From puppy dental care and diet to microchips and puppy poop. There is a lot to know about raising a puppy. When you get a new puppy, one of the first things you should do is schedule a new puppy vet visit. At your first new puppy vet visit, your vet will most likely ask you many questions and you will likely have many questions. As Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services and as a practicing veterinarian, I’ve included my recommendations of dos and don’ts with a new puppy. Hopefully they will give you something to think about before your first vet visit, or after in cases where you weren’t able to discuss a certain topic with your vet.
Since there are lots of topics to cover with a new puppy, we’ve broken the information up into smaller, bite-sized articles. This particular article will address some of the common health questions people have when they get a new puppy. We will discuss diet, microchips, dental, ear and nail care, and answer the big question of how much your new puppy should poop.
What to Feed a New Puppy
When it comes to what to feed a new puppy, I do not encourage feeding raw meat diets or grain-free diets. When choosing a food, you need to look at what is important to you nutritionally. That’s why I recommend a new puppy diet of Royal Canin, Iams, Eukanuba, Purina, or Hills kibble. These brands have feeding trials and decades of research behind them.
It’s always important to look at how much and how often you are feeding the puppy. You may feed from a glass, ceramic or stainless steel bowl, muffin tin, slow feeder or large roasting pan. Be certain to wash the bowls frequently.
It’s not a good idea to offer your puppy “people” food from the table. Instead we recommend treats such as fresh fruits and vegetables, excluding grapes, raisins, corn, potatoes, and onions. When it comes to a puppy feeding schedule, I recommend three meals a day until age six months, then two meals a day for the rest of your puppy’s life. This puppy feeding schedule reduces the risk of bloat and makes housebreaking easier.
Should I Give My Puppy Any Supplements?
I recommend having a few preventive puppy health products on hand. While diarrhea is not normal, it is all too common in puppies when being introduced into a new home. Having Breeder’s Edge Puppy Lyte, a bit of veterinary Kaolin-Pectin, and some Doc Roy’s GI Synbiotics can help manage the inevitable puppy diarrhea more quickly, without an emergency veterinary visit, and with less damage to your carpet. Also, be certain the dewormers recommended by your puppy’s breeder or your veterinarian are administered according to the deworming schedule provided.
Puppy Drinking Water
Water does not need to be available at all times, but it should be available multiple times a day. Taking the water away in the evening can help the puppy sleep through the night without waking you up to go out. Water is the most important nutrient we provide our dogs. Be certain to use clean stainless steel or ceramic bowls, not plastic. Wash the bowls and change the water frequently.
How Much Should My Puppy Poop?
Up to four stools a day can be normal for a puppy. They should be firm enough to pick up. Check with your vet ahead of time to see if they want you to bring a stool sample to your first vet visit. If your puppy is having loose stools or you are struggling with housebreaking, speak to your veterinary professional for assistance. Probiotics such as Breeder’s Edge® Nurture Flora for puppies birth to three months of age or Doc Roy’s® GI Synbiotics, canned pumpkin and long-cooking rice added to the diet of older puppies can help manage loose stools while you are making arrangements for veterinary care.
Puppy Teeth, Nail and Ear Care
When it comes to dental care for a new puppy I recommend teaching him early how to have his teeth brushed. The use of safe dental chews and diets with dental care products included along with regular tooth brushing twice a week will help manage dental tartar. Nails should be trimmed weekly. This allows your puppy to learn when young to tolerate his dog nails being trimmed. It will keep his nails from becoming too long. And for keeping ears clean, handle your puppy’s ears when young. Avoid the use of solutions in your puppy’s ears unless you are directed to use these products by your veterinary professionals.
Should You Microchip a Puppy
Puppy microchips such as the BuddyID™ are a great way to help your puppy find his way home should he become lost. It is important to note though, that microchips for puppies aren’t like a GPS system. They don’t track your dog. Also, they only work if the microchip is registered in your name. Be certain to ask your veterinary professional to insert this chip at one of your first visits. These are quick and painless to insert. It is the only sure way to prove your puppy is your puppy!
For more tips on raising a puppy or if you have a specific question about your new puppies health or behavior, reach out to your veterinarian or call our Pet Care Pros at 800.786.4751.
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Written by: Marty Greer, DVM
Director of Veterinary Services
Marty Greer, Doctor of Veterinary Medicine, has 40+ years’ experience in veterinary medicine, with special interests in canine reproduction and pediatrics. She received her Doctor of Veterinary Medicine from Iowa State University in 1981. She’s served as Revival’s Director of Veterinary Services since 2019. In 2023, Dr. Greer was named the Westminster Kennel Club Veterinarian of the Year.