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A Guide to the First Year of Raising a Puppy

A Guide to the First Year of Raising a Puppy

Puppies are cute, but raising a puppy takes work. Here are some tips on raising a puppy from our Turlock vets to help you get through the first year with your new puppy to help them grow up to be a happy, healthy, well-adjusted dog.

Things to Consider When Getting a Puppy

Life with a puppy is similar to life with a toddler. You'll need a lot of patience. Puppies are compelled to chew excessively as their adult teeth emerge, your puppy will probably try to chew everything including the living room rug, your shoes, or even your hand.

Having a dog means assuming responsibility for their happiness, safety, and health. It means being able to pay for vet fees when your pet gets hurt or eats something they shouldn't,  and having a plan in place for their care when you can't be there (pet sitter). It means not constantly screaming at your dog  because your dog does not speak English and does not understand the words "stop chewing on my shoes!"

Preparing Your Home

It is critical to prepare your home before introducing your new dog into it. A good way to figure out what to do is to think of it as child-proofing your home. Electrical cords should be secured, and potentially hazardous plants or chemicals should be moved out of reach. Close any vents, pet doors, windows, or other openings that could let them run away or get them stranded.

Prepare to begin house training your puppy as soon as you get him home. Have the crate ready if you intend to crate train him. Line it with blankets or a dog bed to make it more comfortable. Make sure it's big enough for him to stand up, turn around, and lie down.

If you do plan to crate your puppy, set aside a tiny area, such as a powder room or a kitchen corner, where he can be confined and kept away from other dogs and small children. Make sure you have some puppy training pads on hand to catch any accidents, as well as a dog bed, food and water bowls, and a toy or two.


Look for high-quality puppy food that has been specially prepared to help puppies develop and grow. The appropriate amount of food is determined by characteristics such as age, size, and breed. Ask your vet about how much and how often you should feed your dog.

To guarantee enough nourishment for some tiny breeds of dogs, it may be best to free-feed. Toy and tiny breed dogs mature physically faster than larger breeds and can be moved to adult dog food and adult-sized portions between the ages of nine and twelve months.

Larger breeds should be fed several meals each day in appropriate portions to avoid issues like stomach bloat and protein or calcium buildup.

Here's a general guideline for a large-bred of dog to be fed:

  • Six to twelve weeks old: Four meals per day
  • Three to six months old: Three meals per day
  • Six months and up: Two meals per day


Like todldlers potty training need to be undertaken with your puppy. Your dogs will try not to soil their bed and the area around it. Create a potty pattern for your puppy, bearing in mind that small puppies will often need to go out every couple of hours. Take him to a portion of the yard where he won't be exposed to other animals until he's had all of his vaccines. Your  puppy is still learning so don't punish your puppy for a mistake.

It's usually best to ignore undesirable behavior or to correct your dog with a simple but strong "no." Don't hit or yell at your dog. When he exhibits bad behavior, attempt to redirect him to something positive. Obedience lesson are a good way to teach him proper behavior, and it will also aid in socialization.

Proper socialization is critical to the success of raising a puppy. They need to be introduced to as many new people, places, experiences, and circumstances as possible to grow into a well-adjusted dog. You should wait until he has had all of his vaccines before taking him out in public or allowing him to interact with other animals but, you may begin socializing your puppy right away by playing with him and introducing him to new people, sights, noises, smells, and textures.

Always supervise children or other pets while they are around your puppy's food or favorite toy to reduce even minor resource guarding habits.

The most crucial lessons is to teach a puppy not to bite. Establishing your position as pack leader will help your puppy remember that he must earn your respect and obey you. Keep in mind that your dog desires your approval but also requires your direction. If your puppy nips or bites, discipline with a calm but firm "no".

Exercise & Play

Bored dogs are more likely to engage in aggressive or improper behavior. Providing them with toys and outdoor exercise helps to keep their mind stimulated. 

Your First Vet Visit

You should make an appointment with a veterinarian for a health checkup to evaluate the health of your puppy. At Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital, we're always ready to accept new patients.

Your veterinarian can recommend a parasite control program to keep fleas, ticks, and heartworms away. They can suggest when to bring them in to be fixed, which can help lessen the chance of health and behavioral issues.

You can ask your veterinarian any questions you have regarding care for your dog, such as what kind of food is best to feed them. They can also advise you on puppy care issues such as tooth brushing and nail cutting, and even show you how to do it.

While you're there, you can also try to schedule his 6-month vet checkup to check on his growth and progress. 

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Do you have a new puppy and need to schedule its first veterinary appointment Contact our Turlock vets to make an appoinment.

New Patients Welcome

Monte Vista Small Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Turlock companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

(209) 634-0023

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