How to Raise a Happy and Healthy Puppy
If you’re yet to have a child, then raising a puppy is pretty good practice. You can expect plenty of adorable moments filled with cuddles and kisses.
But there will be just as many that involve patience-testing training and cleaning up after accidents. In reality, helping your puppy grow up to be its happiest and healthiest self isn’t always a walk in the park.
You’ll soon learn that a growing pooch requires more than just a bowl of food and a comfortable bed.
It will take some work in the beginning but rest assured that you’ll quickly learn the ropes and eventually incorporate puppy care into your daily routine without hassle. Few things in life can feel more rewarding.
The following points will help you lay the foundation for a great relationship with your new best friend.
Bringing your puppy home is just as exciting for them as it is for you. They will be in a new environment filled with unfamiliar smells, sights, and sounds.
While you shouldn’t impose so much control that it causes discomfort, it’s a good idea to keep your puppy on a lead or corralled within a certain area for the first few days. This will prevent any accidents.
Dogs tend to enjoy a daily routine, so be sure to help your puppy develop good habits from the start. This can be done by using a dog crate, which establishes bed and bathroom routines while also keeping them safe at night.
Starting a light exercise regimen depending on the breed and their requirements should be on the agenda, too.
This is a good opportunity to establish dominance by not allowing your pup to lead you and pull you around when walking. You can also teach them commands that will keep them safe.
The same applies to visitors. Your puppy should be taught to socialise properly without biting, jumping on or barking at anyone who comes in. The latter is helped by ignoring them whenever they make a noise.
All of this is best taught with positive reinforcement, such as by providing a treat when they do something right.
Preparing the Home
House training is one of the most challenging parts of raising a puppy, but once you get it right, they will stick to the rules that have been established. From there, you can comfortably continue with normal living.
Take some time to see your home through your puppy’s eyes. This will help you identify potential hazards that should be moved away so that they don’t cause harm to your dog (and your wallet). Here are some points to keep in mind:
- Conceal any electrical cables.
- Keep cords for blinds and curtains out of reach.
- Prevent access to any chemicals, medicines, and toxic substances.
- Use a heavy-duty lid for the bin so that it can’t be knocked over.
- Buy toys that help them discern the difference between what they can and cannot chew on.
Baby gates or pet gates can keep your puppy from accessing certain rooms. If you have kids in the house, be sure to let them know about the rules so that they don’t let your pup get away with things that you wouldn’t allow.
Your puppy should have a name that is short and easy to understand. Try avoiding names that are too similar to common words, especially those that you plan to teach them for tricks or training. Consider a name that describes their personality or something that highlights a unique aspect of their appearance. When you have one, it’s simply a matter of using it regularly and it won’t be long before they respond each time.
There are a number of supplies that are helpful, if not essential to the well-being of your pup. You don’t necessarily have to spoil them with a bunch of expensive toys. Here are some supplies to consider:
- Food and water bowls (ideally made out of metal).
- Nylon collar and leash with some form of identification.
- A place to sleep.
- Small, healthy treats for training.
- Grooming products (shampoo, brush, nail clippers, etc).
Another essential supply is food, but this can be complicated if you’re unfamiliar with dog food, so let’s take a closer look at what you should do.
One of the most important aspects of puppy health is diet. It’s best to avoid commercial, processed dog food. Kibbles are related to a range of health problems that can harm the development of your puppy and increase their likelihood of experiencing health complications. A considerable alternative is raw dog food.
To start, you can find more advice here on this Puppy feeding Guide by Bella and Duke, a supplier of raw dog food products in the UK.
This type of food contains only natural ingredients that dogs have eaten throughout their evolution. You can use their online store to create a meal plan that’s geared towards the individual needs of your pup.
Another point to remember is to avoid feeding from the dinner table, as this can cause them to lose interest in their own food.
Some human foods are also harmful to dogs. Here are some things to make sure that your pup can’t access:
- Grapes and raisins
As for liquids, water is good enough. Just remember to keep their bowl clean and prevent any slime from building up.
As for when you should feed them, the following schedule is a suitable guideline for the first year:
- 1-3 months: 4 meals daily
- 3-6 months: 3 meals daily
- 6 months to 1 year: 2 meals daily
Smaller dogs typically require more frequent feeding to maintain a proper blood sugar level. Your vet can help inform you about a suitable feeding schedule for your breed.
Another important factor is helping your puppy develop a proper bathroom routine. This involves preventing indoor accidents and showing positive reinforcement whenever your puppy has a potty break in the right place.
It’s a good idea to offer them a break at least once every hour.
During walks, before playing and before bed are also suitable times. The same is true for about 15 minutes after meals.
Some basic commands can go a long way when it comes to raising a more disciplined puppy.
You can start with sit, stay, come and look. This is where having treats comes in handy. Remember not to punish failure, but to reward success.
You’ll need a fair bit of patience to raise your puppy, especially in the first few months. There will be plenty of time spent on training and cutting out habits and behaviour that you don’t want repeated.
Between that, you need to remember to feed your pup a proper diet and watch for any signs of illness.
Don’t forget about exercise and providing enough attention. Dogs are highly social creatures and some breeds are particularly susceptible to separation anxietcO when left alone for too long.
If you’re currently tied up in other obligations, it might be a better idea to hold off adopting a puppy for later. The costs involved should also be considered.
But if you’re up for the challenge, then plenty of unforgettable moments await. Good luck!