Puppy Safety

Before you bring the pup home, you will need to dog proof your home. Much like a curious child, your puppy will be into everything. You must keep a vigilant watch over what goes into your puppy’s mouth.

Poisons such as cleaners, detergents, bleach, rat poison, and mothballs need to be placed high in cabinets. If the puppy gets into these caustic substances, he can become quite sick. In some cases, the ingested poison could be fatal.

Plants can be beautiful to spruce up your home, but some are deadly to puppies. Spinach and tomato vines, Aloe Vera, Ivy, Easter Lilies, Elephant Ears, Poinsettias, Poison Ivy and Oak, and Rhododendrons are just a few of the plants that can cause problems. Apple seeds, Apricot, and Peach pits can also make the puppy ill.

Make sure to keep your toilet lid down as well. Bigger puppies are able to play in and drink the water. This can be quite hazardous due to the cleansers that are used in the toilet. So break the habit before it begins.

Electrical cords are a huge problem. These dangling ropes just look like so much fun to the pup. He will most likely use them for chewing. He could burn his mouth, start a fire, or be electrocuted. So hide any cords that are just laying around. If you can’t move the cord, at least unplug it for safety.

If you live in a high rise apartment, make sure all the doors with access to balconies or porches are locked tightly. Some animals are so small they can slide through the rails and fall.

The best rule of thumb is to get down on all fours and go exploring around your home. Anything you see that might cause a problem, remove it before the puppy arrives. Start him in a safe environment and he will be around for a long time to come.

Puppy Health and Giving Medicine

You need to keep a watchful eye on your pup at all times. His environment, food, and social factors can affect him in different ways. Most importantly, he can become deathly ill with some of the illnesses that befall puppies. When you need to identify a problem, be sure to include your vet in the process. He will know the appropriate action to take.

Symptoms to watch for in your new pup are diarrhea, vomiting, coughing, sneezing, lethargy, pain of any kind, no appetite, and a fever. Dogs cannot tell us what they are feeling so we have to watch for these symptoms and call the vet to see if they need to be seen. Make sure their vaccinations are all up to date. Also monitor his contact with other dogs as they may be sick and the owners may not know it.

Once you see the vet and decide on a course of action, he may decide some medicine would help the animal feel better. There are several ways to get the puppy to take the medicine whether it is liquid or tablet. Some dogs may spit it out. You have to keep trying until they get it down or call the vet and see if something else can be done.

For liquid medicines, some dogs will lick it right off a spoon or out of the dropper. You can pour it in some food and mix it up. If the dog is uncooperative, you can hold him by the back of the head. Pull one side of the mouth up and shoot the medicine toward the back of the mouth and they will swallow it.

For tablets, the same thing applies. Most people will disguise the food in a piece of bread or in the dog’s food. Some dogs will take it right out of your hand. If the dog is uncooperative, tilt your dog’s head back and place the pill as far back on the tongue as you can get it. At no time should you hurt the animal while giving medicine to him.

Puppy Vaccines

Vaccines are important to your dog’s health as they help to ward off illnesses that may otherwise cause problems. A vaccine helps the puppy’s immune system build up antibodies to the specific disease for which it is being given. That way, when the puppy comes into contact with another dog with Distemper, he already has the antibodies to start fighting it before it makes him deathly ill.

There are a few major illnesses that your puppy needs to be vaccinated against when he is young. They include Canine Distemper, Bordetella, Rabies, Parvovirus, and Leptospirosis.

At six weeks of age, the puppy will receive his first vaccine for Canine Distemper, Canine Hepatitis, Corona Viral Enteritis, Parainfluenza, Parvo Virus, and Leptospirosis. The secondary vaccines come two to three weeks later up to sixteen weeks of age with annual revaccination. Rabies is given at three months, six months, and annually after that.

The puppy should start receiving his vaccines beginning before he is four months old. The vet will know what to give and in which order. They will usually give you a card that tells you what the puppy has gotten and what is left to get.

Booster shots are important to keep your pet up to date on his vaccines and to keep his immune system built up. The more immunity he has, the less chance of the puppy getting sick with the major illnesses listed above.

You should also keep in mind that some vaccines don’t work on some puppies. Some puppy’s immune systems are just weak by nature. If you have a puppy that is ill, even though he has received all his vaccines, you should call the vet. Never hesitate to get help if you are unsure. The vet will be able to answer your questions and get your pet feeling better.

