What could be more delightful than owning a new puppy? They give out so much love, and help keep us fit with daily walks! Having said that, dog owners are constantly responsible for the health and happiness of their pets. Let’s look at some of the key things any new pup owner needs to consider.
Anyone who is unsure what to feed their pet should consult a vet. There are a number of dangerous downsides to giving the wrong food to dogs. If a large breed grows faster than it should, it will suffer in later life. Raw diets sound really healthy, but can actually give your pet a fatal overdose of vitamin D. Grain-free diets have gained a lot of interest, but medical research has shown they can result in heart failure for dogs.
It’s also worth considering supplements for the pup. Some professionals recommend liquid vitamins suitable for puppies because a standard daily diet may not include everything the pet needs. Any dog owner will know what a relief it is if the supplements are easy to administer. The dosages may include such additional elements as vitamins and amino acids, essential minerals, and probiotics.
Sadly, some of the obesity issues experienced in America have overflowed into the area of pet care. Over half of the dogs in the USA are technically obese. No pet owner wants to lose a couple of years of their dog’s life, yet this is what can be lost as a result of overfeeding.
The vaccinations a puppy will need depends on the location of the pet. These could cover such fatal conditions as distemper, parvovirus, or hepatitis. There are also other conditions the dog may need protection from including rabies, Lyme disease, kennel cough, or leptospirosis. The first vaccinations will need to administer when the dog is aged between six weeks and two months old.
Like cats, dogs need regular treatment to keep fleas and worms away. Flea problems can prove fatal, and worms can block an animal’s intestines. Preventative care may also be extended to protect against Lyme disease or ticks as well.
Dogs need dental care in a similar way to babies: brush the teeth daily – even though the baby teeth will be falling out later – and create a lifelong habit of teeth cleaning. There are also related dog products on the market such as gels and dog chews.
Pups need to take exercise twice daily. Each session should be around five minutes for each month it has been alive. It’s not healthy for humans to lead sedentary lifestyles during the week, and then going mad with sports at the weekend. Dogs are no different, and need regular daily exercise rather than long bursts at the weekends, even if that would be more convenient for you!
Dog walking should be a fun time, and bringing a toy such as a ball can help. The pet will identify the length of its daily walks after a while, and fit into the new routine.
Just as young children can get bored and bottled-up with energy if left indoors for too long, pups need to get outside too. When they return, they are far more content to curl up in the front room. Just as a bored child may get up to mischief, an unstimulated puppy may develop destructive habits at home, such as chewing furniture. There are also activity toys that can be used indoors, to keep the pet active and interested. All these things will pay dividends for the puppy’s health.
Between four and five months of a puppy’s life, the pet needs to be socialized. It needs to encounter unfamiliar territory. This will serve it in later life, and reduce its long term anxiety levels.
Train the dog to be obedient. Don’t let it rise up in people or animals, and teach the words ‘sit’ and ‘stay’. Not only will this protect the pet, but anyone or anything it comes in contact with! Daily walks can be a real hazard for an untrained pet: roads, traffic, young or elderly people, and other dogs may all be appearing from all sides.
Training is not just about rules but also bonding with the pet. Both you and the vet may be checking the animal’s health regularly. This can include looking at its teeth or ears, for example. An untrained dog could be a real issue during such moments!
Pet owners grow with their pets, and over time the love and care will pay off. What began as a strange new puppy will grow into a much-loved family member.