Bringing Your New Puppy Home
Esther enjoys a kiss from Huck.
I received a call today from a new puppy owner who was worried that her puppy may be ill. She said it was crying for no apparent reason and appeared to be panting, with shortness of breath. For a new puppy owner this can be disconcerting to say the least. Since I have raised many puppies, I have probably seen more real problems than the average person and can tell when something is either amiss or is not a viable concern. Here are a few things to keep in mind when you first bring your puppy home with you. And of course, if you do think there is something wrong with your dog, please seek out the opinion of your vet.
A puppy faces many stresses in the first few weeks of its life. From being born, to competing with siblings for food, to the energy expanded growing up into a healthy youngster, it’s a rigorous process. But your puppy can handle these things if a few basic guidelines are followed. When bringing your new puppy home, there are many new stresses that are being introduced. Let’s take a look at some of them:
For most puppies, the transition to their new home usually starts with a ride in the car. Did you ever consider how traumatic a car ride could be? Put yourself in their shoes. They have been used to quiet surroundings where their feet are usually on the firm ground. Replace that with a noisy, bumpy long ride home, and perhaps an unsettled tummy, and you have an unsure little puppy. Sometimes, they may foam at the mouth and drool or bark incessantly, or soil his area or even vomit. Don’t worry; some dogs deal with new situations or fears this way.
Separation from Siblings
Dogs are pack animals which means they were created to survive with the group. They form strong ties with each other as they develop. When you transfer them out of this familiar environment into a whole new pack of humans and furry friends, they have to adjust and form new friendships which will hopefully last a lifetime. Puppies are amazingly resilient, and most often, given time and love, make the adjustment beautifully.
Separation from Mother
Other than being a milk delivery vehicle, their mother gives them warmth, comfort, stimulation and guidance. While it is true the puppy has been weaned and no longer depends on mom for it’s food, it still has a strong attachment and bond with its mother.
This is an obvious and big change! New doors, new steps, new dog house or crate, new rugs and furniture to chew; everything is new. Where did the old comforts go? Where are the new ones? It takes a little time for a puppy to settle in to the new environment you place it in. Along with the first three stresses, this can cause a puppy to whine and cry for attention or love or for no reason at all. It will take extra time and patience to sooth the transition from one home to another, so if possible, plan your schedule so that with the arrival of your pup, you will have plenty of time to devote to him.
It is best not to introduce a new food immediately after bringing your pup home. Start him off on the same food he is use to, and then if you plan on changing brands, initiate the process slowly by mixed the new food type with the old. Changing too fast can result in an upset tummy or flatulence. Stressors come from without but keep in mind, they can also come from within.
Different Sleep Patterns
Most likely, your puppy will not have the same sleep patterns he had before you got him. The different environment, people, place, and possibly schedule will affect his sleep habits. One thing does not change however: sleep is very important for puppies’ development and they will do a lot of it. After all, they’re still just babies! Let them sleep when they seem tired. They will have more stimulation than they is used to which will require more sleep than they got before.
New People and Pets
Your puppy has to get used to you just as much as you have to get used to your puppy. Same thing goes for other animals you may have. Fortunately, golden retrievers rarely meet a stranger, so this time of newness should pass quickly as they adopt you as their parents.
Take time to enjoy your puppy. Expect a few rough bumps along the way and give yourself time to work with them. This will lead to the most rewarding friendship you will have with your animal. If you feel stressed because of lack of time or you are worried because you are unsure of what to do, remember to relax and enjoy. Puppies can feel your emotions, sometimes better than you can. If you are uptight, the puppy might express the same feeling any number of ways.
Basic Signs of Health
Looking for the picture of health is much easier than diagnosing specific problems or diseases. If you are concerned there is a problem step back and look at the big picture. Ask yourself if these four things seem right, then make a decision if you feel one is necessary.
- Appetite: If your puppy is not feeling well, he will go off his food. He may eat very little or show no inclination to food or treats. But otherwise, if he is happily eating what you give him, don’t worry too much. He is probably just fine.
- Sleeping: As I said before; a puppy needs lots of sleep especially since he has to deal with so many new stresses. It is completely normal for your puppy to want to sleep up to 20 hours a day. (1)
- Alertness: You should see a very wide awake and alert puppy when he is not sleeping. It is when your puppy seems lethargic when awake and doesn’t feel like doing much that you might start to get concerned. If he assumes an abnormal position, such as hunched in a corner, you can be sure that something is not right.
- Playing / Romping:
Puppies love to play and romp and roll and bight and lick. That is why you got one. They will play hard for 10 or 15 minutes but you may be surprised how quickly they crash out. Don’t worry if they won’t play continuously for an hour the first few weeks after bringing them home. They still have a lot of growing to do which requires lots of sleep.
Ways to Make Transition Easier
- Smell of Home: Some people bring a rag that they can rub on the siblings and mother to help the puppy transition to its new home. Their keen sense of smell would tell them all is well in this new location. It still smells like home.
- Calm, Loving, Cheerful: Your mood affects your dog. Make it cheerful, loving, and calm and your puppy will emulate your feelings.
- Food: As I said before, either use the same food or switch over slowly to a new food. Puppies also like chewing on bones, or meat scraps. If you can source meat from a local butcher, it is also a great bonus to your puppy’s health.
- Supplements: Please continue giving your puppy NuVet Plus. It strengthens their immune system and nourishes their body with key micronutrients. We use and highly recommend NuVet plus. Please order before pick up so they don’t miss a day of ‘protection’ Order directly here www.nuvet.com/55651 or call 800-474-7044, reference # 55651 (Not on Amazon or in stores) A healthy puppy equals a balanced puppy who responds better to new situations and challenges.
- Standard Process has a line of animal supplements that your vet can order for you. Fermented cod liver oil, and probiotics are also very good for growing a healthy dog.
- Play: Your puppy needs lots of exercise. Try to get to a place where he can run. Walks are good for old dogs, but puppies need to run and roll and just have a good time. It is how they develop their motor skills best.
- Nest Area: Consider setting up a small area that is just for the puppy, preferably near where you spend the majority of your time. You might put his kennel there, or his special blanket, his water and food dish, and some special toys. Puppies (and even older dogs) enjoy the security of having their own home spot to retreat to if things get too overwhelming. When we bring a new puppy into our home, we set up a small rug area in our large kitchen, with the pup’s little kennel, some toys, and blanket there. Puppy has his own place, yet still has plenty of companionship as we spent the majority of our time in our kitchen.
- Things to Avoid: Be aware of small objects, like blocks marbles, bones they can swallow whole. The outdoors is the best place for a puppy to run and play, so get out in the sunshine and fresh air. It might do you some good as well.
Children and puppies both need lots of love!
There are lots of things to think about when getting a new puppy but with a level head and a lot of love, you will have a very devoted and healthy puppy who will give you fun and happiness for many years to come. And remember, you are the one who will get to know your puppy best and will be most tuned in to their individual cues – so use your judgement, and when in doubt, ring your vet for another expert opinion!