The first eight to twelve weeks of your puppy’s life are critical. Puppy care during this time period not only focuses on your pet’s physical needs but emotional growth as well. This is when you set the stage for a good relationship with your dog and lay a foundation for training. Today we cover here, the ins and outs of puppy care.
It is during this time that you begin to socialize your dog so that he will not grow up shy and fearful. During these crucial 4 weeks of your puppy’s life you determine what kind of dog he will grow up to be.
Puppy care begins with ensuring that your new pet is safe. It is important to “puppy proof your home” by removing or moving anything that could be dangerous. Puppies explore everything with their mouth. You’ll have to look at your home from your dog’s perspective and ensure that anything harmful cannot be reached.
Bringing a new puppy home is exciting for the whole family, including puppy! Your puppy will need some time to become acquainted with his new home and new family. If possible, before you bring your puppy home, have the breeder put a blanket in the puppies’ bed. Bring this home with you and put it in your pup’s new bed. The familiar scent will help to calm him.
Puppies need their own space, it makes them feel secure. However, do not isolate them. If puppy’s space will be in a room, like a bathroom, use puppy gates rather than shutting the door. If you will be crating the puppy, place the crate in a place where he can see the family. Don’t lock your new puppy away in a dark basement.
In the first week, it’s important to spend time with the puppy. Bring the dog home during a weekend, or holiday week so you have time to help him adjust. You will spend extra time with the dog but you should also leave the puppy alone to relax and adjust. You can put him in his place, and come back to check on him so he knows that you’re not abandoning him. This will get him used to you leaving and returning.
For the first week or two, some experts recommend allowing your puppy to sleep in your room. Place the puppy in a cardboard box lined with a blanket as well as other items that bring comfort to your new puppy near your bed. The sides should be high enough that he cannot climb out. This will help him in adjusting to being without mom and littermates. The first week is also an ideal time to have the dog licensed and take him for his first vet visit.
Children do not always understand puppy care and should not be left unsupervised with the new puppy. Children may be unknowingly rough with the puppy and vice versa. Keep all of your puppy’s play sessions short and gentle. Too much exercise can harm their little bodies.
Good puppy care requires feeding your dog a healthy and nutritious diet. Puppies need food formulated for their growing bodies. Buy high quality dog food that is labeled “100 percent complete and balanced nutrition.” Dry food is best, especially when house training your puppy. Be sure to check with your vet on the type of food and amount you are giving your puppy.
Puppies 8 to 12 weeks old need four meals a day. By three months of age, you can feed them three meals a day, and at six months they are fine with two meals a day. Do not give your puppy bones.
House training your dog is an important element in puppy care. You can train your dog to an indoor bathroom and outdoor bathroom. Paper training, puppy pads and litter boxes are all acceptable indoor options, further explored in house training.
Crate training has become a very popular option. It reduces training time, and is very effective. Whatever method is chosen, be consistent. Take your puppy to eliminate a few minutes after every meal and before bed at night. Accidents will happen, so be patient as you train.
Another important component of puppy care is health. Puppies will see their veterinarian frequently in the first year of life. It is important to carefully choose a veterinarian that meets your needs.
During this first year, your dog will receive routine vaccinations or alternatives for distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parvovirus, and parainfluenza. They will have blood tests, and fecal examinations to detect parasites and decisions will be made about spaying and neutering.
If your dog were ever lost or separated, you would want them to be quickly identified and returned to you. Dog tags are a quick and easy method, but they can be removed or lost. Tattooing has been used by owners of show dogs for a number of years.
A unique, registered identification number is tattooed on and through the ear or on the hind leg. A newer method is the micro chip. A micro chip is a tiny transponder containing identification information which is no bigger than a grain of rice. The chip is implanted under the dog’s skin and can be read by a chip scanner.
With proper puppy care you and your new pet are off to a good and healthy start. During the critical first weeks of your life, you are shaping your pet into a well behaved, happy dog. Good puppy care has rewards for many years to come.