The Ultimate Puppy Care Guide for New Pet Parents to Raise a Healthy, Friendly and Confident Dog
Hi, we got a new puppy! 🐶 Yes, we did, and he’s sooooooooooo adorable. He’s just the cutest little thing on Earth. That tiny face, floppy ears, and droopy eyes; it’s just the best feeling ever, to wake up to them. ❤️ But wait, he’s growing so fast, and he’s getting so naughty. I love him! But he has to play all night; oh boy, and he just doesn’t let me sleep. He’s chewing my mom’s favorite furniture. Oh no, puppy! Don’t pee there!
If you’ve recently got a new puppy home, this will sound relatable! If you’re about to get one, you should know that this is what you’re signing up for. There will be days when you’ll curse yourself for bringing in the little imp. And yet, your little pupper will be the best thing that ever happened to you! You’ll spend countless nights without sleep, nursing or attending to him when he’s unwell, or entertaining him when he’s not in a mood to sleep. He’ll be your life. And you’ll go to any extent to keep him safe and happy, always.
A puppy comes with a lot of responsibilities. Just like a newborn baby, a new pet needs all your love, care and attention. He’s dependent on you for everything – food, shelter and even his toilet-needs. And the responsible pet parents that we aspire to be, it’s on us to try and do the best for our darling little puppers.
Let’s look at what puppy care involves and how to raise a healthy, friendly and confident dog!
- How to Plan a New Puppy
- How to Prepare Yourself for the Puppy
- How to Name your Puppy
- Puppy’s Food & Nutrition
- How to Choose the Best Puppy Food
- Feeding Schedule for Puppies
- Modifying Diet for a Growing Puppy
- Banned Food Items for a Dog
- How to Train & Socialize your Puppy
- How to Exercise & Play with your Puppy
- Health Checkups & Puppy Vaccinations
- Puppy Grooming & Other Needs
Planning a New Puppy
If you’re looking to bring in a new family member, it’s important to plan it well. While most of us would never say No to a puppy, it’s always a good idea to take a rational approach and responsibly plan a puppy rather than getting one in impulse. As tiny as they look, puppies are a lot of work. You must be committed to accept them in your life and everything they bring along.
If you’re already past this stage, you can skip to the next section below. Although, we’d strongly recommend to continue reading still.
The process of planning a puppy starts with assessing your resources and needs. Few questions you should ask yourself before choosing a puppy are:
- Why do I need a puppy?
You may need a companion animal or there may be a special need (e.g. protection, service or therapy dog). Choose a dog breed that’s best-suited for the job. Some dogs are more independent than others – you may not find your cuddle-buddy in them.
- What part of the world do I live in?
Not all dogs thrive in all weather conditions. It’s important to get a dog that can not just survive, but thrive in the local conditions. For example, the extreme hot temperatures of Delhi are not suitable for Huskies or some Mastiffs. They’re more apt for hills and colder areas up north.
- How much time can I (and my family) dedicate to the puppy?
By default, all puppies demand a lot of time, playing, training and socializing. Some high-energy breeds, like the Beagles may demand more time even when fully grown up. If you cannot dedicate a lot of time, adopting an older dog may be a better option. Sure you may miss out on their puppyhood, but adult and senior dogs are also a lot of fun!
- How much space do I have in my home?
Puppies grow quickly. Larger dogs may grow into their full size before you know it. And they need space to run, play and jump around. If you live in an apartment with limited space, smaller dogs like pugs, shih tzus, lhasa apsos, poodles, spitz, pomeranians, etc would be more appropriate than larger breeds like the German shepherds, labradors, golden retrievers, great danes, etc.
- Can I feed the puppy a species-appropriate diet?
Dogs are carnivores. Sure, they can digest plant matter too, but the bulk of their diet (proteins & fats) must come from animal sources. A dog can survive on veg food, but he’ll need a species-appropriate, non-vegetarian diet to thrive. This is particularly important during the early years of the dog. If you’re a vegetarian household, look for packaged pet food options that can deliver meat-based nutrients to your pup. However, read the labels carefully before making your pick.