Crate Training for the Puppy

Puppies generally need enclosed small places to feel secure. Crating works because the pup feels safe in his own private place. Some think that crating is like placing the pup in jail. In this instance, you should never use the crate to administer punishment.

Make sure the size of the crate is comparable to the dog. It is fine to get a larger crate if the dog will grow into it. Use a partition board to keep the crate smaller until the pup grows. Make sure the animal has enough room to lie down, turn around, and stand up comfortably.

Introduce him to the crate first. Let him explore around it. He may go in or just sniff around it at first. He will slowly become at ease with the structure. Begin by placing the pup in the crate for 20 minutes at a time. If he starts to whine, you should ignore it. Placing a cover over top of the cage also helps. It makes the crate seem more confined. You can also put a toy or blanket inside with him.

After twenty minutes, take him out of the crate and then straight outside to potty. Praise him if he does. Take him back inside afterward, and play with him for about half an hour. Then place him back in the crate again. If he doesn’t go in, throw a treat inside. Praise when he enters and close the door. Try another twenty minutes. Puppies can be confined for one hour for each month old they are plus one hour. If your puppy is four months old, he should be ale to build up to five hours.

Never leave puppies in the crate for longer than eight hours. They need to be let out at regular intervals to exercise and potty. Following a schedule is the best way for a new puppy. He will come to learn what is expected and comply with minimal fuss.

Puppy Development

A puppy progresses almost like children do. They need to eat, sleep, and learn new things along the way. Always interact and play with your puppy to give him exercise and keep him mentally and physically fit.

The first two to three weeks are usually the hardest. The puppy will begin to move around and open his eyes. He will know his Mom and her smell.

At three to four weeks, the pup will begin to recognize you. Any kind of negative happening like immediate changes can impact his personality. So try to keep things calm during this time. Mom is beginning to teach the litter how to be a dog, so they need to stay with her now.

During the four to eight week stage, he begins to interact with his siblings. He will also learn how to play. Weaning happens around this time and Mom will teach her mischievous brood a few manners. They are not ready to be separated from Mom as she has a few more things to teach them. This is also the time to start them on puppy food.

Once they get to eight weeks, some puppies hit a fearful time. Things they used to be accustomed to now terrify them. Do not yell or scream at the puppy or isolate him during this time. This is the time to teach simple behaviors such as sit and stay.

At three months, the puppy will be more independent every day. He will challenge you by not doing the simple commands he already knows. He will wait to play wrestle and even if you win, the puppy will still think it is alright to fight with you which can lead to other bad behaviors down the road.

Four months brings the teenage stage. He will go through hormonal changes and have an even lesser desire to do what you say. He will also go through teething. Always have something cold, if possible, for the pup to chew on. This stage ends at six months which is the perfect time to spay or neuter.

Kids and Puppies

You just brought the new pup home and now you are concerned he won’t get along with your kids. This can cause anxiety in you and the pup. Sometimes introducing the pup in a quiet room and maybe letting the child give him a treat as well. This may show the pup he can trust the child. Don’t force the puppy into a meeting he isn’t ready to handle yet.

Children should be prepared and told about the new pet coming. They should ask questions about anything they are uncertain of concerning the puppy. They should be told how to treat the new puppy so it won’t feel scared or frightened and try to bite. Read a book concerning puppy care to the child. Show them how to pick up the puppy without hurting it. You may need to set some ground rules concerning how much the child can handle the pup.

They should know never to hit or hurt the puppy. Tell them how it may retaliate and become aggressive. Watch that they don’t step on him or pinch his ears.

Do not let the child have responsibility over the animal. They can help with feeding and playing, but an adult needs to oversee the process. Teach them to love and nurture the puppy so that it will grow into a lovable affectionate dog.
Under no circumstances should the child play tug-of-war with the puppy. This is a dominance game to the puppy and even if the child wins, the puppy thinks it is alright to play rough in the future. Also do not the child growl or bark at he dog at this can frighten the puppy as well.
If time is taken to teach children the proper way of treating the new puppy, everyone can live together happily most of the time. There are a few instances where the breed of dog would not allow this to happen.

Housetraining Your Puppy

Housetraining takes patience and the ability to follow a schedule. Most puppies respond to a schedule because it gets them used to doing the same thing at the same time every day and they learn the behavior you want easier.

You must first determine your puppy’s limit in holding his urine. Keep a diary for several days until you spot a pattern between eating and eliminating. This minus 15-30 minutes will give you the puppy’s comfort zone. This is how long he can hold his urine after he has gone potty.

