When we bring a new puppy into our lives there are many things to be aware of. In my earlier article I addressed the vet, and all of the things you need to do to ensure the good health of your puppy. In this article I am going to go over the basics, the things that you should always provide your new addition with, and the keys to success. These things are vital to not only the safety of your puppy, but will ensure that you are putting your best puppy parenthood foot forward.
As soon as your pick your puppy up you will wants to have an ID tag made for your puppy in case he wanders from home. Include his name, your name, address and phone number. Veterinarians and pet stores usually have resource for obtaining ID tags. When your puppy is spayed or neutered, consider a microchip identification.
Now that you have your tag, attach it to the collar. You should be able to fit two fingers under the collar when on your pet. Check the fit often as your pet grows!
Leash & Harness
For potty walks or for spending time in an unfenced location, outfit puppy in an appropriate leash and harness. Retractable leashes allow you to control how far puppy wanders from you without him tugging or pulling. By hooking the leash to a harness, your puppy won’t be choked if he tries to outreach the leash lead.
Food & Water Bowls
Stainless steel is easiest to keep clean and doesn’t break, which makes upkeep a breeze. Something to be aware of is that some puppies can have allergic reactions to plastic bowls.
Grooming Brush or Mitt
Brushing your puppy regularly keeps his coat looking nice and feels good to your pet. And just as important, this is time for you and your puppy to bond.
Playing with toys helps puppy’s balance and motor skills. Chew toys can help him shed his baby teeth. Choose indestructible toys and stay away from toys and toy parts that can be swallowed.
You’ll soon see that a curious puppy will explore anything and everything he can reach. And he doesn’t know which things are puppy-safe. “Puppy-proof” your house by doing these important things:
- Keep electrical cords our of chewing reach
- Keep household and garden chemicals locked away
- Keep cans/bags secure from puppy
- Check around vehicles before moving them
- Keep chocolate away from puppy because it is highly toxic and can kill
Traveling with Puppy in a Car:
- Put puppy in a special doggy seat belt or crate (seat belts are best)
- Put puppy in the back so the driver is not distracted
- Never secure puppy to something in the car with his leash to prevent choking should the car stop suddenly
- Never leave your pet alone in the car for more than a few minutes
- Never leave your pet alone in a closed-up car on a hot day for any amount of time. Car heat can kill puppies even at lower temperatures.
Feeding Your Puppy
At first, it’s important to feed your puppy the same thing he was eating before you brought him home. As he gets used to his new environment you can gradually introduce the food you chose. Many commercial foods are acceptable but be sure to choose a well-balanced one. Consult your veterinarian for how much and how often to feed your puppy. It will depend on his energy level. Choose a convenient place to feed your puppy and use this spot consistently. Be sure to clean your puppy’s dishes before every use and always give him fresh water at each feeding.
Store-bought puppy treats are fine to give him, but they are actually full of fat. Be aware of how many treats your puppy eats and try to adjust the amount of food in his regular meals accordingly. Giving table scraps is never a good idea. They throw off the balance in nutrition in your puppy’s diet and can upset his stomach. And if you don’t feed your puppy from the table or your plate, he won’t learn to beg for food.
You’ll only need to bathe puppy if he’s dirty or smelly; bathing too often can cause dry skin. It helps to brush puppy’s coat before the bath. Use the proper dog shampoo, lukewarm water, and gently scrub from head to tail, taking care not to get soap or water in eyes or ears. Rinse thoroughly and stand back. Puppy will shake, shake, shake! Dry with a towel or hairdryer (not to hot!) as quickly as possible so puppy doesn’t get cold. Bathing is an opportunity to check for fleas, ticks and skin problems.
Caring for Teeth
A healthy diet keeps teeth clean and gums healthy. However, tartar will inevitably build up so have puppy’s teeth checked regularly by a veterinarian. Between visits you can brush puppy’s teeth yourself with special pet toothpaste and a soft brush.
Like children, puppies will lose their baby teeth. Between three and six months old baby teeth will gradually fall out and are replaced with permanent teeth. A mixture of soft and hard food, puppy biscuits, or hard rubber chew toys will help loosen baby teeth naturally.
Clip puppy’s nails about every six weeks using special dog clippers. Some owners prefer to have a veterinarian do the clipping because it’s a delicate task to keep from clipping into the quick. However, just using a nail file will often help keep nails in check without the danger of cutting into the “quick” of the nail.
One of the healthiest things you can do for your puppy is give him lots of love and attention. Dogs are extremely loyal by nature and are happy when they please you. Their ancestors, wolves, ran in packs, so you can understand that puppy can get lonely if you don’t spend enough time with him. Studies show that emotionally, dogs benefit from being petted by humans as much as humans do from petting dogs. So, play, talk, pet, and love. You’ll both be happier and healthier.