- Are others in my family comfortable with a new puppy?
Many puppies get abandoned because even though the family got him home, someone in their pack wasn’t comfortable with him. It could be an existing pet insecure around other dogs, an elderly who is allergic to dog hair, or a kid who takes up all the time. A new puppy is a family decision. Before you decide to get the new puppy home – make sure EVERYBODY in your family, including your current pets are comfortable with the idea.
- Do I live in a pet-friendly neighborhood?
A dog needs to run around, bigger dogs more than smaller ones. If you live in a neighborhood that doesn’t allow pets in common spaces, or are generally hostile towards animals – chances are your pet will always have to be on a leash. If your neighbors often complain of noise, you don’t want a Beagle or any other loud breed.
- How much can I spend on my dog?
We all want to give the best to our pets. But aspirations must suit the pockets. Larger dogs typically eat more food than smaller ones. Long-coated dogs may need more grooming than others. Exotic or sensitive breeds may need frequent vet visits – all of these cost money. There may always be unexpected diseases or accidents that may attract additional spend. You must plan your expenses and allocate budgets based on the puppy you plan to get.
After you’ve carefully deliberated on these questions, pick a breed that fits your needs and resources. Every puppy is different. Some dog breeds take more time, effort and money than others. They all us give unconditional love and affection, but it’s important to pick a dog that you can love and care for without compromises.
It’s also pertinent to study the specific traits of the dog breed you select. Dogs also age differently. Larger dogs age quickly and have a shorter life expectancy than smaller dogs. Understanding your puppy’s aging profile and genetic makeup helps you stay prepared for future problems or diseases. It also enables you to provide the most appropriate and deserving care to your puppy.
Adopt, Don’t Shop. Foster, whenever possible!
Once you’ve decided the dog breed that you want to bring home, reach out to your nearest pet adoption center or contact a dog breeder. Stay clear of backdoor breeders and puppy mills, they produce and sell puppies in the most unethical and illegitimate way imaginable. Often such puppies are prone to many genetic disorders or other diseases. Whenever possible, adopt and not shop. If you’re looking for an adult dog, adoption is the best way to go. But if you must get a specific breed of puppy that’s not up for adoption, ensure that he comes from a trusted and reliable breeder. You can also adopt from a friend or family, if they’ve recently had a litter.
ALSO READ: Reasons to Adopt Your Next Dog, Not Shop
There are few things you must find out about the puppy before getting him home. This is especially important if you’re adopting a rescued puppy or older dog.
- Age of the puppy or the dog.
- Under what circumstances was the puppy rescued, was there any trauma or injury?
- If the pup was given up by another family, the reason for abandonment.
- Mother’s history and if the puppy got enough mother’s milk and nursing, etc. (very important with breeder pups)
- Medical, vaccination & desexing history, if any.
- Any quirks or behavioral issues in the dog, like picky eating, anxiety, aggression, etc.
You can also foster a puppy before committing to adopt him for life. It’s a test drive for how well the puppy can accommodate in your home. And more importantly, how well can you fulfil his needs. Fostering a puppy also helps you understand if your existing pet will accept the new one, and how well others in your family adjust to the new pet. If anything goes off the track, you can always shift the pet to another foster home. This saves you from the guilt of giving up on a pet, and the regret to take on a responsibility that you weren’t fully prepared for.
Once you’re committed to get home a new puppy, it’s time you make your home and life puppy-ready. Preparing your home and yourself for the little one will save any accident or unpleasant situations.
Puppy-proof Your Home
Everything from the trivial slipper to that expensive china, is a toy for your puppy. The pup won’t know the difference between appropriate and inappropriate toys (just yet!). You will have to teach him appropriate play, but in the meantime, you absolutely have to be careful about ensuring your home is puppy-friendly.
