Besides getting your first paycheck and successfully getting a raise, bringing home a little furball of happiness is another highlight life event. Puppies might seem like a minor and easy thing to handle, but caring for one might surprise you. Don’t let that discourage you from getting one, though! Pets have a tremendous effect on our mental health. This effect could be due to social recognition or merely the unconditional affection dogs have for us.
Although puppies are a lot of work, they also provide so many benefits. For us, that’s a fair trade! Are you thinking about getting a puppy, or did you already adopt one from a shelter? Whichever phase you’re in, read this guide to get the information on care and feeding your puppy that you need to care for your newfound buddy for life properly!
Pre-adoption: What to do
Just like a newborn baby, there are things you need to do before getting a puppy. However, if you’ve missed this step and already have a puppy or puppies around the house, don’t worry! All you have to do is keep them in a relatively safe space while you work around the house and puppy-proof your rooms.
Newborn pups can be docile and need less attention than much older ones. For the latter, their nature is to explore around the house. That can pose a problem, especially when you’ve never had a pet, much less a pup around the house. A lot of dangers can await your puppies, like tasting substances and nibble wires. Here are some steps to help keep your little buddy safe:
Cover electric cords
Puppies love to chew on anything and everything, and that doesn’t exclude your wires. By just imagining it, you can already picture what can happen when puppies and cords mix. Electrocution can mean severe injury or even death for them.
One step you can take in this situation is to use electrical sockets out of their reach. If that isn’t a feasible option, you can always use cord wraps, concealers, or a durable PVC pipe around them. These will ultimately keep them safe if they ever try to chew on the electrical cords lying around the house.
Hide chemicals and cleaning supplies
If bleach and other acidic substances can be harmful to a human body, imagine what it can do to a puppy’s small body. Just as our bodies can’t metabolize the chemicals, puppies can’t as well. An average-sized human has a bigger chance of being detoxified than a small puppy ingesting the same chemical.
It’s not just chemicals that can harm a puppy (or an adult dog’s) health. Here is a list of poisonous substances that can affect a dog’s health. It’s imperative to eliminate or hide dangerous substances if they are inside your home. One example is chocolate, the most famous human food that many dog-owners need to avoid.
Science explains why it’s bad for your canine because of the compound theobromine and caffeine, which a dog’s body cannot break down. A smaller chunk can result in vomiting or diarrhea, but eating a normal-sized chocolate bar can lead a canine to a heart attack, which will ultimately kill them.
Secure small objects
Small objects from hairpins to Q-tips can choke your puppy. If you want to do some spring cleaning, getting a puppy should provide any needed motivation. Stop placing earrings and rings everywhere, and make sure your doggy toys don’t have feathers or small trinkets on them that the puppy can swallow.
Take note that a vet visit can be very pricey, especially if your puppy needs surgery to remove something they swallowed. Seeing an x-ray of their abdomen filled with these little objects isn’t a pretty sight. Clean your place and keep on cleaning to keep your pet safe.
Tips for new puppy owners
Get your puppy from a shelter
Each year, almost a million cats and dogs in the United States are euthanized in shelters. The reason for this is overcrowding and too few people choosing to adopt from shelters.
On the other hand, breeders sell more than 2 million puppies, and puppy mills breed more than 5 million more each year. By adopting a dog from a shelter, you save an adult dog or pup’s life and help reduce the risk that dogs are inhumanely treated in puppy mills.
On a more practical note, your adoption fee likely will cover the costs of spaying or neutering, first vaccinations, and even microchipping. This will save you money compared to buying from puppy mills or breeders.
Buying essential supplies
Some things you need to buy for your puppy vary from basics to luxury items. The former is always necessary, including a collar with identification, a leash, food, water bowls, and comfortable dog beds. You can also include chewing toys and a kennel.
Please note that some of these items should be replaced to accommodate their size as the pup grows. For example, the collar can be adjusted, but at some point, especially when your dog is a large dog for its breed, you need to change the collar and leash altogether. The kennel, food, and water bowls should also be adjusted accordingly.
Feeding your puppy: Choosing the right food
Before buying your puppy’s food, do your research first. Talking to a vet is ideal, but you can also consult other dog owners who have owned many puppies before. You can also try to chat in online forums, though this cannot be considered reliable information.
With today’s advanced science-anchored world, even puppy diets have variations. Some opt to choose premium foods shown in commercials, while others lean towards organic and natural food. The decision is yours for your pet. However, consult this chart that shows how much to feed a puppy a day, regardless of which you prefer. Knowing how much they need in a day is always crucial for their growth and development.
Maintain your puppy’s health
One way to ensure this is by going to the vet. Once you have your puppy, visit your veterinarian at once for a general exam. Then, for the first six months, you and your pup will be seeing the vet often, especially for vaccinations and neutering. This is an excellent opportunity to detect any possible sicknesses your puppy might have, and the vet can effectively intervene early and either alleviate or manage it.