Few things are as exciting as getting a new Frenchie puppy! But in the heat of the moment, don’t forget to take some advance precautions to insure that the new member of your family will be healthy, safe, and happy.
FIRST: A TRIP TO THE VET
Your sales contract should specify that you will have a vet examine your new puppy within just a few days of purchase. If you already have a good vet, excellent! Otherwise, find one in advance (see the next section: “Finding a Good Vet”). The vet should listen to the pup’s heart and lungs, feel its abdomen to check for hernias or tenderness, look in the ears and eyes to make sure that they are clean and free of injury or disease, look in the mouth, and examine the coat and skin.
Depending on the age of the puppy she may also examine the hips and stifles and palpate the spine to check for abnormal curvatures. A stool sample should be checked to make sure that the puppy is free of parasites; this is especially important if you have other dogs who could become infected. A blood test must also be done before beginning heartworm prevention.
Discuss with your vet what vaccinations she would recommend. The Vaccine Guideline Group for the World Small Animal Veterinary Association has a website with the current guidelines. You can download this as a pdf from http://www.wsava.org/VGG1.htm. Also ask what diet your vet recommends for the puppy, unless its breeder has given you some good advice about that.
STUFF TO GET
A crate with bedding
A wire crate that is 24″ X 16″ X 18″ is best; airline shipping crates are not well
ventilated enough. Best of all is a collapsible wire crate that you can fold up and
transport easily. A soft pad or carpet scrap in the bottom, with a nice fleece pad on
it and perhaps a little baby blanket for cold weather makes a great bed for a puppy.
A “day bed”
Most Frenchies love the soft oval or rectangular beds that they can snooze in when they are not in their crates. Though many like to nap in their crates too, most enjoy a bed that is in the middle of the family action so that they can keep an eye on things while they rest.
Food and water bowls
Get a size that will accommodate the pup’s needs after it grows up, as many dogs become fond of their “baby bowls.” Some Frenchies love to pick up their bowls and dump the contents out, even chewing the rims on occasion. If your dog shows a tendency to do this, then the more indestructible the bowl, the better. A heavy ceramic or pottery bowl is less likely to scoot around than a metal one and is harder to tip over. While you may wish to make food available only at specific times, the puppy should always have access to clean, fresh water.
Collar or harness and lead
Avoid flea collars; instead get a sturdy collar or harness that can be adjusted as the
pup grows. Once grown, a well fitted leather collar or harness is best, and the harness is good because it does not place pressure on the dog’s trachea. Whatever collar your dog wears, it should have his tags on it from day one, including one with your name, phone number and address. Even though he will be microchipped, this can help get him safely home in a hurry if he should somehow get loose!
Exercise Pen or Baby Gates
Until he is housebroken, you will need to be able to confine the pup in a small, warm area where you can put his bed in one spot, and some newspapers in another. A laundry room with a baby gate on the door might work, or you can buy a scrap of vinyl floor covering to put down someplace else in the house during this period of housebreaking.
Some toys are safe for Frenchies; others aren’t. During the teething period, Gummabone toys are best, as those needle-like teeth will shred soft stuffies and the puppy might swallow the squeaker or chunks of stuffing or fabric. Rawhide, pig’s ears, and cow hooves are NOT safe! The rawhide and ears become soft and can clog the pup’s airway, while hooves can splinter and puncture the cheek or palate. Soft rubber toys are not a good idea as they are easily chewed up and swallowed. Instead, give the puppy hard rubber toys, or those indestructible rope toys, or Gummabones.
Start early with nail trimming. Whether you use one of the types of trimmers or a Dremel tool, early handling of the feet and gentle but frequent trimming will get your puppy used to this essential procedure early on. Have on hand a gentle ear cleanser (without alcohol or talc), a grooming mitt for the coat, and a mild shampoo in case he rolls in something he shouldn’t.
You can buy “Piddle Pads” that are scented with what is supposed to clue the puppy in as to what is to be done on them. These can be helpful in housebreaking.
It’s also a good idea to have a supply of paper towels and carpet cleaner on hand until such time as no more “accidents” occur.
OTHER THINGS TO DO
“Puppy Proof” your home. Having a puppy is like having a 2-year old kid, only the puppy has more and sharper teeth. Get down on the floor and look at the house through the pup’s eyes. Are there dangling electrical cords that a puppy might find irresistible? Window shade cords? Spilled food, cleaning supplies, little objects that can be
swallowed, anything toxic? Be SURE that there is no antifreeze anywhere on the premises as a tiny amount of this will kill your puppy. Keep candy, and especially chocolate or anything containing sorbitol, like sugarless gum, out of reach. Shoes and socks, too, unless you want to have to replace them.
Secure the yard. If it is not fenced, then provide a safe area where he can be confined, or take him out only on a lead.
Keep your house and car cool. If you live in a hot climate you must have air conditioning in both.
With proper planning and preparation, your new Frenchie will soon feel safe, secure, and at home in your house.