Taking care of a new puppy can bring both delights and disasters! Understanding a puppys rate of growth and development will provide an excellent framework to enable you to understand and appreciate all of the different aspects of puppy care. The requirements of newborn puppy care varies considerably to taking care of an older puppy. Planning your new routines in relation to puppy care can really help reduce any potential pitfalls. The planning that goes into preparing for a new baby is major and a puppy is not dissimilar to a new born baby! Puppy care is time consuming and requires a whole new routine for all members the family! The information provided in this section are Preparing for new born puppy care, puppy safety, feeding puppy care, sleeping arrangements for pups and puppy supervision.
Newborn Puppy Care - up to 4 weeks
- Newborn Puppy Care is very much the total province of the mother. The following details chart the requirements for puppy care according to the puppies growth and development rates.
- A puppy is born blind, deaf and toothless
- The puppy's eyes, which are closed at birth, open when it is between one and two weeks old. It then begins to see
- A puppy cannot shiver. It is small and therefore must look to its mother for warmth
- Puppies whimper when they are cold, hungry or uncomfortable
- Puppys grow while they sleep
- A puppy is reliant on its mother for the first few weeks for food, comfort and to learn basic dog requirements
- A puppy will be weaned between the ages of 3 and 7 weeks
- During the ages of 3 to 7 weeks its first teeth, or milk teeth will appear
- A puppy is taught basic behaviour disciplines from its mother
- A puppy should be exposed to people within its first week to enable it to socialise comfortably with other species
- A puppys first four weeks are important during which time they should be made to feel comfortable with their environment and mixing with different species and people. Failure to do this may result in behavioural problems as the puppy grows older
- Puppies learn what it is like to bite and be bitten
- Puppies also learn what different forms of barking mean and how to make and use those sounds themselves to establish relationships with other dogs
Puppy Care between 4 to 7 weeks old
- A puppy will continue how to socialise with other dogs and animals and people
- Up to the age of 4 weeks the mother will be with the puppy almost constantly
- Between 4 and 5 weeks the mother will gradually spend time away from her puppies
- Children should be encouraged to play with puppies at this age to ensure the puppy is comfortable with children in the future
- After weaning puppies need to receive a series of vaccines in order to develop immunity on their own. Vaccinations for puppies generally include distemper, hepatitis, leptospirosis, parainfluenza, parvovirus, rabies, and sometimes bordetella
- Puppies are usually found new homes at this are
- Are there any rooms that you do not want the pup to go into? Install locks or safety gates
- The bathroom especially should be made totally out of bounds - your puppy might be tempted to drink water from the toilet
- Make sure the floors are clear of anything sacred or that might harm the puppy - toys, slippers, shoes, papers etc
- Remote controls are very dangerous for a dog the batteries can cause burning and mercury poisoning - Put them somewhere safe
- Check out your house plants - some can cause toxic poisoning such as mistletoe, holly, hibiscus, dieffenbachia, ivy and azalea to name but a few
- Household cleaners - Be sure to remove any cleansers, disinfectants, bleach and soap powder from the puppys reach
- Check the house for any small items that might be swallowed
- Check for any dangling chords or table cloths
- Make sure that no breakable items or garbage is accessible to the new puppy
- A puppy does not require many items but the following should be purchased:
- Dog bed or crate
- Food and water bowls
- Collar and leash
- Toothbrush and toothpaste
- Brushes and combs
- Nail clippers
- Flea Spray
- Supply of puppy food
Puppy Care - Bedding
Provide your puppy with its own bed in a quiet area of your home. Your puppy will sleep during the day and night. A puppy crate can be used as its bed. A cloth or cover from the breeder will help the puppy to feel comfortable and secure. It is tempting to take a whining puppy into your bed but this will inevitably set a future trend. If the pup is distressed move the crate next to your bed a soothe the pup just by stroking.
