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How to Take Care of a Puppy: Tips for New Pet Parents

First off, congratulations on welcoming a new pet into your family! If you find you’re now stressing over how to take care of a puppy, don't panic! Bringing a new pet home can seem like a huge responsibility at first, but you'll quickly see how much love your puppy can give you in return for your time, affection, and effort.

Getting your home ready for your new pup requires careful consideration, and some things can get lost in the shuffle. So we put together this helpful new puppy checklist with some useful tips for surviving those first few weeks as a new puppy parent.

Purchase a Puppy Crate

A puppy needs a crate where they can rest, learn the house rules, and practice potty training (dogs don't like to soil their sleeping space). Your puppy should sleep in their crate at night and be placed there when you’re not at home or able to supervise them. However, that doesn’t mean they shouldn’t be allowed out for plenty of exercise. Your new puppy may take some time to adjust to sleeping in their new crate and cry out during the night, but don't let them out unless they need to relieve themselves.

Place a Toy in the Crate

Dog toys are a necessary part of any new puppy checklist. Many young pets like to sleep with a plush toy when they curl up in bed, because it reminds them of their littermates. Some pet parents choose to place a ticking clock near the crate because it sounds like a comforting heartbeat. Other types of dog toys, such as chew toys, squeaky toys or rope toys, can keep your puppy mentally stimulated, which will prevent boredom, whining, barking and digging.

Gate an Area in Your Home, and Hold Them on a Leash

Your puppy shouldn’t be kept in their crate all the time. A puppy needs to have space to play with you and with their toys. It’s best to gate an area where your teething puppy can't do any damage and be sure to have an array of teething toys available.

When taking your puppy out of their enclosed space, use a 6-foot leash to keep them close to you so you can keep an eye on them. Hold the leash at all times, rather than tying it to something and leaving the puppy alone, which can be dangerous. This tactic can be useful while both inside and outside, to ensure your puppy isn’t sneaking off and getting into something they are not supposed to.

Pick Up Your Puppy’s Food Bowl After Eating

It's best to keep the puppy's toys, water, and food in the gated area. Although the water bowl can stay on the floor, your puppy needs to learn to eat their meals and not nibble food all day so remove the food bowl after chow time.

Know that Accidents will Happen

Even though you are taking your puppy out on a leash throughout the day,, accidents will still happen. When your puppy has an accident, wipe it up and take the paper towel and your puppy outside. Let your puppy sniff the soiled towel but do not rub their nose in it.

Set an Appointment with the Veterinarian

New pet parents asking “when do puppies get shots” are advised to bring their pets to a veterinarian for a routine checkup as soon as they can. Your veterinarian can help you make sure your puppy receives the necessary vaccinations to remain healthy, and advise on key milestones like when you can start socializing your puppy or begin training classes. Don’t be afraid to ask them any and all questions you may have on how to take care of a puppy!