More people than ever before are opening their hearts and homes to puppies this year. Whether you were a new puppy owner or adding a second/third canine to the family, puppies provided wagging tails and comforting cuddles when the world needed it most. A new puppy brings a lot of new responsibilities and questions though. The biggest questions always revolving around “When is my puppy old enough to…”. The Dog Stop is here to answer all your new puppy age-related questions.
Doggy Daycare & Boarding:
2020 provided a crucial element needed to raise a puppy – time. However, as the world slowly transitions into a “new normal,” with pet parents heading back to the office and children to classrooms, our canine family members will also need a place to spend their days.
If you’re planning for your pup to be a frequent visitor of daycare or boarding, The Dog Stop recommends waiting until they are at least 6 months of age. Younger puppies (3-4 months) can certainly attend, but it is suggested to start them out doing shorter days with frequent breaks or taking advantage of “play-and-train”/enrichment programs.
A dog’s critical socialization period is 8 weeks to 6 months old, but it is important to socialize a dog at a pace that is age-appropriate. For puppies under six months old, we recommend starting them in one of our Puppy Training Classes or other small group play sessions. Once they graduate, they will be ready to play with the “big dogs” in daycare!
Unlike daycare and boarding, grooming is important to start as young as possible, with the understanding that early grooming sessions are more focused on creating a positive experience for the puppy. Handling should begin before puppies even leave their litter and continued at home. The Dog Stop recommends scheduling their first professional groom as early as 10 weeks old.
The very first grooming appointment is an introduction to the puppy and the owner to the world of grooming. The puppy will be introduced to bathing, blow-drying, and nail clipping. It is not recommended that a full-service groom be given on their first time. Think baby steps! The puppy will be introduced to having scissors around the face and having to hold still while the pads on their feet are trimmed.
Depending on how the puppy reacts to the first grooming session, we create a timeline for when we feel it is best to give them an official first full haircut. Some puppies might need to do a few more sessions like this, while others are more comfortable being handled by the groomer and being on a table.
One of the biggest questions we receive is ‘what food is best to feed my new puppy?’ A dog’s diet is highly dependent on its breed and individual needs, so it’s always best to consult your vet for their specific breed suggestions. The same goes for deciding when to transition your dog from a puppy to an adult diet. Generally speaking, puppies’ transition to adult food around the 6-12 months mark. However, your vet can provide you with a more exact timeline. Also, many food formulas are also “all life stages” and are appropriate for both puppies and adult dogs. Check The Dog Stop food comparison chart:
It is important to remember that the above are just recommendations. Every dog is different, and you should never overwhelm your puppy with more than they are prepared to handle. To ensure your pup gets the right social behaviors in place, a bit of proactive training is always required, as well as a lot of patience and positive reinforcement. This is especially true of professional services like daycare, boarding, grooming, and vet visits.