How to Raise a Puppy
The art of raising a puppy can be both exciting and rewarding but does come with some challenges. For first-time puppy owners, the task can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you don't really know what you're getting yourself into. Below, our vets at Community Veterinary Clinic help you with raising a puppy by offering tips so your pup can grow up to be a happy, healthy, and well-behaved doggy.
Puppies are very energetic as well as curious about everything going on around them. Puppy owners will need a lot of patience to keep them out of trouble, instruct them on acceptable behavior, and teach them about the world in a safe manner.
The good news is that puppies also love to nap which means that you will have a few opportunities throughout the day to gather yourself and your wits before the next bout of energy. That being said, they don't always sleep through the night which can result in them whining and/or barking throughout the night due to being left alone.
Your pup will likely be motivated to chew on just about anything as their adult teeth come in, which can result in the not-so-cute destruction of items around the house. While you may not want to rush the cute stage, you can rest easy knowing that these habits will mostly be left behind once they pass a year old.
Caring for a puppy is a big obligation and a large time investment. If you're thinking about getting a puppy, you should make sure you can have someone home with them at all times. This will allow you to let them out to go to the bathroom as well as monitor their behavior to ensure you can put an end to undesirable habits they may partake in if they were left alone.
Making Sure Your Home is Puppy-Proofed
Try as you might, you aren't a superhero and so watching your pup every minute of the day will just not be possible. To minimize the trouble your puppy can get into when you aren't around, you should puppy-proof your home before their homecoming. Secure electrical cords and move potentially toxic plants or substances, such as cleaning supplies and insecticides, out of reach.
A good way to ensure that you haven't missed anything will be to get down and crawl around at the level that your pup will be at. Remove anything they might be tempted to chew or swallow, and close off vents, pet doors, or any other openings that might allow them to become lost or stuck. This will help you relax knowing that your new puppy will be safe.
The first thing that you should do when you bring your dog home is to get them house-trained. Be sure to have everything set up for when you bring them home, including the crate if your plan is to crate train. Make it comfortable by lining it with blankets or a dog bed, but make sure it's large enough that they'll have plenty of room to stand up, turn around and lie down. Slowly introduce them to the crate by leaving the door open and letting them explore it on their own. You can help tempt them to go in by throwing in a toy or using treats. By ensuring that your new puppy is comfortable with the crate you will save yourself and your puppy from a great deal of frustration.
What You Should Feed Your New Puppy
Puppies have different nutrient and energy needs than matured dogs. Look for some high-quality puppy food that is specially formulated to support puppy development and growth. The proper quantity of food depends on factors like age, size, and breed. It's a good idea to consult your veterinarian about how much and how often to feed your pup.
For some small breeds, it can be best to free-feed young pups to ensure they receive adequate nutrition. Toy and small breed dogs reach physical maturity faster than larger breeds and can be switched over to adult dog food and adult-sized portions between 9 and 12 months of age.
Larger breeds can take a full two years to reach physical maturity and have different nutritional needs than small breeds. They should be fed puppy food specifically formulated for large breeds. Talk to your vet about the best time to switch your growing large breed dog to adult food. They should also be fed multiple meals each day with controlled portions to prevent complications, such as stomach bloat.
When your pup is 6 - 12 weeks old, a good feeding structure would dictate they are fed 4 times a day. At 3 - 6 months, 3 meals a day should be provided. After 6 months and as your pup matures and grows into an adult dog, 2 meals a day will suffice.
What You'll Need When Raising a Puppy
There are a number of things that you will need when you decide to raise a puppy. Some of the tools and items that you will need include:
- A crate or dog carrier
- A dog bed
- Food and water dishes
- High-quality puppy food and healthy dog treats
- Fresh, clean water
- A dog brush or comb
- Puppy-safe shampoo
- Puppy-safe toys
- A collar with ID
- Dog toothbrush and dog-safe toothpaste
- Nail trimmers
- Poop bags
- Travel bag
- "Pop" sound when walking
- Pet-safe home cleaner
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.