The puppy will usually have to go after they eat, drink, play or sleep. Most dogs need to be taken out upwards of three to five times a day providing they haven’t drank an excessive amount of water. The best thing to do if you take him walking is not to bring him back until he does potty. Be ready to stay outside until he does. This could take some time. If you bring him back in before he is ready, he most likely will have an accident before you can get him back outside again.

The most important thing is to lavish him with praise each and every time he does the right behavior. This reinforces it because he receives attention and a treat. If you wait and praise him later, it won’t be effective. To keep him from finding spots, close doors to rooms with carpeting or rugs, because they prefer certain area to eliminate on.

If the puppy does have an accident, use a pet odor neutralizer to prevent any odor. They sometimes will sniff around until they find the exact same spot they went the last time. Don’t use ammonia based cleaners as they break down into urea, which is a part of urine.

Basic Puppy Care – First Weeks

After you select the puppy of your dreams, you get to take him home without a manual to tell you how to succeed at raising him. The first night is always hard because the puppy will start to miss his Mom and other siblings. He may cry or whine through out the night. One can hardly blame him for his actions.

The pup will need a soft, dry, and safe place to sleep. Perhaps throw in a cloth or toy that has his litter mates or Mom’s scent on it. If you run to him when he cries, you will be reinforcing the habit. Placing a sheet over the box or crate will get the pup used to going to sleep at that time.

Puppies are mischievous by nature, and like their feline companions, get into everything. Be sure hazardous items like marbles, wires, rocks, and any type of harmful plants are far out of the puppy’s way.

Scolding your pup should be just like telling a child NO. However, when you tell him NO, you should show him the correct behavior. For example, if he is chewing up the newspaper, take it away and replace it wit one of his toys. Praise him for chewing his toy. Reprimands should be sharp and short. Hitting or spanking may create more problems down the road. The pup can become fearful, shy, or aggressive. Always reward for proper behaviors. Treats make a great reinforcer. So is a simple scratch between the ears and a hug,

Feed him a dry food especially made for puppies. Watch out for very high protein and extra vitamins as they may be harmful to your growing puppy. Feed him two or three times a day. Usually after fifteen minutes, the pup will have eaten all they want, so you can remove the dish. As thy grow, after ten to twelve weeks of age, feed them one in the morning and once at night.

All of these should help your new pup get through those first horrible weeks away from his family. The bond forming between you will last a lifetime.

Exercising Your Puppy

Puppies can be quite active and they need exercise to keep them in good shape. Usually a brisk thirty to sixty minute walk can be quite invigorating for them. If you are unable to do this every day, ensure your yard has more than adequate space for the pup to run around in and play. You can even take the dog to the high school’s track and walk it there. Some people even train their dog to walk on the treadmill with them. This will afford both of you some great time together and good exercise too.

Evaluate your dog’s needs and formulate an exercise plan that will work for both of you. A young puppy might like to go for a run whereas an older dog may just enjoy a nice leisurely walk. Start out with puppies for about 15 minutes. Build up to an hour as they get bigger and can handle it.

If you like to walk at night, use some reflective clothing so that cars will see you on the side of the road. You can also wear light colored clothing as well.

The best time to exercise your puppy is right before or right after they have eaten. Also provide him with very small amounts of water, a full stomach may cause upset.

Upon arriving back home, check the animal’s paws to make sure there is nothing stuck in it. Items such as glass, burrs, ice, and rocks can be removed immediately.

Teaching your dog how to play “Fetch” can also be great exercise. Start by rolling a toy a short distance away from the puppy and letting him go get it. As he gets older, increase the distance you throw the toy for him. Always give praise when he does go get the toy and bring it back to you.

Fearfulness in Puppies

Puppies tend to pick up on the emotions of people around them. They can be excitable or very calm depending on how you act to certain situations. The tone in your voice and the way you posture yourself will tell the dog if there is something to fear or not. If you want the pup to remain calm, then you must act this way yourself. He is learning emotions and will mimic what you do.

Puppies can be afraid of other dogs, especially larger ones. Let your dog come into contact with other dogs. When you are walking him, you may run into other dogs. At the vet’s office, he will run into other canines and maybe a few felines. Try to find some friendly dogs at first. This will help the pup build confidence.

