Getting a puppy for Christmas is almost like a right of passage these days. Everyone wants to see their kids’ sleepy faces light up when they open up the moving box under the Christmas tree and find a wiggly, fluffy, adorable puppy with a bow around it’s neck inside. That’s every child’s dream come true! Unfortunately, many forget that this dream come true also comes with a LOT of responsibility and preparation! We are here to give you the basic run down on what you need to do to prepare for your little, furry Christmas miracle!
The first step in bringing home the perfect companion is finding the right breed of dog to fit with your family. You will want to choose a breed based on the activity level of your family, the amount of time you will be available for training and spending time with the puppy, the size of your home, and your yard. It is very important that everyone in your family is on board to help care and train your puppy, as it is a group effort. When choosing a breeder, always make sure you SEE the location where your puppy is being raised. We recommend visiting the breeder and doing a meet and greet with the litter of puppies before picking out a specific puppy. This gives you a better idea of the individual personalities of each puppy and will help you pick one that is right for you. If you have a breeder in mind, but are unsure if they are a good choice, feel free to call us or send us a link to their website for the breeder and one of our doctor’s would be happy to take a look.
Choosing a good food for your new puppy is key to setting them up for a long, happy and healthy life with you and your family. You will want to ask your breeder or rescue exactly what diet the puppy has been eating up until the day you pick it up. Most of them will send you home with a small bag of food, but if not, you will want to purchase a small bag of the same food puppy has been eating, and then gradually transition your puppy over to the diet of your choosing. We highly recommend that all puppies be on a PUPPY specific diet until 1 year of age. If you are getting a toy or large breed dog, they also make diets designed to fit their individual needs. Two of the brands we highly recommend for your new puppy are Science Diet or Royal Canin. You can purchase them at any Petsmart or Petco store.
Before your new baby comes home, you will want to make sure your house and yard are safe for puppy. Decide what areas of the house you DO want the puppy to have access to, and which areas you DON’T want him/her to have access to! Baby gates are great to keep your puppy contained in specific “puppy proofed” areas of the house while you are working on house training and crate training. In the areas where puppy will be able to go, you want to make sure all hazardous materials and things that might look like a chew toy are out of reach! Because we live in Charleston, one of the biggest environmental hazards we see for puppies are Sago Palm plants. They are fatally toxic for dogs and
curious puppies are usually the ones who end up eating them. If you have a Sago Palm in your yard, we HIGHLY recommend having it removed so your puppy is not at risk.
The most fun part of preparing for your new puppy’s arrival is picking out all the puppy STUFF necessary to care for them. Here are some of the most important items we recommend having BEFORE you pick your new pet:
- An appropriately sized crate
- Puppy food
- Leash & collar
- Identification tags
- Food & water bowls
- Chew toys!
- A bed
- Cleaning supplies ( accidents WILL happen) – we recommend Nature’s Miracle products
- Basic grooming supplies
- A baby gate ( if needed)
- Training sized treats
One of the first things you will want to do when you pick up your new puppy is get them in to see a veterinarian for their first puppy visit! Some breeders actually require that you have your puppy seen
within the first week or so in order to guarantee their health. The goal of this visit is to do a nose-to-tail exam and make sure your puppy is healthy and there are no abnormalities noted. Young dogs are highly susceptible to picking up parasites, so we will check a stool sample for intestinal parasites and give them a dewormer to make sure they are covered. The last thing we do during this exam is get your puppy up to date on any needed vaccines and set up their vaccine schedule (based on their age and what vaccines they’ve already been given). Your veterinarian can answer any questions you might have about your new baby, whether this is your very first pet or your 10th!
If you and your family are welcoming a new puppy this holiday season, give us a call to get set up for your first puppy visit! We’d be happy to answer and of your questions and get your pet set up for a long and happy life with you!
We can’t wait to meet all the new babies!
MERRY CHRISTMAS from PARK WEST VET!
“Bringing joy to families through healthy pets”
3400 Salterbeck Ct. Suite 104
Mount Pleasant, SC 29466