Welcoming a new puppy into your family is always an exciting time, but with vaccinations to book, puppy classes to attend and endless little puddles to clear up, new dog owners will find themselves with their hands full.

Therefore, it is essential that when you take on your little one you are prepared for the time and effort raising a puppy involves and are ready to throw yourself into the challenge.

Tamara Dormer, dog trainer at Best Friends Animal Society, points out just how demanding a bouncing puppy can be on your time.

She says: "Puppies need to be shown how to do everything - the right things to chew, where to eliminate, where to sleep, how to walk on a leash, basic manners, how to play appropriately with people and other animals, and how to experience the world in general."

Puppy groups or dog training classes are good for ironing out any little problems and are a great way to socialise your pup and meet fellow dog owners, but most training can be done in the home by laying down basic rules that should be gently but firmly enforced.

Tanya adds: "It is up to the humans to teach the pup the rules they want them to go by and as with a child, teaching a puppy is often a repeat-very-often type of endeavour."

The early years are also the most important in terms of nutrition for your dog as puppies do a lot of growing very quickly, as well as requiring plenty of energy for playing and exploring their new home.

Therefore, to give your pup the best start in life and help them grow into a fit and healthy pooch, spend some time deciding on the best diet for your young dog.

Dry dog food is often the best choice for puppies, but make sure you check the ingredients carefully to ensure they are high-quality and nutritious and avoid anything that contains additives such as preservatives or artificial colours and flavourings.

Written by: Hannah