How will proper puppy care impact the life of my dog?

Proper puppy care, especially in the early days when the puppy is very young, plays a crucial role in their life. The socialization process is imperative to ensure that they are comfortable with handling throughout their life. Therefore, it's essential to know what to do in the initial days of your puppy's life.

Dr. Rebecca McIntosh
Loch Haven Veterinary Hospital

Why is it important to start good puppy care on day one?

Starting good puppy care from day one is absolutely crucial. This includes interacting and playing with the puppies correctly, and preventing them from developing bad habits like chewing on us or putting our fingers in their mouth. Puppies quickly learn these behaviors, which become their baseline as they grow into adults.

How soon should I bring my puppy in to see a veterinarian for their first exam?

Ideally, your puppy should be seen by a veterinarian within the first 24 to 72 hours of you getting them. They usually come with a health certificate or some medical records if they're from a rescue group. The vet might need to administer more vaccines, check a stool sample, or carry out deworming.

What are the most common health problems in puppies?

Many puppies often come with intestinal parasites or could potentially have been exposed to illnesses. Common health problems include diarrhea or sometimes vomiting. Puppies that don't want to eat or aren't feeling well need to be closely monitored. Puppies should be very interested in eating, drinking, and going to the bathroom normally, and any deviation from this should be consulted with the vet.

What are some signs and symptoms of illness in your puppy?

Vomiting, diarrhea, not wanting to eat, and lethargy are all signs that a puppy may be feeling unwell. If you notice any cuts or bruises, any discharge either from the nose or eyes, or any coughing or sneezing, these are not normal for puppies. If you see anything out of the ordinary, they should be checked by a vet.

What are the signs of a healthy, thriving puppy?

A healthy, thriving puppy should be very interactive, energetic, sleep well, and play hard. They should be gaining weight and growing at a pace suitable for their breed. As long as the puppy is eating, drinking, and otherwise doing all of those things normally, it is indicative of a healthy puppy.

When should I start training my puppy?

Training should start immediately. Puppies can learn right out of the womb. By the time you get your puppy, you should already be teaching it some stuff. While they are born knowing that food is good, everything else needs to be taught by us. Even a four or five-week-old puppy can be taught how to sit, how to respond to their name, etc. These are all critically important for their long-term development.

What will my vet be looking for when first examining my puppy?

During the first visit, the vet will do a full physical exam, examining the puppy from nose to toes. They'll check the eyes, ears, belly, and skin, and ensure that everything looks normal. For male puppies, they'll also check to make sure they have all their parts. The vet will also assess their body condition, healthy muscling, and ensure they're not too skinny.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (407) 896-0941, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Puppy Care - FAQs 1

Dr. Rebecca McIntosh
Loch Haven Veterinary Hospital

What is the most important thing to know about raising a puppy?

The most important thing to remember when raising a puppy is that they learn almost entirely from us. If we aren't teaching them, they're probably not learning. Therefore, setting appropriate expectations for what our puppy needs to learn is crucial. It's important to remember that when they're not with us, they're not learning from anybody else.

What should I consider before adopting or buying a puppy?

Important factors to consider are your environment, your lifestyle, and the type of home you live in. Whether you have a large yard or live in a one-bedroom apartment, there are suitable puppies for all situations. However, the breed of dog you choose should align with your lifestyle and environment. For instance, a working dog isn't suitable for a household that isn't very active.

What should I look for in a puppy?

When choosing a puppy, look for one that is engaged and appears healthy. The tiniest and skinniest puppies often have health issues. It's important to choose a puppy that interacts well with people and doesn't show signs of aggression such as growling or showing teeth, as these are indicators of a problem.

How can I puppy proof my house?

Puppy proofing your home is very important. Always supervise your puppy. Ensure there are no cords or potential hazards they could fall off of or into. Remove anything they could swallow or get injured by. Also, ensure they can't get stuck underneath or behind anything. Remember, if it's not nailed to the ground, it's fair game for a puppy. Providing appropriate toys is equally important.

Is it possible to care for a puppy while working full time?