Puppies explore new objects the only two ways they know how to – by sniffing and by putting them in their mouth. For their safety, be very careful about putting sharp objects, breakables, valuables and toxic substances and food items away.
- Keep the scissors, knives, razors and any other sharp objects away.
- Small objects, kids’ toys, jewellery or anything that can be swallowed must be kept away. They can be a choking hazard.
- Shoes, clothes, books and other belongings could be interesting chew toys for the puppy. They must be kept out of his reach to avoid damage to property.
- Cables, wires and other electrical fittings must be concealed or covered. Chewing on them may give your puppy an electric shock.
- Roll away your carpets & rugs until your pup is toilet-trained.
- Trash cans and kitchen bins must be made inaccessible to your pup.
- Many human food items are toxic to dogs, and may result in fatal results even in small doses. Here are 10 Human Foods that are Toxic for your Puppy.
- Keep medication and drugs away at all times. Many human pills are toxic to pets.
- Watch your puppy’s behavior around indoor plants. They might find the mud interesting to chew on. Some garden plants and shrubs may also be toxic for them.
Additionally, you should dedicate a small enclosed space indoors where the puppy will spend the first few days. This enclosure can be setup using a playpen or by creating temporary fencing in a corner of the room. Food and water bowls, some toys and the puppy’s bed must be placed within this enclosure. The area should be well-lit, properly ventilated and temperature controlled. It must also be out of bounds of children or other pets. The idea is to provide a safe haven for the puppy, while he familiarizes himself to the sights, sounds and smells in your house. This enclosure will also help in toilet-training your puppy. More on that below.
Get All the Things Needed
A dog doesn’t need a lot to survive. But it’s important that you bring in all the essentials before the puppy arrives home. So you have everything the two of you will need over the course of first few weeks. Here are some of the things you’ll need to get for your new puppy:
- Two flat, stainless steel or ceramic bowls, one for food and the other for drinking water. Avoid plastic or other synthetic material.
- A puppy-size collar & leash
- A dawgie bed or mattress (or an old rug)
- A puppy-coat, if you’re getting the puppy in winters or if you live in a cold region
- Soft chew-toys
- Puppy food and supplies
- A crate or pet carrier, large enough for your dog’s breed
- Playpen or portable fences to create an enclosure
- Old newspapers, lots of them
- Toilet rolls or paper towels
- Disinfectant, pet-friendly floor cleaner
Clear Your Calendar
The first few months of your puppy’s life are the most important ones. Your pup demands your undivided time and attention during this period. He’ll need to be fed, played with, cleaned after him – every few hours for at least the first few weeks of his life. You’ll also have to gradually start training him.
Thus, it’s important that you plan your calendar to make sufficient time for your new family member. Try and work from home as much as possible, giving maximum facetime to your puppy. Avoid any travel for the first few weeks – you cannot leave your puppy alone, and you definitely can’t leave him at a boarding or kennel until his vaccinations are complete.
Naming Your Puppy
The first thing you do after getting a puppy home is picking a name for him or her. Or if you’re as crazy as us, you’ve probably chosen a name long before you got him home. Naming your puppy appropriately is extremely important. Your puppy’s name must be simple, short and easy to understand. It must ideally be 2 or 3 syllables long, and must not be a word that’s used in common parlance. Otherwise, your puppy may get desensitized to its sound and may not respond when called.
It’s also important to use only one name to address your pet. While you can use any number of cute names and adjectives to describe him on your Instagram, it’s important that everybody in the family only calls your pup by the same name. Otherwise, the puppy will get confused and won’t respond appropriately. We’ve discussed how to teach your puppy his name and establish recall in the Puppy Training section below.
Food and Nutrition for Puppies
The most important aspect of puppy care is their food. Once you get the puppy home, the one thing that he’ll care about the most is his food. Puppies are always hungry, and love to eat. They grow at a rapid pace, and need a lot to support that growth.
