Puppy Care 101: Tips for First-Time Owners

Puppy,presa,canario,dog,playing,in,the,grassBringing a new puppy into your home is a joyful and exciting experience. However, it also comes with the responsibility of caring for your furry friend in the best possible way. For first-time puppy owners, this journey can be both rewarding and challenging. To help you provide the best care for your new companion, we’ve put together this comprehensive guide on puppy care 101. From feeding and exercise to grooming and healthcare, we’ll cover all the essential tips you need to ensure a healthy start for your puppy.

1. Choose the Right Food

Proper nutrition is the foundation of a healthy and happy puppy. It’s crucial to choose a high-quality puppy food that meets their specific nutritional needs. Look for dog food labeled as “puppy” to ensure it’s formulated for their growth and development. Puppies require a balanced diet with the right balance of protein, fats, and carbohydrates. Consult your veterinarian for guidance on the best food for your puppy’s breed and size.

2. Feeding Schedule

Establishing a consistent feeding schedule is essential for your puppy’s well-being. Puppies typically need to eat more frequently than adult dogs. Start with three to four meals a day for very young puppies and gradually transition to two meals a day as they grow. Be sure to measure their food portions to avoid overfeeding, which can lead to obesity. A reliable schedule helps with potty training as it regulates their bathroom habits.

3. Fresh Water Always

Just like with food, access to fresh, clean water is vital for your puppy’s health. Make sure your puppy always has access to water, and clean and refill their water bowl daily. Proper hydration is crucial for their overall well-being, so monitor their water intake, especially during hot weather or after vigorous play.

4. Socialization and Training

Socialization is an integral part of a puppy’s development. Expose your puppy to various people, animals, and environments from an early age. Positive social experiences help build confidence and ensure they grow into well-adjusted adults. Additionally, invest time in basic training, teaching essential commands like sit, stay, and recall. Positive reinforcement techniques work best, rewarding good behavior with praise, treats, or toys.

5. Exercise and Play

Puppies have a lot of energy, and regular exercise and play are vital for their physical and mental development. Engage in activities like fetch, tug-of-war, and short walks to help them burn off excess energy. Keep in mind that puppies have different exercise needs based on their breed and age, so consult with your veterinarian to determine an appropriate exercise routine.

6. Grooming and Hygiene

Proper grooming and hygiene practices are essential for a happy and healthy puppy. Brush your puppy’s coat regularly to remove loose hair and prevent matting, which is especially important for long-haired breeds. Additionally, regular baths are essential to keep their fur clean and reduce odor. Introduce them to grooming routines from an early age to make it a positive and stress-free experience.

7. Dental Care

Dental care is often overlooked, but it’s a crucial aspect of puppy care. Establish a routine for brushing your puppy’s teeth to prevent dental problems in the future. You can use dog-specific toothbrushes and toothpaste, as human products are not safe for dogs. Providing dental chews and toys designed to promote oral health can also help keep their teeth clean.

8. Parasite Control

Puppies are susceptible to parasites like fleas and ticks. Regularly check your puppy’s fur for any signs of these pests, especially after outdoor activities. Consult with your veterinarian for a suitable parasite control plan, which may include flea and tick preventatives, heartworm prevention, and regular deworming.

9. Veterinary Care

Regular veterinary check-ups are crucial for monitoring your puppy’s health and addressing any potential issues early. Your veterinarian will provide vaccinations to protect your puppy from common diseases and discuss spaying or neutering options at the appropriate age. They can also advise on preventive care measures tailored to your puppy’s needs.

10. Puppy-Proof Your Home

Puppies are naturally curious and can get into mischief if your home isn’t puppy-proofed. Safeguard your puppy by securing potentially harmful substances, like cleaning products and medications, out of reach. Ensure there are no small objects, electrical cords, or other hazards they can chew on. Baby gates can be useful for restricting access to certain areas of your home.

11. Patience and Affection

Puppy care isn’t just about physical needs; it’s also about providing love, patience, and affection. Your puppy thrives on companionship and positive interaction. Spend time playing, cuddling, and building a strong bond with your new furry friend. Remember that puppies, like children, learn through exploration and make mistakes along the way, so be patient and use positive reinforcement to encourage good behavior.

12. Consider Puppy Insurance

Puppy health insurance can be a valuable investment, providing financial security in case of unexpected medical expenses. It can give you peace of mind knowing that you can provide the best care for your puppy without the worry of high vet bills. Research different insurance options and choose a plan that fits your budget and your puppy’s needs.


Being a first-time puppy owner is a rewarding experience, but it comes with its share of responsibilities. Providing proper care and attention to your puppy’s needs is essential for their health and happiness. From nutrition and grooming to socialization and training, these puppy care tips will set you on the path to becoming a responsible and loving pet parent.

Got Questions? Let Us Help!

D&G Kennels is owned and operated by Randy and Lauren Green. Our primary goal at D&G Kennels is to improve and highlight the virtues of the Presa Canario (also known as the Canary Mastiff) breed. We deal solely in imports, with regular trips to the Canary Islands to select our breeding stock, looking always for the ideals in working ability, health, and correct conformation. For over 20 years, we’ve put our time and passion into these dogs, and our kennel is one of only a handful of breeders that have been working with the breed for so long. We do take appointments for kennel visits, so please give us a call today!