Taking care of a puppy can be hectic. This is more so when one is clueless on how to raise one. Puppies are often weaned at eight to ten weeks, thus it is preferable to buy or adopt a puppy once it is weaned. When considering acquiring a puppy one must be well prepared and informed. The familial history of the puppy, if available, is important as it gives inherent traits of the puppy. Apparently, it is imperative to learn how to raise a puppy as this determines what kind of a dog the puppy will become. This paper seeks to highlight the most important steps to take in order to raise a good and healthy puppy.
The following are the key steps to take before and after bringing the puppy home:
- Proofing the house.
Electrical wires and cords should be raised, while toxic substances such as detergents and drugs removed.
- Purchase utilities.
- Grooming supplies such as nail clippers, brush or combs, shampoo and conditioner.
- Food and water bowls: Preferably, metal bowls as they do not break easily.
- Create a container in which the puppy can sleep. It should have beddings that are soft and dry for its comfort.
- Dog leads and collars. These are necessary to acclimatize the puppy to wearing one. The collars should contain the puppy’s name and the owner’s address or telephone number.
- Take the puppy for a stroll. This is to familiarize the puppy with its new home.
- Let the puppy express normal social behavior. Once the puppy is vaccinated, it should be allowed to play with other vaccinated dogs as long as they are not violent. However, the owner should be present.
- Train the puppy. Training when done at this age is more effective. Toilet training is important in preventing the puppy from soiling the house. The use of treats is good as it reinforces good behavior.
- Grooming and nail clipping. This should be started at this age so that the puppy grows up without resenting these activities.
- Dry food is better as it helps prevent gingivitis and cleans teeth.
- Food that has high content of proteins is preferred. Supplementing with fatty acids is also important; as it is necessary in maintaining the integrity of the skin and a shiny hair coat.
- Give enough food, as puppies do not stop feeding when full as long as the food is in their bowls.
- Do not give in to feeding the puppy human food, table scraps. Some of these foods such as chocolate are toxic to dogs.
- Vaccinate after 6 weeks of age.
- De-worming starts when the puppy is two weeks and repeated every two weeks until the puppy is three months—and every three months henceforth.
- When there is no intention of breeding spaying in females and castration in males is recommended at five months of age.
- Observing the puppy is helpful in detecting diseases.
- General check ups. This can be done occasionally when performing other routine tasks such as de-worming and nail clipping.
The puppy should be happily settled once the above measures are put in place. In addition, petting the puppy strengthens the bond between the owner and puppy. The law in some countries may also require licensing. Remember a well-kept dog will give you many years of happiness.