by Katherine Khoo March 03, 2023 7 min read

Bringing a new puppy home is an incredibly exciting time. Plenty of anticipation from families and friends, all waiting to welcome your new pup. While the humans may be bursting with excitement, your puppy may see things very differently. After all, he is on his own, away from his mom and siblings, in an environment that looks completely different to him – new sounds, new smells, new faces. It can be overwhelming and frightening to him. But with some care and planning, you can help your pup make an easy transition to his new family life.

Puppy Care Dos and Don’ts

Do: Take things slow on the first day

Every dog is different. Some will warm up to the new surroundings and people rather quickly while others may need more time to feel comfortable in a new environment. Allow your puppy to settle in gradually and in his own time. It is always a good idea to start by having him in one room and giving him the space and time to take in the new scents, sights, and sounds. As he familiarizes himself with the new environment and slowly gained confidence, gradually introduced him to the other rooms.

Don’t: Force your pup out of his carrier

On the first day, when you opened his carrier door, a timid pup may take a few minutes to come out of his cage. Do not pull or use force to get him out of the carrier. He’s probably feeling a little nervous and needs some time to take in his new surroundings. Give him the space and time, talk to him in a calm tone, and encourage him to come to you.  

Puppy Care Dos and Don’ts

Do: Minimise excitement on the first day

It is best to keep his homecoming low-key. Don’t invite friends over to meet him on his first day. Too much excitement can be stressful for a timid dog. It’s natural to want to shower the new dog with plenty of affection and cuddles but some timid dogs may find this overwhelming and scary. Keep introductions with family members first. Start by introducing him to his new family and do this one person at a time. Give the pup a chance to meet each of you quietly. Do supervise excited children and discourage them from picking up the puppy, especially if the pup is nervous and has his tail tucked between his rear legs. Once he is comfortable with his new family, you can then introduce him to your neighbours and friends.  

Don’t: Never force a puppy to interact

A well-socialized puppy creates a behaved, relaxed dog. They grow into confident dogs that can adapt to different social environments. As such, it is important to socialise your young pup but never force him to interact with another if he doesn’t want to. Always allow your puppy to leave when he needs to.

When it comes to interactions between young puppies and children, it is highly recommended to keep these play sessions supervised. Injuries can happen in a few moments and leave heartbreak and fear behind. Constant supervision, especially at the beginning of the child and dog’s relationship, is the best way to ensure safe play.  

Puppy Care Dos and Don’ts

Do: Make a veterinary appointment

Your pup should have his vet checkup within the next few days. This is also the time to speak to your vet about his vaccinations, routine physical exams, and overall wellness. Routine physical exams are important in ensuring your pup's long-term health and well-being. Taking your dog for an annual veterinary exam, even if they seem healthy, allows your vet to assess your pet's health and screen for any emerging conditions that are easier to treat when caught early.  

Don’t: Interact with dogs outside your home

If your puppy hasn’t gotten all his vaccination shots yet, he shouldn’t interact with strange dogs. It's best to wait 10 to 14 days after your puppy has received their final vaccinations before taking them on outdoor walks and exposing them to other dogs.  

Puppy Care Dos and Don’ts

Do: Puppy-proof your home and choose the right toys

Take steps to remove items that can be hazardous to your new pup. This should be done before bringing your pup home. Some potentially dangerous items - string, ribbon, rubber bands, children’s toys, pieces of jewelry, medicines, toxic plants, and anything else that could be ingested.

Puppies love to chew and it’s always a good idea to get some chew toys. This KONG Puppy Dog Toy is a must-have. It’s customised for a growing puppy’s teeth. The unique, all-natural rubber formula is gentle on the puppy’s teeth and gums. To keep things fresh and exciting for your pup, prepare different types of toys, from chew toys to snuggly plush toys.  

Don’t: Give your pup human toys

Unlike puppy toys, human toys aren't built to withstand a dog's powerful jaws. A dog can easily rip the seams and get to whatever is inside the toy, which can be hazardous to the dog. Ingested pieces of toys can cause intestinal blockage in dogs.  