Yes, it is possible, but it depends on the size, age, and breed of the puppy, as well as your support system. It's not fair to the puppy to be away for 12 to 24 hours a day. If you work long hours, it's important to have someone come in to walk your puppy during the day. Spending time with your puppy when you're home is also crucial. If there are other people in the home, it's more ideal for puppy training.

How long can a puppy be left alone?

The amount of time a puppy can be left alone depends on their age and size. Young puppies can be left alone for shorter periods as they have smaller bladders and can't hold their pee for long. The breed, size, and age of your puppy, as well as their eating schedule, will determine how long they can be left alone.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (407) 896-0941, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Puppy Care - FAQs 2

Dr. Rebecca McIntosh
Loch Haven Veterinary Hospital

How much biting and chewing is normal for puppy behavior?

Biting and chewing is definitely normal puppy behavior. We need to pay attention to what they're biting and chewing on. Remember, your puppy doesn't have thumbs, he just puts stuff in his mouth, not picking it up with their hands first. They explore their environment with their mouth, so make sure you give your puppy things that are okay to put in his mouth and chew on. Chewing and biting are normal behaviors that we need to accommodate for the puppy.

My puppy cries at night, what should I do?

Puppies often cry at night because they're in an unfamiliar environment or they don't know how to be alone. Ensure that you put your puppy in the crate while you're home and practice being alone. Giving the puppy something safe to do, like a food toy or a lick mat, can soothe them and prevent them from being upset about being alone or unhandled during the night.

Why is my puppy so aggressive?

Puppies shouldn't be aggressive. If your puppy is aggressive, whether that's growling, biting, or lunging, these are not normal behaviors. If your puppy is aggressive, you should have a conversation with a veterinarian to find out if there's a painful condition causing this, or if there's something you're doing that's reinforcing this behavior. It's important to address this problem early.

How can I get my puppy to calm down?

Puppies are energetic, especially at certain times in their lifespan. Ensure your puppy is always occupied, a bored puppy can become hyper-aroused and excited. Provide your puppy with lots of things to do, including food toys, food puzzles, interactive toys, and plenty of playtime and exercise, to prevent hyperactivity.

Is it okay to punish my puppy?

We advise against punishing your puppy. Instead, teach your puppy what's okay to do. Puppies don't understand the word 'no' and can't comprehend why we get upset at them. They communicate through body language, so it's important that we reward the puppy for things we want them to do, rather than punishing them for things we don't want.

When should my puppy start obedience training and can they go before getting all vaccinations?

Puppies should start training immediately, and you can teach your puppy basic commands at home. However, structured training is also essential, and it's more for the pet parent than the puppy. It's important to get your puppy into structured training as soon as possible. While vaccines are important, the risk of a puppy developing a behavior problem for not going to a trainer until it's six months old is a bigger concern than potential exposure to another puppy at a young age.

When is it safe to socialize my puppy?

Socialization should start immediately. It's not just about exposing your puppy to other dogs and people, but also to various environments and experiences, such as baths, car rides, crates, leashes, and collars. If we don't socialize a puppy to all these things early on, we may end up with an adult dog who's scared of these experiences.

How do I socialize my puppy with other pets and people?

Socializing your puppy with other pets and people requires thoughtful intention. Make sure you're not exposing your puppy to potentially harmful interactions. Supervise all socializing times and ensure any dog-on-dog interaction is safe. Puppies know one thing - food is good. If we can teach them that people provide food, they'll associate people with something good, rather than something to be scared of.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (407) 896-0941, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Puppy Care - FAQs 3

Dr. Rebecca McIntosh
Loch Haven Veterinary Hospital

What can I give my puppy for teething?

Puppies teethe when their baby teeth fall out and their adult teeth come in. However, what you're probably referring to is puppies mouthing and biting, which is normal behavior. Ensure they have appropriate chew toys during this teething period and throughout their entire puppyhood. This behavior is more about your puppy exploring its environment rather than teething.

What is the best way to potty train my dog?

