Choosing a Puppy

Choosing the right puppy for your household is very important. Will the type of dog you get along with kids? Will the dog get along with other animals in the household? Does the dog have a good disposition? These are some of the questions you might ask when deciding what kind of dog you want.


Are you looking for a purebred or mixed breed or just a plan old mutt? Mixed breeds can be more affordable, whereas purebred can be quite expensive. Don’t dismiss the mutt option either from the local pound. Mutts can be just as lovable, energetic, and loyal as the other breeds.


Size matters. Think about how big or small the dog is that you want. Do you have room for the pup to run and play or will it be cooped up because you don’t go outside a lot. If so, do you have a room where the pup can run free?


Personality for a puppy develops around seven weeks of age. Spend a little time picking and choosing your dog, and you both will reap the rewards. Make sure you can hold the puppy and cuddle him. Drop a book during a quiet moment and see if the pup runs and hides. Get on your hands and knees and play with the puppy to see if he responds in kind or is aggressive toward you.


There are several places to start your search. Asking friends or your vet are good places to start. Also, you can contact your local shelter or ASPCA for their selection of animals. There is also a website that can help in your search – www.petfinder.com.

Newborn Puppy Care

Taking care of the newborn puppy if you are midwifing the Mom can be quite exciting. Watching a new life come into the world is a miracle in itself. Observe the birth in awe, but be ready to help Mom if she is having trouble.


You will need several items when whelping (birth) starts. Have these ready beforehand so you don’t have to leave Mom during the birth. You will need plenty of towels, a heating lamp, scissors, betadine, alcohol, dental floss, paper and pencil, and lots of patience until the big event happens.


When the first pup is born, let it start to nurse immediately. This helps to stimulate contractions for the next pup. Place the new pup under a heat lamp for warmth. After each new pup is born, you can place all the puppies back until the next contractions start.


If a pup is lifeless after birth, rub him down with a coarse towel to help him take that first breath. Some people also try placing the pup in water, alternating between hot and cold to get them to breathe. You can also try CPR by placing the pup on his back and blowing into his mouth. Then apply pressure to the chest. DO NOT GIVE UP! Some people have revived pups for up to thirty minutes after birth.


Encourage the new pups to start nursing right away. They need the colostrum that is in the mother’s milk. This nourishing fluid contains antibodies and special vitamins that help protect the newborn pup from sickness. Make sure all the puppies are able to latch on and get the colostrum. Some of the bigger puppies will push off the smaller ones.


After each pup is born, look for any problems that may be present. Obvious ones like a cleft palate or a shortened limb are easy to spot. Sometimes there are internal problems like organs that are not fully developed. Call the vet immediately if you spot a problem.

Orphan Puppies

Puppies usually become orphaned when Mom doesn’t make enough milk to feed them, has a physical problem that prevents her from caring for the pups, or has died during the birthing process. These puppies can be raised by you if you are willing to work hard at keeping them healthy. They will need to be seen by the vet after birth so he can start them on their feeding schedule.


You must follow a regular schedule of feedings, bathroom breaks, playing, and sleeping. It is quite time consuming but can be a rewarding venture. You must consider the nurturing and socialization of the pups, how to prevent diseases from arising since they are not starting out with Mom’s milk, what to feed them and how to get them weaned in several weeks, and the sanitation of the area you will be keeping them. Take all of this into consideration and decide if you will be able to give the puppies the time they require.


You will have to bottle feed or tube feed. Bottle feeding is better for most people, because the tube could be passed into the lungs and choke the pup. Feed the pup while on its belly not on its back. Puppy formulas are available and are nutritionally balanced to meet your puppy’s needs. Most people use Esbilac or Puppylac. Do not use cow or goat milk. Do not give raw egg whites as there is an enzyme in the egg that will cause a biotin deficiency in the puppy. Don’t give the puppy honey either, it can be fatal.


Caloric intake should be as follows in calories per pound per day:


Week One, they should receive 60-69.
Week Two, they should receive 70-79.
Week Three, they should receive 80-89
Week Four, they should receive 90-100.

Body Condition and Temperature

You must keep a watchful eye on your puppy making sure he doesn’t eat too much food or too little. Simply going by the recommended amount on the label may not be enough for a growing puppy. He may need a little extra sometimes. But with an increase in food, you must increase exercise or you will have an overweight puppy.


The extra weight can put your pup at risk for heart problems, respiratory, and muscular problems. Avoid obesity by preventing it in the first place.


If the pup is underfed, increase his ration for two weeks. If he is growing back to where he should be, keep with the plan until he reaches an ideal weight.


If the pup is overfed, reduce the amount of food you give until he is down to an acceptable weight. Also increase his exercise routine.


Overweight and underweight puppies have lower immune systems. They can catch something from the dog next door or the one down the street. Keep a watchful eye on your puppy when he is trying to maintain a stable weight.


At least two to three times a week, be sure to check your pup’s temperature to make sure there is no fever brewing. A normal temperature for dogs is between 99.5 and 102.5 degrees. If you are uncertain, please get the vet to show you how to do it. You will need to lubricate the thermometer with petroleum jelly or mineral oil and slide it halfway into the rectum. Leave for three minutes. Remove and read the mercury level. If the pup is running a fever, you should see your vet immediately. DO NOT ever use an oral thermometer for a rectal temperature. The readings could be off and make you think the dog is sick when he is really not.

Nutrition for Puppies

When you bring the new puppy home, the first thing you will want to do is feed him. What kind of food do you use? What are his nutritional requirements? Will he like what you give him?

