Getting a dog is a major decision and a long-term commitment in both time and money. However, as challenging as it can get, the rewards are definitely worth the journey.
Before your new puppy arrives, make sure you understand its needs. Additionally, make sure you have all the essential supplies your new arrival needs. You need to have:
- Puppy food
- Food and water bowl – ceramic and metal bowl with nonslip rubber bases are excellent choices for young and clumsy puppies.
- Dog bed – molded plastic beds are relatively chew-proof and easy to clean. Cover them with washable beddings with zip-off covers that can be easily removed for cleaning.
- Leash and collar – inexpensive, lightweight leashes and collars are ideal for puppies. Once it gets used to them, you can invest in some more expensive and attractive designs.
- Toys – select several toys for your puppy’s entertainment. It can use them to chew on, squeak or pull.
A young puppy needs four meals a day. It is advisable to feed your new puppy the same food formula the breeder used, for at least 7-10 days after moving in your place. Also try to stick to its old feeding schedule. It is important to make gradual food switches. Sudden changes in the dieting regimen may lead to upsetting its sensitive stomach. Once the puppy is settled and adapted to the new environment and it starts passing well-formed stools, you can begin introducing new foods, by replacing small portions of the old food with new foods.
Your puppy also needs to be taken to its toilet area each time it wakes, after each meal and after each session of activity and play. Until it is housetrained, there will be lots of messes to clean up. Never punish your puppy making mistakes. It is still young and it may take him some while until he realizes where his toilet is. If your puppy poops on the wrong place, collect the poop and place it on the right toilet spot. Make sure to clean the area where it pooped with scented but pet-friendly disinfectant. The next time your puppy needs to poop the smell of the disinfectant will repel him, while the smell of his own poop will attract him.
No matter how careful you are, your puppy will still find objects to chew and destroy. Put all your worthy belongings out of its reach. Never leave your new puppy unsupervised in new and unknown environments as you cannot know what it may come to its mind.
Even young puppies need routine grooming. Depending on the breed, use an appropriate brush to mechanically clean you puppy’s fur. Bathing young puppies is not advisable. Their immune system is underdeveloped and therefore they are very prone to getting cold. Instead of regular baths, you can use dog wipes and baby wipes or dry shampoos and powders.
Socialization is the key to raising a well-mannered and well-rounded dog. The more new and interesting experiences a pup has at an early age, the less fearful and more social it will be. Make sure your puppy meets new children, adults and other pets like dogs, cats and small rodents. You also need to expose him to unknown environments and situations.
Do not forget that your puppy needs some time out. Let it have frequent, deep and uninterrupted naps. Sleeping time is when the growth hormone is most active and pups need it to grow quickly.
Last, but not least, have your puppy regularly checked by a vet. Puppies are very susceptible to infectious disease and both internal and external parasites. Scheduled vaccinations and regular anti-parasite treatments are needed to protect your puppy.
Caring for your puppy is not just a matter of disease prevention or calling in the vet when issues develop. Good and responsible care means understanding your puppy’s physiological needs and at the same time integrating your canine companion into what is, from its evolutionary perspective, an alien environment.