10 Common New Puppy Questions

Pete Wedderburn
13th November 2020 - 4 min read

Why is my new puppy crying? 

Sometimes, the best way to understand pet behaviour is to imagine yourself being in your pet’s situation: science tells us that pets often experience the same emotions as humans. So young animals are born into a family situation, and then when they are two or three months of age, they are suddenly, without warning, removed from their mother and siblings, and taken to a strange new place, with new humans, new surroundings, and very little to remind them of “home”.

It’s no wonder that they can feel anxious, and that’s why they vocalise. So to help them, you need to make sure that their new home is as comfortable and reassuring as possible, with calm, friendly people around them. It’s good to start new routines, with set times for meals, and times for play as well as for resting.

cavalier puppy lying down pink piillow

Where should a new puppy sleep?

A puppy crate is a great idea: your pup will soon start to see this as their private bedroom, where they can go to chill out if they want to have some peace. Don’t rush to them every time they vocalise, as you could accidentally teach them to keep whining, by rewarding them for the behaviour. But don’t ignore them either: reward them for being quiet and calm, by praising them when they are like that, and this will soon become their default mode.

Why is my new pup biting? 

It’s normal for young animals to investigate the world with their mouths: you do need to teach them about house rules. So if they bite you, withdraw attention, and ignore them for a short while. Then re-engage when they are quiet and calm. And let them bite toys, rewarding them with attention when they do this. Animals are smart, and they will soon learn the best way to do things.

Why is my new pet not sleeping? 

Young animals need to learn the routine of their new home; this takes time. So decide on when you want things to happen (e.g. late evening walk, a treat, then time for bed), and stick to the same process day after day. After a few repetitions, puppies will adapt. Make bed as comfy as possible, with soft bedding, and a radio playing classical music close by.

What vaccines does a new puppy need? 

There are four main diseases that dogs need to be vaccinated against: Distemper, Parvovirus, Infectious Hepatitis, and Leptospirosis. These are all common in Ireland, and if pups pick these up, they’re often fatal, despite treatment. That’s why vaccinations are so important. Do talk to your vet about this: they will advise you on what’s needed for your particular puppy.

brown puppy being held

When can my new puppy go outside? 

Pups need to be properly protected against viruses by keeping them away from public places until their vaccine has produced good immunity. That’s usually one week after their final vaccine, at around three months of age, but you should ask your vet this specific question, as it does vary, depending on which vaccine programme is used.

When can a new puppy take a bath?

In general, it’s good to get pups used to all new experiences when they are young, and that includes having a bath. Use a puppy shampoo, and be gentle, stopping if they get at all upset or anxious. Most puppies learn to enjoy having baths, and giving them once a week for the first while is a good way to make it something not to be feared.

What should I feed a new puppy? 

As a general rule, it’s best to feed a puppy initially on the same food that it was fed in its original home. Ask the breeder for a small bag of this. Once the pup has settled in, you can gradually change over to the food of your choice, and there’s plenty to choose from.

There is no single universally wonderful way to feed dogs: Pete the vet says his own choice is a dry kibble food, made from specified, good-quality ingredients, but some other people choose other feeding regimes for their own pets. The aim is to provide all of your dog’s nutritional needs, allowing them to thrive, with bright eyes, shiny coats, and a healthy digestive tract. So if you choose a diet that does not meet these goals, you need to change to one that does.

When should I worm my new puppy? 

In general, a pup should be given a worm dose every two weeks till three months of age, then once a month till they have reached six months of age. This is important, to eradicate the disease-causing worms that nearly all pups pick up from their mother’s milk. A single dose is not enough: repeated doses are essential.  

Should I give anti-flea treatment to my puppy?

There are different views on anti-flea medication, and it’s best to do a risk assessment. Some pups (e.g. living in areas where they meet other dogs regularly) should have regular flea prevention for their entire lives, while others (e.g. those that rarely see other animals) may never need it.

girl holding brown and black puppy