Puppies fear people at times too. They may see them as a threat if they have had other bad experiences with people. Try giving the person a treat to toss to the dog or let the dog walk up to the person. Never drag a dog over to a person he doesn’t want to meet. Allow the dog to set the tone. Give him a treat or praise when he meets someone new and doesn’t growl. If the pup becomes aggressive, you may need to have a dog trainer work with him.

The most common fear is the fear of veterinarians. You certainly can’t blame the pup for that. There are so many things going on at the vet’s that the dog doesn’t get to see anywhere else. There is sensory overload, other animals ranging from dogs, cats, birds, and reptiles, many unfamiliar people, and the dreaded shot. Bring a toy or blanket with you. Bring some of his favorite treats so when he does a correct behavior, you can reward him.

Puppies Get Bored Too

Puppies need exercise and lots of attention. Otherwise, they may start to entertain themselves doing things that will annoy you. Play with the pup and interact by giving praise or a scratch between the ears. Take him for a short ride down the road.

Bored puppies can pick up some really bad habits. Some of these are really hard to break. Start showing correct behavior when you see the puppy doing the wrong one. Give a treat and praise him when he performs the right behavior.
Licking is a big one. Excessive licking may mean a problem for the vet, or the puppy could just be bored. A bath may help to calm and soothe. Praise the puppy for staying still in the bath.

Whining is hard to deal with at times. If they have been put to bed, maybe place the crate in your room so they know you are near. But each time you go in to check on them, when they whine, reinforces the behavior.

Whining can mean several different things. Some good and some bad. A dog who is housetrained may need to go outside. A sudden yelping whine may mean he is in pain and a trip to the vet is needed.

Some dogs whine when you are eating because they want your food. Some whine to be let in the house. The most important thing is not to give in. Teach them by praising during the quiet times. Then they learn when they are quiet, they will get praise and attention.

Puppies will chew everything in sight from shoes, books, or papers. He may be teething, and like his human counterpart, his gums are sore or itching. Sometimes he is just trying to entertain himself. Make sure he has toys that he can chew and praise him for chewing the right ones. Say NO in a low voice so he will know you disapprove of his acton

Socialization of Your Puppy

You will want to be able to take your puppy for walks and for rides. You need to get him used to meeting people and other animals. There are many ways to acclimate him to the new surroundings. You must take your time and not push the pup into a situation where he is uncomfortable. Puppies don’t come into the world knowing all the right things to do, so be patient and have fun with him.

The first few months of the puppy’s life is the best time to introduce him to all the wonders in the world. Expose the pups to everyday chores in the household. The mother will also teach them some social skills.

As soon as you bring the new pup home, introduce him to the family in a quiet setting. This gives him time to get to know the person without the noise of many people in the background. That can cause undue stress on the new puppy.
As soon as the puppy is vaccinated and the vet says it is alright, start taking the puppy on walks and outings so he can begin to get used to his surroundings.

Make sure your puppy meets people of every age. He might become frightened later if you only introduce him to elderly people and he runs into some children. This can also lead to aggressive behaviors in some dogs.

Give the person you are introducing a small treat to give to the puppy. This will help build trust between the two. They can even get down on the dog’s level and play on the floor with him after a couple of meetings.

If you don’t have time to invest in the adventure of raising a puppy, please don’t bring one home. They do need lots of patience and caring their first months with you. They need to follow a schedule to learn what is expected and what is wrong behavior.

The Dreaded Bath

Giving a dog a bath can be fun or it can be a terror. Puppies either love or hate the water. There is no middle ground. When giving a puppy a bath, consider two things. Do you know how and how many times a month should it be done? Bathing the animal too much will strip away essential oils needed to keep the coat shiny.

Gather all your supplies before starting. You don’t want a wet dog running behind you through the house. You will need tearless shampoo, towels, and possibly a comb if your pup is a long hair breed.

Begin bathing when the dog is young and has time to acclimate to the water. Place puppy in sink or a tub and reward him with praise for staying still. Give him a treat or scratch to reinforce good behavior.

Use only lukewarm or tepid water and never put soap in his eyes or ears. Take some water in your hands and pat their heads and noses gently. Make sure the head area is washed last to minimize the urge to shake. Rinse well because leftover soap can cause itching and flaky skin.

Pet odors are caused by a number of things. Soiled fur on long haired dogs gets matted and traps dirt. An ear infection can cause odor as well. Make sure to check the dog’s ears during bath time. Dental problems can be quite a problem. Check teeth at every bath and look for swollen gums or missing teeth. Call your vet if you see something suspicious and have it checked.

