Puppy Care – Introducing a Puppy to a New Environment

    Published: 06-16-2009
    Views: 14,518
    Dr. Elisa Mazzaferro, American Animal Hospital Association spokesperson, discusses introducing your puppy to a new environment.

    Dr. Elisa Mazzaferro: Hi! I'm Dr. Elisa Mazzaferro with AAHA and today we're talking about how to care for a puppy. We're going to discuss how to introduce that puppy into your new household environment, specifically, how to introduce your puppy to other pets as well as other family members such as children.

    Think about the curious puppy, jumping into a large dog or a cat's face. What I see as a veterinarian are puppies that come in because the small puppy intimidates or annoys the larger dog and gets bitten on the face right away, or has a scratch on the eye because a cat is typically too annoyed to even bother with it.

    And so what I recommend is investing in a couple of baby gates and slowly and gradually introducing that puppy to your home environment. So, put a baby gate in between a kitchen or a bathroom, for example, and put that puppy in the smaller area and other pets can look through that gate to where the puppy is. They can get nose to nose contact without necessarily putting the puppy in any danger.

    Then, you can gradually with restrictions and with observation watch that puppy in its new environment. As that puppy grows, and as your larger dogs or cats get more familiar with that puppy, you can gradually increase the amount of time that they spend with each other.

    I would recommend taking away any source of distraction or things that might allow one puppy or one dog to become aggressive. So, always feed that puppy and the other dogs in areas away from one another so that they are not fighting over food. If you have toys, make sure each of them has a toy and make sure they don't fight over them.

    If they start fighting over toys, take the toys away from both of them and have time-up periods so that they won't get distracted and they won't be intimidated and try to fight with one another over those types of things.

    If you live in a household with cats or pocket pets, such as rabbits, jerboas, guinea pigs, or little furry things that puppies would like to chase, I would recommend supervised play at all times. You don't want to scare those pets and you don't want those pets to be in danger.

    Similarly, it's important when introducing any dog or a puppy to a household environment where there are small children, that small children and any type of dog whether as a puppy or a larger dog of any breed, that the puppy and dog is supervised at all times with that child.

    Little toddlers don't know better and they, as they teeter around can actually fall on a puppy, or try to grab on it to maintain their balance. The puppy might see that as intimidating and turn around and snap or bite. I've seen children pick up puppies and accidentally drop them or they trip over puppies. I'm giving you worst case scenarios, but we want your puppy to lead a happy, healthy life with all of your family.

    So be careful, and with supervision, your puppy can gradually be introduced to its home environment in a safe and friendly atmosphere.

    Next, we're going to talk about surviving your puppy's first night.