An Owner's Guide: Caring for a New Puppy
Congratulations on the adoption of your new furry friend!
We’re here to help you on your journey as a new pet parent--as your experts and friends when it comes to making important decisions surrounding your new puppy’s health and wellness.
Our online puppy packs are designed to provide you with valuable information about raising the healthiest, happiest puppy possible. Our puppy packs work best cohesively with in-house wellness visits to Bayside Animal Hospital and the help of our pet medical experts.
The stages of a dog’s life have different health requirements, especially for a puppy, whose health experiences will determine the quality of health for the rest of their years. Below you’ll find our optimized guides to each stage of your puppy’s life.
Please select the age of your puppy for the correct guide.
Congratulations! You’re a new puppy parent! Brand new puppies are bundles of joy to welcome into your home. They’re adorable, sweet, and playful–and require a lot of patience, love, and care. Puppies this young are learning about life and the world around them. While some training and socializing are suggested, being kind, patient, loving, and positive are most important during this stage, as your pet learns how to navigate daily life. Here are a few things your puppy will surely do as he or she develops and grows:
- Bite and chew things, including your hands and household items
- Try going potty in various places around the house
- Wine, yip, and bark as they explore the world around them and try to express their needs
We suggest having these new puppy items on-hand to help you kindly react and tidy up these puppy messes:
- Pee pads
- Pet potty cleaning spray
- Small trash bags, pet poo bags, or a stash of plastic bags
- Old rags or sponges and paper towels for cleaning up pet messes
- A variety of puppy toys for them to chew on and play with
Please take a look at our Puppy Checklist for a full list of suggested items for your new furry friend, as well as the rest of the resources provided in our puppy packs and our new puppy board on Pinterest.
Prepare for your puppy’s arrival ahead of time with items every puppy parent should have around the house. Please contact us if you have any questions when preparing for your new furry friend.
Bayside educational resources about your new puppy:
- The Absolute Best Pet Care When Bringing a New Pet Home Blog
- 6 Tips for Bringing a New Pet Home Blog
- New Puppy & Kitten Tips - YouTube video
- Welcoming New Pets Into Your Home - YouTube video
New puppies can learn to use their crate as a safe and comfortable space when they’re introduced to it in a positive way. Avoid only using the crate when you leave the house, and also use it as a cozy place for them to rest.
Check out our blog - Crate Training Your New Pet and Getting Them Into a Routine.
Leaving your puppy home alone all day can be a struggle for your new little one. Consider using local puppy daycare, such as our next-door neighbors at Bayside Bed & Biscuit. They offer daycare for your dogs, as well as training classes and pet boarding for when you’re away. Otherwise, creating a regular routine with your puppy with regular mealtimes and potty breaks is of the utmost importance.
One way new puppies explore the world around them is by biting. Make sure to have plenty of toys around for your new puppy to chew on and play with. Provide these as a replacement when they’re nibbling on items they shouldn’t be.
Use positive praise when they bite and chew their toys, and avoid giving them attention or reacting when they bite or nip at your ankles. It’s important to use lots of positive attention and cuddles as a reward for good behavior, which will teach your new furry friend what’s considered an acceptable behavior.
It’s important to start socializing your puppy when they’re young, so they’re accustomed to people, places, and things that you’d like them to be comfortable with. Slowly and kindly expose your new puppy to new things and they’ll learn to love outings and pet parent-approved visitors. This is essential in preventing pets from being scared by loud noises, common occurrences, and household items.
Keep kids safe around pets by teaching them how to interact with new pets. Always supervise their interactions when your pet is new. While puppies are generally kind and sweet, it only takes a few moments alone for a pet to react to something that scares or hurts them.
Our blog - Socializing Your Pet: The Basics for Puppies and Kittens - has a lot of useful information just for you.
When it comes to potty training, puppies aren’t old enough to control their bladders when they’re small and still developing. It’s important to work with patiently with them–by showing them where to go potty in a positive, loving, and understanding manner. Pee pads can be useful when training, so your puppy does have somewhere to go if it’s an emergency and you’re not home to take them outside. Otherwise, work on training them to go potty outside.
Puppy Health Plan
We begin planning the health and wellness care routine for your pet from their very first visit to see us. Our goal is to help you plan a long and healthy life for your pet with the best that veterinary care has to offer. That includes vaccinations, annual wellness visits, diet planning, and much more–right by your side.
Please see a sample of our puppy health plans & recommendations HERE and take a look at our YouTube videos “Routine Puppy Care and “Your New Pet’s First Vet Visit.”
