Skip to Main Content
Ask About Financing


How to Raise a Puppy: Guide for the First Year

How to Raise a Puppy: Guide for the First Year

If you're bringing a new puppy into your family, you'll want to know how to best care for them at their early age. Our Babcock Ranch vets have provided this guide to the first year of owning a puppy.

Puppy-Proofing Your Home 

Raising a puppy can be an exciting but challenging experience compared to adopting an adult dog. Puppies require more attention and patience since they are energetic, curious, and prone to accidents.

The first year is crucial for shaping their behavior and personality. To ensure their safety, puppy-proof your home by removing any dangerous items within their reach.

If you have stairs, set up barriers to prevent accidents. Start house-training your puppy right away, and if you plan to crate-train them, prepare a comfortable crate with blankets and toys in a calm area of the house.

The Art of Raising a Puppy 

Preparing for a new puppy involves teaching them safe exploration and setting boundaries early on for their health and safety. While puppies sleep a lot during the day, they may whine or bark at night if left alone.

As their adult teeth come in, they might chew on things around the house, but this behavior usually improves by the time they turn one. Raising a puppy demands considerable time and commitment.

If you're getting a new pup, ensure someone can be with them at all times to supervise and correct any undesirable habits.

Puppy Diet

Puppies have different nutrient needs than matured dogs. Look for some high-quality puppy food that is specially formulated to support puppy development and growth. The proper quantity of food depends on factors like age, size, and breed. Consult your veterinarian to determine the appropriate amount for your pup!

For small breeds, it's often best to allow young puppies to eat freely to ensure they get enough nutrition. Toy and small breed dogs mature faster than larger breeds so that they can switch to adult dog food and portions between 9 and 12 months old. Larger breeds take about two years to reach full physical maturity and have different nutritional requirements. They should be fed puppy food specifically designed for large breeds. It's essential to consult your vet about the ideal time to transition your growing large-breed dog to adult food. Additionally, they should be fed multiple meals each day with controlled portions to prevent issues like stomach bloat.

When your pup is 6-12 weeks old, a good feeding structure would dictate they are fed 4 times a day. At 3-6 months, 3 meals a day should be provided. After 6 months and on as your pup matures and grows into an adult dog, 2 meals a day will suffice.

What You'll Need

Here is a list of resources you should get before bringing your puppy home:

  • A crate or dog carrier
  • A dog bed
  • Food and water dishes
  • High-quality puppy food and healthy dog treats
  • Fresh, clean water
  • A dog brush or comb
  • Puppy-safe shampoo
  • Puppy-safe toys
  • A collar with an ID
  • Dog toothbrush and dog-safe toothpaste
  • Nail trimmers
  • Poop bags
  • Travel bag
  • "Pop" sound when walking
  • Pet-safe home cleaner
  • Patience

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

More questions about welcoming your puppy into your home? Contact Animal Hospital at Babcock today.

New Patients Welcome

Animal Hospital at Babcock is welcoming new patients. Our team provides compassionate care to you and your animal companions. Book your appointment today!


(941) 220-6300 Contact