Common questions from new puppy owners

Getting a new puppy can be really exciting, but if you’re a fist-time owner or have never had a puppy before it can also be daunting! We’re here to help you with some of the most common things you might come across.

Whether you’re thinking of getting a puppy or have just brought your new bundle of joy home – you might have a lot of questions! We’ve been looking at some of the most common questions puppy owners ask and helping answer them.

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When can my puppy go outside for a walk or in the garden?

Going in the garden

As long as your garden is safe and enclosed with solid fences and not used by other dogs, then your puppy can go out in the garden straight away. It’ll help to build their confidence, get them used to their new home and you can start their toilet training!

Going on their first walk

Taking your puppy for their first walk is a huge milestone, but you’ll need to wait until they are fully covered by their vaccinations to be safe. This is usually a few weeks after their second jab in their primary vaccination course, but this does vary from vaccine to vaccine. It’s best to ask your vet when you take them in for their jabs as they’ll be able to give you exact timings.

When can my puppy meet other dogs?

You’ll need to wait until your puppy is fully vaccinated before letting them meet other dogs. This will help stop them getting any nasty diseases. Wait for the all clear from your vet, then you can take your puppy out and about to socialise. Keep them on the lead and watch other dogs’ body language to make sure they are happy to greet your puppy. Always ask owners first before you allow your puppy to go up to strange dogs.

 

How should I introduce my new puppy to my current dog?

You’ll need to make sure your current dog is fully vaccinated and well in themselves before bringing your new puppy home. Then it’s best to do introductions slowly, making sure your dog has a quiet space away from your boisterous new puppy!

Obviously it might be a bit difficult to introduce them on ‘neutral territory’ because your puppy won’t be fully protected by their vaccinations yet, but do take away favourite toys or anything that your current dog feels protective over so that these won’t become a problem between your dog and puppy. You should probably keep both dogs on a loose lead when they first meet – make sure you can recognise their body language so you know if the meeting is going well.

Always supervise your dogs together. Remember your puppy may be a lot more playful than your current dog so make sure you are playing with your puppy to give your other dog some space, but make sure you stick to your current routine with your first dog so that they don’t feel a dramatic change to their life.

Remember to feed both dogs away from each other so neither feels the need to guard their food as this can cause a lot of tension between them long term.

How do I crate train my puppy?

Crates are a good way of making sure your puppy is secure and out of any mischief at night! Again, it’s something your puppy will need to get slowly used to and each dog will take a different amount of time before they are happy to be in their crate. Read our article on crate training for the full how-to guide.

 

Why is my puppy biting and chewing and how can I stop it?

Nibbling and chewing is a natural part of being a puppy. Just like people, puppies go through teething and need to bite and chew. They also explore the world through their mouth, so it’s only natural that they bite and chew anything and everything they can! Rather than trying to stop them from chewing, make sure you give them lots of dog-safe toys they can chew. Find out more about training your dog not to chew.

 

What should I feed my puppy? How much should I be feeding my puppy?

We’d recommend a complete, life stage appropriate puppy food (so one that’s labelled as being for puppies rather than an adult or senior food). This is because puppies need different levels of nutrients to help them grow. Look out for specific puppy diets such as puppy food for large breeds, or puppy food for toy/small breeds. If you need to change your puppy to a different food, make sure you do this over a couple of weeks to avoid stomach upsets.

Follow the advice on the packet for how much to feed your puppy. If you’re unsure, ask your vet or vet nurse and they can give you the best advice for your dog. Remember not to feed your puppy any human food or scraps. We know it’s hard to resist those puppy-dog eyes, but some human foods are harmful to our dogs and can unbalance their diet. Don’t forget to read up on your dog’s diet throughout their life stages.

When can I start feeding my puppy adult dog food?

Generally, dogs are considered to be puppies until they are around one year old, but this will change depending on the size and breed of your dog. Small and medium breeds might become ‘adult’ dogs at around one year, but larger and giant breeds take more time to grow so might not be ‘adults’ until they’re two!

It’s best to speak to your vet or vet nurse as they can advise you on when to change your puppy’s food to adult food.

Will my puppy need milk?

In short, no. Your puppy won’t need any milk at all after they’ve been fully weaned from their mum! Milk has lots of extra calories that’ll mean your puppy quickly piles on the pounds and milk from other animals (cows, goats etc.) might upset their stomach.

 

How do I toilet train my puppy?

Toilet training is a really important part of training your puppy and we’d recommend that you get started straight away.  It’s important to use positive, reward-based training and never punish your puppy as this could make the problem worse.

Toilet training might take some time, but it’s important to stick with it and be consistent. Read our toilet training guide for information on toilet training your puppy.

My puppy eats poo – is that normal?

There are lots of reasons your puppy might eat poo (one of which being simply because they like the taste – yuck!) but it is a completely natural behaviour. The best thing to do is to train them not to. You can read more on stopping your dog eating poo on our Pet Health Hub.

 

How often should I take my puppy to the vet?

Your puppy will need to go to the vet to get the rest of their primary course of vaccinations. Make sure you register with a vet before your puppy comes home so you can get these booked in, but give your puppy a week to settle before you take them. Their remaining jabs might need to be done over a couple of visits, but your vet will be able to advise you of an exact schedule.

You’ll then need to pop back to the vet when your puppy is ready to be neutered. This is usually between 6-12 months. Don’t forget to book in their boosters and annual health check, too!

If your puppy gets poorly or you need some extra advice, your vet will always be happy to help by giving you advice over the phone or make you an appointment if necessary. There’s no exact amount of visits you and your puppy might make to the vet in their first year – it’ll all depend on your pup and their general health! Remember that where you get your puppy from will have a big effect on their health and wellbeing too.