No one will deny how precious puppies are or how sweet it is to have them around; they’re cute, cuddly, and uncoordinated. Of course, having a puppy is not just something you do for your own enjoyment. They’re living beings that have needs and require care. The following will explore some expert tips regarding caring for your puppy.
Of course, every puppy is going to be a little different. Just like people, puppies have personalities, and so there isn’t a perfect one-size-fits-all recipe for care. Likewise, different breeds of dogs have different interests and needs, so you will want to combine this information with the research you’ve done on the specific type of dog you have. You can use the internet and speak to your breeder about what you can expect.
Think Things Through Before You Purchase
Before you decide to buy a puppy, you need to have a good long think about whether or not you have the resources to give a canine buddy what he or she needs. You need to ask yourself whether you have the time to feed, walk, play with, take to the vet, wash, and wash again when somehow your new puppy is covered in mud again. Will someone be home during the day for enough hours to let the dog out to do his or her business? Can you afford high-quality food for your puppy (and for the bigger dog he or she is going to grow into)? Do you have the patience to train the dog? Is there enough space for a dog in your home? Can you afford the vet bills if there’s a health problem? Just like people, puppies can get unlucky with health and develop illnesses or diseases at any age in life (certain breeds are more prone to certain health issues, so do your research ahead of time in this regard). All of these questions are a crucial part of understanding whether you’re ready for a dog. It’s okay if the answer is no. Revisit the idea a few months from now and see if things have changed.
Make Sure Everyone In The Household Is Onboard
No matter how adamant one person is that they’ll do all the animal care, life is complicated and full of things that pull us away from home. Everyone who lives in your household should be included as part of the discussion—even children if you have them. If you’re going to ask the kids to take the dog for a walk occasionally or to feed the puppy when you’re running behind at work and plan on staying a few hours later, the conversation should include them.
Everyone at home is going to have to be more careful when they leave the house (puppies can bolt faster than you know until you have one) and will have to watch how they keep the door open when bringing groceries in or doing other tasks. Likewise, training requires everyone’s full participation. If one person lets the dog jump up on them and another one doesn’t, your puppy is going to be confused, and training will take longer. You can use this time to agree on some basic rules for the puppy with everyone so that there’s no undoing other people’s hard-earned training.
Just like it takes a village to raise a child, it takes everyone in your home to raise and care for a puppy. It’s not fair to your household or your future dog to bring a cute ball of fur home without first making sure everyone is willing to participate.
Understand This Is A Lifelong Commitment
When you’re thinking about getting a puppy, very few people realize how big of a commitment they’re considering. Look up the breed’s life expectancy; sometimes, dogs can live as long as eighteen years. Can you make a commitment that big right now? If you can’t, it’s maybe a good idea to wait until you’re ready for it. Again, it’s completely okay to decide now isn’t the right time.
Spend Some Time Thinking About The Breed
There is such a wide variety in dog behaviors, interests, and needs that it can be a bit overwhelming to realize the options available. This step should not be skipped. Consider how high-energy a breed is, how adaptable, obedient, and friendly they are, as well as how intelligent. Some dogs, like Border Collies, for instance, are wickedly clever, and while this can be awe-inspiring, it can also be shocking to realize that your dog knows how to get into the treats and cover up their tracks and has actually been doing this for weeks without your notice. You’ll also want to think about whether or not the animal is hypoallergenic (especially if you’ve got infants or toddlers who can’t yet express to you if they’re having an allergic reaction), whether or not they shed, and how much effort and grooming their coats will require. For example, Uptown Puppies points out that the Cavapoo is extremely friendly, obedient, and quite hypoallergenic, and not too intense with the activity level required. Finding the right balance of traits for you and your family is an integral part of the process.
Of course, you might be getting a mixed breed or an unknown breed. There’s nothing wrong with this; just understand that it’s going to be harder to predict what kinds of behavior you can expect. You’re going to need to stay open-minded, flexible, and be ready to pivot when you need to adjust to your new puppy’s energy needs or stubbornness.
Training Is Going To Take Longer Than You Expect
No matter how much time you allot for training, you’re going to need more. The process of getting your puppy house trained, not stealing food off people’s dinner plates when they get up to go to the bathroom, or not tearing apart the bathroom garbage when you leave the house for five minutes to get the mail is a long one.
Enjoy Their Company
Of course, all of the above care aside, a puppy is a new member of your family. Enjoy them! Just like us, puppies want to feel like they’re valued and part of the pack. Take those pictures, enjoy all the snuggles, change your mind again and again about whether you’re going to let your new furry friend climb on the couch or sleep in your bed.
Do Your Research On Food
Dog food commercials and copywriting on packaging can convince anyone that a product is safe and healthy and will promote happiness in your dog. This couldn’t be further from the truth. Many pet foods are actually terrible for your puppy; they can cause inflammation inside the body (leading to illnesses and pain), lethargy, irritability, and other symptoms. Just like feeding a human child only junk food every day, a dog can get moody, enjoy their life less, shed more, have boosts of short-lived energy before crashing, have allergies, and all around be less well than they would be if they were eating something better quality. Consider holistic animal diets, whole food cooked diets, and raw food diets when you’re doing your research on what to get for your puppy. Yes, all of these options take a bit longer to prepare, but that’s because they’re made of more real food than some of the others. Be especially cautious of grains and anything too processed. Just like humans, animals aren’t supposed to be eating food that came out of a factory. Think about what wild carnivores eat as well as nutrition and omegas.
Puppy Proof The Home
The world can be a dangerous place for a little puppy. Put anything that could hurt your new buddy if chewed or played with, including wires, cleaning products, crayons, and sharp objects. Likewise, put anything away that could be damaged if your puppy were to get ahold of it. Peek beneath your couch and bed and other pieces of furniture at puppy-eye-level to be sure you’re not missing anything.
Notes On House Training
In the early months, your puppy is going to need to be watched constantly to avoid accidents. The second he or she starts squatting, it’s time to rush your new friend outside. He or she should be offered a toilet break every twenty to thirty minutes at the beginning of training. Each time they go outside, praise is going to be your best friend. You’ll want an extra toilet break fifteen minutes or so after a meal, before they’re about to play with someone or something that gets them really excited, and before bed.
Chewing Is Natural
Puppies need to chew things; it’s part of how they learn and grow accustomed to the world. This being said, they don’t have to be chewing things you don’t want them to. Provide chewing toys so they can scratch the chewing itch while simultaneously spraying things they’re drawn to chew with an anti-chew spray (typically, these smell good to humans but smell and taste bad to puppies, so they’re not going to want to stick things in their mouths) or with vinegar (as a bonus this safely kills bacteria).
The above tips should help you get ready to care for your new puppy. This is going to be a learning experience for you and your household, even if you’ve had a different puppy before. Over time, you’ll become more attuned to your new family member’s needs, and he or she will get better at understanding yours. Like with nearly everything else in life, patience and love are the secret ingredients.