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How to Raise a Puppy: Guide for the First Year

Puppies can make a wonderful addition to any family and provide life-long companionship. Here, our Kingman vets discuss some of the basic things you should know about the art of raising a puppy.

What You Need To Know About The Art of Raising a Puppy

Life with a puppy is similar to life with a human toddler. You'll need a lot of patience to keep him out of mischief and teach him about the world securely. Puppies are compelled to chew excessively as their adult teeth emerge, and you may find the doggy equivalent of a teething ring in the living room rug, your favorite pair of shoes, or even your hand.

Further, having a dog means assuming responsibility for the happiness, safety, and health of another being. It means being able to pay for vet fees if your dog consumes something it shouldn't, and always having a plan in place for his or her care when you can't be there. It means being emotionally astute enough to see that your dog does not speak English and does not understand the words "stop chewing on the walls!"

How to Prepare Your Home For Raising a Puppy

When you decide to subject yourself to the heart of raising a puppy, your entire world will change, starting with your home. Electrical cords should be secured, and potentially hazardous plants or chemicals should be moved out of reach. Close any vents, pet doors, or other openings that could lead him astray or get him stranded.

You must be prepared to begin house training your puppy as soon as you get him home. Prepare the crate if you intend to crate train him. Line it with blankets or a dog bed to make it more comfortable, but make sure it's big enough for him to stand up, turn around, and lie down.

If you do plan to crate your puppy, set aside a tiny area, such as a powder room or a kitchen corner, where he can be confined and kept away from other dogs and small children. Make sure you have some puppy training pads on hand to catch any accidents, as well as a dog bed, food and water bowls, and a toy or two.

What Nutritional Needs You Need to Consider When Raising a Puppy

When raising a puppy you should be sure to choose a high-quality puppy food that is specially formulated to help puppies develop and grow. The appropriate amount of food is determined by characteristics such as age, size, and breed. It's a good idea to talk to your vet about how much and how often you should feed your dog.

To guarantee enough nourishment for some tiny breeds of dogs, it may be best to free feed. Toy and tiny breed dogs mature physically faster than larger breeds and can be moved to adult dog food and adult-sized portions between the ages of nine and twelve months.

Larger breeds should be fed many meals each day in appropriate portions to avoid issues like stomach bloat and protein or calcium buildup. Here's a general guideline for a large dog feeding schedule:

  • Six to twelve weeks old: Four meals per day
  • Three to six months old: Three meals per day
  • Six months and up: Two meals per day

Training Steps You Should Take When Raising a Puppy

Dogs strive to avoid soiling their bed and the area around it naturally. Create a potty pattern for your puppy, bearing in mind that small puppies will often need to go out every couple of hours. Take him to a portion of the yard where he won't be exposed to other animals until he's had all of his vaccines, and never punish your puppy for a mistake.

It's usually preferable to ignore undesirable behavior or to correct your dog with a simple but strong "no." Never smack or yell at your dog. When he exhibits bad behavior, attempt to redirect him to something positive. Consider enrolling him in an obedience lesson as soon as he is old enough. This will not only teach him proper behavior, but will also aid in socialization.

Proper socialization is critical to the success of raising a puppy. He needs to be introduced to as many new people, places, experiences, and circumstances as possible to grow into a well-adjusted canine. While you should wait until he has had all of his vaccines before taking him out in public or allowing him to interact with other animals, you may begin socializing your puppy right away by simply playing with him and introducing him to new people, sights, noises, smells, and textures.

When raising a puppy they may begin habits such as resource guarding which can cause complications for everyone including your pup. It is important to address this situation as early as possible. Always supervise children while they are around your puppy's food or favorite toy.

When you are raising a new puppy one of the most common things you will probably want to teach them is to not bite or nip. Establishing your position as pack leader will help your puppy remember that he must earn your respect and obey you, which will assist him in controlling this behavior. Keep in mind that your new puppy desires your approval but also requires your direction. If your puppy nips or bites, discipline with a calm but firm "no!"

Providing Adequate Exercise For Your New Puppy

Bored dogs are more likely to engage in aggressive or improper behavior, so provide him with puzzle toys and outdoor exercise (walking, playtime) to keep his mind stimulated. Your dog must understand his place in your home, but this can only be accomplished by consistency and a firm, caring touch.

The First Wellness Visit For Your New Puppy

If you don't already have a veterinarian, ask around. Your family, friends, and coworkers will almost certainly be able to supply you with numerous references. One of the first things you should do when you decide to raise a puppy is to make an appointment with a veterinarian for a health checkup. At Cerbat Cliffs Animal Hospital, we're always ready to accept new patients.

Your veterinarian will most likely recommend a parasite control program to keep fleas, ticks, and heartworms at bay. They also advise you on when to bring him in to be fixed, which can help lessen the chance of health and behavioral issues as the puppy ages.

Your vet will also be available to provide advice on various new puppy concerns such as tooth brushing and nail cutting, and even show you how to do it. Your veterinarian can also help you with any questions you have regarding care for your dog, such as what kind of food to feed them.

While you're there, you can also try to schedule his 6-month vet checkup to check on his growth and progress. They can also start to give you advice on how to prepare for the adolescent years, which can be difficult for pet owners. This is also a wonderful time to discuss what to expect as your puppy matures into adulthood.

Note: The advice provided in this post is intended for informational purposes and does not constitute medical advice regarding pets. For an accurate diagnosis of your pet's condition, please make an appointment with your vet.

Are you raising a new puppy that is in need of their first vaccinations or a wellness visit? Contact our vets at Cerbat Cliffs Animal Hospital in Kingman today!

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Cerbat Cliffs Animal Hospital is accepting new patients! Our experienced vets are passionate about the health of Kingman companion animals. Get in touch today to book your pet's first appointment.

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