Puppy Care Dos and Don’ts

Do: Start training early

Start training early with some basic commands like come, stay, and sit. Kennel training your puppy can be helpful too since you may need to take him to the vet for his shots. When it comes to potty training, accidents are part of the process. House training your puppy requires patience and consistency. To potty train your puppy, establish a routine. Puppies do best on a regular schedule. Plan his mealtimes, playtime, and potty time. Follow the schedule daily. Eventually, he will learn that there are times to eat, times to play, and times to do his business.

Do take note that puppies at 2 to 3 months old require frequent potty breaks. Typically, a puppy at that age can only control his bladder for two to three hours. Don't go longer than this between bathroom breaks or they’re likely to have an accident.

Be consistent in your training. When we fail to apply rules consistently it can confuse a puppy. For example, if you decide your puppy isn’t allowed on the sofa, apply this rule all the time. Ensure that the rest of the family follows the same training rules.  

Don’t: Neglect to start grooming early

Similarly, start having your pup groomed early – the sooner the better. Getting them used to baths, toothbrushing, and nail trims prevents unnecessary stress once they get older. Puppies don’t need professional grooming until they’re around 12-16 weeks old. However, you can start grooming your puppy at home right away. The earlier you start, the better behaved he’ll be later on.

Start by giving him regular baths with a gentle, tearless puppy shampoo like this Earthbath Puppy Dog Shampoo. Regularly brush his coat with a soft-bristled brush, and practice holding his paws. This is to help him be comfortable with your handling his paws and gradually, work in a simple nail trim.

Introduce him to toothbrushing. Start by rubbing your finger over your pup's teeth. Once your new puppy is comfortable with you rubbing his teeth, let him taste the pet toothpaste from your finger. When he has accepted the taste of pet toothpaste, apply a small amount to your finger and rub it over his teeth in a brushing motion. As he gets more comfortable with the pet toothpaste and the brushing motion, progress to using a proper puppy toothbrush.  

Puppy Care Dos and Don’ts

Do: Consult with your vet on how to feed your pup

Growing pups need special puppy food like this ORIJEN Puppy Dry Dog Food. Puppy food is formulated to meet the nutritional needs of a growing pup, which is different from an adult dog. Do not feed adult dog food to a growing puppy as it does not have the proper nutrients needed for a growing puppy.

Puppies will also need to be fed several small meals daily. Here’s a general guide, puppies under 12 weeks of age will need 4 feedings daily. Puppies between 3 to 6 months old will need 3 feedings daily. Any pup above 6 months of age can be fed twice daily.  

Don’t: Assume all premium puppy food are made with fresh ingredients

Do not judge a pet food by its label, marketing messages, or price. Not all premium dog foods are made with premium, fresh ingredients. Always check the ingredients. A general guide is that premium dog foods tend to use more fresh ingredients as opposed to “meals” (e.g., chicken meal, fish meal, meat meal). These “meals” are highly processed meat products made by rendering parts of animals that aren’t used for human consumption. They are relatively cheap protein sources.

Another tip is to look for added synthetic amino acids like DL-Methionine in the ingredients. Methionine can be found naturally in meat and fish. Typically, in a good puppy formula made with adequate meat or fish, no synthetic amino acid is added. However, for dog food that contains minimal amounts of meat proteins or relies heavily on processed “meals”, supplemental methionine may be needed to prevent deficiencies.  

Puppy Care Dos and Don’ts

Becoming a pet parent can be both exhilarating and nerve-racking. We hope these do’s and don’ts will help you prepare and start a long and happy relationship with your new puppy. Should you need help looking for puppy supplies, do check out our puppy collection and sign up for our Puppy and Senior Privilege for additional discounts on all puppy and senior items. Be consistent with your training, show your pup lots of love and affection and you should have a long and happy relationship with your new puppy.  









Katherine Khoo
Katherine is a Pet Nutrition Specialist and GDP’s Pet Wellness Advisor. She is committed to helping pet owners make informed dietary and lifestyle choices in nurturing healthy pets. Katherine is also a practicing Nutritional Therapist (human nutrition) and has been helping hundreds of clients to heal naturally with nutrients.

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