Puppy Care - Feeding
- At first, the puppy should be fed four times a day. (Feedings should be reduced to twice a day by the time a puppy is mature or even once a day in the case of a dog that gets little exercise)
- Have fixed meal times
- Do not leave food out all day - Let your puppy eat for fifteen minutes and then clear the food bowl away
- Clean, fresh water should be available to your puppy at all times
- Change the drinking water after each feed
- Discourage the family from offering the puppy 'people food'
Puppy Care - Grooming
Nails should be trimmed once per week
Lightly brush the puppy once per week
Do not bath the puppy until it has reached adulthood
Puppy Care - Attention
Play with her quietly and gently. Don't confuse a pup with too much attention and activity. It is important that a puppys activities are monitored at all times. A puppy requires a lot of sleep, during which time it grows, so ensure that you meet your puppies sleep requirements
Puppy Care - Identification
- Your puppy will be as precious as any member of your family. All puppies should wear a collar and name tag at all times - a microchip might also be considered
- Make sure the collar is not too loose or too tight and the size is checked regularly
Puppy Care - Routines, Responsibilities and Rules
- Devise a puppy care schedule - the puppy needs time for play and sleep
- Who will be responsible for feeding and clean water?
- Who will be responsible for cleaning any mess?
- Decide what action to take if the puppy whines - especially at night
Puppy Care between 8 and 12 weeks
The planning and preparation stages are over - puppy care is now the responsibility of the new family
- Ensure that puppies have received their appropriate vaccinations The character and temperament of the puppy and their adjustment to their new environment and new people should have been eased by its early weeks of life
- The first few days at a new home should be eased as much as possible by ensuring that the puppy has lots of attention and different things to do and see
At first, the puppy should be fed four times a day. (Feedings should be reduced to twice a day by the time a puppy is mature or even once a day in the case of a dog that gets little exercise)
The puppy will use its basic instincts to naturally explore its new environment and the different things within it
Puppies will still sleep a lot and grow as they are sleeping. They usually appear restless and move about considerably but this is quite normal
A puppy is naturally playful bringing fun and enjoyment to both the puppy and its owners
Remember that the pup is still developing behavioural patterns and is important that puppies continue with their socialising program
- Smell is the dog's most acute sense and a puppy will continually sniff the air, the ground, and nearby objects to learn what is happening around it
- During this early stage of a puppies life they will need to experience many new things and have not yet obtained a high level of confidence to cope with this. It may encounter situations which make them nervous and frightened
- The job of any owner is to ensure that their puppy is gaining confidence to cope with more stressful situations at this important growth stage
- During times of stress, a dog raises its hackles - the hair along the neck and spine
- And finally the puppy must be made aware of your rules. The puppy is used to being submissive to its mother and must now learn to apply this to its owner.
The acceptable behaviour of a puppy must be the same as that you would expect from a full grown dog!
Puppy Care between 12 and 16 weeks
- Puppies teethe! At this age of growth the first of the permanent teeth will work through ( this process continues usually until the seventh month when all 42 teeth would have appeared)
- Puppies should not be excessively groomed. A soft brushing will usually suffice until it is a year old
- Puppies should not be given a full bath until it is mature at 1 year in order to preserve the natural skin oils
- At this age a puppy might demonstrate Pack Leader Behavior and test who is the Boss. A puppy will challenge your authority
Puppy Care between 4 and 8 months
- The adult teeth continue to come through and during this time puppies need to chew! Provide them with items to chew and don't be surprised if they start on nay objects left lying around - like slippers!
- The incisors and the canines are very important because the dog bites and tears at its food with these teeth
- The confidence of the puppy will now have grown as would its physical size. The puppy will be showing interest in chasing its quarry but are probably not fast enough to actually catch it!
Puppies at this age will not feel the need to stay close to their owners and will develop the urge to run off on their own
- No puppy of this age should ever be let off the leash except in a totally safe, confined area
Puppy Care between 8 months to 1 year
- At this age it should be considered whether a puppy should be spayed or neutered
- Feeding frequency should be considered - reduce to 2 or 3 meals per day
- Some dogs reach sexual maturity at the age of eight months
- The puppy is old enough to start Obedience Classes or a professional training program
- The puppy would have grown to approximately half to three quarters the size of and adult. Female dogs would have probably reached their eventually height but will to continue to 'fill out'
Puppy Care at 12 months old
Puppies are now considered to have finished their development and growth rate and are viewed as adult dogs. Although sexually mature beforehand, a dog usually does not attain full growth until at least its first birthday.