How to Take Care of a Puppy: A New Owner's Guide

TopeakmartPuppies are our good friends. With their company, we have a happy meaningful life. They are some of the most adorable things on this planet; however, keeping a puppy is not a breeze. It required some time, attention and skills. Here is a guide for the beginners to take good care of a new puppy.

Take care of a puppy

1. Get Prepared

  • Make sure that the puppy you are keeping is right for you

    What kinds of styles do you like? What kinds of breed could you control? Some hunks would like hounds; some people like feeding adorable chihuahuas; and some ladies want to have poodles. You need to make sure that your home can provide enough space for this new puppy. Make sure that his/her energy will not exceed your expectation. In a word, take your personality, your hobbies and actual conditions into consideration when picking a new puppy.

    • Take a look around and be sure to dog-proof everything

    Puppies like babies, they are always curious about everything around them. Therefore, it is necessary to put away all important things that you value from their touches. Take a look around your house, and make sure that important, dangerous items are well placed. Here I list some key points for your reference.

      • Organize and cover electrical cords and cables well.
      • Put away toxic cleaning supplies/chemicals or put them in higher positions.
      • Pay attention to trash. Puppies always like to rummage trash. Have heavy trash cans at home, better with lids.
      • Store your valued shoes or your kids’ favorite toys in safe place, and buy your puppy his/her own toys.
    • Provide space for puppies

    Find a suitable exclusive place in your house for your new puppy. It can be in a kitchen or a bathroom or a corner in a living room. It is better to choose a location where there is washable floor in case your puppy smudges the floor and you can easily clean it. This exclusive area will be his/her personal space. You can put puppy’s bed in your bedroom, so that you can always hear him/her and take care of him/her during the nights.

    2. A New Dog Owner Shopping List

    Get necessary dog supplies ready in advance. Before your new puppy arrives at home, you need to buy some daily necessities for eating, drinking, playing and sleeping. Here I make a basic shopping list.

    • Playpen/Gate (open space)

    dog playpen


     (If you want him/her free-living in your house without any limitation and, then you might skip over this part.) If you want your puppy well-behaved, you’d better set a playpen or gate for him/her, so that he/she would have own space and limitation. A decent playpen can create a certain area indoors or outdoors. He/she can play around in this area well-mannered. Or you can set up playpens in front of the house to prevent your puppy running outside.

    • Crate (confined space)

    Dog crate
    Dog crates are different from dog playpens. Playpens create open space and crates give puppies confined space. Metal, plastic and fabric, these are main materials of crates. Fabric crates are lightweight and portable. You might choose according to your needs. Also you need to take your puppy’s habits and characteristics into consideration. I would choose heavy-duty metal dog crates because they are durable and dogs cannot easily escape from. Especially when dogs are young and naughty, they need crates to help being well-mannered.
    • Bed

    There is no doubt that your puppy needs a bed to lounge and rest and sleep. Generally they are made from polyester, nylon, plush and foam. Multiple styles, sizes, and colors are available for you to choose from. Buy a durable bed with long service life for your puppy.
    • Bowls

    On the safe side, I would recommend you buy food-grade stainless steel bowls for your puppy. They are durable and safe to use. You can buy ceramic dishes like we humans use for foods, but this kind dishes may easily break. Plus, there are plastic dishes and bowls on the market, but you need to make sure your puppy is not allergic to plastic.
    • Brush & Nail Clippers

    These are for cleaning and grooming. Maybe cat nail clippers will work on your new puppy at beginning, but you need to change a new large one as the puppy is growing. You just need basic types at first, and as your puppy grows up, you can change and add more grooming tools. Gradually you will know which kinds will be the best.
    • Collar, Leash and Tags

    Puppies also need their ID cards like us. Also in case they lost someday, buying him/her a tag is necessary. With a collar and leash, you can always keep him/her with you when go walking. Always remember to take leashes when you go out for a walk. The puppies are curious and naughty; running around outdoors will not be safe. Plus, so as not to frighten other passers-by, leashes are extra protection for you and other people.
    • Shampoo