Nail clipping should follow a bath unless you get a groomer to handle it. Massage the paws and praise puppy for staying still. Gently squeeze his paw to extend the nail. Differentiate between the nail and the quick. If you cut too far down, the quick will start bleeding. If you are unsure, have a professional show you how to clip the nails without hurting the animal.

The Cat is Not a Chew Toy

Puppies will chew on anything in sight. Plants, electric cords, furniture, and you brand new $100 shoes. They are bored and trying to entertain themselves or teething. You must let the puppy know which items are bad for him to chew on.

Make sure he has a wide assortment of chew toys nearby. If he is over six months old, you may need to see a vet concerning any dental problems.

One good idea is to freeze a wet washcloth and let him chew on it. The cold will feel good and he will bite the cloth for a while. You can even give him some ice cubes ti munch on. This will also help soothe the gums as well.

It is quite natural for the puppy to want to chew. Like small children, they put everything in their mouth to learn about it. Keep all objects of worth out of the pup’s way and find a nylon bone or the like to take its place. Then praise for correct behavior. Nylon bones can be quite effective for the puppy’s chewing problem. You must use them from the outset though, otherwise they get used to other bones such as ham bones and won’t use the nylon. These types of bones look like a cord of rope and help the teeth stay clean.

Be leery of pork and chicken bones. They can splinter in the stomach or cause any number o digestive problems. Give bones that are too large to swallow. Also as a rule, pig’s feet, hooves, and any other half-digested treat are not good for the puppy either. And the old thick rawhide the butcher gives you can give the puppy diarrhea.

If you find them munching down on items they aren’t supposed to be, you need to move them to another area, and bring one of his chew toys to him. If he starts to chew on it, give praise and a treat. He will learn what makes you happy and what doesn’t.

Travel and Holidays with Your Puppy

Taking your best friend with you everywhere you go is always a treat. But if you are flying halfway across the country, is it worth taking the pup with you? Can you find someone to take care of him in your absence? Should you board him at a kennel? These are things to think about when making those travel plans.

Prepare for the trip by contacting the place you are staying and find out if they allow pets. Make sure all your puppy’s vaccinations are up to date. Ask the vet if the pup is ready and healthy enough to travel.

You will need to pack up his supplies as well to take with you. You need his bowls, toys, leash, and any medicines he is taking. You will need to bring his crate so he doesn’t miss any training by being let run free. Bring food and some water as well. Don’t feed him for at least three to four hours before leaving. Traveling can cause an upset stomach. Feed him when you get to your destination and take him outside right afterwards.

If going to your destination by plane, try to go during off peak hours. See if you get the nonstop trip or get as few stops as possible. If your carrier will fit under the seat, the animal can sometimes travel with you on the plane. Attach a LIVE ANIMAL sticker to it so people around you know you have an animal with you. Before you leave, take the dog for a nice long stroll before you go to the airport. He may have to be quarantined in foreign locations. Ask your travel agent about the restrictions.

With a little planning, your best friend can accompany you to your destination and be thereto enjoy the vacation. If you can’t take him, please have a trusted friend watch him or have him placed in a kennel.

First Vet Visits

You will want to take your new puppy to the vet as soon as possible. He can often find things you might have missed. Ask friends and family who they recommend. Visit the office before taking the new puppy to see if it is clean and if they have hours that fit your schedule.

Talk to the vet and develop a rapport so you can bring up concerns when they arise. This person will become pretty important in your dog’s life. So you and your dog need to feel comfortable with your choice of vet. By building a trusting relationship with the vet, you will have a long-term effect on your pup’s life.

On the first visit, the pup will be checked for any type of defect. The vet should also take a health history and do a complete physical exam. He should also give any shots that are needed. When you go to the visit, bring along any medical records you may have. You need a copy of all the medicines the puppy takes and information about his mother and father. If you get obtain a fresh stool sample, take it with you as well. Make sure the vet answers all your questions before you leave.

For the first six months, your vet will want to see the puppy for checkups and vaccines. After six months, the visits taper off to once a year. Taking your puppy to regular checkups will help him grow into a healthy dog. It will also add years to his life.

Emergencies are when you need to call and transport the animal to the vet immediately. Times when the puppy isn’t behaving as usual, if he seems in a lot of pain, if he isn’t breathing and you can’t feel a pulse, if he has been vomiting or has diarrhea for more than twenty-four hours, has suffered a burn of any kind, or has a wound that won’t stop bleeding.

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