Happy & Healthy Puppy
Puppies are a lot of work, but they are most certainly worth it! Maintaining good puppy health care is one of the most important responsibilities all new owners face, but it doesn’t have to be daunting. To help you out, we’ve created a guide to keeping your new pal happy and healthy.
1. Vaccinations Are Key
Other than keeping your pup in a plastic bubble, vaccinations are the only way to prevent certain illnesses from affecting them.
Scary infections such as Kennel Cough, Parvovirus, Distemper and even Influenza are all things that can affect the health of your dog. Vaccinating against these bad bugs will help protect your fur baby against getting very, very sick.
2. Proper Grooming
We’re not saying this just because we’re groomers – it’s because it’s very important.
Regardless of your puppy’s adult size or hair length, all pups should be somewhat accustomed to grooming, even if it is something as simple as a nail trim.
Certain breeds may only need a slicker brush and a bath, others may need weekly grooming. It’s important to keep all dog’s nails, skin, and fur clean and matt-free.
Puppies have different nutritional needs than adult dogs. Because they’re growing, they need food with more amino acids and minerals to support their growing bodies and minds.
When looking for the right food, make sure that it meets the nutritional requirements for puppies established by the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO). It will be stated on the packaging.
Puppies also eat A LOT! Check with the breeder or other breed professionals to determine the best feeding schedule and amount for your pup.
4. Essential Commands
Your puppy is never too young to start learning, and although no one expects your pup to be a circus dog someday, there are a few basic commands they should know.
The 5 main commands are as follows: Sit, Stay, Leave It, Come, and Down.
Don’t rush the process. Remember, you’re asking a lot of a little pup. If you take it up a notch and he or she is really struggling, go back to the previous stage.
5. Let Them Grow
Large breed puppies physically mature slower than small/medium-size pups. This means exercise and playtime should be gentle and short. For example, a Great Dane puppy shouldn’t go jogging with you until at least 18 months old. Too much stress on a large breed puppy’s frame could result in structural issues later in life.
Large breed puppies also need to eat puppy food longer than small/medium-size breeds. For example, this same Great Dane puppy should eat puppy food until he/she is at least a year old. Because of the slow maturity rate, they need those extra nutrients and minerals for much longer than smaller dogs.
6. Make Time
We all lead busy lives. The hustle and bustle of work, home, groceries, and hanging out with friends keeps us from spending quality time with our pets. That’s why it is so important to make time for them.
When you bring a puppy home, you’re removing them from their littermates/playmates. You can give them all the toys in the world, but nothing replaces real interaction. Make time to play, cuddle, and train your pup. The bonding process will bring you closer, and you’ll have a more obedient dog once he/she grows up.
7. Regular Checkups/Preventatives
Just as vaccinations are important, so are regular checkups at the vet. They’ll be able to tell if something is amiss.
Most important of all health-related issues: preventatives. A monthly dose of Heartworm and Flea & Tick preventatives will keep your pup safe from some really icky critters!
8. A Watchful Eye
They say a quiet room when you have a puppy is a scary situation. This is very true. Puppies are very inquisitive, and they don’t have thumbs to pick things up. So what do they do? Pick them up with their mouths. Young pups don’t quite know what is and isn’t food yet, so you need to keep an eye on them.
Pay attention to their toys as well. Chances are, most (if not all of them) will end up destroyed. When your pup has damaged a toy, it’s time to take it away and replace it with a new one.