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Preparing for your Puppy

So you've decided your family needs a new member? You've done your research and chosen the best breed for your lifestyle and the due date is imminent. Shops are full of expensive toys, beds and every type of accessory you can imagine and when you search the internet for puppy tips there is soo much information. So, what do you really need and what should you be doing before pups arrival?


Here's our top five tips that will help you prepare .....


1. PUPPY PROOFING


No.1 - essential. Puppies have a tendency to explore everywhere and can fit into the smallest spaces and squeeze through the tightest gaps and they chew everything they find. Bit like babies feeling things through the senses in the mouth.

Make sure you block up any gaps under kitchen units or furniture. Naturally curious they’ll pick up anything they find and some house plants can be potentially dangerous, if you can, move plants to another area or pick up and put up high out of reach. Clear away any fallen leaves. Peace ivy, Asparagus fern, Corn plant, Cyclamen and Aloe Plant are just a few to mention. Further reading can be found on www.thekennelclub.org.uk


Take the opportunity to tidy up any hanging wires, you can buy cable tidies from most high street stores. Pick up any phone/laptop/tablet charges remote controls and anything important to you or expensive, leave them up high out of harms way.


Remove rugs - just until puppy is house trained and, if possible, purchase room dividers or puppy gates. You'll need to resrict puppies access to the whole house unless supervised. That way puppy stays safe and learns that freedom is to be earned. Consider looking at preloved websites and charity shops for second hand baby gates or baby pens.



Don't forget your outside space. Garden's need to be safe. Make sure perimeters are secure and consider repairing fences or using chicken wire to block any gaps that puppy might be able to squeeze through. Ponds will need to be secured, garden centres provide a variety of protective covers that still allow light through. If you use chemicals on your garden and plants including weed killers and pesticides, just as you would with household cleaners, put them up high or in a secure cupboard. As with indoor plants, several outdoor plants can be poisionous and these include Azalea, Daffodil bulbs, Fox Gloves, Hydrangea and Rhododenron. Further reading can be found at www.kennelclub.org.uk If your garden isn't secure make sure you toilet train your pup using a lead or long line. Puppies should never be left outside unsupervised for any length of time, they can become bored and start digging or nusiance barking.


2. HEALTH CARE


We recommend that you register your pup with your local vet as soon as possible. Shop

around lots of vets have special offers and discounts on puppy vaccines for the first 12 months. This doesn't mean that

you have to stay with that vet for the rest of your pups life - take advantage of offers. Your pet can be registered at any vet in your area. Prices for treatments can vary a lot.


So what vaccines does your pup need? Puppies usually have their first vaccine around 6/8 weeks and usually takes place with the breeder. In the UK this injection provides your pup with immunisation against :


Canine Parvovirus

Canine Distemper

Canine Parainfluenza Virus

Infectious Canine Hepatitus

Kennel Cough

Leptospirosis

Canine Coronavirus - new vaccine (not always offered - ask your vet)


The second set of vaccines takes place two weeks later when your pup is 10/12 weeks old. This is a booster to their first vaccine, you must wait a further 7 days before your pup is fully immunised and ready to socialise with other dogs. However, if Parvovirus is partiularly rife in your area you can opt to have a third vacine at 16 weeks. This will mean waiting till after this vaccine before taking them out into grassed areas. Speak with your vet to seek their advice. He/She will be well clued on what cases have been reported in your area and whether it is a necessary precaution.


3. Essential items to buy

Toys dont have to be expensive and some can be home-made. Charity shops are a good place to start - look for plush toys that have stitched eyes and remove any hard or chewable items. Baby safe teddies are a great place to start. Rag toys can be a great game for you and your puppy and asking the puppy to leave or drop is great way to enforce good behaviour. Shredded material plaited or twisted and tied is all your need.

Adult dogs chews can cause puppy teeth to fracture and cause problems with adult teeth growth, so when deciding what teething toys to buy select puppy specific toys.


Obviously puppy will need food and water bowls but you dont have to spend a fortune. Most of us have bowls and containers in the cupboard that would suit just fine until your puppy has fully grown.


Two items worth investing in is a good quality puppy collar and puppy lead. This will be something that you need to replace as your puppy grows and should be checked regularly to make sure there is no puppy teeth tears.


We recommend crate training. Most puppies like to have a quiet space to retreat to especially if you have a busy household. It can also be used to keep puppy safe when you are not around and teaches your pup to entertain himself, it also goes someway to prevent anxieties when apart from you. Cover the top and sides with an old blanket so it looks and feels like a den. Entice puppy in by placing some food inside. Start to build up the time. Each time your puppy falls asleep outside the crate, pick the puppy up and place him in the crate, you can keep the door open, build up the time he spends in there slowly and make it a pleasant place to be with pup safe toys and chews.


4. Be prepared


Having a puppy around is tiring and you need to constantly watch where and what the puppy is doing. If your not cuddling him, youll be playing, cleaning up accidents, taking out to toilet, feeding and cuddling some more. So think about stocking up your freezer and larder with time saving convenient meals. Think about making extra portions and freezing leftovers.


Stock up on kitchen towels and mild detergent. Puppy puddles will be frequent in those first few days. Even if your breeder has been super clever, a new environment and different route to the toilet can set your pup back when it comes to toileting.


And lastly,


5. Food


No need for expensive treats, use your pups food as rewards for good behaviour or distractions and take it from their daily allowance to prevent over feeding. Puppies are usually fed 4 hourly intervals until they are approximately 16 weeks old, this is reduced to two meals by 6 months. Do your research on which food to buy. Choose quality ingredients it doesnt have to mean expensive, read the content tables and shop around. Your breeder will have already weaned your puppy before he arrives, speak to them and ask what they feed your pup. Some breeders include small bags of their food to come home with the pup. We would recommend you continue with this until the puppy is settled. Pups tum will be a little upset at the change of environment and being away from his littermates so you dont want to make things worse by changing pups diet. If or when you do decide to change food it is to be done slowly over the course of a few days.


Next up......


our top five tips for puppies first day and night.......







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