. The way you interact with your puppy at this age is critical to his socialization. Use these tips:
- Don't bring home a puppy while you're on vacation so you can spend a lot of time with him. Instead, acclimate him to your normal, daily routine.
- Supervise your puppy at all times and interact with him regularly.
- Be alert for signs (sniffing and circling) that he has to go to the bathroom, then take him outside immediately.
- A young puppy has no bladder control and will need to urinate immediately after eating, drinking, sleeping or playing. At night, he will need to relieve himself at least every three hours.
- Don't punish an accident. Never push his nose in the waste or scold him. He won't understand, and may learn to go to the bathroom when you're out of sight.
- Praise your puppy every time he goes to the bathroom outside.
- Feed your puppy a formula designed for puppies. Like a baby, he needs nutritious, highly digestible food.
Meeting Resident Pets
Keep resident pets separated from your new puppy for a few days. After your new puppy is used to his new den area, put an expandable pet gate in the doorway or put your puppy in his crate. Give your resident pet access to the area. Let pets smell and touch each other through the crate or pet gate. Do this several times over the next few days. After that, give the resident pet access to the den area with your new puppy out of his crate. Supervise their meeting and go back to through-the-gate/crate meetings if trouble arises.
People Foods to Avoid Feeding Your Dog
Chocolate, macadamia nuts, avocadosÖthese foods may sound delicious to you, but are actually quite dangerous to our animal companions. Our ASPCA nutrition experts have come up with a list of top 10 people foods that you should not feed your pet. If ingestion of any of these items should occur, please note the amount ingested and contact your veterinarian or the ASPCA Animal Poison Control Center at (888) 426-4435 immediately.
1. Chocolate, Coffee, Caffeine
These products all contain substances called methylxanthines, which are found in cacao seeds, the fruit of the plant used to make coffee, and in the nuts of an extract used in some sodas. When ingested by pets, methylxanthines can cause vomiting and diarrhea, panting, excessive thirst and urination, hyperactivity, abnormal heart rhythm, tremors, seizures and even death. Note that darker chocolate is more dangerous than milk chocolate. White chocolate has the lowest level of methylxanthines, while baking chocolate contains the highest.
Alcoholic beverages and food products containing alcohol can cause vomiting, diarrhea, decreased coordination, central nervous system depression, difficulty breathing, tremors, abnormal blood acidity, coma and even death.
The leaves, fruit, seeds and bark of avocados contain Persin, which can cause vomiting and diarrhea in dogs. Birds and rodents are especially sensitive to avocado poisoning, and can develop congestion, difficulty breathing and fluid accumulation around the heart. Some ingestions may even be fatal.
4. Macadamia Nuts
Macadamia nuts are commonly used in many cookies and candies. However, they can cause problems for your canine companion. These nuts have caused weakness, depression, vomiting, tremors and hyperthermia in dogs. Signs usually appear within 12 hours of ingestion and last approximately 12 to 48 hours.
5. Grapes & Raisins
Although the toxic substance within grapes and raisins is unknown, these fruits can cause kidney failure. Signs may be more dramatic in pets who already have certain health problems.
6. Yeast Dough
Yeast dough can rise and cause gas to accumulate in your petís digestive system. This can be painful and can cause the stomach or intestines to rupture. Because the risk diminishes after the dough is cooked and the yeast has fully risen, pets can have small bits of bread as treats. However, these treats should not constitute more than 5 percent to 10 percent of your petís daily caloric intake.
7. Raw/Undercooked Meat, Eggs and Bones
Raw meat and raw eggs can contain bacteria such as Salmonella and E. coli that can be harmful to pets. In addition, raw eggs contain an enzyme called avidin that decreases the absorption of biotin (a B vitamin), which can lead to skin and coat problems. Feeding your pet raw bones may seem like a natural and healthy option that might occur if your pet lived in the wild. However, this can be very dangerous for a domestic pet, who might choke on bones, or sustain a grave injury should the bone splinter and become lodged in or puncture your petís digestive tract.
Xylitol is used as a sweetener in many products, including gum, candy, baked goods and toothpaste. It can cause insulin release in most species, which can lead to liver failure. The increase in insulin leads to hypoglycemia (lowered sugar levels). Initial signs of toxicosis include vomiting, lethargy and loss of coordination. Signs can progress to recumbence and seizures. Elevated liver enzymes and liver failure can be seen within a few days.
9. Onions, Garlic, Chives
These vegetables and herbs can cause gastrointestinal irritation and could lead to red blood cell damage. Although cats are more susceptible, dogs are also at risk if a large enough amount is consumed. Toxicity is normally diagnosed through history, clinical signs and microscopic confirmation of Heinz bodies. An occasional low dose, such as what might be found in pet foods or treats, likely will not cause a problem, but we recommend that you do NOT give your pets large quantities of these foods.
Because pets do not possess significant amounts of lactase (the enzyme that breaks down lactose in milk), milk and other milk-based products cause them diarrhea or other digestive upset.