Raising a Healthy Puppy

by admin on February 5, 2010

You’ve just brought home the cutest puppy on the planet. While it would be easy to fall for those “puppy dog eyes” and allow it to wrap you around its dewclaw, it’s important to know that the health and well-being of your new friend is vitally important for ensuring many years of joy and happiness.

Here are a few steps to raising a healthy puppy:

> Know your breed.

It’s important to know as much about the breed of your puppy as possible. Different dogs are bred for different purposes and as such, carry unique traits and behaviors. Knowing your breed will help you to know the behavioral characteristics of your puppy and help you make decisions concerning diet and training.

> Be the pack leader

Dogs are pack animals and your family is a pack in the eyes of your puppy. Just like the days when dogs ran in the wild, every pack needs a pack leader to keep things in order. Keeping a proper pack order will provide stability for your little guy and aid in its mental development.

> Work with your puppy daily

Just like humans, your puppy requires daily interaction as it grows. You should plan on working with your puppy a few hours every day. Teaching your puppy basic commands such as sit, lie down and stay will help your puppy know what you expect and will serve as a basis for more advanced training.

Walk your puppy every day. The exercise will be beneficial as your puppy’s bones and muscles grow and it’s a great outlet for releasing anxiety and boredom.

> Make “puppy appropriate” decisions

Raising a healthy puppy requires making puppy appropriate decisions, including:

> Food – a human baby needs baby food and a puppy needs puppy food. Most vets recommend a puppy formula dog food for the first 12-18 months. Purchase only high-quality foods specific to your breed of dog. For instance, large breed puppies should be fed a large breed formula.

> Training equipment – use only puppy-sized leashes and collars. Consider “crate” training your puppy until it reaches adulthood. It provides an established sleeping area and can be used when you need to be away from home for short periods of time. Puppy appropriate treats aid with training your dog.

> Socialization – allow your dog to socialize with other dogs, but do so in a controlled manner. Doggy daycare and dog parks are great places for this, but you should never leave them unattended.

> Know your veterinarian – there are a myriad of shots and vaccinations required for your puppy and you should make sure they receive them. However, it’s a good idea to know your vet beyond this stage. Choose a vet who displays a real interest in your puppy and is willing to answer your questions.

While raising a healthy puppy can seem a bit overwhelming, it’s really just a matter of doing the proper research and acting on the knowledge you obtain.

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