How to Care for Puppies-The Top 5 Tips On Caring for Puppies
Man’s best friend has always been the faithful dog. These wonderful pets come in different breeds and sizes. Unlike the common myth that one should look for the ‘perfect’ puppy, it is you who needs to raise the puppy and mold it into what you would love it to be. This is essential because the little pooch will be spending all of its life with you—and yes, when you adopt him; you instantly become a parent to a vivacious, attention-seeking, full-time family member.
When adopting, I advise that you choose a puppy from the local animal rescue store or a certified pet store with your parent’s help, that way you’ll be sure that the breed thrives in your locality. But if you find an exotic breed puppy and feel the urge to keep it, first scour the internet for all the information you can get on it, then see if it’s something you can put up with for the rest of its life. In this post, we share with you the valuable tips on how to care for puppies. Let’s dive right into it.
Find Him or Her a Befitting Home and Bedding
Your puppy’s home should be safe, comfortable, warm, and a little private. You see, the rest of the home is often dominated by other members of your family, and occasionally, the puppy may feel like a third-class citizen. Find him one of these best dog cages, or befitting orthopedic dog beds, and position it at convenient place in your home (here’s a helpful guide on where to put a dog bed).
Since they are young and just starting to find their ways around, learning the ropes of life, puppies can be messy if left on their own. If he has to play outside its dog cage or dog crate, always have him/her in a playpen whenever unattended. A playpen is the best option since it gives him room to play, stretch and move around but still confines him and prevents him from making a mess or straying away. If you have to use a crate, ensure it has one of these amazing puppy beds for crates. Also ensure that the playpen is cleaned and that the padding material changed regularly. However, don’t keep your pup in the playing pen for too long; that is, not more than two hours.
[Also check out Top 10 Best Puppy Beds for Crates–Your Pooch Will Love These]
Be Choosy on What You Feed the Puppy On
The second point on How to Care for Puppies is that you should consider the pup’s nutrition. Fortunately, there’s a good chance that by the time you adopt him/her, the pup will be old enough to feed on solid food—or else you might have to feed it on milk till he learns how to eat. Solid food is introduced gradually, through a process called weaning. The best time to wean your puppy is four months after birth and the weaning should last over a period of two to three weeks. Puppies grow very fast. In fact, puppies often require to eat more than the mom around this age. This is because they are growing and need lots of energy to play and do other stuff. It’s also important to know that most small breed pups reach maturity faster compared to large breed puppies because large bones and body parts take more time to develop.
As a rule of thumb, do not feed your puppies on its mommy’s food because some of the adult dog food may lack some nutrients needed for the pup’s growth. You should also remember to feed the puppy under regular meal patterns, preferably twice or three times a day. This will give room for the little guy to digest its food and also control its ‘pooing and peeing’ habits. If he eats fast, he might get chocked—you’d consider these pup bowls for fast eating dogs.
Dogs, just like humans, suffer allergies towards certain types of food. If you think your puppy has some allergies, you should consult your vet to see if your puppy indeed has food allergies. This is especially if you start noticing some itching or swelling on the skin after giving him certain foods. In most cases, puppies that are allergic react mostly to animal products like beef and eggs. Wheat is also a common product that can make a puppy suffer an allergy.
However, not all the nutrients required by the body are found in the food, you’d consider some dog food supplements that are recommended for your pup’s breed. For puppies, it’s advisable to consult a dog specialist, or a vet before you introduce them to a generic dog food supplement as the supplements might as well cause an imbalance in their nutrition.
Spend Time with Your Puppy, Bond!
To get this point on How to Care for Puppies, it is important to understand that dogs are originally pack animals so they naturally want to hang around each other. In this case, your pup may not have other puppies or grown dogs to hang up with so you automatically become his best friend. It’s no wonder I get asked the following questions a lot;
- Why does my dog lay its head on me?
- Why does my dog have to sleep touching me?
- Why does my dog lay on top of me?
- My dog sleeps in the bed with me, is it safe?
The thing is, there needs to be a mutual connection where you feel the puppy and it feels you. This is called bonding. Since the pup is probably new to your world, and vise versa, he is easier to bond with, unlike a grown dog—remember that quote on teaching an old dog new tricks? It’s literal, huh! It’s normal that your puppy will tend to like one member of your family the most, thus spend the most time with them. Even so, every member of your family should be involved with your puppy in a loving manner to avoid tension and aggression between them and the pup.
The best time to bond with your pup is during the first 3-12 weeks. The bonding doesn’t have to be done at home; you may also do it by taking a walk together. When you feel angry or just sad, tell it to your puppy. Feeling anxious? Talk to your puppy. It’s not just for the puppy but therapy for you too.
Maintain High Levels of Puppy Hygiene
The hygiene of the puppy and its environment is important in its well-being. Animals can transmit diseases to humans and vice versa thus it’s important for you and the puppy to maintain high levels of hygiene. The diseases transmitted by animals are called zoonotic diseases. Dogs can be carriers of sub diseases if not kept clean. Keeping your puppy clean will also prevent it from having blood-sucking parasites. To keep the dog’s coat clean, here’s a post on pet grooming and here’s another post on the average cost of pet grooming.
Most short-haired breeds like the Basenjis and the American hairless terrier are very careful about their hygiene hence no need to bathe them frequently. I advise you give short-haired puppies a bath at least twice a month. There are also matted double coat dogs which should be washed more frequently. It is also important to know the coat of your pup since there are some that have oily and water-resistant coats. Pups with a close-cropped hair coat should be washed whenever dirty. All in all, avoid unnecessarily bathing your puppy. If your pup loves swimming, you should ensure that you have rinsed it after its swim. I also advise you use a special shampoo designed for use with dogs, lest the fur falls off after a bath.
You are also required to brush the teeth of your puppy frequently. This may seem ridiculously unnecessary but puppies are prone to dental diseases. You should, at least, brush your puppy’s teeth twice a week. Always ensure you use a special toothpaste for dogs when doing this. You should also make a regular visit to the local animal dentist for a checkup.
Another “How to Care for Puppies” tip is through music therapy. Different sounds affect the pup’s behavior and eventually its character. I advise that you play soft classical music from a piped instrument like a clarinet or flute so as to calm down your puppy during stressful situations and to keep the noise level in your home at a minimum whenever you can. Here’s an insightful post on dog music for sleep.
It is also important to ensure that the pup is close to the mum. This is because the mum releases a substance through their milk that calms the pup when it is anxious. It will also help the puppy when it grows up. How? When a grown dog is anxious, it is calmed down by being reminded of the good times it had when it was a pup.
Remember, pets react pretty much the same way we treat them so love your puppy as you would your siblings and it will do the same to you—it’s loyal.
Wan a nice and warm place for your puppies to sleep on? Check out these Top 10 Best Dog Beds for Puppies—Reviews and Buyer’s Guide.
How to Care for Puppies