Responsible pet ownership is founded on proper pet care. When you adopt a pet, you must understand that you are making a lifetime commitment to a furry family member who is dependent on you for his or her health and well-being.
Puppies are without a doubt among the cutest creatures on earth. Parenting a very young dog, on the other hand, is not easy. A growing puppy requires far more than a feeding dish and a doghouse to flourish. Establishing excellent and healthy behaviors during those initial few sleep-deprived weeks will create the groundwork for many dog-years of enjoyment for you and your puppy.
The first eight weeks of a new puppy’s existence are jam-packed with so many new things that they will develop and change at a quicker rate than at any other period in their lives.
When is the ideal time to separate a puppy from his or her mother?
Because pups are born unable to see, hear, or control their body temperature, they rely on their mother for all of their needs, including a warm area to cuddle into. During the first week, they will dedicate all of their efforts to resting and feeding in order to acquire weight, grow with strength and basic instincts. So, if you acquired a puppy that young, you need to know that what was said above is what you will be doing in place of its biological mother. This is also the reason why we do not encourage anybody to acquire pets at a very young age, an age that he or she has not been weaned yet from the mother. But, of course, you would have no choice if you rescued one.
VetrinarianTeresa Manucy of PetMD says in her article “Weaning Puppies: How and When to Do It” that weaning is the progressive change of a puppy’s diet from their mother’s milk to solid food as well as his or her dependency on other needs like toilet rituals. It is a natural procedure that permits puppies to become self-feeders and self-relievers of themselves while also reducing the physical demands on the mother as the puppies develop.
The weaning process, according to Manucy, should naturally begin at 3-4 weeks of age, when the puppies’ teeth begin to come out. Nursing teething pups’ pain may induce the mother to withdraw before her puppies are totally satiated. Hungry pups will instinctively seek for another food source. And, based on personal observation, it is also during this period that the puppies start to do some pooping and peeing on their own. This is the best time for a human to assist in the weaning process but not to abruptly separate the puppies from their mother. Again, it should be a gradual process that should, at least, be sought out up to 8 weeks before completely separating the puppy from the mother.
What to do when you finally bring your puppy home with you?
Christina Mckeeby, in her article “How to Take Care of a Puppy: A New Owner’s Guide,” says that while puppies are a lot of work, your dedication to building a solid routine can provide you with a devoted companion for years. When planning to bring a puppy home, make sure you have a competent support team in place that includes both a skilled veterinarian and a dependable pet sitter, because life frequently deviates from our best made plans.
According to Mckeeby, when introducing your new puppy to its new home, keep it on a leash and enable it to explore its new surroundings under your supervision. You want it to be at ease, yet a free-roaming puppy will frequently have accidents if left alone for an extended period of time. While most new dog owners believe a dog crate is isolating and freezing, crate training is really the simplest approach to develop healthy sleep and toilet habits. It also keeps them out of mischief while you’re asleep, keeping both them and your stuff secure.
Do not let the dog tug and lead you. Owners aim to establish authority so that the puppy understands to obey their commands. Teaching your dog to obey orders will keep him/her safe.
Mckeeby believes that teaching a puppy to socialize at the age of 12 weeks will make life simpler. When anticipating company, put your puppy on a leash to greet them at the entrance, don’t let them leap, and provide positive reinforcement by enabling your visitor to provide a reward for a nice welcome. She says, puppies, like toddlers, enjoy and respond strongly to regular positive reinforcement.
Mckeeby states that the basic rule of thumb is to take a puppy out as many hours as their age plus one hour, thus, a 2-month-old puppy should go out every three hours.
She also claims that a puppy reared with its mother and father will be simpler to teach than one kept in a kennel at a store. Pups in stores utilize their kennel to relieve themselves, but pups reared with their parents are conditioned from birth to accompany their parents outside to relieve themselves.
If going outside is not as feasible as we may think, using a toilet training mat is advisable.
Puppy proofing your home
Just like human toddlers, puppies will also explore and will love to try to experiment with anything they get their mouths and paws on. Prevention is always the key to safety.
– Cover electrical cables.
– Tie up window cords and curtains.
– Place dangerous cleaning supplies/chemicals in higher or closed cabinets.
– Purchase a tall, heavy-duty garbage can with a difficult-to-knock-over cover.
– Purchase a crate for crate training or a baby gate to confine the puppy to a small space with easily cleaned flooring.
– Don’t offer your puppy old shoes or toy animals. Invest in appropriate toys for them so your pooch learns the difference between his rubber ball, your daughter’s favorite plush animal, and your brand-new sandals.
– Don’t let pups get away with anything just because they’re tiny. If you don’t want a 60-pound snoring dog on your bed, don’t let it lie there as a puppy. Create routines early on since changing poor habits is significantly more difficult.
Establish a proper mealtime schedule
Your puppy’s body is developing rapidly, so choose a diet designed specifically for pups rather than older dogs.
Small and medium-sized breeds can transition to adult dog food between the ages of 9 and 12. Large breed dogs should eat puppy kibble until they reach the age of two. Make sure your dog has access to clean, plentiful water at all times.
Mckeeby tells us to feed your puppy numerous times each day:
– 6-12 weeks – 4 meals each day
– 3-6 months – 3 meals per day
– 6-12 months – 2 meals each day
Be careful NOT to feed your puppy the following:
No matter how cute those “puppy-dog-eyes” are, Mckeeby warns us to remember not to feed your puppy the following foods below because it may cause your pup its life:
– Grapes and raisins
– Chicken bones
– Raw fish and raw meat
– High-fat foods, such as macadamia nuts and avocados
– High-fat meats, such as bacon
– Onions and garlic
– Caffeine and alcohol
A list of other things you would definitely need in raising your puppy.
The following are the just the basics:
– Metal food and water bowls
– A sturdy leash and nylon collar
– Identification tags for the collar
– A crate pillow or snuggle nest
– Small puppy treats
– Good quality dog food designed for puppies (know your dog’s weight before shopping)
– A bristle comb
– Non-toxic dog shampoo (bath time is not necessarily every day. It is only done, when necessary, like if he/she soiled himself/herself.)
With the above puppy care guidelines, you and your beloved pooch are well on your way to a lifetime of pleasure together!
About the Author: Mariana Burgos is a freelance artist. She has been a solo parent for 16 years now because she is wife to a desaparecido. She and her daughter are animal lovers and are active in advocating not only human rights but the rights of animals as well.