We have plenty of tips on welcoming your new animal into your home
Dogs are carnivores, and do not eat grains in the wild. For this reason, we recommend feeding your dogs a grain free diet. Some breeds (especially bully breeds) are allergic to grain, and going grain free also helped us with gas around our house. Also since the normal food is full of fillers the animals eat (and poop) more, so the savings are minimal. There are some great affordable options like Nature’s Domain ($32/30 pounds at Costco) and even Western Feed has a “brown bag” food that is great for $20 for a 40 pound bag. So please do yourself a favor and don’t even think about feeding your dog Pedigree, Purina, or even Iams. If it touts rice on the bag, leave it on the shelf. Also most grain free foods are considered “all life stage” food, as the difference between puppy and adult food is that puppy food has a higher content of protein. Since grain free has a higher protein content, it is good for both puppies and adult alike.
Although it is true that animals are used to some terrible living conditions, please take the time to clean out your animals food and water dishes. Mold is not good for anything. Also feces in water oftentimes will lead to internal parasites like giardia and coccidia.
Making sure your puppy gets its shots is one of the most important thing you can do. We have had 3 litters with parvo and one with distemper. Parvo costs the normal person $600/night/dog to treat, and can be avoided with simple vaccinations. It is 80% fatal if untreated but the cost is high so many people do not treat, and it is also very easily spread. Vaccines can be purchased at feed stores and you can give them yourselves for cheap, or there are vaccination clinics all over the city.
It is really important, especially as puppies (if possible) to get animals used to grooming. That means baths, nail trimming, brushing and cleaning their teeth. We use Dawn dishsoap for our dogs, as it is gentle, but also kills fleas!
But newborn animals SHOULD NOT BE BATHED!
Getting used to the car
Most dogs and puppies are afraid of the car (and the car is most cat’s personal hell), so get them used to it. Use short trips, and I always have bully sticks in the car for treats so it is a great thing to be in the car. But always expect they will vomit, poop, or pee in the car and protect your seats likewise.
Crate training is one of the best things you can do with a new puppy or dog. It is not cruel or mean, but rather works with dogs’ natural den dwelling habits. If you noticed dogs like to lay under tables or other places they are safe and this is the same thing. It is much safer for them than being left outside where accidents happen too frequently. Crates SHOULD NOT be used as a punishment, especially in the beginning, because we want it to be a place where they are happy and relaxed. I put treats in the crates so they tend to get excited to go in their crates.
Find out more about crate training at:
If your dog is destruction, anxious or has a lot of energy, exercise is really the only answer. Whether that mean you start running with them or get them something like a flirt pole to help them get their energy out. Also training and working on commands (mental stimulation) also exhausts them.
One of my favorite toys is a Flirt Pole because it allows you to easily exhaust them. The ones we buy come from squishy face studio and they are amazingly well made. If you enter “RPNC” in the comments when you check out they will give you a free fleece toss too!
Many animals suffer from separation anxiety (especially when new to a family). For some it may persist and make them destructive or they cause harm to themselves. We have many suggestions for this, crate training helps (even can try covering the crate), make sure they are well exercised, and then some items that work for some animals to help. For some a Thundershirt or Calming Collar might do the trick. The Thundershirt is a compression outfit to help reduce stress and Calming Collar (www.calmingcollars.com enter coupon code RPNC and save 10%) use aromatherapy to ease anxiety. Thundershirts can be purchased at pet stores and online. They do not work for all dogs, but definitely help many, including making my 4th of July manageable.
If you have a swimming pool, it can be an amazing way to exercise your dogs. But please make sure to teach them how to get in and out and be safe in it.