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The Art of Raising a Puppy : Guide for the First Year

Puppies are incredibly cute, but raising one can be quite challenging. Our vets in Somerset have shared some valuable advice on how to raise a puppy. This will help you get through the initial puppy stage and ensure that your furry friend grows up to be a healthy, happy, and well-adjusted dog.

Getting Started: What to Consider When Getting a Puppy

Raising a puppy can be compared to raising a human toddler. While it can be a highly rewarding experience, it requires a lot of patience to ensure that both are safe and encouraged to explore their world in a positive way.

Puppies use their mouths to explore their surroundings, and since they will soon be teething, they tend to chew excessively as their adult teeth emerge. You may find your favorite sweater, living room rug, or even your hand acting as a teething ring for your furry friend.

As a dog owner, you are responsible for your pet's health, safety, and happiness. This means being able to pay for vet fees in case of an emergency and always making arrangements for their care when you're not around. Also, keep in mind that your dog cannot understand your verbal commands since they can't use words. So, possessing emotional intelligence to communicate with them effectively is essential.

Preparing Your Home  

Preparing your home before adopting a new dog is crucial. Make sure to move any plants or chemicals that can harm your pet out of reach, secure electrical cords, and close any doors or vents that lead to danger or isolation. 

It's also important to start house-training your puppy when you bring them home. If you plan on crate-training your dog, prepare the crate beforehand with blankets or a bed to make it comfortable. Ensure the crate is large enough for your pet to stand up, turn around, and lie comfortably.

You can dedicate a small area, such as a corner of the kitchen or a powder room, for your puppy to stay in initially, away from small children and other dogs. Purchase some puppy training pads to catch any accidents, and set up water and food bowls, a dog bed, and a few toys.


It's imperative to ensure your puppy has the right diet and nutrition to keep it healthy and full of energy. High-quality puppy food has been specifically prepared to help puppies grow and develop as they should. Ask your veterinarian for guidance about how much and how often you should feed your dog since your dog's breed, size, age, and other factors will determine the appropriate amount of food. 

It may be best to free feed to help some tiny breeds of dogs get enough nourishment. Because toy and tiny breed dogs mature faster physically than larger breeds, they can graduate to adult dog food and adult-sized portions between the ages of 9 and 12 months. 

Larger breeds should eat many properly portioned meals throughout the day to prevent issues such as protein and calcium buildup or stomach bloat. Here is a general guideline for a large dog feeding schedule: 

  • Six to twelve weeks old: Four meals a day 
  • Three to six months old: Three meals a day 
  • Six months and older: Two meals a day 


Dogs naturally avoid soiling their bed and surrounding areas. For young puppies, it is crucial to establish a potty routine since they may need to go out frequently. Take your puppy to a safe and secure location in your yard until he has received all the necessary vaccinations.

Never punish your puppy for an accident; avoid using physical punishment or yelling. Instead, use a simple yet firm "no" to correct any undesirable behavior. Redirect your puppy's attention to something positive, and consider enrolling him in obedience classes to teach him proper behavior and socialization.

Socialization is vital to raising a well-adjusted dog. Introduce your puppy to different people, places, experiences, and situations, but wait until he has received all his vaccinations before taking him out in public or letting him interact with other animals.

Some dogs struggle with resource guarding. To reduce even minor resource-guarding habits, always supervise children when they are near your puppy's food or toys.

Teach your puppy not to bite by establishing your position as the pack leader. Earn your puppy's respect and obedience, and reward positive behavior. If your puppy nips or bites, use a calm yet firm "no" to discipline him. Remember that your puppy craves your approval and guidance.

Exercise & Play

Bored dogs are likelier to engage in aggressive or improper behavior, so provide him with puzzle toys and outdoor exercise (walking, playtime) to stimulate his mind. Your dog must understand his place in your home, but this can only be accomplished by consistency and a firm, caring touch.

Your First Vet Visit

If you don't already have a veterinarian, ask around. Your family, friends, and coworkers will almost certainly be able to supply you with numerous references. One of the first things you should do after getting a puppy is to make an appointment with a veterinarian for a health checkup. At Midway Veterinary Hospital, we're always ready to accept new patients.

Your veterinarian will most likely recommend a parasite control program to keep fleas, ticks, and heartworms at bay. They will also advise you on when to bring the puppy in to be fixed, which can help lessen the chance of health and behavioral issues as the puppy ages.

Your veterinarian is not only available to treat your puppy when it is sick but can also advise you on how to care for it. For instance, they can show you how to brush your puppy's teeth and cut its nails. Additionally, you can ask your veterinarian any questions about caring for your puppy, including what kind of food to feed them.

When you visit the veterinarian, you can also schedule your puppy's 6-month checkup to monitor their growth and development. As your puppy starts to enter adolescence, your veterinarian can advise you on preparing for this challenging period. This is also an excellent opportunity to discuss what to expect as your puppy matures into an adult dog.

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.

Are you the proud owner of a new puppy? Contact our vets at Midway Veterinary Hospital today to book your four-legged friend's health checkup.

New Patients Welcome

Are you looking for a new vet in the Somerset area? Midway Veterinary Hospital is accepting new patients! Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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