For a family, bringing home a puppy is sure to be a fun and exciting event. Puppies bless our lives with joy and laughter. While this time is about the pure enjoyment of the experience, it is important to make their health and well-being a priority, especially during the first year of their life. This is a time where many changes occur. Taking good care of your puppy during the first year will help you and your new friend to enjoy many more years to come.
Keeping Your Puppy’s Health in Check
Go ahead and make those veterinary appointments. Puppies need to see a vet at 8 weeks, 12 weeks, and 16 weeks of age. Your vet needs to keep tabs on your pup’s health and development, as well as providing necessary vaccinations, deworming, heartworm prevention and flea prevention. Once your puppy has reached 4-6 months of age, he or she needs to be spayed or neutered.
Another reason it is important to keep an eye on your pup’s health is for the sake of your family. Issues like fleas, mites, hookworms, ringworms and roundworms can affect humans as well. Flea bites and the like can make an otherwise happy family completely uncomfortable.
Also watch out for your puppy’s dental health. Baby teeth begin to fall out at around 4 months old. Should the teeth not fall out on their own, some dogs need to have them extracted to prevent overcrowding or misalignment of their permanent teeth.
Be aware that puppies usually experience at least 1 or 2 illnesses during their first 6 months of life. Vomiting or diarrhea are quite common. Itchy skin, or a cough may also happen. However, in most cases, illnesses that puppies may have are generally mild and easy to treat.
It’s never too early to start training your puppy. Once your dog has reached 12 weeks, it is a good idea to look into getting help from a trainer. Dog training classes will also help you as the dog owner know how to command your dog. It also gives your puppy a chance to be sociable with other doggies. After your dog grows bigger, consider furthering their professional training to enforce desirable behaviors.
Keeping your dog groomed is an important part of keeping him or her happy and healthy. Depending on the breed, some dogs require regular haircuts. It would be a good idea to get puppies used to this process early on. Also, get them used to having their ears cleaned, their nails trimmed and their teeth brushed.
Housebreaking puppies can be a challenging task! A big dose of patience and consistency is needed. It can take several months to housebreak your puppy. Be prepared to allow your dog to learn to control their urges in their own time. If you try and force the process, it won’t work and will just leave the both of you stressed out.
You may find that the first year of your puppy’s life requires a bit of hard work. However, if you get it right, your reward will be a dog with good manners and a good nature, which will blend in nicely with your family.