New Puppy

Information for new puppy owners

New Puppy
Dr. Shannon Holland

By Dr. Shannon Holland

10 Mar 2022

Having a new puppy is a lot of fun but it can at times be overwhelming and exhausting. That’s okay. With a little persistence and hard work you can create a wonderful relationship with your pet for years to come.

Equipment Checklist

  • Collar: A smaller collar may be needed when you first bring your puppy home. Watch closely as they grow to make sure it is not too tight and to see when you need to buy a bigger collar.

  • Identification Tag: A metal tag with your pet’s name on it, your name and contact information is needed. This can be obtained from local pet stores or online sources such as etsy or amazon.

  • Leash: A 6 foot leash is ideal. Although sometimes you may find an additional longer leash will allow your pet more freedom in situations where being totally off leash is not feasible.

  • Food & Water Bowl: I recommend Stainless Steel as they provide the easiest cleaning.

  • Puppy appropriate treats for training: A simple and inexpensive solution is cut up pieces of hot dog. Or there are a number of treats to chose from at the store. Just make sure the size, calorie content and flavors are appropriate for your dog. Contact us if you need help determining what is and isn't appropriate.

  • Crate: A crate should be big enough for the puppy to stand up in, turn around comfortably, and lay down in. But it should not be so big that they can go to the bathroom in one end and go lay down in the other

  • Age and size appropriate chew toys: We do not recommend hooves, antlers or hard bones. These can easily break teeth.

  • Size and age appropriate food: Small breeds will need small kibble. Puppies that will likely be larger than 60lbs when they reach adulthood need a “Large Breed” puppy food that is formulated for their growth needs.

  • An enzymatic cleaner and other cleaning supplies for accidents: These will usually be labeled for removing pet odors and often times list odor fighting enzymes somewhere on the label. These are meant to eliminate the odors of waste, but should be used immediately after an accident to be most effective.

Your First Vet Visit

When we come to see your newest addition for the first time we will get a complete history and do a full physical examination. We will work with you on making the visit as fun as possible for your puppy to start building a relationship with them. Depending on your puppy’s medical history we will let you know what vaccines and tests are recommended.

Intestinal Parasites

All puppies should be tested for intestinal parasites with a stool sample that is sent to the lab. Common intestinal parasites include roundworms, hookworms, whipworms, giardia, coccidia and tapeworms. Roundworms and hookworms are often passed from mothers to puppies. Tapeworms come from ingestion of an infected flea. Whipworms, giardia and coccidia infections are typically from the environment. All of these parasites can go unnoticed for extended periods, where they cause no symptoms at all. However, leaving them untreated can cause a severe infestation which can cause significant illness, especially in young animals.

In addition to being bad for you puppy, roundworms, hookworms and giardia can be zoonotic, meaning that they can make the jump to infecting humans.

Deworming will be done at the initial visit and will be continued as deemed necessary based on the fecal results.


Heartworm and parasite prevention will be discussed at the visit. Heartworms are spread by mosquitoes that bite our pets. Even indoor pets can be affected by this disease. We will discuss what preventions are recommended based on your pets needs but we recommend all puppies be started on prevention starting at 8 weeks of age.

Heartworms Article

Spaying / Neutering

Spaying and neutering will be discussed at your first appointment. There is no one-size-fits-all answer for when to spay and neuter. There are several different factors to consider. They include mammary cancer, joint health, escaping behavior, uterine infections and more.


Vaccines and which vaccines to give depends on your puppy’s age and what vaccinations they have had previously. If you have any previous vaccination records please provide them to us so we can determine what is needed and when.

  • Rabies Vaccination: This is a vaccine that is required by state and local law. Rabies is a deadly virus that can be spread to people and animals through scratches and bites. The first rabies vaccine is recommended at 12-16 weeks of age and required by law to be given by 16 weeks of age. It is then given yearly or every 3 years depending on the vaccine type that is given and the local law in your city or county.

  • DAPP Vaccination: This vaccine is a combination of Distemper, Adenovirus Type 2, Parainfluenza and Parvo. This vaccination is recommended to be given starting at 6-8 weeks of age and given every 4 weeks until 16 weeks of age. This vaccine is boostered yearly or tri-yearly depending on your pet’s lifestyle and risk.

  • Bordetella Vaccination: This vaccine is for protection from, reduction of symptoms, and reduction of duration of illness caused by bordetella bronchiseptica, also known as kennel cough. This vaccination is given two times, 4 weeks apart in puppy hood. It is then boostered every 6 months or yearly depending on your pet’s lifestyle and risk.

  • Leptospirosis Vaccination: This vaccine is for protection from a bacterial disease called leptospirosis. This disease is spread by rodents and cattle in their urine. The disease can cause renal and liver failure. This vaccine is recommended for any pets that live near rodents and wildlife. This can often include suburban backyards as well. Also if you live or frequently visit creeks, lakes, ponds or areas with cattle. This vaccination requires two vaccinations, 2 to 4 weeks apart. It is then boostered yearly.

