There’s no doubt a new puppy brings joy to millions of families each year. However, while bringing home a new dog is exciting, it can also be quite an adjustment period for both the puppy and his new owners.
According to veterinarian Dr. Brent Mayabb, manager of education and development at Royal Canin USA, pet parents can help ease the transition with some simple steps to ensure healthy growth and development for your new four-legged family member. Here are some tips to help make your puppy’s transition easier for both the pup and the family:
Get social. Socializing your new puppy early is important to him them learn proper behavior when meeting a new person or animal. Try to introduce your pup to 10 to 20 new people and pets (of varying ages and in different locations) during your first week together. This will help him acclimate to different sizes and temperaments of dogs and cats, as well as a variety of humans. If your puppy shows signs of aggression, take him out of the situation and try again with a smaller group or in a different setting.
Exercise before bedtime. As your puppy gets used to being away from his mother and pack, you may hear crying and whining at night. Try to be patient; this behavior is natural and shouldn’t last longer than a few weeks. Additionally, try keeping your puppy busy with quick training sessions or playing with toys during the early evening hours. A worn out puppy is a quiet puppy.
Pay attention to diet. Transitioning from nursing to dry food can be hard on a new puppy’s digestive system. Until now, food formulated for this particular stage in a dog’s life was not available at your local pet store. Royal Canin’s new birth and growth line of Starter products helps puppies transition from milk to solids more smoothly, while providing optimal nutrition for their specific needs. The new foods include nutrients that help provide energy for healthy growth and skeletal development, which is important in the early stages of puppy development.
Stick to a routine. Take your puppy out often, and again right before you put him in his pen or kennel before bed, and first thing in the morning. Some veterinarians estimate that for every month your puppy is in your home, that is one hour they can ‘hold it.’ Frequency in routine is very important for house training, and rewarding victories during training can be key.
Visit the vet. Your puppy’s first visit to the vet is very important. The vet will help in scheduling vaccinations and explain the significance of preventative care for fleas, ticks, heartworm and rabies, among other diseases. Proper nutrition is also a means to preventing illness, and the nutrients and antioxidants in the new Royal Canin Starter products can actually help improve a puppy’s immunity. Remember to bring a list of questions with you to the appointment, because from the beginning, your vet will be an important part of your pet’s health.