    Dog shampoo has different types for corresponding dogs breed, some for long-haired dogs and some for short-haired. You can buy specially formulated shampoo for your new puppy.
    • Poop Scoop & Poop Bags

    It is easy to buy; there are several types of pooper scoopers on the market, some good for grass, and some good for hard floor. Always get bags ready. If you are living in the districts where have strict ordinances requiring you to pick up and clean dog poop, you really need well prepared these tools.
    • Toothbrush

    To take care of your puppy’s teeth, remember to brush his/her teeth; might not every day, brushing his/her teeth at fixed period will be fine. If you do not want to do this, or your puppy resists brushing teeth, you can buy him/her dog dental chews to help support strong teeth.
    • Toys

    Just like a child, your new puppy would like lots of toys! Be sure to have a variety of toys so they don't get bored. He/she will have company even when you're not around. Make sure that no part of the toy falls off as that can be a choking hazard. Buy durable and safe and harmless toys for little cute.

    3. How to Feed Your Puppy?

    • Choose Right Dog Foods

    Feed Your Puppy

    Buy nutritious, high quality dog food. Asking your veterinarian for advice will be a good idea. By the way, if later you want to switch to another dog food, be sure to do so gradually to avoid sudden stomach discomfort because of a sudden change in food.

    • Feed your Puppy Properly

    Feeding should be proper and regular. The frequency and amount of each meal depends on your dog’s size, age and breed. Give little puppy small amount of food several times a day. After he/she grows up being a adult dog, feeding will be easier; but pay attention to his/her size and appetite. Increase the amount if he/she is too thin, and decrease the amount if he/she goes beyond the standard type. Here is for reference:

      • Under 3 months old: three to four times a day;
      • 3-5 months old: three times a day;
      • Over 5 months old: two times a day
    • Watch your Puppy Eating

    It is a good measure to watch your puppy eating, through which you might know whether he/she like the food you give, or if he/she is healthy and comfortable recently. If he/she does not eat, maybe it is the matter of food preference, or maybe it is a healthy issue. If it is the former, try a variety of foods to feed your puppy, such as chicken, beef, fish and vegetables. Different tastes and choices will improve his/her appetite. If it is the latter, it should be addressed by a veterinarian.

    • Provide Adequate Clean Water

    Make sure your dog has clean drinking water at all times. Food doesn't have to be available all the time, but there should always be water in the dog's bowl or water bottle. And feed your dog clean water, otherwise he/she will be susceptible to parasites and get sick easily.

    • Do not feed your puppy these things

    It's hard to say no to a dog with their cute, beautiful eyes begging you for food. But for their health, you must be sensible. Do not feed your puppy our human’s food, for our foods always have lots of flavors and spices, which are not allowed for dogs. Here are some things that should not be given to dogs.

      • Chocolate
      • Grapes and raisins
      • Chicken bones
      • Raw fish
      • Sugar
      • High-fat foods, such as macadamia nuts and avocados and bacon
      • Onions and garlic
      • Caffeine and alcohol

    4. How to Keep Your Dog Happy & Healthy?

    Taking care of a puppy is like looking after a baby; you need to be careful and scientific. You love your puppy, and of course you want him/her be happy and healthy. Some advice and guidelines might help you take good care of your new puppy.

    • Plenty of Exercise


    If your dog always damages to your furniture, carpets, curtains and books, first you may need to consider whether you give him/her enough exercise and activities. Healthy food will keep your puppy fine and also give him/her plenty of energy. If your dog is bored but with excess energy, he/she will manifest himself/herself often by destructive behavior. To keep him/her healthy and happy, make sure that he/she has at least one to two hours of exercise a day; however, this depends on breed, size and age of your dog. Keep doing this and gradually your puppy will have a suitable routine, meanwhile, you will notice that your healthy would have been improved.

