Owning a puppy brings a lot of fun, laughter, and joy into a home. After all, a puppy provides companionship, entertainment, and comradery.
But have you ever stopped to ask yourself if you are giving your puppy the best treatment you can?
Taking proper care of a puppy can look like a lot of work, but it doesn’t have to be!
There are plenty of ways to properly take care of your puppy without draining your energy or bank account.
This guide looks at seven areas that every puppy owner can do to make sure your puppy is being appropriately cared for and loved.
Dogs are often referred to as “Man’s best friend,” and there is a reason they have earned this title. A dog’s loyalty, companionship, and personality have made them the most-loved animal among humans.
Because of their personality and love for humans, it is vital that you spend quality time with your dog, especially in the stages as a puppy.
Why is quality time as a puppy necessary?
Like a young child, a dog’s best bonding times are as a puppy. Spending time with their owner, playing with them, and being taken care of by their owner is crucial in developing a lifelong bond with your puppy.
Dogs that are adopted or purchased as adults can also develop strong bonds with their new owners. However, it does usually take additional time for a new, healthy relationship to form.
So what activities can you do with your puppy to form a strong bond?
These are the most common:
- Pay attention to them. Talk to them and touch them.
- Don’t keep them locked in a pen or kennel all day.
- Schedule one-on-one time with your puppy every day. This can be grooming, exercising, etc.
- Be consistent with your communication style and training
- Use visual signals along with verbal cues. Puppies watch as much as they hear.
- Learn to know your dog’s personality, likes, and dislikes.
- Be patient with your puppy. Don’t lose your temper or abuse it.
- Include your puppy in your life. If you are taking a short drive, working in the yard, or going to the park; puppies love to be included when possible.
- Spoil your puppy every now and then. Give it a special treat, bone, or toy just because you love it!
One of the biggest concerns that people have with pets of any kind usually comes down to these two objections: They shed and cause allergies.
But what are allergies?
Allergens are the result of dead skin cells called dander. Dander can be found on any animal, including humans.
So how does proper grooming reduce shedding and allergies?
It’s pretty basic: Regular grooming removes loose and dead hair, skin cells, and dirt from your puppy’s coat. This results in a cleaner dog, cleaner home, and fewer allergy problems.
Here are a few key principles in maximizing your puppy’s grooming:
Make it a regular habit
Puppies like routine, just like humans!
If grooming is not a regular habit, it will become a nuisance to both you and your puppy. Instead of it going smoothly, you will find yourself and your puppy becoming frustrated.
So how often should you groom your puppy?
Most breeds should be groomed several times a week. If you have a long-haired dog, once a day is preferable, especially during seasons when they shed more.
Choose the right brush
There are many types of brushes, and knowing which one to use can be difficult. Here are some of the main brushes and their best uses.
Slicker brush: A typical brush to remove loose hair and dirt. It is used on medium to long-haired dogs to remove clots and mats.
Pin brush: This is similar to a slicker brush, but it is made for longer and silkier coats.
Bristle brush: This brush works the best on dogs with short or wiry coats. The shorter bristles remove debris and leave a beautiful shine.
Undercoat rake: Rakes are designed to penetrate thick coats and remove tangles and dead undercoat while leaving a healthy top layer.
Shedding brush: This brush has shorter teeth that are made to remove loose hair and fur.
Puppies are similar to children in the area of exercise. If they don’t get regular physical activity, they can quickly become bored, lethargic, and lazy.
In fact, a puppy’s mischievous behavior, such as chewing furniture or clothing, is often related to the fact that the puppy is being penned up and not allowed to burn off their energy with exercise.
When discussing exercise, it is critical that you exercise your puppy correctly. Vigorous exercise, such as running, should not be part of a puppy’s routine until they are 6-8 months old or older.
Running or jogging on pavement or concrete needs to be monitored on all dogs, not only puppies. Too much strenuous exercise on hard surfaces can cause leg and hip issues on both puppies and adult dogs.
How can vigorous exercise be harmful to a puppy?
Like a child, a puppy’s bones and muscles are continually growing until they are fully grown. Harmful exercise can cause joint problems as the puppy develops.
Here are some general guidelines for exercising your puppy:
- Focus on getting around 30 minutes of daily exercise.
- Don’t focus on hard running or jogging as a puppy. Instead, play with it or go on casual walks.
- Avoid exercising on hard surfaces such as pavement or concrete.
- Monitor your puppy’s energy and allow frequent breaks if necessary.
Puppies love to eat, and sometimes they will eat as much food as you put in front of them.
Puppies need proper diets to support their growing bodies, and it is essential that they do not overeat.
Why is overeating such a problem?
Overeating as a puppy can lead to obesity, joint issues, problems in exercising, and health problems.
Diets do vary between breeds, so you should consult your veterinarian on the specifics of feeding your puppy.
However, here are a few guidelines that apply to every breed:
Watch your puppy’s body shape
As a young puppy in the 6-12 week range, you want them to have some fat and pudginess. As they age, you want to see the puppy fat decrease.
If your puppy maintains the initial pudginess in the 3-6 month period and beyond, then begin decreasing the amount your puppy eats.
How often should they eat?
Puppies in the 6-12 week range should be fed four times a day to meet nutrition needs.
Puppies in the 3-6 month range should be eating three times a day. As they enter the 6-12 month stage and become adults, feeding should be reduced to twice a day.
What should they eat?