A puppy must build strong bones & teeth, muscles, tissues and a healthy & functional immune system in his early growth months. His brain is also developing rapidly, processing and registering new experiences every day. All of this requires energy & essential nutrients. Your puppy will become what he eats. That is why, it’s extremely important to provide him balanced & complete nutrition.
Choosing the Best Puppy Food
Puppy nutrition, sadly, is also the most neglected concept in pet care. Most breeders or vets may recommend cereal-based or otherwise synthetic food preparations for your puppy. They do provide the energy, but fail to deliver all nutrients in the right proportion. Commercial packaged pet foods tend to cause more damage to your puppy than good. They contain byproducts, fillers, preservatives, colors & flavors – all of which are detrimental to your puppy’s health.
Ideally, a puppy should feed on mother’s milk for as long as possible. Mother’s milk provides essential antibodies to the pup, along with important nutrients. It provides immunity against common diseases in puppies and aids growth & development. The puppy should gradually wean off to solid food after 6 – 8 weeks of age. If you’ve adopted a rescued case, or the puppy was separated from the mother before 6 weeks, extra case must be taken to ensure that your puppy’s food delivers all essential nutrients to build a strong immunity and growth.
Do not feed milk to your puppy – all puppies are lactose intolerant and may get diarrhea with milk. Diarrhea is fatal for puppies as they get dehydrated very quickly. The only exception to this is diluted goat’s milk.
When choosing a food for your puppy, look for something that’s rich in meat-based proteins and fats – your puppy need a lot of those. The food must also provide a balance of vitamins & minerals to facilitate healthy growth. When choosing pet foods, read the labels carefully and only pick something that’s completely safe for your puppy. Puppy tummies are very sensitive and cannot digest most ingredients that commercial diets include.
ALSO READ: How to Choose the Best Pet Food for your Dog
If you choose to cook for your puppy at home, make sure the recipe is balanced by a qualified pet nutritionist or vet. Also keep clear of multivitamin supplements meant for humans, some of these could be toxic to puppies.
Feeding Schedule for Puppies
Puppies need to eat many times a day. Even though they need a lot of food, their tummies are small and can only accommodate small quantities at a time without distending. Hence, it’s advisable to divide their daily portion in 5 – 6 smaller servings. Feed one serving every 2 – 3 hours, or as needed. Do not leave the food in their bowl all day. This disrupts the feeding times as the puppy may eat whenever he feels like, leading to behavioral issues in later life. The puppy may also overeat, leading to potential bloating issues.
Upgrading Puppy Diet Based on Age, Size & Breed
Puppies age rapidly. Their nutritional requirements change rapidly too. Hence, a puppy’s diet must be upgraded constantly to provide sufficient nutrition to sustain his breed, size and age. It’s important to monitor your pup’s weight every few days and modify their diet accordingly. However, don’t make too many changes in the constituents of the diet too frequently, else your puppy may soon turn picky about his food.
ALSO READ: Aging in Dogs & Age-Appropriate Pet Care
As your puppy grows, you can experiment with fruits and other organic food items. Fruits & vegetables provide essential vitamins & minerals to your pet, adding very few calories and a lot of water & roughage to their diet. Many fruits can be safely used as low-calorie treats for puppies. Just make sure the fruit is puppy-safe and diced into small pieces, so the puppy doesn’t choke on it.
Prohibited Food Items for Puppies
Many human food items are toxic to pets, even in small quantities. Your puppy cannot distinguish between safe and unsafe food items yet. That’s why, it’s important that you identify such items and keep them away from your pupper. Table salt, sugar, sugar-free or sugar-substituted foods, onions, garlic, citrus fruits like lemon & oranges, grapes & raisins, nuts, chocolate, tea, coffee or other beverages, like aerated drinks, beer & alcohol must be kept away from puppies at all times. Avoid feeding table scraps to your puppy – not only they may have salt & sugar, many spices and even oils can cause diarrhea. Cooked bones may cause choking and internal injuries. Always keep the puppy away from the kitchen bins, else he may raid them in search for scraps.
