New Puppy Checklist

puppy pic

Congratulations! You just got a puppy! Before bringing him home, you probably made sure to stop at the pet supply store to fill your cart with food, toys, beds and maybe even some clothes for your new furry friend. That’s all he’ll need, right?

Well, not quite…

Bringing a puppy (or any pet, for that matter) into your family is a huge commitment and one that should not be taken lightly. There are many aspects of pet ownership that new pet parents tend to overlook, but that are essential to ensure that your new pet remains happy, healthy and safe throughout his life.

If you’ve just welcomed a puppy into your family or are thinking about doing so in the near future, here’s a new puppy checklist with some important things you’ll need to consider:

Microchip and ID: Every pet owner’s nightmare is for their pet to go missing. But it happens every day. Dogs slip out an open door, jump the fence or dart out of your arms and before you know it, you’re hanging “Lost Dog” posters on every surface you can find. You can greatly increase your odds of a quick and successful reunion, should your pet ever go missing, by microchipping him and making sure he is always wearing an ID tag with your contact information.

Do you really need to do both?

Yes! And here’s why: A microchip is a permanent form of identification, and most animal shelters and veterinarians have scanners which can read the information attached to your pet’s microchip, but there are still some that don’t. Also, not every scanner can read every brand of microchip that is in use today. In a case such as that, an ID tag with your information could be your pet’s only ticket home. Also, microchips can sometimes move out of place in an animal’s body, so if they were to be scanned with a microchip scanner, it may not register if the chip has traveled out of place. On the other hand, if your pet was wearing ID when he went missing and somehow got out of his collar, a microchip could get him back to you. For both microchips and physical ID tags, be sure to keep your contact information accurate, making updates, as necessary, when your address, phone number or email address change.

 Health maintenance schedule: Your puppy should visit a veterinarian as soon as you can get him there. At this visit, the veterinarian will examine him and start him on his vaccination schedule. Vaccines are so, so important for our pets and can mean the difference between life and death for them. We recently read a story about a young dog in Texas who contracted rabies from a skunk in his backyard and then inadvertently exposed dozens of other dogs and humans to the deadly disease during a visit to a dog park. Had he been properly vaccinated, he may still be alive today.

As your pet grows, he will require yearly check-ups and re-vaccination, in some cases. Please, please, please don’t skip out on these appointments!

 Emergency plan: Now that you have another member of your family depending on you for their safety, you’ll have to make sure to include your pet in your family’s emergency plan. Emergencies or natural disasters can strike at any time and the time to prepare for them is now, rather than after they happen. Outline a plan which includes how your pet is to be cared for in the case of an emergency and make sure that all members of your family understand it completely.

 Training: Training your puppy is more than just teaching him how to do cute things like sit or give his paw. Proper training strengthens the relationship between you and your dog and helps to establish his place in the household. Training can also help to curb undesirable behaviors before they become more of a problem (i.e.: nipping, chewing, eliminating in the house, etc.).

 Socialization: Puppyhood is the critical point of your puppy’s life — what he learns during this phase determines the dog he will become — and socialization should be a big component of that time. Socialization not only exposes your puppy to other animals, but to other people, situations, objects and experiences to which he is not familiar. Taking the time to properly socialize your puppy now, will make for a more happy, adaptable and easier to manage dog down the road.

 Puppy-proofing: Puppies have a tendency to get into everything and anything! Many people liken having a puppy in the house to having a toddler in the house. The second you take your eye off of them, they’re into something! Take the time to puppy-proof your house. It’ll keep your puppy safe and will save your stuff (and your sanity!).

 Vacation care: Oh no! You’re going away next weekend and don’t have anyone to watch your puppy!

Don’t let that happen to you. When you can’t be there to care for your pet, providing him with the proper care is essential. There are many options out there and we at Philly Pet Care pride ourselves in providing the best pet care services in Philly! Contact us to set up a meet and greet so we can talk about your vacation needs.

› Insurance: There’s no way around it — pets are expensive. Between vaccines, regular vet visits, and unexpected injuries and illnesses (they do happen, unfortunately), keeping your puppy healthy can become quite pricey very quickly. Pet insurance can help you save money on your puppy’s healthcare needs and may be a good option for you and your pet. Head online to do some research on your own or talk to your veterinarian to see what they recommend.

Congratulations on your new addition! We wish you and your puppy many happy years together!