Supervision is key. If you're not watching your puppy, it will go wherever it needs to go to the bathroom. They don't understand our human house rules. So, we need to show the puppy where to go, when to go. After your puppy has eaten, drank, slept, woken up from a nap, or played really hard – all of these are times where we need to give a puppy the opportunity to go outside and use the bathroom.

How do I crate train my puppy?

Crate training is an important life skill for a puppy to have, whether or not you're going to use a crate long-term or regularly. We want the puppy to be able to be comfortable being alone in a crate. The best way is to associate the crate with good things. For instance, you could throw some treats into the crate to get them in there. Don't leave them in there until they start screaming to get out. Practice short training sessions in the crate with something for them to do, like a food toy or a stuffed Kong.

What is positive reinforcement training?

Positive reinforcement training involves rewarding a puppy when it does something right. For instance, if we ask a puppy to do a task, whether it's sit or hand target, or if it goes outside and goes to the bathroom, we give that puppy a treat or attention. This positively reinforces that behavior and increases the likelihood of that behavior happening again.

How do I teach my puppy basic commands?

Teaching your puppy cues is important because it gives the puppy the ability to focus and ask for what it wants. Key cues include commands like sit and hand target. These can be taught using training videos and methods that create a conversation between you and your puppy through body language.

When does my puppy need to start training?

Training should start the moment you bring your puppy home. You should start teaching them about what's expected of them, where they're allowed to go, and where they're not allowed to go. Teaching them commands like sit or hand target to get their focus and to go to a particular location or crate are very important from the first day.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (407) 896-0941, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Puppy Care - FAQs 4

Dr. Rebecca McIntosh
Loch Haven Veterinary Hospital

What should I expect at my puppy's first veterinary visit?

At your puppy's first veterinary visit, we're going to conduct a comprehensive physical exam, checking your puppy from nose to toes, for anything out of the ordinary. We'll look at their eyes, ears, belly, and skin. We'll also review any existing medical records they might have and see if they're due for any vaccinations. Based on this, we'll create a plan for vaccinations, deworming, and care for the next few months.

What should I ask my veterinarian at my puppy's first appointment?

If you have any concerns about their health or behavior, or if you're witnessing anything unusual at home, these are always good questions to ask your veterinarian. If it's your first time owning a puppy, it might be helpful to create a list of questions, and we'll do our best to answer them for you.

How often does my puppy need to go to the veterinarian?

If your puppy is healthy, eating well, and growing appropriately, we typically see puppies every three to four weeks during their puppyhood until they're about 16 to 20 weeks old, depending on the vaccinations they receive. So, you can expect to visit the vet about once a month for the first few months. However, if your puppy is ill or experiences any problems between these times, we may need to see them more often.

When should I get my puppy spayed or neutered?

This is a significant decision. We can safely spay or neuter a puppy as early as when they're two pounds, but we usually don't do that with owned puppies. For owned puppies, we typically wait until they're about five to six months of age, after they've completed all their vaccinations. For larger dogs, we sometimes wait until they're about a year or a year and a half old. It's best to discuss this with your veterinarian and decide the best time to get your puppy spayed or neutered.

What are some things my vet will be looking for at my puppy's first appointment?

During your puppy's first appointment, we'll conduct a thorough physical exam, checking everything externally from their nose to toes. We'll listen to their heart and lungs, and look for any signs of nasal discharge, coughing, or sneezing. We'll also check their coat to ensure it looks healthy and assess their body condition. Based on this, we can provide advice on feeding your puppy and ensuring they're off to a great start.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (407) 896-0941, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Puppy Care - FAQs 5

Dr. Rebecca McIntosh
Loch Haven Veterinary Hospital

How long does it take a puppy to wean from their mother?

Puppies wean from their mother, stop taking the bottle or mother's milk, usually when their teeth come in about four-ish weeks of age. So, somewhere between three and five weeks of age, we will see a puppy go straight to food and then they don't need puppy milk anymore, they don't need the bottle and they don't need mom.

Can I give my puppy regular milk?

No, we do not want to give puppies cow's milk because they can't break it down the way that they can break down puppy milk. So, we certainly don't want to give cow's milk or goat milk or any of those other lactose types of milk, not puppy milk, to a puppy if we can avoid it.

