How to Care For a Puppy
Do you want a puppy? Do you know how to care for a puppy? Before getting a puppy you need to know what to expect and the responsibilities you will have. It’s up to you to teach your puppy how to do everything.
Think about adopting a dog if you don’t have the time and patience to raise a puppy. Many dogs are housebroken, have some training, and just need a good home due to many different circumstances.
Visit Your Veterinarian
Before bringing your puppy home, make an appointment with your veterinarian. If you don’t have a veterinarian, here is an article that can help you find a veterinarian.
Schedule an appointment for your puppy for the same day you are picking up your puppy, if possible. If you can’t go the same day, schedule your appointment within the first few days. Talk to your veterinarian about any concerns you may have.
Your veterinarian will give your puppy a complete examination and any vaccinations they need at that time and a de-wormer. Your veterinarian can give you advice on nutrition and answer any health questions you may have.
Talk to your veterinarian about parasite control, heartworm prevention, and solutions to keep your puppy free of fleas and ticks. They will be able to recommend products to control harmful parasites. Heartworm prevention will protect your puppy or dog from heartworms. The treatment for heartworms is very painful and can be avoided.
Spay and Neuter
Spaying or neutering your puppy is very important. Not only will it reduce or eliminate some medical issues in the future, it will help reduce overpopulation. Many puppies are spayed or neutered around 4 months of age.
Female dogs that are spayed at an early age will have no risk of diseases or cancers of the uterus and breast cancer is greatly reduced. Male dogs that are neutered will have no risk of testicular cancer and a reduced chance of prostate cancer.
Establish a Schedule
You will need to establish a schedule for your puppy so they know what to expect. Everyone in the household should stick to the same schedule and command words to not confuse your puppy.
Puppies are growing and they will need to be fed a good puppy food three to four times a day depending on your puppy’s age. If your puppy is younger than 12 weeks old, you should feed them 4 equally spaced meals each day.
When puppies are 12 weeks to 6 months old, you can feed them three times a day. For example, you can feed your puppy at 7 in the morning, at noon, and in the late afternoon at 5.
You can adjust the times to fit your schedule or lifestyle. Each meal is about 5 hours apart, so you could feed your puppy at 8 in the morning, early afternoon at 1, and again at 6 in the evening.
At around 6 months of age, talk to your veterinarian about changing the feeding schedule to twice a day. Depending on your puppy’s health, your veterinarian may recommend continuing three meals a day for a longer period of time.
Puppies will need to go outside quite often. Their little bodies can not “hold it” like an adult dog can. As they grow, this will change and they will be able to go longer periods of time without going outside.
You should take your puppy outside first thing in the morning, after eating or drinking a lot of water, when your puppy wakes from a nap, before and after physical exercise, and right before bedtime.
As you can see, your puppy will be going outside to relieve themselves many times a day. When your puppy relives themselves outside, give them a small treat or praise to show them that you are happy with their behavior.
Crate training can be good for your puppy and you. It will give them a safe place to go and your home and puppy will be safe. Give them a soft place to lay down and a few toys to play with and chew on along with a treat. Next week I am going to talk about how to crate train your puppy. Check out the crates here that are available at Amazon.
Exercise and Play
Schedule a time for exercise and time for play with your puppy. Exercise is important for puppies and dogs and without it you can expect to see bad behaviors. Releasing your puppy’s energy will help them concentrate on training.
First, everyone in the household needs to use the same command words when training the puppy. They will get confused if people use different words with them. Everyone needs to be consistent! Learn to teach your puppy some tricks here.
Where Will Your Puppy Sleep
You will need to decide where your puppy will sleep. Your puppy may get lonely on the first few nights. Exercise your puppy before bedtime to help them go to sleep easier. There are toys you can buy to help your puppy sleep that have beating heart sounds.
Give them a comfortable place to sleep that is close to you. Play some soothing music at a low volume or a turn on a fan or sound machine. Place a blanket or a piece of your clothing on their bed with your scent on it.
Puppies like to chew especially when they are cutting teeth. Chewing feels good to their gums. Buy a variety of toys to play with and chew on. Only offer two at a time, changing the toys offered each day to keep them entertained.
You will want to leash train your puppy and take walks together. You will need to teach your puppy basic commands before your begin leash training. Give your puppy time to adjust to the collar, then leash and be patient.
Puppy proofing your home will protect your puppy from dangers in your home such as wires and cables which can be covered to protect your puppy. Keep valuables away from your puppy and out of reach.
Socialization is very important for puppies to become accustomed to people, children, other animals along with different sounds and noises. Puppies and dogs tend to bark at the unknown if they are not socialized.
Talk to your veterinarian about socialization. You have to be careful with your puppy before they have all of their vaccines. Your puppy needs to be immune from diseases that could make them very sick.
Caring for a puppy will take a lot of time and patience, especially during the first year. If you don’t have the time and patience to dedicate to a puppy, consider adopting one of the many dogs that are in shelters. The information on this website is not intended to replace the advice of your own veterinarian, dog trainer, or dog behavioral specialist.