Puppy Parenthood: What You Need To Know

To celebrate National Puppy Day on March 23rd, we’ve put together our best tips to help new pet parents navigate the first few weeks of puppy parenthood!

Research puppy food before you bring them home

To avoid a last-minute trip to the store once your puppy has arrived home, we suggest researching food and stocking up in advance. Choosing the right food is important during your puppy’s early weeks, as the food they eat plays a key role in their development. Skip any brand that contains by-products, preservatives, or artificial flavors and colors, instead, opt for a healthy dog food that is made with fresh, healthy ingredients that will help your puppy grow up healthy and strong. We have two puppy-specific recipes that are sure to impress: our Freshpet Select Puppy Recipe with Chicken, Egg & Vegetable recipe and our Vital Grain Free Chicken, Beef & Salmon Puppy recipe.

Don’t be afraid of crate training

Many new pet parents
mistakenly think that confining their new puppy to a crate is a form of
punishment, but if used properly they can be a great tool for training.
Settling into a new home can be overwhelming for puppies and a crate can offer
them space where they can relax and feel safe. This is especially true when
it’s filled with their favorite toys and a comfy bed! Crates also play an
important role in the house training process. Dogs are very clean animals and
don’t want to soil the place where they also relax and sleep. When your puppy
is in their crate they will signal that they need to go and then you can bring
them outside to relieve themselves.

Make use of baby gates

As we mentioned before, settling into a new home can be overwhelming for puppies. By limiting the amount of the house they have access to when they first arrive, they can become settled in a smaller space and slowly be introduced to the rest of the house over time. Using baby gates also means that you can focus on creating a completely puppy-proof area where you won’t have to worry about them getting into something they shouldn’t or having accidents on hard-to-clean flooring.

Start the house training from day one

Pet parents often say that house training is the hardest part of bringing home a new puppy. Fortunately, there are a few tried and tested methods that can speed up the time it takes your pup to master this important skill. These include keeping a consistent feeding schedule so you can learn how long after eating they need to go out, limiting water intake before bed, going outside frequently and visiting the same spot each time, and making use of crate training. For more house training advice, take a look at our list of 10 tips for housetraining a puppy.

Stock up on pet-friendly cleaning products

With a new puppy in the house, you’ll inevitably be doing your fair share of cleaning. Whether you’re cleaning up after an accident, wiping up paw muddy prints after a play session in the yard, or just doing a general clean to keep your home looking fresh, you’ll want to be using cleaning products that are pet-safe. Many of the ingredients in common household cleaning products can be harmful to our four-legged family members – especially ammonia, bleach, formaldehyde, phthalates, glycol ethers, and perchloroethylene. If you’re not ready to start making your cleaning products from scratch, you’ll be happy to know that there are several pet-safe brands on the market. We’ve highlighted four of our favorites here!

Find the right level of activity to tire them out without
overdoing it

When it comes to exercise and puppies, too much is just as bad as not enough. You’ll learn quickly enough that your puppy has lots of energy to burn off throughout the day, but the trick is finding the right amount of exercise without overdoing it. It may seem counter-intuitive to limit the amount of exercise your puppy gets, but the reason for this is that studies have shown potential links between too much exercise and orthopedic disease in large-breed dogs. While every puppy is different, the suggested amount is two walks a day that are five minutes per age in months in length. For example, if your puppy is four months old, then you’ll want to do two walks that are each 20 minutes long. Then, as your puppy has bursts of energy throughout the day, you can engage in some low-impact play with toys either in the house or yard.

We hope that these tips are helpful in finding the best puppy food and getting you and your puppy settled into life together! Experienced pet parents, do you have any other tips to share? We’d love to see them in the comments.

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