As a puppy is growing, they need to be eating nutrient-rich puppy food which helps healthy growth. Don’t feed it adult dog food until it is done growing.
Their finished growth will vary based on the breed and size of the dog. Smaller dogs will often be finished growing in the 7-9 month range, while larger dogs can be in the 9-12 month range or longer.
You may want to consult your veterinarian when your puppy is finished growing. At this point, you can make the switch to adult dog feed which is focused more on body maintenance instead of growth.
What about food scraps?
If you begin feeding your puppy table scraps, you will quickly find yourself entering a slippery slope!
Puppies are experts at knowing how to beg for food scraps, and they will quickly learn what your “share triggers” are.
While feeding them food scraps may be cute, it often does more harm than good. Processed foods can quickly cause obesity, nutritional imbalance, poor digestion, and upset stomachs.
Like any animal, dogs are subject to health problems and concerns. Thankfully animal healthcare has progressed significantly due to modern technology and more select breeding.
While there are general health concerns for all breeds of dogs, most breeds will also have a few health concerns that are more specific or common to that breed. This can be caused by body shape, genetics, or breeding patterns over time.
As an owner, here are some things to watch in your daily interactions with your puppy.
Ask your breeder for health records
When you purchase your puppy, ask your breeder for any health records on your puppy. They may be able to provide genetic information from the parents, initial veterinarian reports, or other paperwork that your veterinarian will find useful.
Regular inspections during grooming
Your regular grooming times with your puppy are the best times to do a visual inspection of your dog.
As you are brushing and cleaning your puppy, look for sore spots, pain points, sores and rashes, unusual skin or hair color, bald patches, and other unusual things.
Watch your dog during exercise
While spending time with your puppy, watch how it runs, walks, and plays. If you see signs of pain in the legs, limping, or other discomforts, then you should have your vet look at your puppy.
This is part of the reason why puppies should not have strenuous exercise. Limping and other leg or hip issues may be a sign of genetic issues such as hip or elbow dysplasia, but they can also be the result of too much running on hard surfaces in younger dogs.
Keep the ears dry
Breeds that have long ears that cover the ear canal, like Poodles or Golden Retrievers, can develop ear infections if moisture becomes trapped in their ears.
If your puppy has long ears, check to make sure the inside is dry after they are swimming, have a bath, or get wet.
Check your puppy’s feces
Although this is not always enjoyable, it is good to check your puppy’s feces occasionally for signs of digestive and overall health issues.
If you notice unusual feces, it is not usually a concern if it only happens a couple times and then becomes normal. If they continue, however, you should consult your veterinarian.
Color: Under normal circumstances, feces should be a chocolate-brown color. Off-colored feces; such as jet black, red-streaked, grey, or yellow, indicates that there are internal issues in the digestive tract or organs.
Consistency: A puppy’s feces should be similar to a play-doh texture. Hard pellets can indicate dehydration while liquid feces indicate digestive issues.
It doesn’t matter if you keep your puppy in the house, the garage, or outside; you need to make sure that your puppy will be safe.
Here are the most common safety measures that need to be taken with your puppy:
- Have a secure outside area. This might mean an actual fence, an invisible fence, or keeping your puppy on a leash while outside.
- Keep house plants and poisonous bushes out of your puppies reach. Puppies are curious, and they should not eat leaves or fruit from bushes that are inside or outside.
- Make sure the collar around the neck is firm but not choking.
- Cover up outlets and keep electrical cords and chargers organized.
- Remove ropes, wire, and cords that could choke or strangle.
- Make sure your house and yard are free from small debris and choking hazards such as batteries, marbles, pieces of metal or glass, and plastic.
- Install puppy gates around stairs and rooms that contain hazards.
- Don’t keep your puppy in areas that will become hot or unvented.
- Keep trash securely in trash bins. Puppies love to mess in the trash if it gives off exciting smells to investigate.
Having the proper supplies on hand for your puppy for each job is important in reducing frustration and keeping your supplies organized.
Here is a list of supplies that you should have before you bring your puppy home.
Crate: A crate of suitable size helps in house-training your puppy, as well as keeping it out of trouble if you need to leave for short periods.
Bowls: Dog bowls are not made equal! In choosing quality food and water bowls, the best options are ceramic, glass, or stainless steel. These bowls are sturdy, easy to clean, and dishwasher safe.
Collar: Purchasing a collar should not be taken lightly since it will have regular contact with your puppy’s neck. Make sure you have correct measurements and a proper fitting before assuming your puppy’s collar is fine.
Leash: Your puppy should be leash trained so that you can take it into public places. Make sure the leash is long enough for the breed that you have, particularly the height and weight of your puppy.
Food: If possible, it is a good idea to feed your puppy the same brand/recipe of food that they had before you pick them up. You can then gradually switch them to your brand of dog food. Remember to choose high-quality puppy food!
Treats: Healthy treats are always a good idea to have on hand to reward your puppy for good behavior and help in training.
Toys: A few quality toys can help keep your puppy occupied when they are not with humans. Safe chew toys not only help prevent boredom for your puppy, but they also give an alternative to chewing on household items.
Having a puppy is a lot of fun, and following these seven things will help ensure your puppy’s safety, health, and companionship for years to come.
If you are ready to choose your next puppy, head over to Infinity Pups today! All puppies listed with Infinity Pups are guaranteed not to be from puppy mills, and they come with a 1-year health guarantee.