Nothing is more heartwarming than the first warm nuzzle from a new puppy, maybe even more so at the holidays. As a matter of fact, nearly half (46 percent) of dog owners have bought or adopted a puppy specifically around the holidays*, and a stunning 51 percent of those who got a puppy at the holidays revealed they have also made a New Year’s resolution involving their puppy*.
To help new puppy parents welcome their pets home—and keep those New Year’s commitments—PetSmart, the largest pet specialty retailer across North America, and trusted partner to pet parents and pets, is here to help with expert advice including pet nutrition, socialization, new puppy essentials and pet healthcare.
“No matter the season, it’s always a moving and emotional experience when a puppy finds a new home,” said Eran Cohen, PetSmart’s chief customer experience officer. “We at PetSmart love all pets and know they make us better people. Our passionate associates are available to help bring pet parents closer to their pets so they can live more fulfilled lives. For many families across the U.S., that journey started earlier this month with a new puppy arrival at the holidays—a true gift for all.”
The survey results show that puppy love and the trust we have for them is very real. Among millennials in the recent study, about 60 percent say they have told their puppy more secrets in their first year together than they have told to their significant other*. Even choosing the right name for a new puppy is a serious—but fun—business, with roughly half of those same survey respondents saying it was harder to agree on a puppy’s name than a child’s name*.
Once the New Year’s countdown is over, these tips on caring for a new puppy can help keep them happy and healthy for years to come:
ID Your Pet
New pets are still getting acclimated to their new home, and with people in and out, it can be easy for them to slip out of a door. Be prepared in case they embark on an unplanned solo journey around the neighborhood. To ensure you are reunited with your pup, outfit them with proper ID.
Find a Veterinarian
A veterinarian should be your first call if your puppy gets into something that could potentially harm it. Vets are also great resources to keep you up-to-date on puppy care, like knowing when to vaccinate.
Pup-Proof Your Home
Dogs love to chew—whether it’s on shoes or something more dangerous like wiring and extension cords. To protect them and promote positive chewing experiences, use toys or treats to occupy their time and allow them to chew safely. Keeping toxins away from puppies is critical, too, so place household products like trash, laundry detergent and cleaning supplies out of their reach.
Give Puppies Their Own Space
According to the recent Wakefield and PetSmart survey*, 47 percent of U.S. dog owners let their puppy sleep in the bed with them seven nights per week*. But when it’s time for puppies to rest on their own, create a space for them to nap and feel safe. A puppy crate can do double duty, providing puppies their own area away from stressors and as a structure that promotes potty training. A warm and cozy “cave pet bed” is a great refuge for pups to rest and snuggle too.
Give Your Pup Time to Say Hi
Socialization is critical during a pup’s early years. While everyone may be ready to meet the new member of your family, consider introducing them to one or two people at a time, so the puppy can get to know them and warm up to their scent.
Research Puppy Nutrition
It may be tempting to feed puppies human food, but they require specially formulated puppy food and often have different eating schedules than an adult dog. Do your research, read labels and ask questions of the experts.
Invest in Training
Consistent training is an important responsibility of a puppy parent. Dogs crave love and praise, and a properly trained pooch will better understand what’s expected of him or her and will be happy to showcase good behavior. Get help from puppy training experts to ensure all human family members and the new pup to live happily in one harmonious pack.
Use the PetSmart Pet Lifestyle Mobile App
Perfect for the on-the-go pet lifestyle, PetSmart’s new mobile app can assist new pet parents with tips and content. Pet parents can register and create a pet profile for their new pup, and get tailored content that can help guide pet parents through the first months with a new puppy. The app provides checklists and guidelines for scheduling vaccinations, alerts to train a puppy, suggestions on food choices, and even provides tips on what kind of items you might need during the various stages of a puppy’s growth and development. The new app is available now for iOS and Android devices for free at the Apple App and Google Play stores.
Consider Pet Adoption
For those looking to get a new pet, consider pet adoption. As a gift to those who saved a life through adoption (no matter where they choose to adopt their pet**), PetSmart offers its free Adoption Kit, which provides useful content on how to integrate a pet into the family while offering true value—with more than $450 in real savings—to the adoption parent. Included are coupons for a free bag of dog or cat food from Simply Nourish™, Authority® or Good Natured™, a free veterinarian visit, a complimentary private training session with an accredited trainer, a free Doggie Day Camp session and a free overnight boarding stay, as well as half-off on a grooming service. Also included are savings on all the essentials for a new pet, including beds, crates, gates, brushes, feeding bowls, collars, leashes, toys and treats, as well as solutions like pet calming products and stain and odor remedies for any mishaps that may occur.
* According to a recent online survey of 1,000 dog owners in the U.S. and Canada commissioned by PetSmart and conducted by Wakefield Research.
** Adoption paperwork is required.