Who doesn’t love a new puppy with its outsized paws and ears and infectious enthusiasm for exploring everything? Yet, for all the joy they bring, puppies require a lot of hard work. So if you’re considering a new canine addition for your family, it’s essential you understand the commitment involved. The following care tips will ensure you keep your young canine companion in excellent health through puppyhood and beyond.
Puppy’s dietary needs differ from that of a fully grown dog, so you must feed them an age-appropriate diet. Your pup’s needs will vary depending on breed size and age, but as a general rule of thumb, little and often after weaning is best. Around three months, decrease the number of feeds to 3 times a day, and at six months, drop down to twice a day. Smaller breeds can transition to adult food earlier than large ones, but by around their first birthday, all dogs should have made the switch as their energy intake needs lessen.
The condition of a dog’s nose is an important indicator of overall health, so paying attention to any changes is vital. A dry, cracked nose is uncomfortable for a puppy and could indicate further health issues. Discomfort caused by dryness can be relieved with regular applications of a nose balm (much like chapstick for people) while preventing further damage from the sun and wind. As with all medical complaints, if the injury doesn’t heal after a few days, it’s time to visit the vet for further treatment.
All dogs, big and small, need regular exercise, though how much depends on the breed and individual’s temperament. A hyperactive puppy that doesn’t get outside enough will cause havoc to your home and potentially develop behavioral issues. Before introducing a bundle of mischief to the mix, take an honest look at how much exercise you can realistically provide and factor that into your decision-making. Of course, there’s nothing to say you have to run after the dog for hours on end – standing in a secure field throwing a ball on repeat is a valid option.
Teaching a puppy how to behave is essential for integrating into your family and the wider world. Housebreaking is naturally undertaken at home, but taking Pup to puppy school is an excellent way to teach a young dog essential skills while gaining socialization. First-time dog owners will also benefit from puppy school, learning first-hand how to use commands and acceptable behavior expectations. Human children function better when they understand boundaries, and puppies are the same, being happier when they know their boundaries.
There’s much to consider before bringing a puppy into your home, from physical health to mental well-being. Your lifestyle is essential when choosing a breed, ensuring you find the perfect fit. Further this with training so that both owner and puppy understand behavior expectations, which creates a harmonious home environment. From this solid foundation, your puppy has the best chance to grow into a happy, well-adjusted dog.