We can’t wait to meet your new furry friend and help you create a wonderful life together
Welcome to our Puppy Pack for puppies from 9-11 weeks of age! We know your relationship with your new puppy is worth all the hard work. During this stage in your puppy’s life, taking the time to build a trusting relationship with your new pet is of the utmost importance. Health and wellness care plans should also be established with our veterinary staff by your side.
Here are a few things your puppy will surely do during this stage, as he or she grows a few weeks older:
- Bite and chew things, including your hands and household items.
- Start to respond to words and commands, including their name.
- Try going potty in various places around the house, until he or she develops control of their bladder.
- Wine, yip, and bark as they explore the world around them and try to express their needs.
- Continue to sleep a lot, up to 20 hours a day.
Creating a bond with your pet includes building trust that will last a lifetime. This is why we always suggest using positive reinforcement methods when training your new puppy. This includes lots of petting, cuddles, and small treats. Training your pet a specific trick may be more easily learned when using a clicker and treats. Learn more in our blog on clicker training.
Here are a few other tips for building trust with your pet:
- Continue puppy socialization to help them learn about the world around them.
- Continue patient potty training.
- Use their name often, as they begin to recognize words & commands.
- Redirect & ignore negative behaviors.
- Reward correct behaviors with lots of cuddles and occasional treats.
Understanding Your Puppy & Positive Reinforcement
Using positive reinforcement and reactions with your pets is at the top of our list. While in the past you may have tried using the word “No,” making loud noises, or shouting at your pet, these reactions to pet behaviors can have an adverse effect on pets. They may cause your new furry friend to be scared, afraid, and fearful. We highly recommend using positive reinforcement to teach your new puppy what you DO want them to do, instead of what you don’t. Dogs are people pleasers–it’s important to reinforce and repeat the wanted action–with patience, kindness, and lots of cuddles.
Positive reinforcement is explained more thoroughly in our blog - 5 Positive Reinforcement Pet Training Tips.
Your puppy has feelings just like you and me. It can be difficult to determine what they’re feeling since they can’t talk to you directly, but there are plenty of ways to try and determine what’s going on. Body language and actions are huge keys to deciphering what’s going on with your new puppy. If your pet shows any signs of being fearful or afraid, make sure to respectfully give them the space they need until they’re ready to interact–which means they feel safe.
Puppy Leash Time
As your new puppy begins to be more social and explore the world, it’s important to take them outside for leash time together. This will help reinforce the bond between you, as you help guide them through the outside world. You’ll help show them how to go for walks–including where to walk, how to enjoy the time outside, and what things to avoid.
Our blog Adventures With Your Pet - 5 Tips for Walking Your Pet contains helpful tips for planning regular walks together with your new puppy.
Puppies chew everything. That’s just what they do. As puppy babies, smelling and tasting the world around them is part of the development process. As you’re bonding and becoming best friends with your new puppy, they’ll also be more attracted to items that have your smell on them. This can include all kinds of items, such as:
- Other clothing–even after washing
- Remote controls for the TV, game systems, and electronics
- Important papers such as bills and mail
- And more!
We suggest keeping all of these items up and away from your new puppy, so they don’t get chewed to bits. It’s very easy for your new furry friend to get a hold of your stuff and chew it up before you even notice–especially if it has your scent on it.
Puppy chewing is frustrating and annoying, to say the least, but it’s best to keep your cool and redirect their attention to something else. Reprimand your pet to let them know you’re disappointed, but keep that to a minimum. Give your pet a chew toy instead if you catch them in the act. This will turn a negative action into a teachable moment.
Check out our YouTube video - Chew Toy Tips
It’s also important to keep toxic items away from your pet. These items should also be stored up, away, and behind closed doors. Surprisingly, many human foods can be toxic for pets–so it’s important to know which foods are safe to share for your new furry friend, and which could harm him.
Refer to our blogs for more information:
- Keeping Pets Safe During Pet Poison Prevention Month and All Year Long
- Toxic Foods for Pets: What to Watch for This Holiday Season
- Sago Palm Trees and Pets: The Toxic Plant to Look Out For
Socialization & Desensitizing
Promote socializing with your puppy as he or she gets older. Continue to expose them to safe people, places, and things under your careful watch. This will reduce their fear of unknown objects as they explore, and provide them with a sense of security and safety in the world that will continue into the future.
During this stage, your puppy will really start to memorize and respond to its name, as well as other commands. Use these often to help teach them proper behavior in public–even as they make plenty of mistakes. Teach them what you want them to know, with kindness.
Get help from our blog - Socializing Your Pet: The Basics for Puppies and Kittens.
