Your puppy’s 1st year

Bringing a puppy home for the first time can be exciting, and a little bit daunting if you are a new pet owner. This step-by-step guide to your puppy’s first year of life will help you to be the best paw-rent they could wish for.

puppy first year

0-8 weeks

This is when your puppy should be with it’s mum and littermates. Mum’s milk gives them the best start. Your puppy should be weaned onto a complete, balanced puppy food from 4-6 weeks of age.

Worms can pass to puppies from their mother before they’re born (in the uterus) and through her milk. Mum should have been wormed during pregnancy, and the puppies should also be wormed every month from two weeks of age.

From 6 weeks your puppy is old enough to start puppy vaccinations . They should normally have had the first vaccination by the time you take them home.

Puppy training can also start from about 6 weeks of age. Puppies learn a lot about behaviour from their mum and siblings, but human contact is also important to build their confidence with people. It’s good to visit your puppy a few times during this period before you bring them home.

It is a legal requirement to have a puppy microchipped by 8 weeks of age, and before they are sold. If you are buying from a breeder your puppy should already be microchipped. Make sure you contact the pet microchip database to update your contact details. You need to do this every time you change address or phone numbers.

puppy first year

8-12 weeks

Welcome home to your new puppy! You can bring your puppy home from 8 weeks of age. Our new owner packs are full of all the advice and tips you need to give your newest family member everything they need.

The best puppy food is a complete, balanced puppy food – you may want to stay with the brand recommended by the breeder, or swap to another brand. If you decide to swap, make sure you wean slowly (over a week) onto the new food to allow your puppy’s tummy to adjust and avoid stomach upsets.

Toilet training your puppy can start straight away, along with basic commands such as ‘Sit’, ‘Lie down’, and ‘Wait’.

At 10 weeks old your puppy can have the second vaccination (it’s important to have the two vaccinations to ensure your puppy is protected). Two weeks after your puppy has completed the full vaccination course, they will be safe to meet other dogs and be walked outside.

Your puppy still needs worming every month. If your puppy is pooing worms contact us as they may need additional treatment. Regular treatment for skin parasites (such as fleas, ticks and mites) is recommended.

Pet insurance for your puppy is a good idea. It helps to give you peace of mind if your puppy is injured or becomes unwell and needs a lot of treatment.

12-16 weeks

This is a great time to socialise and train your puppy. Contact your local easipetcare practice to find out about local puppy classes.

This is also the earliest time you can consider neutering your puppy. The best age to neuter a puppy will depend on their breed, behaviour and growth. It’s important to get advice early on, so you can plan the best time for your individual puppy.

4-6 months

Your puppy is nearly half way the first year of life! They will be growing rapidly. Keeping consistent with training and up to date with monthly worming treatments is important.

This is the time when your puppy starts teething. Their teeth and gums may be sore so they will want to chew a lot! It is important to provide them with plenty of puppy-safe toys to chew. This is also a good time to start a dental care routine. Dental disease is very common in adult dogs, so getting into good habits now can help to keep their teeth healthy when they are older.

6-8 months

Your puppy is now in the adolescent phase, and starting to learn his place in the family ‘pack’. He may enter a second phase of chewing as all his adult teeth come through.

From this age your puppy only needs to be wormed every 3 months.

8-12 months

Your puppy is nearing a year old!

Smaller breed dogs stop growing around a year old, but larger breeds may keep growing for 18 months or more. You can wean your puppy onto a balanced adult dog food once they’ve stop growing.

This is the time your puppy may start to show sexual behaviour (if they haven’t been neutered). Females usually come into season for the first time around a year old. Some of the health and behaviour benefits of neutering are lost at this time. We’re happy to discuss any concerns you may have about neutering to help you make the best decision for your puppy.

12+ months

Your puppy has grown into a dog! But it’s said they need ‘a year of sense under each paw’, so they may still behave like a puppy for several years to come!

Your fur-baby may not be such a baby any more, but they’re a part of your family. It’s important to keep up to date with their preventative care of annual vaccinations, and flea, tick and worm treatment. Our healthcare plans <LINK https://www.easipetcare.com/healthcare-plans/> are an affordable way to make sure your pet receives the best care for a happy, healthy life.

If you need any more advice, contact us or pop into your local easipetcare practice and talk to our friendly staff. We’re here to help your new puppy stay happy and healthy throughout their life.

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