4 Steps to Caring For Your Puppy

If you have a puppy or are thinking about getting one it is important to know how to care for your puppy. The result of good puppy care is a healthy, well adjusted and well behaved dog.

1. Feeding

You should get your puppy after it has been weaned, so feeding your pup will be a relatively simple procedure. You should feed him puppy food three times a day until he is 12 weeks old. Make sure the food is formulated specifically for puppies and keep in mind that small and large breed food differ. Make sure to give him the correct one! Always follow the manufacturer’s guidelines when working out portion sizes.

From 12 weeks only feed your pup twice a day. Again, follow manufacturer guidelines for portion sizes. It is a good idea to only leave his bowl on the floor for 15 minutes before taking it away. This will teach him to eat his food at specific times (morning and evening).

Always make sure your puppy has fresh water.

2. Vaccines & Parasites

It is very important to get your puppy the proper vaccinations. Take him to the vet immediately after getting him and the vet will inform you when and what your puppy should receive. The first vaccination should be administered at around 6-8 weeks and then regularly (around every 3-4 weeks) until he is 20 weeks old. Thereafter annual boosters will be sufficient.

You should also get him treatment for heartworm, intestinal worms and standard flea and tick treatments.

3. Grooming

Grooming your pup is vital. Grooming is not just about cleaning him up or preventing nasty infections. It is the time when pup and owner bond and is crucial for developing the owner-dog relationship.

Grooming differs between different breeds. For instance, long hair breeds will need brushing and untangling their hair regularly. Breeds with large, hanging ears will need their ears cleaned. Breeds with folds of skin on their faces or bodies will need the folds cleaned.

Make sure before choosing the breed of your puppy that you know what kind of grooming the breed requires!

4. Exercise & Training

You HAVE to exercise your puppy daily. He needs it to develop strong muscles, bones and internal organs. Just don’t overdo it. A good rule of thumb is to use your puppy’s age in weeks to calculate the maximum amount of minutes in an exercise session. So if your puppy is 20 weeks old, don’t exercise him for more than 20 minutes at a time.

Keep this up until he is one year old, after which time you can exercise him as much as you want. He will always want more!

Training your puppy from an early age is crucial as well. It will be a lot easier training him when he is young. You do not want a large adult dog doing what it wants and not listening to you! Training can involve basic things like house training, or basic commands like sit, stay, down, etc.

Whenever you are in doubt about anything regarding your puppy, always ask a veterinarian. They are your best source for puppy advice and health information and will be happy to help.

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