  • Canine Flu: This vaccine is not considered a core vaccine, and isn't routinely given. It can be recommended for pets that are at high risk and/or do a lot of traveling in a way that brings them into contact with a high number of other dogs. An example is a show dog that might regularly be around dozens of other pets from other states. If you feel your pet may need this vaccine, please let us know prior to your visit so we can make the proper arrangments.

  • Rattlesnake Vaccines: This vaccine is not considered a core vaccine, and is not routinely given. It can be recommended for pets that are at risk for coming in contact with any venomous snakes, such as when hunting. If you feel your pet may need this vaccine, please let us know prior to your visit so we can make the proper arrangments.


A microchip is like an identification tag for a pet that can’t be pulled off or lost. It will give your pet a unique ID number that can be read by Veterinarians and animal shelters. Your information will be paired with that unique ID so that you can be reached should your pet ever be lost or stolen.


It is never too early to start working on training and obedience. We recommend positive reinforcement training. This is where you give a positive experience (treats, toys or playing) directly in return for a desired behavior. In general you should ignore unwanted behaviors and avoid punishment.

In-person puppy classes are a great way to start learning how to train a dog. They are also great for socialization of your puppy.

It is important to remember that your puppy will grow. Any behavior that you would not want a full grown dog doing is a behavior that needs to be modified starting in puppyhood.


Housebreaking is one of the most important behaviors that you will work on with your puppy. It is important to know that it usually takes 2 months of very consistent training for a puppy to start to understand appropriate bathroom habits. Beyond that, it can take them from 6 months of age to a year of age to become completely reliable.

The best plan is using positive reinforcement. Maintain close and constant supervision when they are not confined to their appropriately sized crate or pen. This is a crate or pen that is large enough for them to stand up and turn around in but not so large that they can use the bathroom in one area and move to the other side.

When you take your puppy outside to go to the bathroom you should use a 6-10 foot leash and give them 5-10 minutes per visit. Even if they go to the bathroom quickly, it is recommended that you stay outside for at least 5 minutes because they will often go more than once. Anytime they eliminate where you want them to go, you should provide praise. This means a calm but praising tone and a desirable treat or reward.

If your puppy needs to go outside but is too distracted to go after 10 minutes, you should take them back inside and let them stay for 5-10 minutes in their pen or crate. After this you can repeat the process outside until they use the bathroom.

If your puppy has an accident and you did not see it happen, then you should clean it up with an enzymatic pet cleaner. You should not scold or punish your puppy for this. They do not make the connection to an accident that has already happened. If you are providing constant supervision for your puppy when they are outside of their pen or crate, these types of accidents should not happen frequently.

If your puppy starts to have an accident and you are witnessing it, you should make a loud, attention-getting noise. I recommend a loud clap or loud generic noise like a whistle or “Hey!”. Once you have their attention you should quickly put them outside to finish their elimination. Praise should be given if the elimination finishes in the appropriate place. They may not immediately finish their elimination when you take them outside due to the interruption, so be sure to give them the full 5-10 minute time as above.

It is also helpful to feed consistent meals at consistent times. This helps create a more reliable schedule of eliminations.

Remember: Housetraining is a habit that needs to be practiced.

Preventing Destructive Behavior

The first step in preventing destructive behaviors is mental and physical stimulation. This means that every day you need to set aside 3-5 times during the day to purposefully interact with your new puppy. Their need for stimulation will increase steadily until they are one to one-and-a-half years old, and then it tends to decrease and begin to level out. Options for physical stimulation includes running in the yard, running on a leash in a local park, fetch, swimming, retrieving, etc. Mental stimulation can be provided by learning obedience, new tricks or using foraging dog toys.

Puppies can be destructive if left unattended. That is why a crate is very important. If a puppy is able to be in the home unsupervised they are more likely to destroy something of value and/or hurt themselves by swallowing a foreign body, chewing on an electrical cord or eating something that is toxic. Keeping these things out of their reach, especially when they are young, is very important.

Toxic Substances

There are plenty of things that can be found around the house that are toxic to dogs. Most of them are toxic to humans as well, however there are a few common things that can be toxic to dogs, even in small amounts.

Here are some common toxic substances that I see a lot:

  • Grapes / Raisins
  • Chocolate
  • Onions
  • Garlic
  • Human Medications
  • Xylitol (often found in sugar free foods and some supplements)
  • Sago Palm
  • Antifreeze
  • Rat Poisons (especially check for forgotten poison in the garage/shed and behind the fridge & oven)
  • Gorilla Glue

If you feel like your pet injested something toxic, please contact one of the following: