A dog’s diet should always be changed gradually, whenever possible. Abrupt diet change can lead to digestive problems. Dogs in general and puppies in particular might not eat a strange new food, or they might develop diarrhea leading to dehydration and other complications. Diet changes should be made gradually, over a three to five day period to prevent digestive upsets.
To encourage the puppy to drink, and reduce the risk of low blood sugar, you might put a dab of honey in its mouth or on a dish (caution: too much honey will depress the appetite). If the puppy does not eat after these methods have been tried, you might try gently warming the food. Many foods are coated with an outside “flavor” layer than enhances its appeal when warmed. Most foods can be warmed in the oven or microwave or by adding warm water or broth and soaking the food for a few seconds or so. Notify the hospital if your puppy does not eat within 12 hours of its arrival to its new home.
Rest is very important to the puppy. Puppies generally sleep throughout the day, waking only to play for a short time, eat, and eliminate waste. Do not expect the puppy to run and play all day. Treat your puppy the same way you would treat a newborn infant being brought home from the hospital, and you won’t go wrong.
There is nothing that compares with good mentoring from an experienced and qualified breeder. You may have just recently met your new pup, but your breeder has been with that baby from day one. The breeder is aware of any situations that the pup has been undergoing in development. In addition, your breeder also has experience with at least one of your pup’s parents. No one is more qualified to tell you what is normal for your puppy than the breeder. Your Breeder should be your first call for help and advice. Please exercise caution in soliciting medical advice from On-line puppy groups or from other non medical professionals.
Your breeder should give you feeding instructions including feeding times, quantity, and the diet the pup is on. It is NOT wise to make sudden changes in diet. For the first couple of weeks change nothing. The pup is stressed enough by moving away from its siblings, possible travel to its new home, all the excitement of a new environment and new people.
Puppy stress can often cause diarrhea. Do not compound the problem and cloud the issue for the vet by a dietary change too soon. A little canned pumpkin added to the pup’s food will help with stress diarrhea. After a couple of weeks when the pup has settled in, if you wish to change diets do so gradually. Add some of the new food in with the old. Slowly increasing the amount of the new diet until the change is complete.
You have a beautiful baby and you want to share it with the world…but wait! Your puppy’s immune system is under construction! For now, you need to protect that baby. It is not quite time to go to puppy parks, pets stores, meet-up groups or to take your pup to your friends and family to introduce him/her to their pets. As hard as it might be, you will also need to limit people with pets from coming to visit.
You should wait at least a month after your pups last puppy shot before risking exposure. Use this time to teach your pup to bond to you, to listen to you, and a few basic puppy manners. Then when it is safe they will be a welcome guest wherever they go. After the pup is ready for the world, puppy classes are excellent ways to allow the pup to interact with other dogs while in a safe and controlled environment. Consider joining a breed club in your area. There you will meet other puppy owners and have the opportunity to participate in events and activities with people who love the puppy as much as you!
You will want to find a qualified veterinarian BEFORE receiving a new puppy in your home. Good breeders will require you to have a “well-baby check up” by your vet soon after the pup’s arrival at your home. If you do not know a Bulldog veterinarian in your area, ask your breeder. The American Kennel Club (AKC) is a national organization. Although there are other very good puppy veterinarian specialists the BCA has a list on their website of puppy specialists. As in all professions, there are a few veterinarians that are looking to make extra money (scam) and overcharge the owners of puppies with unneeded exams and costs. Ask a lot of questions. Bulldogs are a Brachycephalic breed.
It is best to have a veterinarian with experience in their care, especially for future surgical procedures like a spay or neuter. On your first vet visit take along the puppy’s immunization record, any worming information and a stool sample (in a Ziploc bag will be fine). Do NOT set your bully pup down on the floor at the vet office and do not let other pets or people in the office approach and/or touch the pup. Many are there because they are sick and have yet to see the vet for diagnosis.