Puppy Daycare & Training
As your puppy nears 12 weeks of age, it’s an opportune time to send them to training or “puppy kindergarten.” Check out our next-door neighbors at Bayside Bed & Biscuit, who will lovingly socialize your new pet at puppy daycare. They have several daycare options to accommodate you and your dog’s busy schedule–with activities for both social and active pups as well as those who are a little more afraid. This is especially important when your dog is young if you don’t have time during the day to train and socialize your puppy. Even a few hours spent locally with experts can be super helpful.
Continued Puppy Health
Older puppies will have veterinary care visits and plans recommended ahead of time–with the help of our veterinary team here at Bayside. Be sure to stick to the plan and schedule appointments for vaccinations and wellness visits ahead of time, before appointments are fully booked for your desired day. Staying on time and track with your new puppy’s care plan is of the utmost importance.
As always, if you have any questions about your new puppy’s healthcare, please contact our expert team here at Bayside Animal Hospital in Kemah, Texas. We’re here when you need us. After all, pets are family.
Wondering when a pet concern means it’s time to take them to the vet? Take a look at our YouTube video - When it’s Time to Call the Vet.
Your little puppy has grown and has now reached 12-15 weeks of age! During this stage, your puppy will begin to mature into an older puppy–one who can begin to explore the environment around them and control their motor skills and body much better than in previous weeks. This is when your puppy will have the opportunity to truly process learning right from wrong, potty rules, training tasks, and more–as they grow. It’s the height of your puppy’s learning out of all of the puppy stages.
During this time, your puppy will be growing rapidly. Be prepared to purchase a new collar, food bowl, leash, bed, etc. when they have outgrown their teeny puppy-sized ones. The curious puppy will additionally begin to explore a lot more. This is an opportune time to pursue training your puppy as their brain develops and matures into adult doghood.
Household Pet Hazards
As your puppy grows, learns, and adapts to their environment, they will begin to explore areas of your home more thoroughly as time passes. It’s common for them to attempt to get into things when you’re not around, not home, or simply not paying attention. A dog’s sense of smell is infinitely stronger than a human’s, meaning they can smell items located inside boxes, bottles, and cupboards. The curious puppy at this age is likely to go exploring with his senses, and it’s vitally important to keep toxic and poisonous items out of your puppy’s reach. Many items that are toxic to pets are household items you wouldn’t suspect–such as human foods, medications, and houseplants.
Learn more about what to avoid in our blogs Toxic Foods for Pets and Keeping Pets Safe During Poison Prevention Month and All Year Long.
Our YouTube videos also contain tons of helpful hints for new pet owners.
- Household Pet Hazards
- Toxic Chocolate and Pets
- Do Not Feed Your Dog Grapes
- The Dangers of Feeding Your Pet Table Scraps
- Lilies are Toxic to Pets
Pet Training - Obedience
A puppy at 12-15 weeks old will absorb training like a sponge. This stage of your puppy’s life is an ideal time to start obedience training before they have the opportunity to learn bad habits. Basic training for your puppy–whether you personally take on the task of training them or take them to classes–is extremely important. If you’re in search of local puppy training classes in the Kemah area, try our neighbors at The Bayside Bed & Biscuit. They offer puppy training, day classes, boarding, group classes, and more.
Learn more about puppy obedience training in our blogs Training Your Pet Using a Clicker and Treats, 5 Positive Reinforcement Pet Training Tips, and Tips for Training Your Pet in The New Year. For more puppy training tips, we recommend tuning in to these 5 podcasts to reinforce a positive pup with help from professionals. They’ll provide even more guidance to get you started with training your pup.
Pet Training - Tasks
At this age, teaching your puppy new tasks can be a fun, engaging, and bonding experience for both of you. Training your puppy simple tasks like “fetch” and “roll over” are often taught just after obedience training proves successful. Once your new puppy understands the importance of paying attention to you and watching for your commands, training can be expanded to a few important basics such as sit, stay, and come. Training a new puppy does require patience, positive reinforcement, tiny treats, and a lot of care. It’s time-consuming, but worth it a thousand times over–once a trick is mastered. Learn more in our YouTube video, The Importance of Dog Training.
It’s essential to continue to socialize your puppy during this stage–both with people and other pets. This will teach them to be friendly and kind when they’re exposed to unfamiliarity. Puppies that are stuck indoors and not regularly introduced to new people, places, and things can easily become fearful of the unknown and demonstrate skittish or aggressive behavior. The goal of puppy socialization is to coach and prepare your pet for adult dog life, where they will go on adventures by your side.
