Puppies can be wonderful additions to any home, and many people never forget their first dog. However, as parents have said since time immemorial — having a pet is a big responsibility! As such, your family puppy’s health should be one of your top priorities.

If you weren’t lucky enough to grow up with your own pooch but want your kids to have that experience, here are three important tips for caring for your family’s new best friend.

Make the vet your best friend too

Just as your new pup is your friend, so should be your veterinarian. You should bring your puppy to the vet for the first few months of its life for vaccinations, check ups, and a spay or neutering surgery. The puppy then should visit the vet around once a year for annual checkups. After that, vets typically suggest twice-yearly check ups once the pet gets older.

Feed them enough, but not too much

Although your pup is adorable and you want to give him or her anything they want, you probably shouldn’t do that when it comes to food. Typically, the older a dog gets, the less you feed them, as they are not growing anymore. That being said, puppies eight to 12 weeks old need four meals a day. Puppies three to six months of age need three meals a day, and so on. After that, make sure you are getting food for them that matches their size and breed.

Protect them against fleas and ticks

Unfortunately, your new puppy is susceptible to fleas and ticks, especially during warm and humid weather. An infestation of fleas can happen very quickly. A female flea starts laying eggs within 24 hours of being on your pup, and she can lay up to 50 eggs every day. Once you discover that your puppy has fleas, get them to the vet immediately so they can be treated. After that, protect your pet with medication like chew-able pills to your dog can fight off the infestation the next time.

You and your family must be so happy to have a new member, but do not forget about their happiness and health as well. Bring them to the vet, feed them appropriately, and protect them against parasites. For more information, your local vet will be able to give you some great advice for your new puppy love.