Copyright 2006 Francesca Black
Before bringing your new puppy home, select a veterinarian and set up an appointment for your new puppy to have a checkup. Your puppy will need to have regular checkups, and immunizations to protect him from common canine infections, so it is important that you establish a relationship with a veterinarian early on.
A new puppy is akin to having a new toddler. The puppy, while only an baby, the puppy has the ability to be mobile and access everything that he or she really shouldn't. New puppy owners should not let their new puppy out of their sight for too long of a period of time.
Puppies love to chew. Electric wires can mean instant death to puppies. If you are not using an electrical appliance, unplug it or put it up out of puppies reach. Pet repellent such as Bitter Apple, can be used as deterrent to prevent puppies from chewing on cords or other items that attract their interest. Ideally puppy owners should furnish chew toys or a hard rubber balls for the puppy to play with. Puppies are teething and have the need to chew, so give them an alternative to your favorite shoe. Any chew toys that are provided should be made especially for dogs or puppies. What is safe for a small child may or may not be safe for a puppy and vice versa.
A few of your common household plants, shrubs and trees can be very toxic to puppies. Make sure you remove any poisonous plants or place them in an area where the puppy will be unable to access them. Garbage cans are another potential source of danger. Most puppies like to root through the contents of the trash. A trash can contain a number of puppy hazards. Make sure the lids on trash cans are secured and that the puppy does not have access to any garbage. Additionally puppies should be restrained from any areas in the yard that are used for composting. Decomposing produce while great for gardens can be very harmful to a puppy if ingested. Be sure that any compost areas are cordoned off and are inaccessible to roving puppies.
Keep toilet lids closed, or better yet, keep your bathroom door closed. Some puppies love to get a hold of toilet paper and either shred it or run down the hall with it. A fun game, but not that much fun when you are tasked with clean up.
Don't forget, many puppies are good climbers and can get to many things you wouldn't think about, like a kitchen table when a chair is pulled out.
A child proof medication bottle is not necessarily puppy proof, their sharp teeth can crack the plastic, so make sure you do not leave any bottles or pills where a puppy can get to them.
Some puppies are capable of opening cabinet doors, especially those that are ajar. If you keep bleach, detergent or poisons in low cabinets either move them, or use a childproof lock to secure the cabinet.
Check your yard, fence and gate and make sure that your puppy can not escape. Be on the look out for loose dirt around the fence that might be an indication your puppy is trying to dig his way out.
Watch new puppies closely for elimination signals. A leash is a handy tool to keep your puppy nearby when you are preoccupied. Your puppy should not be considered house trained until he/she has gone for at least 6-8 weeks without eliminating in the house. Remember, house training takes time. If you need to leave your puppy alone during the day or for any extended period you need to crate train your dog.
Paying close attention to your puppy will ensure that he or she grows up to be a happy well adjusted puppy.