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Getting a puppy as a companion is a complex aspect with strong impact on your life and your family’s life. Caring for a puppy is a process that involves free time, attention and dedication.

When choosing a breed, take into account that purebred puppies may have special needs or specific health problems. Inform yourself about breed’s history and traits to be able to watch for warning signs of a specific problem as well as to prevent it.  If you have decided to get a puppy, there are lots of things that will change in your life. Take a look at the list we have created and think if you are prepared for such a new chapter of your life.

 

Photo Credit: Lone Star Pups

Hide things from all over the floor:

You’ll have to hide electrical cords, shoes and other stuff laying on the floor and from areas where the puppy has access in order to ensure he won’t reach them. Keep the bathroom door closed and limit the access to your puppy.

Buy stuff for your pup

It is recommended to buy a well-fitted collar for your pup with a tag that includes his name and your contact information. Equip your pup with a permanent microchip coded with a unique number that is linked to puppy’s name and your contact information to find him easily if gets lost. The chip is inserted under the puppy’s skin and can be read by a special scanner.

Visits to vet

Take your pup to the vet regularly for vaccines and health checks. The legal minimum for puppy vaccines requirements in most states is a rabies vaccine given at 12 weeks old. After the first year, your pup will need a booster every three years. There are also other preventable contagious diseases like parvovirus, distemper, influenza, kennel cough that need vaccines. Puppies need to be also protected against flea infestation that causes blood loss and weakness and against tapeworms which cause blood loss and weakness. Ticks and mosquitos are also dangerous for your pup’s health as they can transmit diseases like Lyme disease and heartworm disease. Oral medications and topical products protect against fleas, ticks and heartworm disease. Internal parasites such as tapeworms and roundworms can be found in the intestinal tract of puppies and can cause diarrhea, weight loss, irritation and inflammation of the digestive tract.

Specialists recommend to spay or neuter your puppy between four and six months old in order to prevent the risk of developing various forms of cancer such as testicular cancer or uterine infections.

Socialize your pup

You need to take time for your puppy’s emotional development and socialize him properly between 3 to 12 weeks of age. It is recommended to take him to parks, car rides, etc. and let him meet new people and animals. You can take him to puppy socialization classes where he will interact with other pups and learn various things.

Train your pup

If you want an educated puppy, take him also to puppy training classes to learn basic commands, walk on a leash and socialize. It is recommended to start around eight to twelve weeks old.

When training him, you can offer small amounts of treats, but make sure you avoid human food as it can be toxic for your pup. For example, chocolate, grapes, raisins, onions, coffee grounds, garlic and sugar-free products are toxic for your pup.

Exercise your pup

To avoid bad and destructive behavior, keep him busy with toys and plenty of exercise, both indoors and outdoors. When exercising your pup, take into account the age and the breed and don’t force him on long hikes, jogs or agility training until he is at least a year old. On the other hand, relaxed and natural movement and play outside are allowed at any age.

Housetraining

Be patient and consistent when house-training. Routine trips outside can help to teach him that outdoors is the right place to relieve himself. You should take him outside for a bathroom break right after meals, in the morning and before bed. In the first weeks, you should take him outside every two hours.

Feed your pup accordingly

As puppies tend to grow very fast, they need to be properly fed with balanced nutrients to be healthy. According to the breed, you should feed him about three meals a day until three months old and then you can decrease to twice daily.

Special care

We know you want a healthy puppy, so pay attention to his dental care to avoid building up plaque. Use a toothbrush and apply regular brushing every week using a pet-friendly toothpaste and toothbrush.

Curiosities about puppies becoming adults

There are many interesting things that you probably don’t know about these little fantastic creatures. Each year, there are 6.2 million puppies born in the United States. Puppies don’t have teeth at birth and they cannot hear or smell. Touch is the first sense they use. Their smell activates at about three weeks after birth. After the smell is activated, puppies can smell up to 1000 times better than a human. Their nose prints are unique such as humans’ fingerprints. They don’t open their eyes until nine to twelve days old. Their teeth begin to grow when they start chewing things.

Puppies spend 90% of their first week after birth sleeping. After this period, they sleep about 14 hours in a 24-hour period and need to be fed five times a day.

Puppies tend to mistake human smile for aggressive behavior if the smile reveals the teeth of the person who is smiling.

Puppies go through several development stages before becoming adults. Between 4 and 8 weeks, puppies learn best to interact with other dogs. During this period, puppies are developing their skills to interact with other dogs, so it is not recommended to be taken from their parents and littermates.

After this period, a puppy needs to learn and explore his environment. Between 5 and 10 weeks, puppies develop their skills to interact with humans and between 5 and 16 weeks they are in the best shape to discover new environments, so it is advisable to be exposed to a full range of socialization aspects. Proper socialization avoid developing the fear of unfamiliar.

It is recommended to introduce him to many people, animals, places, sights, sounds and situations and to encourage him to explore and investigate. It is essential to minimize his fear towards new things and environments as well as to identify the signs of his fear. These include whining, avoidance, salivating, refusal to eat, trembling, vomiting, diarrhea, scanning, loss of bladder etc. If these signs persist, discuss with your vet or another specialist to help your diminish his fear. Pups who are anxious worrier at 3 months will grow into worried, anxious adults without proper intervention.

At 8 weeks, your pup will be able to select his preferred surface to eliminate and make a mental connection between the scent and the surface of his potty spot. This is also the age at which he becomes aware he can control when and where to eliminate. The process contains two stages: teaching him to go in his potty spot and wait to go until he reaches that potty spot. Be patient and prepare for occasional accidents until he learns how to do it.

A one year old puppy is the equivalent of a 15 year old human and is considered to be adult.

If you’re looking for puppies for sale in Texas, New York, Ohio, California, Pennsylvania, Florida, Virginia or everywhere in America, please think about the main aspects that include your responsibilities, your budget and free time needed for your puppy’s education, your holidays and your home environment.

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Jawad Ahmad is veterinary graduate from Asia's best veterinary university, University Of Veterinary And Animal Sciences, Lahore, Pakistan. He loves to blog and work as a freelance writer for biosciences niche. He joined "Veterinary Hub" in June 2013 as an author. He is currently a post-graduate student in Department of Pathology, University of Veterinary & Animal Sciences, Lahore.