Congratulations, you’re the proud owner of your new fur-baby! Whichever breed of puppy you are sharing your home with, you’ll need to ensure you give them proper care. So, you’re in the right place. Welcome to the ultimate guide to caring for a puppy.
Here, we take you through a step-by-step process of looking after a puppy. We answer those all-important questions, such as, when should you take your puppy for their first walk? What food is suitable for puppies? And, of course, when should the puppy visit the vet?
Of course, we delve much deeper than this, too! So buckle up and take it all in. You’re about to enjoy one of the best feelings ever – the love of a puppy in your life.
How to look after a puppy
Now, let’s begin our care guide:
Provide food suitable for puppies
Puppies are not the same as dogs. They have different nutritional requirements. While a puppy can eat dog chow, however, it is better to give puppy chow to help their growing body and digestion.
Fatty acids are required for shiny coats. High proteins from real meat help them build muscle growth. Always prefer giving dry food over wet food as it helps to clean their teeth and prevents gum disease.
To be more specific with their diet, you can talk to your vet about the options or can read the labels of potential foods thoroughly.
Puppy-proof your home
There's a concept called puppy-proofing – much similar to baby-proofing. Always pay attention to the potential dangers around the living area, including the house, garden, and anywhere your pup might venture.
How to puppy-proof your home
- Remove dangerous chemicals like client supplies.
- Secure wiring and cables away.
- Stock up on puppy pads, you’ll need these to prevent any accidents permanently ruining any flooring.
- Remove any dangerous indoor plants.
- Make sure your pup can’t get to any human food. Some human foods are extremely dangerous if your puppy were to ingest anything. See Human Foods A Dog Should Never Eat for more information.
- If your puppy will be a ‘downstairs dog’, it might be a good idea to buy a baby gate.
- Invest in some throws and blankets. If you’re going to welcome your dog onto the sofa, let them get cosy with a blanket between them and the sofa. This will help with any shedding and keep your sofa clean.
How to puppy-proof your garden
- Cover any ponds or pools. These can be very dangerous, especially for a puppy.
- Remove any dangerous plants. Some plants can be poisonous for puppies and dogs. To be on the safe side, keep these far away from your garden.
- Make sure your garden is fully secure. You don’t want them escaping while you’re making a cup of tea. Proper fencing will be required before you even think about bringing a puppy home.
Keep a careful eye on your puppy
Never ignore the unusual behaviour of your pup. The most important recommendation anyone can give you is to observe your pup. Watch them eat, go to the toilet and also when they play.
Learning how to take care of a puppy will become easy if you allow them to give you clues as to what they need. Moreover, watching your puppy is the best way to enjoy them. Just like humans, puppies grow up fast. So keep an eye on your pup, or else you will miss something special!
Get the correct puppy care equipment
Besides treats and dog collars, there are a few more things that you will need to buy for your puppy. These include grooming tools such as bristle brush and dog shampoo. Also, get two metal bowls, one for food and another for water. Avoid using ceramic or glass, as puppies are not gentle creatures!
Below is our checklist of all the things you’ll need to make sure you’ve bought for your puppy:
- Puppy-friendly food
- Dog lead
- Dog collar
- Dog harness
- Poo bags
- Dog-friendly toothbrush and toothpaste
- Dog shampoo and conditioner
- Food and water bowls
- Dog blankets
- Chew toys and soft toys
- A dog bed (and a crate if you’re planning on crate training)
If you’d like to learn about cleaning your dog’s teeth – read our guide on Dog & Puppy Dental Care today.
When to take a puppy to the vet
Your pup will need vaccinations against many diseases like rabies and distemper. Also, your pup must remain isolated from other animals until the completion of the series of shots.
An appointment with the vet will clear all your doubts about vaccinations and make sure that there will be no development problems as your puppy grows into an adult.
No matter where you got your puppy from, it is best to take your new fur-baby to the vet to have them checked. This could just be a precaution but it’s better to be safe than sorry. Call the vet ASAP if you’re unsure about puppy vaccinations.
Caring for a puppy: key tips
Being a pet owner, it will be your responsibility to keep your pup safe by getting the right products.
Do not make your pet stay in a drafty location, as prolonged exposure to cold can cause arthritis later on.
Never use a piece of rope for a collar and leash, as this can be an unsafe practice.
Dog collars are one of the most important things that you can buy for your pup. Not only are dog collars indispensable for walking and exercising, but also are useful for returning and re-claiming lost dogs.
Make your pet feel comfortable
Make a special place for your pet to sleep. Collect some safe toys designed for puppies. These toys will help to provide comfort and ease, especially when teething. Provide your dog with their own bed, with their own blankets and soft toys. These will be comforting for them.
Properly train and socialise your pup
Always try to introduce your puppy to many things such as obedience, training, how to talk and visit other people, etc. Remember, socialization is a very crucial part of puppy training. Dogs, by nature, are social creatures, and play is part of the "pack" behaviour.
Usually, a puppy becomes hyperactive during this time, so consider consulting with the veterinarian to help understand their behaviour. Never discourage your puppy in any way, as it can badly affect their mental health.
Check with your vet for the exact age your puppy is allowed to begin socialising.
Give them plenty of exercise (depending on age and breed!)
Another crucial aspect of taking care of a puppy is providing physical exercise. The dog owners must know the importance of regular exercise for a happy and healthy puppy.
Exercise helps dogs to burn off all the excess energy that is so prevalent in puppyhood. Furthermore, exercise helps in keeping a pup calmer and behaves well.
Play with your pup
In many ways, puppies are like babies. They need your undivided attention many times a day.
Playing with a tiny dog is a vital part of the bonding process that occurs between the puppy and the owner.
Try petting your pup's face, belly, legs, and back. This helps you to create a strong bond by making your pup feel loved and wanted. It will also aid them in feeling more comfortable being touched/moved when they need to go to a groomers.
And, get him some chew toys to improve their physical and mental health. These are also helpful because they can play with themself, while you crack on with something else!
And finally, show your puppy proper love
Once you provide all the basic necessities for your pup to thrive, now all they need is love and kindness. For any successful relationship, love and kindness are the two main ingredients.
You can expect both good and bad times with your puppy as it grows to adulthood. By committing to provide love and kindness throughout, you can have a wonderful relationship forever.
Summary of how to care for a puppy
- Make sure you have the proper equipment to care for your puppy.
- Ensure you properly train your puppy
- Feed your puppy the right foods.
- Check in with your vet for check-ups and vaccinations.
- Spend time working on obedience training.
- Show them proper love and care.
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We hope you found this helpful. And, we have a lot more help and advice where this came from! Explore our Dog Care & Advice Blog today for more helpful articles.