Behavior and Training, Puppy and Kitten Care, What to Expect With a New Puppy

What to Expect With a New Puppy: Puppy Toys, Crates and Lifestyle

There are lots of things to consider when preparing for a puppy. From how to use a puppy crate to finding a safe and fun toy for your new four-legged friend, 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 to 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, this is the first of several more manageable articles. This article will address questions about your new puppy’s lifestyle, activities, toys and crates.

Puppy Activities and Lifestyle

When bringing home a new puppy, it helps to know if you plan to have the puppy involved in any formal or informal activities such as hunting, showing, dog parks, doggie daycare, etc. Each of these unique lifestyles mandates differences in nutrition, vaccinations, parasite control, and training. Speak to your veterinary professionals starting at your first visit so they can help you tailor your pet’s care to these specific needs.

For dogs who will be hunting and competing in other dog events, they will need a puppy or performance dog food. Their growth and calorie needs will be different than the dogs who will be your sidekick under your workspace. For dogs who will have a more urban lifestyle, they will need fewer calories to remain fit.

Dogs who will be exposed to other dogs in competitions, daycare, and grooming will need to be vaccinated for the common respiratory diseases, Bordetella, parainfluenza, influenza and adenovirus. Dogs who will be in the field hunting or competing should have vaccinations against Lyme disease and leptospirosis as well as superior parasite control products.

How to Integrate a New Puppy Into Your Home

It’s important to integrate your puppy into your lifestyle. If the puppy will be around young children I recommend careful introductions. Let the children meet the puppy and the puppy meet the children through a gate or glass door. They can see and smell each other and begin their interactions safely. Over time, you can let them have direct interactions, once they are less excitable. The first interaction of a new puppy with a small child should not end in tears as the new puppy enthusiastically knocks your toddler to the ground. Safe introductions will make their relationship more fun.

If you have other dogs or cats, I recommend using the gate or glass door introduction like with small children, for the same reasons. If the new puppy startles the cat, the cat turns and lays her claws into your new puppy, neither will learn to be friends with the other.

If the puppy will be around older family members and friends I recommend quiet introductions. Too much oohing and awing can overwhelm a new puppy. Start with treats and toys and a calm demeanor.

How to Use a Puppy Crate

Allow your puppy to become accustomed to sleeping in her crate from the first night home. It may be hard to separate yourself from your puppy while you are wanting to bond with her, but it will be safer for her and your carpet if you start young. Feeding your puppy in her crate will help her be more comfortable there. Avoid letting small children play in your puppy’s crate. Your puppy needs to know that it is her safe place when she is overwhelmed by fast-moving, noisy, excited kids.

Be certain to use a crate appropriately. Have more than one crate if needed so your puppy can be in a quiet bedroom to sleep and in a less secluded place when appropriate. Avoid leaving very young puppies crated without potty breaks for more than four hours. Ask a neighbor or hire a dog walker to come in and give your puppy a bio-break while you are at work or school.

Best Puppy Toys

Puppies need to play, just like children do. If you provide appropriate chew toys to your puppy, your new shoes will be safer. Avoid allowing your puppy to chew on your personal belonging or your children’s toys.

What toys work best? Kongs and other hollow toys can be stuffed with delicious soft food treats such as peanut butter, cream cheese, spray cheese, and liver sausage, topped off by your puppy’s normal dry kibble dog food. Put the stuffed Kong into the crate and latch the door with the puppy on the outside while you are preparing the puppy to be crated. By doing this, your puppy will start to look forward to you leaving, instead of dreading that he will be alone. There are also puppy puzzles on the market. Another great tip is to use a metal muffin tin, lined with plain yogurt, then your puppy’s kibble popped into the freezer overnight. This is another way to keep your puppy busy during your online meeting, while you are helping your kids with their homework, or while you run errands.

Is It Okay to Take Puppies on Car Rides?

A puppy car ride can be fun for your puppy, but it’s important to also be safe. Just like a child, don’t let your puppy ride in the front seat to avoid the airbags. Pet seat belts harnesses…. Crates… And of course make sure your puppy has his ID collar and tags on, just in case he attempts to make a great escape when you reach your destination. In addition, if you’re a baker, making dog friendly ginger snaps can help if your puppy has some tummy troubles while riding in the car.

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.

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.

If you need help, call us at 800.786.4751.