Make sure your vet is involved in his diet planning. Make sure the dog’s food is healthy and tasty. Try to find something for the stage of life he is in. For example, if he is a puppy, buy him puppy food. Decide on what you are going to feed him before you bring him home. This prevents last minute decisions that might not be healthy for your pet.


Dry food is quite popular. It is easy to store and usually tastes great. It is also good for helping keep the teeth clean.
Soft and moist food are great for your dog to eat because he will eat most of the food and get the added nutrition.
Canned food have the highest water content. These also contain less nutrition, so you may need to feed your dog more than usual to equal out the nutrition they may need.


Look at the levels of vitamins and crude materials on the label. Is there enough fat, protein, calories and other nutrients? Is the food tasty and is the price too expensive? These are things to consider when buying puppy food.


If your dog becomes finicky and will only eat certain things, this is sometimes due to change in diet. Allow the dog time to adjust. If he still won’t eat, try a new food. If he still doesn’t cooperate, you may need to take him to the vet for a checkup to make sure nothing is wrong.


Some people feed their dogs from the table. This is like in between meal snacking and kills th dog’s appetite for when it is time for him to eat his food. Avoid feeding the dog off the table.

Naming Your Puppy

What an honor that has been bestowed upon you! You get to name this new little puppy you have just brought home. You are under much pressure to come up with a name that is not too cute, not too frilly, and something that will fit the animal’s personality. Oh the pressure of a name.


You could go with a classic like Fido or Fifi. These names never go out of style unless you have kids who want a hip name.
You can also use you favorite movie star or country singer, mythical figures, presidents, and family members. The sky is the limit.

Some suggestions for choosing a name:
* You will be calling him for the next fifteen year by this name. So pick something you really like.
* Usually one to three syllables is good for a name. It can get cumbersome to call out a long name every time. There are dogs though that have three names just like a child. Keep it simple and not too complex.
* Always use the puppy’s name when you speak to him or praise him. When he hears it next, he will come running because he knows that it’s his special word.

Don’t name the puppy something that will embarrass you or others when you have to call him in public.
Take time to play with the puppy and get to know him before choosing a moniker for the pup. You may name her and find out later that it doesn’t fit. Give it a few days to a week and see what you think then. Ask for advice from family and friends. Have a Name The Puppy party and give a prize to the person whose name you chose. There are all kinds of names out there. Just find one that fits your dog and makes you happy.

First Aid for Puppies

Start by organizing a First Aid Kit for the puppy. Include such items as a thermometer, ice packs, gloves, towels, meat flavored baby foods, tweezers, scissors, peroxide, and alcohol wipes. A small toolbox works nicely for keeping all the items together in one place. Under the cover, write your name, address, phone number, and the vet’s name and number in case you lose the box.


For bleeding, apply direct pressure until bleeding stops. Hold for at least ten minutes and bandage wound.
For burns including chemical, electrical, or heat, you will see swelling, redness of skin, and blistering. Run the wound under plenty of cool water. Ice the injured part for twenty minutes. Make sure to wrap the ice pack in a towel first. Call vet immediately.


Diarrhea can cause some serious issues for your pup. Take food away for twelve to twenty-four hours, but leave some water available. Some animals that look constipated are actually sore from diarrhea. If the puppy doesn’t improve, call the vet.


Heatstroke can be quite scary. You will see rapid or difficulty breathing, vomiting, high body temperature and weakness. Run cool water over the animal. Wrap the pup in a cool wet towel and stop all ministrations when temp is 103 degrees. Call vet immediately.


If you think the dog has fractured a limb, call the vet immediately. Look for bleeding wounds and signs of shock. DO NOT try to set fracture yourself, you could do more damage without being aware of it. Transport animal to vet and support limb gently as you can.


If your pup sustains bite wounds from another animal, you must avoid getting bitten. Even non-biting dogs will bite when in pain. Clean the wound with saline and wrap with gauze to keep clean. If bleeding profusely, apply pressure. Don’t ever use a tourniquet. Do wear gloves because you don’t know the extent of the contamination.

Puppy Parasites

There are too many internal and external parasites that dogs develop to list here. They begin in the fetal life of the pup and most times, the Mom already had them when she became pregnant. After about forty days of pregnancy, the parasites will travel through the placenta to the fetus. Parasites can also be passed through the mother’s milk. Of those parasites that have infected a pup, Most are quite mobile. They can move to the intestines and lungs.


An awful internal parasite is the heartworm. Transmitted by mosquitoes, they can be fatal to your dog. Have a blood sample taken and analyzed. Even if the test is negative, the vet will probably start your pup on heartworm medicine that he will take once a month. If positive, the animal will have to hospitalized.


Roundworms can be a problem because most puppies are born with them. The larvae are transmitted from the Mom to the fetus. They are easily transmitted to humans in the dog’s stool. They can be ingested if your dog eats another animal’s stool. Wash your hands frequently after handling the puppy and remove all feces from the yard. Some people have no symptoms at all. There have been cases where the worms have migrated to the liver, brain, and eyes of humans. Your puppy should be wormed at two, four, six, and eight weeks of age.


An external parasite is the tick. These animals live on th dog’s skin. They look like small black dots. You must use tweezers to pull them off the skin. DO NOT use fingers. Ticks can bite and suck blood out through the skin as well as transmitting diseases such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever. You must make sure the whole tick comes off the skin as they can burrow deep.

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