Puppies are wonderful, but actually raising a puppy is not without its challenges. Here are some tips on raising a puppy from our Brodheadsville vets to help you get through the puppy stage.
What to Consider When Getting a Puppy
Life with a new puppy closely resembles life with a toddler. You must exercise patience to keep them out of trouble and educate them about their surroundings. Puppies have a natural urge to chew excessively as their adult teeth come in, resulting in potential targets like the living room rug, your favorite pair of shoes, or even your hand.
Moreover, owning a dog entails assuming responsibility for another being's happiness, safety, and health. You must be financially prepared for vet expenses if your dog ingests something harmful, and always have a contingency plan for their care when you're unavailable. It's crucial to recognize that your dog doesn't understand English and cannot comprehend commands like "Stop chewing on the walls!"
Preparing Your Home
Prepare your home thoroughly before introducing your new dog. Secure electrical cords and move potentially hazardous plants or chemicals out of reach. Close vents, pet doors, or any openings that could lead to confusion or stranding.
Begin house training your puppy immediately upon arrival. If you intend to crate a train, set up the crate with blankets or a dog bed for comfort. Ensure the crate is spacious enough for your puppy to stand up, turn around, and lie down comfortably.
For crate training, designate a small area like a powder room or a kitchen corner to confine your puppy, away from other dogs and small children. Equip this area with puppy training pads, a dog bed, food and water bowls, and a couple of toys. Be well-prepared for your new dog's arrival.
Seek out high-quality puppy food specifically designed to support puppies' growth and development. The right amount of food depends on factors such as age, size, and breed. Consult your vet for advice on feeding frequency and portion sizes.
For some small dog breeds, free-feeding might be the most suitable option to ensure they receive sufficient nourishment. Toy and small breed dogs typically mature faster than their larger counterparts and can transition to adult dog food and portions suitable for adults between the ages of nine and twelve months.
On the other hand, larger breeds should be fed multiple meals throughout the day with appropriate portion sizes to prevent issues like stomach bloat and the buildup of excessive protein or calcium. Here is a basic feeding schedule for large dogs:
- Six to twelve weeks old: Four meals per day
- Three to six months old: Three meals per day
- Six months and up: Two meals per day
Dogs naturally avoid soiling their bed and surrounding areas. Establish a potty routine for your puppy, especially for small ones that may need to go out every couple of hours. Take your puppy to a designated yard area until they've received all their vaccines, ensuring they won't encounter other animals. Never punish your puppy for accidents.
It's best to address undesirable behavior by either ignoring it or firmly saying "no." Avoid using physical force or yelling. When your dog misbehaves, redirect their attention to a positive activity. Consider enrolling them in obedience training as soon as they're old enough. This will teach them proper behavior and aid in socialization.
Proper socialization is essential for raising a well-adjusted puppy. Introduce them to various people, places, experiences, and situations. While waiting for all their vaccines, you can start socializing your puppy by playing with them and exposing them to new people, sights, sounds, smells, and textures.
Working with your dog to reduce even minor resource-guarding behaviors benefits everyone, including the puppy. Always supervise children around your puppy's food or favorite toy.
Teaching puppies not to bite is a critical lesson. Establish yourself as the pack leader to help your puppy understand the need to earn respect and obey. Remember, your dog craves your approval but also needs your guidance. When your puppy nips or bites, discipline with a calm yet firm "no!"
Exercise & Play
Bored dogs are likelier to engage in aggressive or improper behavior, so provide him with puzzle toys and outdoor exercise (walking, playtime) to stimulate his mind. Your dog must understand his place in your home, but this can only be accomplished by consistency and a firm, caring touch.
Your First Vet Visit
If you don't already have a veterinarian, take the initiative to inquire within your network of family, friends, and coworkers. They can likely provide you with numerous recommendations. Upon acquiring a puppy, one of your initial priorities should be scheduling a health checkup with a veterinarian. At Brodheadsville Veterinary Clinic, we're always ready to welcome new patients.
Your veterinarian will typically recommend a parasite control program to combat fleas, ticks, and heartworms effectively. Additionally, they will provide guidance on the optimal time for neutering or spaying your puppy, which can significantly reduce the risk of health and behavioral problems as your puppy matures.
Furthermore, your veterinarian can offer valuable advice on essential puppy care tasks such as tooth brushing and nail trimming, and they can even demonstrate the proper techniques. Your veterinarian is an excellent resource if you have questions regarding your dog's care, including dietary recommendations.
Consider scheduling your puppy's 6-month checkup during your visit to monitor growth and development. This is also an opportune time to seek guidance on preparing for the challenges of your pet's adolescent years, which can be demanding for pet owners. Take advantage of this visit to discuss what to anticipate as your puppy progresses into adulthood.
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.