Daily walks, trips in the car, and visits to the dog park can help socialize your beloved puppy in a manner that helps them develop into a loving and adventurous adult dog. Pet kindergarten or daycare can also help teach a growing puppy to love being social. Many providers offer half-day sessions to get your pet started. If you’re in the Galveston Bay Area, be sure to contact our neighbors at Bayside Bed & Biscuit to learn more about their puppy socialization services. Our blog, Socializing Your Pet: The Basics, includes more helpful tips to get started.
As your puppy begins to lose their tiny teeth and their adult teeth come in, a dog’s solution will be to chew on anything and everything. When a puppy is teething, 28 razor-sharp puppy teeth will fall out one by one, and permanent adult teeth will start to come in. The >puppy teething process is a painful one. We suggest getting some puppy-safe chew toys, such as Kong brand, which are available in our online store. You’ll likely find your puppy’s baby teeth around the house, especially near toys and other items they chew on often.
It’s also the perfect time to have our veterinary team inspect your pet’s teeth to make sure they’re coming in properly. Learn more about puppy and pet dental care in our YouTube video, The Importance of Dental Health for Cats and Dogs, and our blogs about Pet Dental Care and Pet Dental Care at Home.
Puppy Games & Exercise
Physical exercise is important for the health and development of your furry friend. Just as with people, puppy exercise helps to keep a dog’s body and mind healthy. It’s an added opportunity to combine the elements of socializing and training into a healthy pet routine that your puppy will become accustomed to as they grow into an adult dog.
If your puppy hasn’t been microchipped yet, most veterinarians and microchipping providers suggest doing so once your pet has reached 12 weeks of age. Microchipping is an essential key to being reunited with and finding your pet, in the case they ever get lost or accidentally slip away from you.
Continued Puppy Health
Keep your puppy in the best of health with regular visits to the veterinarian for wellness checks, and assistance in focusing on the above practices. Helping you succeed is one of the main goals of our local veterinary team here in Kemah, Texas. While our puppy packs provide a lot of great information, they work best when combined with personalized advice for your pet, from our caring team of veterinary experts. As always, we’re here with guidance and support for you and your new puppy during their journey to adulthood. Please call or text our team at (281) 334-2273 with any questions you may have about your puppy during this or any stage. We’re here when you need us.
Your tiny puppy isn’t so tiny anymore and will soon be an adult dog. This stage is where puppy adolescence starts to kick in, and your pet will truly begin to develop their independence. Socializing should be part of the regular routine by this stage to ensure your puppy is comfortable with new places, people, and surroundings by your side. If you look back at your first pictures of your pup at 8 or 9 weeks old, you’ll notice the difference–including their overall size and the shift away from that cute puppy face. They are growing into an amazing adult dog with whom you have a special bond.
After 16 weeks, you’ll notice your puppy:
- Begin to use and move their ears more as their hearing matures– they’ll listen more closely to their surroundings
- You’ll notice the growth of more adult-like dog hair and less of that softish puppy fur.
- Adult dog teeth will continue to come in–chewing toys are important during this time.
- Your dog will continue to grow quickly as they move into the later stages of puppyhood.
- Your puppy may become more protective and aware of their surroundings, which is why socialization during previous puppy stages is so important.
- Your puppy will still be a little clumsy but will have much more coordination than just a few weeks ago.
Benefits of Spaying & Neutering
Spaying or neutering your pet is essential for preventing pet overpopulation and reducing health risks. Did you know that this procedure may also help your pet be less aggressive and prevent future health issues?
Only 10% of pets brought into pet shelters are spayed or neutered. Many of these pets are never adopted and face euthanasia, the largest killer of pets in America. We recommend spaying and neutering your puppy to keep them safe, healthy, and reduce pet overpopulation.
Spaying & Neutering Procedures
Spaying and neutering are major surgeries that require before and aftercare for your puppy. These procedures reduce health risks and prevent future litters of puppies. When spaying a female dog, the surgery prevents your furry friend from going into heat and having puppies in the future. The ovaries and most of the uterus are removed to prevent future conception.
When a male dog is neutered, the testicles are removed to create sterility and prevent them from producing litters with an unspayed female dog.
When you choose our team at Bayside Animal Hospital to spay or neuter your puppy, you’ll get the best in pet care. Our compassionate and close monitoring of your pet stands above less costly clinics. Our surgical process and aftercare processes are designed to keep your pet comfortable. We also send them home with the best in pet pain management and post-surgery recovery.
