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Tidewater Parent


Tips for Bringing Home a Puppy

(Family Features) Seventeen million Americans bring home a new pet each year, according to the American Humane Association – and a lot of those pets are adorable puppies. “It’s exciting to bring home a new puppy, but there are several things you need to think about before you do,” said Dr. Simon Starkey, PetSmart veterinarian. “To get your new puppy off to a great start, it’s important to make sure you and your home are prepared for your new family member.” Here are Dr. Starkey’s helpful tips:

  • Puppy Proofing Your Home: Take a moment to crawl on the ground to see the world through your puppy’s eyes. Make a list of all the potential dangers you notice and remove them from your puppy’s curious reach. Be sure to remove poisons like laundry detergent or chemical cleaners and even some house plants; and be sure to puppy-proof your plugs, hot spots and other potential hazards such as space heaters or tubs and pools.
  • Food and Nutrition: A healthy feeding routine starts with premium puppy food and also includes: proper storage to make sure food is fresh, finding a food and water bowl that are the right size, feeding the right amount, sticking to a schedule, and avoiding people food.
  • Fight Stains and Odor: Puppy accidents come with the territory. To minimize those accidents, be consistent with potty training and try Nature’s Miracle Stain and Odor cleaning products to help discourage a puppy from marking the same spot again.
  • Training: Potty training tips, introducing a new puppy to any other dogs, and beginner commands can make the transition to a new home easier for your puppy. Visit your local PetSmart store for information on in-store training and home reinforcement products like Sentry Stop That pheromone noise spray to help teach your dog right from wrong.
  • Grooming: At-home grooming begins with nail trimmings, brushing and baths. You can also visit a PetSmart stylist to groom or bathe your puppy.

“As soon as you can, schedule your puppy’s first vet appointment to confirm your puppy’s vaccination schedule and discuss preventative health care such as proper teeth care,” said Dr. Starkey. “Like people, puppies have temporary teeth, and permanent teeth begin to emerge by about four months so it is important to establish a good oral health routine right away.”

To help pet parents take the guesswork out of caring for their new puppy, purchase the PetSmart Puppy Starter Kit. The kit includes vouchers for a bag of specialty puppy food, a one-hour puppy orientation seminar, a puppy bath, two Doggie Day Camp visits, and a veterinary consultation at Banfield Pet Hospital located inside stores. The kit also includes coupons for savings on necessities such as flea and tick medication, collars or leashes, ID tags and more.

To learn more about puppy essentials and services, visit a store near you or

Photo courtesy of Getty Images

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One of our staff who provides news and information for families in Hampton Roads.

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