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New Puppy Care for New Owners

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59% of those surveyed say pets are good for their health and the health of their family and help them relax. 40% say that owning a dog motivates them to exercise on a regular basis. Three-quarters of dog owners consider their dog like a child or family member and more than half of cat owners say the same (NPOS). From APPMA

New Puppy Care for New Owners

New puppy care should cover all the essentials when it comes to bringing a new dog into your home including health information, puppy behavior training and basic dog care. Knowing what to expect can help your pup become accustomed to his new environment and feel comfortable while being obedient. Patience is an absolute necessity with a new puppy and everyone in your home must be ready for the responsibility required to have a dog.

Dog Care Basics

Some basic items for a new puppy include:

  • Food and water bowls that are sturdy and easy to clean
  • Leash and collar
  • Bed or sleeping mat
  • Crate, if you will be crate training, that is the right size for your puppy
  • Puppy chew toys

Puppy-proofing your house is also important to prevent injuries, choking or accidental ingestion of hazardous items. New puppies are very curious and playful and can get into everything; look out for these potentially dangerous items and make sure they are out of your puppy's reach:

  • garbage bins
  • electrical cords and wires
  • medicine
  • cleaning supplies
  • blinds and curtain cords
  • small objects like jewelry or children's toys
  • plants

Puppy Health and Vet Care

New owners should watch their new puppy every day and look for any changes in weight, appetite or thirst, or bowel movements. Puppies are more likely to pick up diseases or parasites due to their weaker immune systems. Vaccinations can prevent your puppy from catching many serious diseases while a balanced diet made up of quality ingredients will boost his immune system and encourage him to lead a healthy and active lifestyle.

Vaccinations: Vaccines are an essential part of vet care and core vaccines for distemper, rabies and parvovirus can prevent serious and possibly deadly diseases. There is some debate among vet's about vaccination schedules and booster shots so discuss vaccination options with your veterinarian.

Oral hygiene: Starting early is essential when it comes to puppy health care; start a teeth cleaning routine when your dog is between 8 to 16 weeks old and he will become comfortable with this activity, making oral hygiene easy and painless for both dog and owner. Look for pink gums and clean teeth when inspecting your pup's mouth. Also, keep brushing short and simple with a dog toothbrush or finger comb to easily maneuver around the mouth.

Ears and eyes: Like oral hygiene, new owners should set up a weekly routine of checking a dog's ears and eyes to look for any changes in appearance. The inner ear should be pink with little to no discharge or odor. Eyes should be clear and have no discharge, and the white part of the eyes should be free of discolorations.

Puppy Training

Puppy training requires patience, confidence and repetition in order to teach your puppy to behave and be obedient. There are many methods available but no training plan will work without constant work from patient owners. Punishments should never be used; instead, praise your puppy for correct behavior. Whatever method you chose, consistency is essential or your puppy won't learn.

Local dog training and "pre-school" classes for puppies are often available to help owners train their dogs while also allowing the pups to learn how to interact with other animals.

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