Follow these post-surgery care directions for your puppy after a spay or neuter procedure:
- Lessen and restrict your puppyfs activity after surgery to prevent infection and reopening of the incision
- Use an e-collar to prevent your pet from licking the incision until itfs healed and the stitches are removed
- If the area appears to be swollen for lengthy amounts of time or possibly infected, please call our veterinary team for guidance
- Infection or reopening of the incision will require additional veterinary care and treatment to ensure your petfs health and safety
Bayside’s Cycle of Service
Here at Bayside Animal Hospital, we do everything with caring hearts and educated minds. From the moment you contact us to the moment you leave your veterinary appointment to take your beloved pet home--we’re here for you. When you visit us, you’ll notice our devoted difference through every stage of our cycle of care. Our top priority is your pet’s health, sending you home with the best in pet care education, and providing the best service possible. Service you’ll remember long after you’ve arrived back at home. Your pets are our family and so are you.
Your Puppy’s Diet
A puppy’s dietary needs change as they get older, too. At the age of 16-18 weeks, we’ll work with you to create a plan for easing them into their “adult” pet food and diet. We’ll help you decide how much food to feed them as their physical growth slows, and guide you in preventing pet obesity. Our goal is to get your pet all the nutrients, vitamins, and minerals they need to be strong and healthy, without them becoming overweight.
Pet obesity is a common issue for pet owners–who tend to overfeed, provide too many treats, and table scraps. This is done “out of love” for the pet but is harmful to pets physically. We’ll help you create a balanced plan for your furry pal as they grow into a healthy adult dog.
Get more details in our blog - Diet Dilemmas: The Importance of Good Pet Nutrition
We see too many dogs with dental issues and periodontal disease, all of which can be prevented with a little extra pet tooth care. We’ll help set you up with recommended pet tooth brushing supplies, toys, and treats to help remove pet dental plaque regularly. Prevention is key when it comes to pet dental care. The cost of dental work, x-rays, removing decayed teeth, and pet dental work can cost hundreds or even thousands. Let us help you create a pet dental plan for life to keep your pet healthy and safe.
Grooming & Ear Cleaning
Regular grooming of your puppy will keep your furry friend clean and contribute to the overall health of the skin and coat. It may also prevent allergies in your pup or other people in your home. Pets can be sensitive to dirt, grass, pollen, and other substances that they encounter in their everyday environment. A routine of bathing, brushing, and grooming your pet helps prevent skin issues in the future. Ask us for grooming and bathing tips, as these can vary by breed.
Puppies don’t enjoy ear cleanings, as we well know. Using a veterinary-approved ear wash is vital, as well as working patiently and slowly to clean your puppy’s ears. This practice will create a health care routine that prevents ear infections in the future. Pet ear infections can breed bacteria and cause costly issues down that road that can lead to hearing loss and more.
Get ear cleaning instructions and tips in our YouTube video - All About Pet Ear Cleaning.
Puppy Parasite Prevention
Parasite prevention is also an essential part of preventative pet care throughout your pet’s life. Bugs and parasites such as fleas, ticks, and worms carry awful viruses and diseases that wreak havoc on your pet’s internal organs. Some of these are treatable, but costly. Others can be fatal if the issue has gone too far.
Preventing parasites from getting into your puppy’s system in the first place is always the best choice for the health of your furry family member–as well as the rest of your family. Some of these diseases are transmissible to humans and other pets. We’re here to help you choose the best parasite preventatives for your pet’s health over the course of their lifetime.
Future Care for Your Puppy
Your puppy will grow into a healthy, well-balanced adult dog with the help of our veterinary team and the use of our Puppy Packs. Raising a new puppy is worth the time, effort, and preventative care. The bond you will create will your furry new friend will last a lifetime. Your pet is a family member, and we’re here to guide you every step of the way.
If you have additional questions about any of the above information or how it applies to your new puppy, please give our Kemah veterinary staff a call. We’re also here for League City pets, Seabrook fur babies, and pets in all of the surrounding Galveston Bay areas. We’re AAHA accredited and here to provide you with the absolute best when it comes to puppy care and pet care. We’re excited to watch your puppy grow into an adult dog, and we’ll be right here by your side as your puppy grows.
Puppy packs and guides include information about:
- Puppy vaccinations
- Spaying & Neutering information
- Parasite prevention for your puppy
- Wellness exams here at Bayside or your veterinarian
- Diet & exercise
- Puppy socialization & behavior training
We Our Clients
I drive all the way from Atascocita for the care y'all provide. Customer for life! — Heather Reynolds
Friendly staff, great service and Dr. Thornburg is excellent at what she does. A+ Rating — Maria Franklin
Staff are always energetic and friendly. They all seem to really like their job and treat our pets with compassion and caring. — Stephanie Rossi
We love taking our animals to Bayside. We greatly appreciate the coordination between the vet and the kennel. For us that coordination has eased the process of treating our dogs. It has saved us time and provided less stress for our animals as well. We love Bayside and Bed and Biscuit! — Clay Clark