the Barking Heads' Puppy Guide
Congratulations from everyone here at Barking Heads on your new fluffy bundle of joy!
We know that puppies bring new owners lots of love and laughter but they also generate a lot of questions – so to lend a helping paw our dog-mad team have pulled together some of our top tips to help settle in your new pack member!
There’s nothing cuter than a puppy’s big feet and oversized ears gambling around. But those adorable little features have a terrible knack for getting into mischief… So it’s important to make your home safe for your little one.
- Pups will chew anything they can get their paws on. So grab those dangling wires and cables and tuck away anything that could be swallowed out of the reach of those little puppy teeth. Puppies love to investigate…but cleaning materials and cosmetics can be very dangerous so should be kept well away from inquisitive pups. Try placing up high or storing in cupboards with child-proof latches.
- Excitable pups might upset other furry residents in your home. To avoid any serious rough and tumble introduce your new pack member to other cats and dogs slowly and with multiple adults present.
- The Barking Heads team work with top nutritionists to make sure your puppy’s dinner is tasty and packed to bursting with the right vitamins and minerals. But be extra careful about preparing your dinners around a mischievous puppy who might snaffle some morsels as some everyday human foods are highly toxic to puppies and adult dogs.
- Many garden plants like daffodils, begonias and amaryliis can be poisonous to dogs, so make sure you do your research.
- Be mindful of a puppy’s soft paws – sharp tools like forks and rakes can be dangerous to a small features. Make sure they are safely locked away in the shed.
- Most pups will be good swimmers in time, but it’s best to fence off ponds or pools until they get their water wings...
- Puppies are amazing escape artists, they can wiggle their little bottoms through small holes and cracks. So check for digging spots under fence panels, and gaps behind sheds to make sure your dogs play area is properly secure.
Remember, you should always keep a beady eye on your pup whilst he's freely roaming, even in your home... he's still learning, so needs you to help watch out for hazards.
The super-important basics
So now that you've prepared your home for their arrival, there's a few things your puppy will need in order to thrive.
Puppies should have been wormed more than once by a breeder. But it’s always best to keep an eye out for the tell-tale signs - loose stools, a swollen/pot belly, poor quality coat or you might even see some of the wrigglers on your poor pups poops or bottom. Speak to your vet f you have any worries.
Different puppies will need different jabs - so chat to your vet to make sure your little one gets what they need. As much as you want to show off your adorable little one, try to not have too many visitors, and you will need to limit exercise to your garden until the course is complete.
Puppies milk teeth are replaced by a more adult set around 12-20 weeks. The new teeth pushing through can be uncomfortable, so pups will chew everything in reach to help relieve the discomfort. You may want to try to save your TV remotes, and table legs by investing in some special teething toys.
A lot of over-the-counter products are not suitable for youngsters, so ask your breeder if your pup had his first worming treatment, and then chat to your vet. If you catch your puppy scratching or chewing himself, run a brush through his coat and onto damp tissue - black specs that have red spreading from them indicate fleas.
Like fleas, ticks like to use your puppy for a quick snack. Round, grey and the size of a pea, they are often found around the face, chest and legs, but will attach wherever they can get a good grip. Pulling off a tick incorrectly could lead to infection, so it is best to invest in a special tick remover.
As soon as your puppy has completed his vaccinations its important that he starts making friends. Let your puppy meet different people and animals, and build his confidence and awareness of the exciting world gradually.
Getting the best out of your buddy
We asked our good friend and expert dog trainer Dogtor Adem for his top tail-wagging tips for puppy training:
“Training your puppy can be a rewarding experience for both you and them. If approached right, you can start to develop a real understanding of each other and build a bond that will last a lifetime!
Remember to carry out your training in several short sessions throughout your day. Repetition of the commands you are teaching is crucial for your puppy to learn your language and what you are asking of them when you say a certain word or phrase. Remember also to say the command, for example ‘sit’, only when your puppy is carrying out the desired action, not before! This will help them to associate the word with the action they are performing at that time.
You’ll also need some tasty treats, firstly to help you guide and tempt your puppy into the position or action you require, and secondly to positively reward them as they achieve this. My top tip here is to make your training fun, progressive, and to teach commands that will be useful to your everyday life. Check out and to teach commands that will be useful to your everyday life. Check out Barking Heads treats as these are great for positively rewarding your pup for their excellent behaviour!”
Growing up big & strong
A puppy’s first year is so important for healthy bodies and agile brains with all those new things to experience, learn and enjoy. With lots of growing to do, what should you look for in you pup to get a sense of what is going on inside?
Your vet should be able to advise you of the ideal weight for your dog’s breed, so keep an eye changes so your puppy grows steadily.
Healthy skin and coat
Healthy skin helps keep your pup at just the right temperature, and should be supple and smooth without any lumps, bumps or discolouration. A healthy coat should be clean smelling, and glossy without lots of dandruff or oil.
Yes, do look at your dogs poop! It is a great indicator of how good your dog’s diet is – your dog should be passing poops that are firm, brown and sausage shaped. If your puppy is unhappy, passing lots of diarrhoea or has blood in their poo then you should urgently contact your vet.
Different puppy breeds will develop different muscle tone as they grow – but this can give you a clue as to how digestible the protein in their diet is as well as the amount of exercise they enjoy.
At Barking Heads we’re passionate about doggie diets, and have lovingly created special puppy food especially to support all the growth your puppy need to do in it’s first year. So what should you look out for when selecting food for your pup?
Carbohydrates are important to maintain steady energy levels in a growing puppy. Puppy Days uses carbohydrates such as sweet potato to provide a good source of fibre, to keep your puppy’s digestion moving well. And for those pups with more sensitive tums Puppy Days wet pouches are 100% grain free.
Oils & fat
Healthy fats and oils are super helpful in maintaining healthy skin and a shiny coat. Puppy Days contain salmon oil and egg, both excellent sources of Omega 3 & 6 to keep your young doggie’s coat soft and shiny.
Quality protein should be the most important part of a puppy’s diet – it gives them fuel to grow, develop healthy muscles and a strong immune system, perfect for lots of adventuring. Look for a puppy food like Barking Heads Puppy Days packed with lots of fresh chicken or fish.
Hip & Joint Care
There’s a lot of growing to be done in that first year! Barking Heads Puppy Days contains some additional minerals to maintain strong hips and joints.
Vitamins & Minerals
We never use any artificial colourings, flavourings or preservatives – they just don’t sound tasty. Instead we use only natural vitamins that keep your dog’s dinners fresh and will also help to encourage a strong immune system.