Puppies can make an incredible and loving addition to your home and family but there is a lot of responsibility that comes with them as well. Today, our Suffolk County vets share some information about raising a new puppy and offer advice to help you have a smooth transition.
How To Raise and Care for a New Puppy
When you add a new puppy to your family you realize that while it is a lot of fun, there is a lot of new responsibility that you take on as well. For first-time puppy owners, the task can be a bit overwhelming, especially if you don't really know what you're getting yourself into. Our vets at Deer Park Animal Hospital hope to further prepare you for the experience so your pup can grow up to be a happy, healthy, and well-behaved doggy.
Puppies are very energetic as well as curious about everything going on around them. Puppy owners will need a lot of patience to keep them out of trouble, instruct them on acceptable behavior, and teach them about the world in a safe manner.
One of the bonuses is that puppies tend to tire easily and so you will be able to take breaks every time your new pup needs to have a nap and recharge. That being said, they don't always sleep through the night which can result in them whining and/or barking throughout the night due to being left alone.
Your pup will likely be motivated to chew on just about anything as their adult teeth come in, which can result in the not-so-cute destruction of items around the house. On the bright side, this behavior won't last too long as your pup will be all grown up by the time they turn a year old, as most of those types of puppy tendencies will be left behind.
Caring for a puppy is a big obligation and a large time investment. If you're thinking about getting a puppy, you should make sure you can have someone home with them at all times. This will allow you to let them out to go to the bathroom as well as monitor their behavior to ensure you can put an end to undesirable habits they may partake in if they were left alone.
Ensuring a Safe Home For Your Puppy
No matter how hard you try, providing your curious, energetic pup with around-the-clock supervision is virtually impossible. To minimize the trouble your puppy can get into when you aren't around, you should puppy-proof your home before their homecoming. Secure electrical cords and move potentially toxic plants or substances, such as cleaning supplies and insecticides, out of reach.
It's a good idea to crawl through your home to get a puppy's-eye view of their surroundings. Remove anything they might be tempted to chew or swallow, and close off vents, pet doors, or any other openings that might allow them to become lost or stuck. Not only will this help keep them safe, but it will also ease your anxiety that your new pup is lost.
You'll need to be ready to start house training your pup as soon as you bring them home. If you have the intention of crate training them you should ensure that you have the crate prepared in advance in order to make things easier. Make it comfortable by lining it with blankets or a dog bed, but make sure it's large enough that they'll have plenty of room to stand up, turn around and lie down. Slowly introduce them to the crate by leaving the door open and letting them explore it on their own. You can help tempt them to go in by throwing in a toy or using treats. The more comfortable they are with going into the crate, the easier it will be on both of you during training.
Dietary Requirements of Your New Puppy
Puppies have different nutrient and energy needs than matured dogs. Look for some high-quality puppy food that is specially formulated to support puppy development and growth. The proper quantity of food depends on factors like age, size, and breed. It's a good idea to consult your veterinarian about how much and how often to feed your pup.
For some small breeds, it can be best to free-feed young pups to ensure they receive adequate nutrition. Toy and small breed dogs reach physical maturity faster than larger breeds and can be switched to adult dog food and adult-sized portions between 9 and 12 months of age.
Larger breeds can take a full two years to reach physical maturity and have different nutritional needs than small breeds. They should be fed puppy food specifically formulated for large breeds. Talk to your vet about the best time to switch your growing large breed dog to adult food. They should also be fed multiple meals each day with controlled portions to prevent complications, such as stomach bloat.
When your pup is 6-12 weeks old, a good feeding structure would dictate they are fed 4 times a day. At 3-6 months, 3 meals a day should be provided. After 6 months and on, as your pup matures and grows into an adult dog, 2 meals a day will suffice.
Supplies For Your New Puppy
When you get a new puppy you will need a variety of supplies in order to help care for them. Here are some of the items that you will want to have:
- A crate or dog carrier
- A dog bed
- Food and water dishes
- High-quality puppy food and healthy dog treats
- Fresh, clean water
- A dog brush or comb
- Puppy-safe shampoo
- Puppy-safe toys
- A collar with ID
- Dog toothbrush and dog-safe toothpaste
- Nail trimmers
- Poop bags
- Travel bag
- "Pop" sound when walking
- Pet-safe home cleaner
Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.