Let’s face it; nothing is more fun than a healthy, happy puppy. Who else would fall asleep in his own food dish? Who else would look so adorable during her bath? Who else would decide to eat your wallet? Only a healthy, happy puppy. Here are some healthful do’s and don’ts for puppies:
Do Get Your New Puppy to the Vet Right Away
As soon as you get your puppy home, make an appointment at the vet’s. Your puppy needs to be examined for parasites and worms. The vet will also make sure the pup has had its shots, so be sure to take all the paperwork you have from the breeder or shelter. There are important immunizations needed right away, such as anti-rabies, and anti-Parvo, (the Parvovirus is a highly contagious, serious puppy health problem) and others.
Don’t Let Puppy Play Around Other Dogs at First
Until your puppy is all finished with shots and boosters, keep it away from other dogs and places where other dogs have been. No dog shows, no bark parks. No neighbor’s house where the dogs have been to bark parks. No chewing on shoes that have been worn outside. Remember, the puppy hasn’t been vaccinated against everything yet and is still susceptible.
Don’t Take Puppy Away from Mom and Siblings Too Soon
Ken Rawlinson, Dog Listener, recommends not taking pups away from mom and siblings until 7 or 8 weeks of age, so the puppy is used to other dogs. And also, make sure the puppy hasn’t been kept away from humans for too long. A 12-week-old puppy that doesn’t live in the house with the folks will be harder to socialize.
Don’t Have Puppy Spayed or Neutered Too Soon
A healthy puppy should not be spayed or neutered too soon. Hormones need to kick in before it happens. The practice of neutering pups too young is not healthy. It can result in immaturity, and in females, aggression. Females should be allowed to have at least one season before being spayed. Males are not hormonally mature enough for neutering until you see them cocking a leg to urinate for at least a month. This could be anywhere from 6 to 27 months of age. The bigger the breed, the slower to mature.
Don’t Let Her Explore Too Freely
Pup stays on the leash when you’re out and about! Otherwise, she is bound to find something dangerous to do, to eat or to roll in. It’s a risky world out there for puppies, complete with poisonous plants and poisonous animals (toads!).
Do Let Him Get Lots of Exercise
Your puppy needs space to roam. He needs a daily walk. He needs to play with you, chasing the ball, shaking his rope toy and squeaking his pretend-enemy toys. Puppies do sleep a lot, so if he drops off, let him be. He’ll be up and at ’em again in no time.
Don’t Buy the Cheapest Dog Food at the Store
This is not the time to go bargain hunting. Ask your vet for recommendations about puppy food. There may be a healthy food brand in stock right at the vet clinic. Pet stores small and large are very knowledgeable about puppy nutrition, and may even know a regional or local dog food manufacturer with a superb reputation. Good nutrition, fresh water and clean bowls are a must.
Do Go Back to the Vet Regularly
Pup needs a checkup, a teeth cleaning, a de-worming and booster shots. Also, ask the vet to recommend a product for regular anti-flea treatments.
Do Brush and Bathe Your Puppy
It’s important to start gently grooming your pup right away. Brushing should be a pleasant attention-getting experience, preferably with rewards afterward. Brush every other day to get rid of mats, dead skin and shed fur caught in the coat, and to spot parasites like ticks and fleas. Bathe every other month or so, depending on what the puppy has been into. Get those claws clipped regularly. When they’re too long, they’re harder to clip safely, and they hurt.