New puppy care: 3 important things all new puppies need to truly thrive

Korin Miller

Introducing a new puppy to your home can be challenging under the best of circumstances. But Eric Teti and his girlfriend didn’t have much notice before they brought Corgi puppy Penny home to their apartment.

“Penny popped up really fast, so it was kind of unexpected to introduce a dog to our apartment so quickly,” Teti tells Yahoo Lifestyle. Penny is also Teti’s first pet. He freely admits that he “didn’t know a thing” about pets before getting her and that he was “going in super blind.” Now four months old, Penny is a lively puppy who likes to wake her owners up at 5 a.m.

Teti called on Callie Harris, DVM, a veterinarian at Purina, to help get him up to speed on what Penny needs during the puppy years. “Training a new puppy can be very challenging,” Harris tells Yahoo Lifestyle. But, she adds, “starting healthy habits in the beginning” can help set a great foundation for the future.

New puppies are a lot of fun, but there are a few things to keep in mind to help set them up for success.

1. Don’t neglect their teeth

It’s “extremely important” to start good oral healthcare when a puppy is young, Harris says. That includes brushing your puppy’s teeth three to five times a week with a pet-approved toothpaste. “You don’t want to use human toothpaste because it can actually make our pets very sick,” Harris says. You’ll also want to use a puppy finger brush to gently work out gunk.

In between brushing, Harris recommends giving your dog dental chews like Purina DentaLife ActivFresh to help fight bad breath.

2. Keep your pet’s mind sharp

Puppies have a lot going on, and it’s important to stimulate their brains, Harris says. She recommends getting an enrichment mat and hiding treats in it that your puppy can find. “Not only is that keeping her brain engaged, it’s also allowing her to expend a bit more energy,” Harris says.

3. Give your puppy plenty of exercise

Penny is doing “well” with puppy training, Teti says, but “it’s the barking we’re still struggling with.” Harris recommends lots of exercise, noting that an enrichment mat can help with this, too. “A sleepy puppy is a happy puppy,” she says. And, of course, a sleep puppy will sleep in later in the morning.

If your new puppy doesn’t seem completely adjusted to life in your home, talk to your veterinarian. They should be able to offer up some specific tips for your pup.

This article was paid for by Purina and created by Yahoo Lifestyle’s branded content team. The Yahoo Lifestyle editorial staff did not participate in the creation of this content.