Caring for your New Puppy

Resources > Animal Welfare Advisory > Caring for your New Puppy

Thinking of a Pup ??? Here’ What You Need To Think About…..

Making a decision to own a puppy is exciting and also life changing. To ensure the right start, it is best to consider the pet characteristics that would fit the home environment, family lifestyle and needs, breed from a breeder or giving a second chance to one from the animal shelter and if so, kudos to you!

Puppies from Breeders

A reputable establishment selling puppies will be able to provide full details of the conditions in which they were bred and information about their parents. They will also ensure that their personnel are trained, their premises meet necessary care and welfare conditions, and enable animals in their care to express natural behaviour. The pups they sell will also be under regular veterinary supervision.

Small scale dog breeders also vary in their standards and practices, so similar care is needed when approaching.

Here are our top tips for selecting a happy, healthy puppy:

  • Ask to visit the puppy in the environment in which they have been born to assess whether their husbandry standards have been adequate
  • Make an assessment of the puppy’s general condition. Check for signs of ill-health, such as underweight or thin body condition, presence of external parasites such as fleas, runny eyes or nose, dirty and smelly ears, a dirty or sore area under the tail which may indicate that they are suffering from diarrhoea. The puppy, their siblings and their parents should look well, with bright eyes, a good coat and be able to move around easily
  • Enquire about what socialisation experiences they have had in their first 8 weeks of life. For example, have they interacted with adult people of both sexes, children and adolescents, and other cats/dogs? Do they live in a home environment where they are exposed to normal noises such as a washing machine or television?
  • Enquire about what health checks have been carried out. What vaccinations has the puppy received? Confirm whether they have had appropriate worming treatments. If there are any doubts walk away, however hard this may be. Buying a puppy from an establishment with poor standards of care will provide funds to continue these practices. If appropriate, consider reporting the facility to the Department of Veterinary Services Malaysia.

Pups from Rescue Centres (Shelters)

Adopting a pup from a rescue centre can be extremely rewarding. They are a great place to find neutered, vaccinated and house-trained pups who make excellent pets, including individuals with special care needs. Adoption of a pup from a shelter helps provide the pup with a secure and loving home, as well as creating space within the centre for another animal in need. A good shelter will prepare a prospective pet for transition to its new home and will take time to identify and address potential behavioural issues, if any.

Many will also try to match a pup with its new family to maximise the chances of success. This may involve completion of a questionnaire, a home visit and meetings with existing pups on neutral ground to ensure compatibility. Some shelters offer classes for new owners to assist with ongoing training. These sorts of initiatives promote successful pet ownership and help to reduce the risk of a pup being returned to the shelter.

Transporting/Stabilizing in New Home

Before transporting the puppy, cover the backseat of your car and place the pup in a carrier. This will keep pup safe and secured. Establishing some similarities between the environment of the breeder and the new home can help make a smooth transition. The transfer of scents (e.g. in the form of bedding from the breeder) and encounters with the new owner whilst the puppy is with the breeder can be very effective in helping with the move. Using a crate for the pet to return to can also help. This restricts the size and complexity of the environment the pup has to adjust to, and provides a comfortable, safe and secure refuge.

The use of a crate can be gradually reduced once the puppy becomes comfortable in its new surroundings, although given the opportunity many pups will continue to use this as their quiet, safe place to rest and sleep even when adult. Crates should be associated with positive experiences and never be used to confine as a punishment.

Home Environment

Meeting the environment needs of pups helps to ensure their optimal well-being and behaviour, good health and overall quality of life. These needs encompass not only their physical surroundings, but also their social interactions with people and other animals in the home. A familiar and predictable home in which the pet can exercise some control over its physical environment and social interactions helps to reduces stress and enables them to cope with any challenges.

When first introduced into a new home, have a reasonable sized pen with plain sheets of paper for pup to lie on. Avoid newspapers due to the ink. Restricting their environment to one room and gradually extending the space they have access to, can help them cope with the unfamiliarity. Once they appear to be comfortable in their new surroundings you can gradually introduce them to the rest of their environment. A comfortable, dry and free space to rest, in a location where they can avoid things that frighten them, will help them to feel safe and comfortable. Don’t leave pup alone for the first 2 weeks in your home. Provide toys for enrichment.


By the time you brought pup home, the breeder or shelter would have given you what pup was fed on. You could bring pup to your trusted vet after he/she has settled at home or bring pup to the veterinarian first. Either way is fine. Nutrition is most important at this stage so feeding the right food is most crucial as you don’t want issues down the road. Your trusted veterinarian would be able to advise and also give a thorough check-up on pup. Provide pup with a water bowl and food bowl. Let both be stainless steel so pup doesn’t decide to chew on it. I don’t advise plastic bowls. Once and if ingested, it’s dangerous. Try not to give treats at such an early stage too as pup is at a development stage. It is recommended after a year later. Puppies need to be fed frequently like 3 to 4 times a day and feed accordingly. No more or less as you don’t want an obese or anorexic pup by the time it is 9 months old!

Toilet Training

Toilet training of puppies is a more involved and lengthy process with some breeds and individuals easier to train than others. An awareness of what is required—and being prepared to invest the time needed to establish good, predictable routines—is the key to success. Puppies generally need to urinate just after waking from a nap and will need to be taken outside immediately. Puppies have weak bladder control and need to urinate often (every 1-2 hours) and may spontaneously urinate if they are playing or become excited. Their digestive tract is also stimulated by eating, and they will usually need to urinate and defecate shortly after a meal (within 15-30 mins). They are naturally disinclined to urinate or defecate within their living area and can become distressed if they do not have frequent opportunities to relieve themselves away from their sleeping area. Kennel or crate training can help establish appropriate spaces for living and sleeping. Use of a verbal cue when a puppy urinates/ defecates appropriately, in combination with a reward, enables them to associate toileting correctly with something positive.

Puppies should not be punished when house soiling occurs. This approach, termed positive reinforcement or reward-based training, has been shown to be particularly effective in reinforcing canine learning. Ultimately, the reward can be gradually replaced by sole use of the verbal cue. Avoid a cue that is used in other situations, as this may trigger a puppy to toilet inappropriately. This is also a particularly useful command to establish for the future when the dog accompanies their family on outings and needs to understand the right time to urinate and defecate.

Next month’s topic would be NUTRITION & HEALTHCARE and most importantly knowledge of the diseases that cats and dogs face! A must know for all Pet Parents.