Medication and drugs meant for human use must be kept away at all times. Many common household medicines are fatal for dogs, more so to puppies because of higher relative dosage to their size. Also keep your pups away from toothpastes, gums, cigarettes, candles, cosmetics, soaps, detergents and other cleaning reagents. At their age, everything is either potential food or a toy.
Puppy Training & Socialization
Like human babies, puppies learn from experiences. They associate actions to their consequences based on the response they receive from their surroundings. For example, if a puppy attempts to climb, and receives an appreciation or reward for it, he’ll attach a positive experience to the activity (climbing). Similarly, if he receives a negative feedback for an activity, such as biting a shoe – he’ll automatically learn that it’s an unwanted behavior.
Puppies start learning from the moment they open their eyes. That is why, it’s important to start house-training your puppy as soon as he steps into your home & life. However, take note that it’s not a spontaneous process and may take several attempts before your puppy can learn and retain things. Trainability may also differ across breeds and individual puppies. It requires exemplary patience and discipline to raise your puppy right – but that’s what responsible parenting is all about.
Potty Training Your Puppy
Toilet-training your puppy will be the first of the many exercises you’ll take up as a new puppy-parent. From the time the puppy enters your home, cleaning up after him will take up the most of your time and effort. Not only does your pup have a small stomach, but also small bladders. Hence, he’ll need to relieve himself often, every few hours in fact. And naturally, you’ll have to clean up after. So it’s only practical that you start training him to pee and poop at the right place from the very start. It’s also hygienic & safe for the puppy and the rest of the family.
When the puppy first arrives home, place him indoors in a small enclosed space. You can use a playpen or temporary fencing to create an enclosure. Preferably, at a location where you can observe the puppy from all corners of the house. Keep the enclosure big enough for the puppy to move around without feeling restricted. Cover the floor of the enclosure with old newspapers. You puppy may tear some of these up, so frequent replacement may be needed.
As soon as the puppy relieves himself, clean it up, wipe the floor with a pet-safe disinfectant (DIY Neem Water works best) and replace the newspaper. You’ll have to be quick with the clean-up, else your pup may decide to play in his own poop, or worse, eat it. Also, don’t forget to praise him for being such a good boy, after every bio-break he takes.
Every few days, increase the size of the enclosure so your pup has more space to explore. And gradually decrease the size of the newspaper patch on the floor. By now your puppy would have associated pooping on the newspaper as a praiseworthy action. Encourage this even more by appreciating him every time he poops on the newspaper patch. Play with him, baby-talk and even treat after successful attempt. No punishment or feedback must be given in case the puppy fails to comply. No positive response or undue attention must be given either. Just clean the floor like usual and wait for the next turn. Remember, praise when he poops on the newspaper; no attention when on the floor.
By the time your puppy is about 6 – 8 weeks old, he would have learned to poop only on the newspaper patch, even though he’d be free to roam around the house. Puppies pick up toilet-habits really quickly. Instinctively, a dog doesn’t poop inside his territory. Once it has been established that the entire house is his territory, he’ll designate his spot to pee and poop. As he grows, the frequency will reduce too. At this time, you can start taking him out for potty-walks. Time the walks every few hours to match your puppy’s routine. Keep an eye on your puppy’s body language and take him out for walks on observing any cues.
As always, appreciate him on every positive pooping routine. Do not punish him for any toilet-accidents or mishaps that occur in the home. It’s okay to make mistakes, he’s a puppy, he’s still learning. Just remember to not give undue attention to and erroneously encourage accidents.
Toilet-training is a gradual process. Most pets pick up the cues very quickly and toilet-train themselves within a few weeks, but following a structured approach makes it simpler for both of you. It’s important to not rush things up, stay patient and keep trying consistently with your puppy. Take help from a professional, if needed or watch some YouTube videos to familiarize yourself with the drill.
