Looking after a puppy is a very rewarding activity. You will get a lot of love and affection from your new young pet, but with that will come plenty of mischief and a need for a great deal of care. Puppies may seem capable, but you must remember that they are essentially young children and need extra attention if you want them growing up to be healthy.
The most pressing – and arguably the hardest – aspect of caring for a puppy is keeping it out of trouble. You may need to puppy-proof your house in preparation for the bundle of mischief! Young dogs are very curious and playful, and are often incapable of understanding the danger of certain situations.
You should keep as much out of reach of your new puppy as possible. They might chew electrical wires, pull on tablecloths and eat anything within reach, so make sure they don’t get the chance! Cover up anything a puppy could grab, gnaw or attempt to steal, or they might hurt themselves.
Now you are sure they are safe, you can concentrate on keeping your puppy healthy. Just like young children, a puppy will benefit from a slightly different diet to an adult dog, and so you shouldn’t give them basic canned food. This will not give them the nutrients they need to grow.
Standard dog food often contains higher levels of carbohydrates than your dog would usually eat. These usually come in the form of grains, which dogs did not evolve to digest. As such, you may find that your puppy does not get all the nutritional benefits from this food, leaving them sluggish as they run out of energy throughout the day.
Dog food brands such as Arden Grange will provide specialist dog foods for puppies. These will vary from food designed to be soaked to make a porridge, intended for very young dogs not quite ready for solids, to puppy food created specifically for larger dogs. This enables you to better tailor your dog’s diet so they are as healthy as possible.
Finally, you must remember to also look after your puppy’s mental health. This may seem unusual, but it will have a huge effect on the type of dog your puppy grows up to be. Most antisocial dogs have behavioural traits that could have been dealt with while they were younger.
You should start training your puppy as soon as you can. The most important thing to do is establish boundaries, and determine what habits are okay for your dog. For example, if they want to jump up on the furniture and you don’t want them doing so when they are adults, you need to establish this.
Then you can start training them to obey commands. This is good for a dog’s mental health, as it reinforces the idea of them working for something and gives them a sense of achievement. Certain breeds, like Labradors love being able to show off a new trick and receive praise from you.
The last aspect of looking after your dog’s mental health is to give them plenty of love, in order to socialise them. If you are affectionate, and introduce them to other humans that give it attention as well, then it will learn how friendly humans can be. In return, it will be friendly back.