    • Bathing & Grooming your Dog 

    Bathing & Grooming your Dog

     How often should I bathe my dog? It depends on whether your dog’s skin is oily or dry. If oily, it is best to give him/her a bath once a week; while if it is dry, he/she only needs to be washed twice a month. Of course, you also need to consider the weather, and whether your dog spends a lot of time outside. Be careful not let water in puppy’s eyes and ears when showering. If you can't bathe your dog yourself, take him/her to a pet store and have him/her professionally bathed. 

    dog grooming table

    Prepare a dog bathing pool will make this project easier, and after bath, taking him/her up on the grooming table for drying and grooming. It is necessary to groom him/her so that his/her hair and skin remain in good condition. Help your dog have good habits and enjoy bath as early as possible. Last but not least, remember to reward your dog after each grooming, which will reduce the dog's resistance to the bath.

    • Routine Care

    Taking your dog for regular checkups is not only good for his/her health, but also helps you adjust your feeding habits accordingly. You need to feed this new puppy healthy food, let him/her have enough exercise and comfortable baths, take him/her visit vets regularly, and provide him/her with necessary nutritional supplements.

    • Socializing your Puppy

    The best time for puppies’ socializing time is from 3 to 16 weeks after birth. You can socialize your dog yourself by letting him meet many new people and things, making sure that the people and things that he/she get along with are friendly and nice. Spend lots of time with him/her and play games together. Take him/her for a walk regularly.

     You can also enroll your dog in a puppy preschool. There are professionals and other puppies to learn skills together. This will be beneficial to your dog's physical and mental health; it also has a useful effect on getting along with you and your families. Remember to get your dog vaccinated for the appropriate age. 

    Socializing your Puppy

    • Signs of Illness

    Puppies at their early ages have poor resistance to disease. Some diseases are very serious and deadly, but most can be prevented. That's why vaccination is so important for puppies. In addition, dog owners should be on the lookout for any sign and symptom of their puppies. Seek medical advice immediately in case of emergency. Some symptoms you should know:
      • Loss of appetite
      • Loss of weight
      • Vomiting
      • Stomachache/Abdominal pain
      • Lethargy
      • Diarrhea
      • Have trouble breathing
      • Coughing
      • Terrible nasal/eye discharge

    5. How to Training Your Puppy?

    To get your dog behaved well, you need to train him/her. This requires some skills and methods. If you teach your dog some right instructions and give them right commands at his/her early age, he/she will be obedient and not make less trouble when he/she grows up. Plus, dogs are smart; your relationship will be more harmonious and happy after right training. So what are those suitable methods?

    • Housebreak your Puppy

    It's best to start training your puppy as early as possible. The earlier he/she is house-trained, the faster he/she will learn and the less trouble you'll deal with. If you have a yard for your dog to defecate, take him/her outside regularly. If it's not convenient for you to take your dog outside, consider using training pads or dog potty, letting your puppy know where to defecate and urinate.

    Here are some important points you need to remember. First, don't let him/her wander in the house. If you are not playing with him/her, place him/her in his/her crate or exercise pen, or tether him/her to the spot where he/she can see you. Otherwise he/she will get into the habit of wandering, and it will be difficult to lock him/her up in the future. Second, know him/her well. Take him/her outside (or puppy’s toilet) immediately after you notice that he/she might want to defecate and urinate. Take him/her to the same spot every time. Last, praise and treat him/her for using the outdoors!

    • Crate-train your Puppy

    If you had made up your mind not to keep your puppy in pens or crates before you take him/her home, and you will always keep him/her free in the house, then you might move to the next part. If you intend to cage up your puppy in a crate, please read on.