Also, stay vigilant for any signs of abnormal poop. Your puppy’s poop can tell you volumes about his health. Your pet’s poop is where the first signs of disease or an infection show up. Cases of diarrhoea or loose motions must be immediately attended to. Diarrhoea can rapidly drain water from a puppy’s body, leading to fatal dehydration.
Socializing Your Puppy
Socialization is not just experiencing new things; it is to do so in a positive manner! This process is absolutely critical to raise a healthy, calm and confident dog. Apart from the basic training commands, you must also expose them to new people, smells and sounds.
Your puppy’s critical socialization period lasts only up to 12 – 14 weeks of age. Thus, you have a limited window to ensure your puppy gains a range of positive experiences. Unfortunately, you can’t take them out often until all their vaccinations are done – until 16 weeks of age. So you’ll have to get creative with it. You can start socializing your puppy as early as 4 – 5 weeks of age. But exercise caution and moderation while going about it.
- If you have other pets or children in the house, you can gradually start introducing them to the puppy at this stage. Start by leaving them on either side of the enclosure and progress gradually. But make sure they’re always under your supervision. Children must be taught to handle the puppy with care, and not mistreat him by hitting, pulling hair, etc. Else the puppy may develop a sense of fear and resentment towards children. If your existing pet is not friendly with puppies, it’s best to keep them apart for some more time, until they both get comfortable with each other.
- Throw a party, invite your friends and family over. Or take your pup out to work or to friends’. In addition to making new friends, you puppy can experience new people, smells, different types of handling and learn to trust & like humans.
- YouTube has some amazing sounds of thunderstorms, traffic, barking dogs and doorbells. You could try playing them at a low volume to get your dog used to such sounds (consult a behaviorist if you notice or suspect anxious or fear responses).
- Go on drives in cars and auto rickshaws! Not only this exposes your puppy to new smells and sounds, it ensures he doesn’t grow up to have motion sickness. It could be very difficult to take your dog to the vet or other places, if he can’t travel comfortably. Crate training is important to ensure smooth & safe travel with your pet.
- Take your puppy out to parks or pet-friendly indoor spaces (with no other dogs around in the duration, to avoid infections through contact). Play with them in the balcony, terrace or any safe outdoor space.
Basic Training for Puppies
Training your dog is about establishing communication with your puppy. A well-trained dog understands his handler’s commands and body language. It’s also much simpler to control a trained dog. From establishing a reliable recall to understanding basic commands such as No, Leave It, Sit, and Stay, training your puppy is the key to raising a calm and friendly dog.
When training your pup, start as early as possible. The first step is to choose a quiet place with little or no distractions for your puppy. Next, try to establish recall. To do this, call out their name and wait for them to respond. You can use hand gestures initially to draw their attention, but gradually scale back to the verbal call alone. Reward every successful response with treats or toys, and loads of appreciation with some belly rubs. Repeat this over and over, with increasing distractions and at different places. This will teach your puppy to identify and respond to his name.
After establishing recall, the next step is to teach your puppy his first commands. Start with something basic as “No” or “Leave it”. They can help prevent damage to important property. You can then graduate to more advanced commands. For more hands-on assistance, you can refer to one of the many training videos on YouTube or find a trainer for your puppy.
Exercise & Playing With Your Puppy
Puppies love to play. If they’re not eating or sleeping, they’ll probably be playing. Playing includes all the puppy activities performed to explore the world. From chewing on your favorite pair of shoes, to digging up a series of holes in the garden – it’s all play for your pupper. But as he grows, he’ll learn to differentiate between appropriate and inappropriate play. This is where your pup may need your help.
Play routines should be devised to employ both – physical and mental abilities of your pet. It could be something as simple as a game of fetch, or something more complex like a treasure-hunt. The game you play should be appropriate to your pet’s aptitude and age. Remember to involve training commands in your play routines. It’s a great idea to train your puppy while playing, by using toys or playtime as reward.
