The A-Z of Taking Care of a Puppy

March 27, 2018

You’re looking forward to all the cuddles, smiles and laughter with your new puppy.

However, there are some things you’re unsure of in taking care of a new puppy. Puppy care can be hard work. Here are few tips to acing your role as puppy parent.

Preparing for Your Pup

Before you bring your puppy home, there are important preparations you have to tick off the checklist. Try seeing your home through the puppy’s eyes. Imagine you’re the height of your pup.

Remove any potential hazards you may spot. What can they reach? Are there any porcelain ornaments, poisonous houseplants or wire they can chew on?

Here are a few equipments you will need in taking care of a puppy:

Bowls

Stainless steel bowls will last a long time. It will withstand your pup’s chewing. Whether you choose stainless, plastic, or earthenware bowls, make sure the water is always clean. Also, take away the food bowl once they’re done eating.

Bed

A disposable cardboard bed is best for the first few weeks. It won’t matter if they chew it to pieces! Place some comfortable bedding on the bed, like absorbent, fleecy veterinary bedding. That will keep them cozy and snug during nap time. You may also want to consider a puppy crate.

Collar, Tag, and Leash

Get your pup used to wearing a collar within the first days of bringing them home. Their collar should be soft, adjustable, and light.

Food

The shelter or breeder will most likely send you home with a few day’s worth of puppy food. They’ll give you instructions on what to feed your pup and when. If you plan on switching your pup to vegan dog food, make the transition slowly. See our guide How to Make the Switch to Vegan Dog Food.

Try KetunPet Puppy Blend for a wholesome and balanced vegan meal specifically designed for the growing puppy.

Toys

We understand the excitement of purchasing every cute toy you see on the shelf. However, make sure that the toy is safe first. Carefully choose quality and durable toys. Balls should be too big to be swallowed.

Grooming Bag

Taking care of a puppy requires grooming. Keep your pup looking on point! Buy a bristle brush and metal comb for their coat, guillotine-type clippers for their nails, and a doggie toothpaste and toothbrush for their pearly whites. Don’t forget mild pH-balanced shampoo and conditioner for dogs.

Veterinary Appointment

Contact a veterinarian as soon as you bring your pup home. Look up animal hospitals in your area. Make sure you choose the right vet for your pup. Your relationship with your puppy’s veterinarian should be built on trust. Ask them what medical facilities do they have, whether they do home visits, or what their views are on alternative treatments.

Once you’ve chosen a vet, set an appointment for an examination. Prepare any questions beforehand. The vet will check your pup and discuss vaccination programs with you and the best ways for taking care of a puppy.

Going Home

It’s finally time to bring home your puppy pal. Make the journey home as stress-free as possible. Have someone drive, so you can have the puppy on your lap. Use a towel to make a “nest” in your lap. This will keep them comfy and absorbs any accidents that may happen. Cuddle them to comfort them as it’s likely their first car ride.

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Let your pup meet the rest of the family, including children and pets. It may be exciting to have them home, but everyone should be calm and relaxed. It can be daunting for the pup to experience all these new and unfamiliar sights and smells.

Crates

Never use a crate as punishment. Make their crate or doggie den as homey as possible with some toys and bedding. Purchase a crate that will fit them when they become an adult. Once your pup finds their crate as their own little oasis, they will go in voluntarily (if the door is left open). Crates also help with housetraining as dogs don’t like soiling the place where they sleep.

Feeding

Food is everything for your pup. Even at a young age, your pup will get used to a feeding routine and will remind you when it’s time for their meal.

If you’re planning to change their diet, try switching to vegan dog food and start them early on a healthy path. However, if you do so, do it after a couple of weeks after bringing them home. A change in diet can be stressful especially after having been transplanted from one home to another.

Every day, place a little more of their new food in their bowl and take a little of their present food out. After around 10-14 days, your pup will have completely transitioned to the new dog food.

How Many Meals?

Obviously, the most important part of taking care of a puppy is feeding them. Puppies expand a lot of energy. Their tummies, however, are tiny. Feed them little and often. By 12 weeks, they should be on 3 meals a day. As they get to six months, feed them two square meals a day.

Exercise

Remember, gentle exercise only for your new pup. Wait until their bones and joints have been fully formed for the long walks. In the meantime, let them explore your yard. By six and nine months, your pup can enjoy short walks on a leash with short sessions of off-leash exercise.

House Training

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House training is probably not your favorite part of taking care of a puppy. If you put in the work in the beginning, it won’t be a problem later on. Every once in a while, take your pup out to a designated part of your yard. After they do their business, reward them with a quick fun game in the yard before heading inside.

Take your pup out at these times:

A telltale sign that they need to go is when they circle and sniff the ground. As soon as you see them do this, encourage them to go outside to do their business.

Socialization

Socialize your pup thoroughly early on. This helps them grow up into a confident, well-adjusted adult dog. Introduce them to the world as much as possible (after having their shots).

Ask friends and family to come around. You can also bring your puppy with you in the car and drive through busy streets. Go to shopping centers and join puppy playgroups. Take them on a bus or train. If your pup shows fear at something, act confident and show them that nothing is wrong.

Over to You

There are ways you can make taking care of a puppy easier for you. Grooming can be difficult if your dog isn’t used to it. So, get them used to grooming and being handled from a young age.

Taking Care of A PuppySpend a few minutes every day gently touching your pup’s paws, and inspecting their nails. Check their ears. Open their mouth, inspect, and brush their teeth. While you’re petting them, brush their coat gently all over. Give them a treat while you’re doing so. This helps them associate it with a rewarding experience.

Once your pup is used to being handled and inspected all over, you’ll become your vet or groomer’s favorite client, for sure!

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