Bringing home a new puppy is a joyful occasion. These wriggling, excited bundles of fur offer us immeasurable joy. Having a puppy is also a big responsibility.
As pet parents, it’s our job to make sure puppy stays clean, healthy, and well looked after. This means feeding puppy properly, getting them the required vaccinations, making sure they get regular veterinary and dental care, and watching for the sometimes subtle signs that may indicate they might not be in tip top health.
Proper nutrition, paired with regular exercise, is probably the most important thing you can do to keep your dog healthy. Puppies may be inclined to hide it if they’re not feeling well. Their ancient instincts tell them they might get booted from the pack if they’re perceived to be weak. As thoughtful pet caregivers, we need to know what to watch for, and how to take preventative measures against illness in the first place.
Vaccinations are one such preventative measure. Over the course of the first year, your puppy will get vaccinations to protect them from rabies, distemper, parvo, hepatitis, and other diseases depending on the breed, the region of the country you live in, and other risk factors specific to your dog. After the first year, your dog will require booster immunizations or titer tests to determine if boosters are needed.
Giving your puppy the correct balance of proteins, vitamins, and other nutrients they need will help ward off everything from gum disease to allergies. Keeping your puppy at their appropriate weight will help prevent debilitating joint and bone problems and ensure a long and active life.
Some puppies will require a minimum of grooming care - occasional baths or trimming of the dewclaw, for example. Other dogs - like fluffier or long-haired breeds, or breeds whose eyes are moist or whose fur tends to matt - may require more attention to their physique.
Keeping pup well fed and well looked after aren’t the only concerns. There are rules that will need to be agreed upon, first and foremost: please don’t pee on the rug. As with all puppy-training, the key ingredients for success are consistency, follow through, and patience. Find a method that works for the whole family, and stick with it.
Where and when to use the bathroom aren’t the only training concerns pet parents will have. New pet parents will have to decide what a new pet’s limits and rules are. Then it’s up to you to effectively communicate the rules in a calm, clear, and consistent way. What’s more, training can keep your dog’s mind occupied and engaged, and thwart destructive behaviors.
More on Raising a Healthy Dog
How a Healthy Weight Can Prevent Disease in Your Dog
Comparing Flea and Tick Medications
This information is for informational purposes only and is not meant as a substitute for the professional advice of, or diagnosis or treatment by, your veterinarian with respect to your pet. It has, however, been verified by a licensed veterinarian for accuracy.