They are cute and cuddly and everybody loves them. Their eyes are bright and inquisitive, and their tails wag 100 miles per hour. Who doesn’t want a new puppy? Getting a puppy can be a great addition to the family, but it is important to remember that they are only babies and will require a lot of puppy care. Puppies are dependent on you to feed them and teach them the things they need to know like babies. They will need lots of attention and patience.
It is a good idea to prepare your house well before the new puppy comes home for the first time. Stock up on all the supplies your puppy will need as a new member of the family. The first items to shop for will be feeding supplies, and these include bowls for water and food, as well as a high quality dry food specially formulated for puppies.
It is also a good idea to get a crate for your puppy, since most puppy care information touts the benefits of crate training dogs. You can line the bottom of your crate with an old blanket or towel that your puppy will find comfy for sleeping on.
A collar and leash are other good supplies to purchase before you bring your puppy home, as well as a few chew toys and grooming supplies like shampoo and nail clippers. To make sure that your chew toys are safe for your new pup, avoid items like rawhide that can break off and get lodged in a small dog’s throat and opt instead for durable items like a Nylabone chew toy for playtime.
Having some of these toys on hand will hopefully deter your dog from teething on other items like your favorite shoes or the living room chairs.
Feeding Your Puppy
Feeding your puppy is very important part of puppy care since he is developing bones and muscle as he grows. Remember that you need to feed your puppy food that is formulated for puppies and not adults. Puppies grow up rapidly and have special nutritional requirements.
Growing puppies usually should eat twice a day, but do not leave dry food out so they can snack whenever they want, or ‘graze’. You can’t depend on your puppy to quit eating when he is full. Some will, but others will eat until they get sick. It’s also a good idea for his future health to let your puppy get used to regular meal times. Canned food is optional but not required for good nutrition. It is more of a special treat.
Housebreaking and the New Puppy
A very important part of puppy care is the house breaking. This requires patience, and lots of it. This will be one of the first training objectives you will have for your pup. Make sure that you have plenty of cleaning supplies on hand, since accidents will happen.
Many puppies will need to go just after they eat so this is a good time to take them out. At other times they will give you some kind of sign, sometimes they sniff around, or turn around looking for a spot. Watching for their signal can tell you when you and your pup need to hit the door running. It will take a bit of time for your pup to get the hang of this routine. Remember that dogs naturally want to go away from their home base for elimination.
They will eventually get the message, but not until they have had a few accidents. The key is to not give up. Don’t get mad at the puppy because he is just trying to learn what you want him to do. For best results use loving patience while he gets into the habit.
Puppies and Children
Puppies and children are usually great together but it is never wise to leave small children and puppies together unsupervised. Sometimes a puppy is too wild for children, and sometimes the child is too exuberant for the pup.
Either way someone could get hurt. Most parents want a puppy specifically as a companion for their children, so monitor puppy and child interactions and at the same time teach both the puppy and the children the limits and rules for safe, fun play.
Taking Your New Puppy to the Vet
One of the first things you will need to do with your new puppy is take him to the vet. It is very important that your new puppy gets all of his shots. Shots are a necessary part of puppy care, as they prevent many potentially fatal diseases.
Your vet will also check for worms, and discuss the best option for flea and heart worm protection, and will advise you when to bring your new pet in to be spayed or neutered. Your vet will provide the best information on food, sleep and care for the health of your puppy.
Many veterinarians will recommend obedience classes as part of your puppy care. These courses will teach you how to train your dog to be an obedient and acceptable member of your family. You can find obedience classes through your veterinarian, breeder or local pet store. Puppies grow up to be dogs and the care and training they received as a puppy will determine the temperament they have when they are adults.
There are any number of websites that will offer the puppy care information that you will need. Other good sources for puppy care information include your veterinarian’s office, the local library, or the shelter that you adopt your puppy from.
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