March 23rd is National Puppy Day. What better reason to make a concerted effort to educate new puppy parents on the basics of puppy care?
Sure, bringing home a puppy is a super exciting time. So exciting in fact, that it’s easy to forget all the things you need to do to take optimum care of this new little bundle of furry fun.
This is where you come in! Pet industry professionals play a vital role in ensuring pet owners know the basics of puppy care and what is expected of them when it comes to raising a healthy and happy dog.
So, whether you’re a vet doing a puppy health check, a pet sitter who’s been called upon to help care for a fur baby, or any other pet care professional, it’s important to share your knowledge.
Bringing home a new puppy
Yes, there is no denying puppies are cute and very cuddly. However, they also require some careful care and attention to keep them safe and ensure they get the best start to life.
There are some really useful resources available to help new pet parents navigate the world of puppy care. Perhaps you can refer your clients to the RSPCA’s puppy guide. In addition, you can discuss some of the key factors pet owners should think about when bringing home a new pup. Key considerations include:
- The average annual cost to care for a puppy/dog
- Ensuring the home (including the garden) is secure
- Setting up a safe, clean and comfortable space for the puppy to sleep
- Food (What sort of diet does the owner intend to feed their fur pal?)
- Walking equipment
- Training (Does the owner intend to sign up for puppy school? Are they aware of the local facilities for this?)
- Local vet (Does the owner know where their nearest vet is located?)
- Health care (What information does the owner have on microchipping, vaccinations, registering their dog and preventative health?)
Certainly, when it comes to puppy care, there is quite a bit to consider. Any help and support you can offer to new pet parents will help ensure our four-legged friends get the best care possible.
Questions to ask a new puppy parent
Of course, while you have the best intentions, you may feel awkward asking a new pet parent if they know the basics of puppy care. You don’t want to put them offside, but you do want to support them on their pet journey. The best way to do this is to empathise with them and to ask open-ended questions in a non-judgemental way. Here are a few ideas on the sorts of questions you might ask.
Have you considered how you will train your puppy?
This might be a good inroad into sharing resources that offer training tips, discussing the ins and outs of puppy school or the role of a dog trainer.
How do you think you’ll deal with good or bad behaviour?
Again, it’s a good chance to offer up some tips or provide advice.
How much do you know about pet first aid?
You might discuss some of the basics of pet first aid or offer a list of items to include in a pet first aid kit.
What type of diet are you going to feed your new fur baby?
With high rates of dog obesity, this might lead to a conversation about the importance of setting a good feeding regimen from the off. You can offer tips on when to give treats and ways to help prevent canine obesity.
Of course, these are just an example of some of the many questions you can ask a new puppy parent. Really, any conversation you can have about the ins and outs of puppy care can be beneficial to a new puppy parent.
Guiding new owners on puppy care
There’s a lot to think about when you welcome a new puppy into your home. Giving new pet owners the heads up on a few key things they must do can be helpful. The RSPCA UK notes the following:
- Check that the owner has organised the puppy’s first vaccination
- Ask if they are comfortable embarking on toilet training
- Discuss the importance of socialisation
- Ensure they have found a vet, considered puppy classes and looked into pet insurance
- Confirm they know the importance of establishing consistent routines and rules to help avoid behaviour difficulties such as separation anxiety
Together we can ensure every dog gets the best start in life. Having a conversation about puppy care is just one action we can take!