7 Smart Ideas for Taking Care of a Puppy

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Welcoming a new puppy into the family can be a joyous occasion. A new canine companion can reduce your stress, increase your physical activity and give you a sense of unconditional love and friendship. However, acclimating your new puppy into your home can take time and patience. There are ideas and steps you can take to ensure that your puppy adjusts easily and safely into their new home.

Establish a Bathroom Routine

All puppies have accidents but starting early with a proper and consistent bathroom routine can help you avoid embarrassment and frustration. Puppies, especially smaller breeds, need to go outside often. The most important times to take your puppy out are when you wake up in the morning or whenever your puppy wakes up from a nap, immediately after they eat or drink, after physical activity, and right before bedtime. You will start to notice signs that your puppy may need to go outside like barking, whining, circling, or other sudden behavior changes. Be patient and use positive reinforcement to let your pup know they are doing a good job when the go to the bathroom outside. 

Going to the Vet

One of the first trips you should take with your new puppy is to the vet. Even if your puppy is up to date on their shots, establishing regular health visits is the first step in ensuring your puppy has a long and healthy life. During your vet visit you will learn when to start parasite prevention with your puppy to avoid any flea or tick infestations and learn to watch out for any signs of illness that may develop in puppies. This is also the best time to find out when to safely have your puppy spayed or neutered. 

Obedience Training

While it is possible to teach an old dog new tricks, training your puppy early on will help you form a strong bond with your family friend. Basic commands like sit, down, come and stay are not only helpful for avoiding the frustration of disobedience, but these commands can also help your dog stay safe in new environments and situations. Finding a dog trainer or signing your puppy up for obedience classes can help you better learn how to train your dog. There are also many resources online to help you learn puppy behaviors to help you train your puppy yourself. 

Feeding

Dogs have difference nutrition requirements throughout various stages of their lives. Growing puppies require twice as much energy intake per pound as an adult dog of the same breed. It is important to find the right balance of protein, fats, fiber and vitamins for your puppy’s diet. Ask your vet for a recommendation about which brands of foods you should buy for your puppy as well as when to start transitioning from puppy formulated food to adult dog food.

Grooming

Grooming is not just for long haired dogs. A proper grooming routine includes keeping their skin and coat clean, their nails trimmed, their teeth brushed, and their ears cleaned. Establishing a grooming routine early in your puppy’s life will teach them to be comfortable with regular baths and brushings. This will lead to much less frustration when your puppy grows up. 

Look Out for Illness

Your vet can help you look out for specific signs of illness in your new pup. Puppies are especially susceptible to Parvovirus, intestinal parasites and heartworm disease among other things. Be sure to keep an eye out for lack of appetite, difficulty breathing, vomiting and diarrhea among other symptoms that your vet can tell you about. 

Be Sociable

Socialization in a new puppy has an impact on the development of a well-behaved dog who will exhibit fewer undesirable behaviors. Signing your puppy up for obedience group classes and taking your puppy to the dog park will get them comfortable socializing with other dogs and humans outside of your family. A well socialized puppy is more likely to behave positively in new situations with people and dogs they are not familiar with.

Raising a new puppy takes patience and perseverance, but with regular training, vet visits and socialization you can be assured that you are doing your best for your new canine friend. You will be saving yourself any future frustration and anxiety and helping your puppy grow into a safe and confident dog.