Q: Last month you told us how to pick a new puppy. But, now what do we do?

A: Congratulations, I am glad you followed our advice from last month and wish you a fun, happy life with your new puppy. I know it has once again livened up our house.
The first thing to remember is to go slow at the introduction and have a calm, comfortable atmosphere. We do not want to frighten your new arrival, they will be stressed enough by leaving their prior home and mom. (We play classical music for our puppy when we she is alone). Dogs are creatures of habit, so it is essential to establish a schedule and routine right away and stick to it. Feeding, sleeping and going outside needs to be regulated and the puppy will acclimate to this flow. Stay consistent with commands and schedules.

Q: What supplies do I need for a new puppy?

A: A basic list of essentials is food & treats, stainless steel bowls, collar & leash, crate and gates, and toys. The crate is vital for the puppy to feel secure and to keep it out of trouble when you are gone. (Never leave your puppy unattended, it will surely set your puppy or dog up for failure.) There are countless types of toys, and you should have a variety. I personally do not recommend any toy that can be ingested, as I have surgically removed too many of these “edible” toys. Even my wife brought home some of these “edible “toys, and I had to gently explain the risk.

Q: Should I train the dog myself or take it to a trainer?

A: It is a good idea to have a professional obedience trainer to help you educate your new puppy/dog. Some people chose to do this themselves, but over the years I have experienced better results with a professional trainer. Probably because we get trained too;). There is a fun app for all you techies called Puppr, Dog Training & Tips. Look it up on the App Store. This does not, however, replace a professional trainer. Interview your trainer first, ask them questions about their methods and theories. We have a professional trainer on staff who offers classes year-round if you have questions.

Also, if you have a puppy that is going to need haircuts, now is an excellent time to establish a relationship with a professional groomer. Do a few practices runs to the groomer with your pup. Our groomers offer unique visits for puppies to help them get used to being groomed.

Q: How soon should I take my puppy or new kitten to the vet?

A: You will need to schedule your puppy’s first visit to the veterinarian right away within 48 hours of bringing your new addition home. The most important part of this visit is the physical examination. We want to make sure there are not any problems, and if not, then we will discuss vaccinations, deworming, heartworms, fleas & ticks, and nutrition. Bring your puppy’s favorite treat to the vet to help make it a positive experience

Some other things that you should start considering are health insurance, surgery, and obedience training. Health insurance covers your pet in case of an emergency. These situations are unexpected and can be expensive. Spaying or neutering your pet is recommended but not required. I believe dogs are better family pets when their reproductive nature is negated.

You should start looking for veterinarians, pet shops, groomers, trainers, kennels, daycares, and urgent cares, or you can call us at Springboro Veterinary Hospital where we do all of this under one roof.

Q. This question came from a good friend in California: “I saw the cutest little puppy. It was the runt of the litter. I heard the runts can have lots of problems is that true?”

A: First, let’s define runt. Runt would be a puppy that is “abnormally” small and underweight compared to the rest of the litter or to the breed, not necessarily just the smallest puppy. It is essential to note most healthy well-nourished litters don’t have a runt. If there is genuinely a runt, in my experience most times, they are healthy pets. However, some runts are dangerously underweight, and this can be caused, or accompanied, by genuine health problems. If you chose the runt, yes there is a risk, take it to the vet immediately for a full physical exam. The most critical resource for giving a runt puppy the best care and quality of life is a great veterinarian.