Puppies love to chew. They chew on a variety of surfaces to relieve their teething instinct. However, if your pup is chewing on items that he shouldn’t, you must stop him. Commands like “No” and “Leave it” come handy here. You must redirect them to a safe chewing surface. Keep a range of chew toys readily available so as to avoid damage to property.
Chew toys must ideally made of different materials such as cloth, jute, wood, or pet-safe rubber. They must be large enough to not pose a choking hazard to your pup. But small enough that he’s still able to hold, pick and carry them around. Stay clear of rawhide bones or chew products as they may be extremely toxic for your pet. Remember to never leave your puppy unsupervised around toys.
Walking your puppy may be a great exercise as well as socialization experience. Your puppy can not only relieve himself on the walk, he can experience new sights, sounds and smells along the way – not to mention, the cardio you both get! However, walking your puppy may require some preparation. Start by making your pup comfortable to the collar and leash, and then gradually introduce them to the outside world. Here’s more on how to walk your dog.
Make sure your puppy has an elaborate play routine daily. A tired dog is a happy dog. Not exerted enough, the puppy will resort to destructive behavior. Unless your puppy sleeps like a child after every play session, you’re not doing it right. But as always, stay vigilant for any abnormalities during walks or playtime. If you pup seems to show signs of discomfort or limps while walking, or looks disoriented, report it to your vet.
Health Checkup & Puppy Vaccinations
You must take the puppy to the vet within the first few days. Your vet will weigh your dog, run necessary medical exams, and suggest their vaccinations and deworming routine. You must follow up with your vet as recommended and ensure your pup is always up to date with his shots!
Puppy DP vaccination usually starts at 5 – 8 weeks of age. The Rabies vaccine is given at 12 weeks of age. Before this time, it’s advisable to keep your puppy away from other pets and strays. Else they may contract an infection. However, the vaccination requirement and schedule for your pup could be different based on his history and medical condition. Ask your vet for more details.
You must also initiate discussions around sterilizing your puppy. Even though you still have time before you can take the final call on it, it’s good to start evaluating early. Unless your pet needs to be neutered or spayed for a medical reason, assess the need on its merits. There are both, benefits and risks of neutering or spaying your pet. However, carefully analyzing the need of your pet, and performing the procedure at the correct age can help you redeem maximum benefits with minimum risks to your pup.
Puppy Grooming & Other Needs
Your puppy doesn’t really need much grooming during the first 3 – 4 months of his age. Since he won’t be venturing out in the dirt a lot, he’ll be mostly clean. You mustn’t bathe your pup for the first 3 months of his age. And only when the weather is warm & dry. If needed, you can wipe him with a hot towel once in a week or two. Refrain from using dry shampoos or any other products. Your puppy’s skin and coat is very sensitive, and may react adversely with any of these products.
Moisture and exposure to mud & grass can increase the risk of ticks & fleas. Puppies are at a high risk of developing Demodectic Mange, also known as the Red Mange or Puppy Mange. This is caused by an increase in the population of the Demodex mite, that are normally found in dogs. These mites are harmless in controlled population, but a weakened immune system or an infection can lead to their overpopulation, causing skin lesions, itching and rapid hair loss. The condition will heal itself in about 90% cases just by feeding a healthy & balanced diet. However, if the problem lingers, long term medication may be needed.
Do not use any anti-tick or anti-flea product on your puppies. These products contain pesticide compounds which may be toxic to your pup at his age. Refrain from trimming hair or clipping nails. Your puppy may accidentally hurt himself while being a puppy. You can start a brushing routine once he starts eating solid food. Although he doesn’t need much dental care at this stage, it’s always good to build a habit early. Never use human toothpaste for your dog, it may kill your pet.
Puppyhood is a very important stage for both, you and your puppy. While your pup picks up lessons for life ahead, you also learn a thing or two about parenting. Your experience parenting a puppy is in no way less than raising a kid. It’s to be credited for making your pup a little bit of you, and making you a little more of your dog. In the end, the only thing we can complain about is that our dogs are puppies only once.
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