Find a Good Vet
The first place you and your new puppy should go together is, you guessed it, straight to the vet for a checkup. This visit will not only help ensure that your puppy is healthy and free of serious health issues, birth defects, etc., but it will help you take the first steps toward a good preventive health routine. If you don’t have a vet already, ask friends for recommendations. If you got your dog from a shelter, ask their advice as they may have veterinarians they swear by. Local dog walkers and groomers are also a great source of ideas.
What to Discuss During Your 1st Appointment with Your Vet
- Which puppy foods do they recommend; how often to feed; what portion size to give your pup.
- Confirm the a vaccination plan with your vet.
- Safe options for controlling parasites, both external and internal.
- Learn which signs of illness during your puppy’s first few months.
- Ask about when you should spay or neuter your dog.
Shop for Quality Food
Your puppy’s body is growing in critical ways which is why you’ll need to select a food that’s formulated especially for puppies as opposed to adult dogs.
I use and recommend PEDIGREE Brand Puppy Food for the first 6 months. Look for a statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) on the packaging to ensure that the food you choose will meet your pup’s nutritional requirements.
Here’s a helpful guide I have put together from my experience for you to use in feeding your new Fur Baby
- Age 6-12 weeks – 4 meals per day
- Age 3-6 months – 3 meals per day
- Age 6-12 months – 2 meals per day
- Make sure your puppy has fresh and abundant water available at all times.
Watch For Early Signs of Illness
For the first few months puppies are more susceptible to sudden bouts of illnesses that can be serious if not caught in the early stages. If you observe any of the following symptoms in your puppy, it’s time to contact the vet.
- Lack of appetite
- Poor weight gain
- Swollen of painful abdomen
- Lethargy (tiredness)
- Difficulty breathing
- Wheezing or coughing
- Pale gums
- Swollen, red eyes or eye discharge
- Nasal discharge
- Inability to pass urine or stool
Establish a Bathroom Routine
Because puppies don’t take kindly to wearing diapers, housetraining quickly becomes a high priority on most puppy owners’ list of must-learn tricks. According to the experts, your most potent allies in the quest to housetrain your puppy are patience, planning, and plenty of positive reinforcement. In addition, it’s probably not a bad idea to put a carpet-cleaning battle plan in place, because accidents will happen.
Until your puppy has had all of her vaccinations, you’ll want to find a place outdoors that’s inaccessible to other animals. This helps reduce the spread of viruses and disease. Make sure to give lots of positive reinforcement whenever your puppy manages to potty outside and, almost equally important, refrain from punishing her when she has accidents indoors.
Knowing when to take your puppy out is almost as important as giving her praise whenever she does eliminate outdoors. Here’s a list of the most common times to take your puppy out to potty.
- When you wake up.
- Right before bedtime.
- Immediately after your puppy eats or drinks a lot of water.
- When your puppy wakes up from a nap.
- During and after physical activity.
By teaching your puppy good manners, you’ll set your puppy up for a life of positive social interaction. In addition, obedience training will help forge a stronger bond between you and your puppy.
Teaching your pup to obey commands such as sit, stay, down and come will not only impress your friends, but these commands will help keep your dog safe and under control in any potentially hazardous situations. Many puppy owners find that obedience classes are a great way to train both owner and dog.
Classes typically begin accepting puppies at age 4 to 6 months.
- TIP: Keep it positive. Positive reinforcement (such as small treats) has been proven to be vastly more effective than punishment.