There are possible stresses involved for all puppies and dogs when they’re going to a new home. To be prepared is key. This is a very important time in your new puppy’s life and it is important to know how you can help make the transition as smooth as possible. The following information should help you get ready for the big day!!
Picking Up the Puppy
To prevent long-lasting negative associations with car rides, pet owners can follow some simple dog care information to make their new puppy as comfortable as possible. With a little preparation, the excursion will turn out to be a fun family memory.
When picking up the family’s new furry friend, plans should be made for one adult to drive and another to hold the puppy on her lap. Even though it’s not safe for dogs to travel outside a crate on a regular basis, an exception can be made for that first car ride home. To make the puppy feel secure, the pet owner can start out by holding him.
The one holding the puppy should speak soothingly. It’s important to remain calm and reassuring even if the puppy whimpers or cries. For the driver’s part, it’s helpful to leave music low or off and to keep the driving smooth.
Your puppy may get car sick on the way home. Watch for nose pointing toward the floor, wrinkled lips, and drooling. Heaving is usually not too far behind. Laying a towel below the puppy can make cleanup easier. Go easy on your turns and stops.
Supplies for the trip include:
- Bring three towels when you come to pick up your puppy. Keep one dampened in a plastic bag for any accidents during the car ride home.
- Plastic Bags (for clean-up just in case)
- Paper Towels
- Small Rawhide Chew Sticks (make good in-car projects)
On longer drives, you’ll want to allow your new puppy out to stretch their legs and to go potty every hour or so if they need too, but you need to also remember, most new puppies won’t be fully vaccinated so, it is imperative that you avoid places where dogs are walked such as rest stops, welcome centers or fast food restaurants.
If the puppy seems over stimulated or anxious on your passengers lap, they may need a potty break or they may just need a break in general. Bringing a small crate along may provide a comforting place for the puppy to be alone for a quiet nap. Face the crate forward so they can look out and in the direction you are moving to help avoid car sickness.
The puppy should be snuggled all the way home, offering reassurance all day and for the next few days. The air conditioner in the car should be kept as low as possible and windows should remain up. Try to let your puppy face the way the car is moving to help with possible car sickness.
Go straight home. Do not take the puppy to visit friends, relatives or neighbors en route. Do not allow visitors to visit the house for several days. Crate all other household pets, particularly adult dogs. The puppy will be going through a traumatic experience. It has never been away from its mother, litter-mates, their human family, or their house. Keep the confusion and distraction to a minimum. The first few days are crucial to a puppy’s emotional stability and can have a strong bearing on how it behaves in your family. I will also try to send you home with a piece of cloth with the mother’s scent still on it. This should help comfort the puppy in its new home.
Puppy-proof your entire home before you come to pick up your new puppy. I’ve written an entire post on puppy proofing that I recommend you read.. Puppy Proofing your home.
Bring one or two empty gallon jugs when you pick up the puppy. I will fill them with water from my home to which the puppy has grown accustomed. Put the water in the puppy’s dish upon arrival at your home. Immediately refill the water jug with water from your own tap. After several days of this the puppy will be entirely weaned onto your own local tap water. Do not assume that your tap water is the same. Puppy’s systems are very sensitive during stressful times.
Waiting At Home
Already you should have purchased the following items and set up the house to ensure that your puppy is well cared for right from the start:
- Leash and collar
- Food and water dishes
- Blanket and/or basket for sleeping
- Training crate or puppy pen
- Dog food
- Canned dog food (for those that refuse to eat)
- Several stuffed toys (semi-replacements for its lost littermates)
- Puppy gate (if it is desired to confine the puppy to certain areas)
- Newspapers (no colored print) or puppy pads (optional) See Paper training your puppy
Bring the puppy into the house and place it in a semi-darkened and quiet room. Stay with the puppy. One or two people is plenty. Try not to overwhelm her with a crowd. Allow the puppy to roam and explore its new surroundings. Show it its food and water dishes, allowing it to drink as much as it wants. Kids will want to play and lavish attention on the puppy but they should be discouraged from doing so during the first few initial hours. There will be plenty of days and years of that ahead. Explain to them the frightened state of the puppy and the need to maintain a quiet and peaceful environment at first. Continually reassure the puppy but do not “overdo it”. The puppy may or may not go to the bathroom soon after its arrival. Each puppy will be different but it is something to be aware of. A small radio or TV turned low will help the puppy feel comforted when it is left alone. If your puppy cries when left alone in their crate, do not respond to him unless it is an obvious emergency. Cries for attention should be ignored. It will only encourage him to cry when he wants attention and this is an awfully hard habit to break.
The puppy should be fed the same dog food she’s been eating at her breeders home for the first several weeks. Your puppy has been fed this since it first started eating solids and any change in diet can bring on severe cases of diarrhea. If, after two or three weeks, you wish to switch to another brand of puppy food, you can start mixing it in to her current food in ever-increasing proportions, until the the original food is eliminated. I, however, would recommend keeping the puppy on this brand until it is an adult.
Some people simply leave food out all day and allow them to eat as they wish, rather like a cat. Others prefer to feed at regimented times and remove the food after a sufficient time span. Whatever works best for you and your puppy is fine.
- Diarrhea – generally caused by environmental change (normally water or food supplies). Ensure that the puppy is on the “home” supply. High levels of stress also may induce an upset stomach. If it persists past two days, see your veterinarian immediately.
- Coughs – the puppy is susceptible to coughs because of changes in its environment. The changes cause stress which in turn, lowers your puppy’s resistance to colds.
- Worms – your puppy should have been wormed several times already by your breeder. If the mother was free from worms when she gave birth and was worm-free during the puppy’s entire first months. Your puppy should also be free from worms but repeat wormings are a must, in order to kill any remaining or newly introduced live worms. Remember, you cannot kill the eggs, only the hatched live worm. This is why you must continue the wormings. The puppy should be wormed at nine weeks and at twelve weeks. Thereafter, fecal exams to check for worm infestation should be done by your veterinarian at his/her recommended scheduling.
Do’s and Dont’s
- Do not expose your puppy to “outside” animals until its immunity is fully up and running (at about 16 weeks).
- Do not pick the puppy up by the scruff of the neck.
- Do not allow children to roughhouse or maul the puppy. You wouldn’t let the neighborhood kids do so with your ten-week old baby. Puppies aren’t any different. Playtime with the puppy should be monitored by an adult so they can guide the children on how to properly and safely play with their new puppy.
- Do not allow chase, mouthing or tug of war games.
- Do keep the puppy well confined or on a leash during the first several weeks at home.
- Do housebreak and train your dog with kindness
- Do give your puppy all the love and attention you can possibly spare. He is going to need it and will return it to you, with interest.