    Crate training has many benefits, for example, helping control your dog behaves properly, and giving you a peaceful night and good sleep. Even if there's no one at home, you do not need to worry about him/her being alone. It is safe being in the crate. Leave a dog potty under the crate and clean it regularly.

    dog crate

    • Teach your Puppy Some Basic Commands

    Having a well-bred dog is a joyful thing to a family. Start early to teach puppies basic commands for proper behaviors and good habits, which will make your coexistence harmonious and easier. It is more difficult to correct bad habits than to form good ones. Therefore, develop good habits when your dog is young.

    Build routines and rules for new puppy early, because breaking bad habits is harder. Teach your puppy to sit, come, lie down, shake hands, etc., if capable, you can also teach him/her to help you do some easy housework; some dogs are willing to help owners because they think it is a good way to have fun and improve your relationship.

    • Enroll in an Obedience Class

    If you want to train your dog systematically and professionally, or if you don't have enough time to train your dog, you can sign up for pet training classes. There will be professionals helping him/her learn how to behave in front of unfamiliar dogs and people, and give him/her good social skills. Yes, pets also need social skills. Enrolling in an obedience class will make training easier and professional.
    • Get your Puppy Used to Car Rides

    Imaging that take your puppy out for a drive and enjoy beautiful scenes, relaxing and cool, isn’t it? Before that, you need to familiarize your dog with the car rides so that he/she will not get upset. In the beginning, staying in an unfamiliar, confine space might make your puppy upset and uncomfortable. You can take his/her toys together, provide favorite snacks and clean water, and slow down. If your puppy is carsick, you need to ask vets for some professional advice.

    Notably, prepare a dog car seat, seat belt, guardrail, or crate to avoid accidents and ensure your dog's safety. Remember NEVER let your dog in the car ALONE, on particularly hot/cold day. On hot or cold days, the temperature in the car can rise rapidly, which endangers your dog's life.

    6. FAQs About Dog Care

    • Is feeding a dog expensive?

    Most people will choose to adopt a cat or dog. The main cost is on groceries, food, and basic medical expenses. It also depends on the breed of your dog, and the brand of food you choose. Budget reasonably and plan in advance and spend wisely.

    • How do I set up a room for a puppy?

    If you are good at handwork, you can buy some materials, like metal, wood or plastic, to build a dog room for your puppy. If not, you can buy a ready-to-use crate or pet playpens. Ensure that he/she has a comfy space to sleep, and ample space to play. Pet playpens are easy to set up, use and rebuild. Remember to put your dog's food bowl, water bottle and other necessities in the pen. If you want a confined space, you can pick a crate/kennel for your dog to avoid escape.

    • How can I know if my dog needs to go to the bathroom?

    dog needs to go to the bathroom

    You can tell when your dog needs to go to the bathroom by noticing some signs, like moaning, crying, standing there staring at the door. Plus, after the dog ate, it is best to take him/her outside to poop and pee.

    • Where should my new dog sleep at night?

    When the dog just arrives at home, he/she can sleep in the kennel next to your bed. The dog will be comforted by the close contact with his/her owner and feel safe. Later, when the dog is familiar with environment, he/she can feel free to move to another place or he/she will find the favorite bed himself/herself.

    • How often should I give my puppy a bath?

    You can bathe your dog once a month. If he/she is dirty or smelly, you might increase the frequency of showers to once every two weeks; but don't over-clean. Excessive bathing can dry out the skin and make him/her very uncomfortable. Dogs need a certain amount of oil to keep their fur and skin healthy.

    bathe my dog
    • What time of day should I feed my dog?

    About feeding, generally, it is advised that feed your puppy twice a day around 7:00-8:00am and 17:00-18:00pm. Dogs usually need 4-6 hours to fully digest and uptake the food. Do not overfeed puppies because they cannot control food intake and overeating may endanger their health.

    7. Conclusion:

    Dogs are human’s best friend. If you decide to feed them, please love and do not abandon them. It is not that hard to raise them as long as you are patient, gentle and follow scientific instructions. I hope that as mentioned above will help you. If you have any questions about the article or the shown products, you may feel free to contact us via We are always here and waiting for you!

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