So you’re going to be bringing home a new puppy. Puppies are a lot of responsibility, and there’s quite a bit to learn when it comes to adopting one for the first time.  But if you follow these 8 simple tips, you will be off to a great start in puppy parenting.

1)    Spay/Neuter.

Not everyone realizes how big of a deal spaying and neutering is.  If you’re not planning on breeding your dog, spaying/neutering will not only reduce the chances of unplanned reproduction, but will also reduce the chance of cancer of the reproductive organs.

2)    Purchase a collar and ID tags

These are important to own in the event that your puppy escapes, having a collar with an ID tag will increase the chances that your dog will make it home if he or she becomes lost.  You may even want to discuss micro chipping with your veterinarian or local shelter, which will further increase the chances that your dog will be found.

3)    Schedule a complete exam
Schedule a complete physical exam with your veterinarian.  There are several vaccinations puppies need until they’re 16 weeks of age.  The vet can also answer other questions you may have regarding your puppy’s health.

4)    Decide on the proper diet. 
Diets vary by size and breed when it comes to puppies.  There are a number of different foods you can provide your dog with but your veterinarian can help you chose which one is best for your pet.  The prevalence of obesity in dogs has increased in recent years so it is important for you to provide your puppy with a healthy, nutritious diet.

5)    Begin house-breaking early. 

This is often the most dreadful part of raising a puppy, but it has to be done!  Every puppy should be taken outside every two hours, up to six times a day and particularly after meals.  Keep an eye on him to prevent accidents.

6)    Don’t Forget to Train. 
Training is important for your dog’s behavior and socializing skills.  It’s important for them to learn that you are the boss.  You may want to join an obedience class in order to begin training your puppy.

7)    Puppy-proof your home. 
Go through your household and remove anything that could be harmful to your puppy, or at least confine the items.  This includes electrical cords, poisonous plants and toxins, etc. You will also want to provide your new puppy with toys and bones to chew on to prevent him from chewing on your possessions.

8)    Socialize your dog. 
The more people, animals and situations your puppy comes into contact with, the better behaved and more comfortable he will be in the future.  It’s best to start the socializing process early. 

These tips should get your started... and make sure you consider adopting a shelter dog, shelters have puppies too if that's the age you specifically want. Enjoy bringing home a new puppy!

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