When should puppies start eating solid food?

Puppies usually get their teeth in about four weeks of age. Once they've got teeth, they can eat food. So as soon as they get teeth we can start offering them some canned food, we can start offering them some little baby kibbles. They may need to supplement for a little while still on mom or still on the bottle, but for the most part, when they've got teeth they can eat.

What kind of food should I feed my puppy?

Making sure that you're feeding your puppy a good balanced puppy food specifically for their breed size is going to be important to keep your puppy healthy. If you've got a small breed, a small breed puppy food is going to be important. If you've got a large breed, a large breed puppy food is important.

How often do puppies need to eat?

Depending on your puppy's size, the smaller ones need to eat more often just because they're so small and they don't regulate their blood sugars quite as well as the bigger ones. We usually start with three to four times a day and then as the puppy gets older and the puppy is able to manage its own blood sugar, we can bring feedings down to three to twice a day.

How do I know that my puppy is getting enough to eat?

Puppies are always going to be hungry for the most part. The key is to ensure that your puppy is gaining weight and growing. We'll check on those weights when we get them in here for their vaccinations. Making sure that your puppy is eating well, seems satiated and not just searching for food all of the time is important. We can also help you with deciding how much your puppy weighs and how much food they should get of the food that they're eating. You can certainly ask your vet when you bring them in.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (407) 896-0941, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram

Puppy Care - FAQs 6

Dr. Rebecca McIntosh
Loch Haven Veterinary Hospital

What vaccinations does my puppy need?

Over the course of your puppy's puppyhood, there are a lot of vaccinations that they do end up needing. The most common vaccines you'll see a puppy get are going to be their distemper, hepatitis, parainfluenza, and parvo. They would potentially get Bordetello, canine influenza virus, Leptospirosis and rabies vaccine when they're old enough.

What are core vaccines?

Core vaccines are vaccines all puppies should get regardless of their location, environment, and lifestyle. Core vaccines are usually the rabies, the distemper, which is the combination vaccine. And veterinarians sometimes will add Bordetello or some of the respiratory vaccines in there. Core vaccines can be dependent on where you're living.

What are non-core vaccines and why does my puppy need them?

Non-core vaccines depend on your puppy's lifestyle. Things like Lyme vaccine, which is a disease we typically see more farther north, but we are seeing it come down here every so often. If your puppy is never going to be around other dogs or in places where other dogs are going to be, some of the respiratory vaccines we don't really get too worried about. But it really depends on what's going to happen, and I'd rather have an over-vaccinated dog than an under-vaccinated dog that's not protected.

How often does my puppy need to go to the veterinarian for puppy vaccinations?

Vaccines, when they're puppies, we typically give every three to four weeks until they're done with their whole series. Some of those vaccines, they get boosted two or three times, depending on how old they are when they get their last booster. We want to make sure that those vaccines are creating immunity in the puppy, and that's why we give them more than once.

Are there any risks associated with vaccinations?

Risks of vaccinations are pretty minimal compared to the risks of not having them. Some of the diseases that we vaccinate for are pretty severe and can be lethal, especially for a young puppy who's just developing and growing. Every so often we'll see something called a vaccine reaction, where a puppy may get a swollen face or may be really itchy or may have an allergic reaction to the actual vaccine or things that are in the vaccine.

Does my puppy need vaccinations even if I keep them inside?

Absolutely. Puppies, even if you keep them inside, they still need vaccinations. There are things that you can touch another dog outside and bring it on your shoes because there's other dogs in the house or other dogs in the neighborhood. It's definitely something that just because your puppy's isolated doesn't mean he doesn't need vaccinations. And again, some of those diseases that we vaccinate for are particularly severe, particularly lethal, and we certainly would rather vaccinate them, have them be safe just in case.

What if I miss one of my puppy's vaccinations?

Timing is really important on puppy vaccines, especially those ones that get boosted on a regular basis. We want to give them within a three or four week time span. If we give vaccines closer than two weeks apart, we actually invalidate some vaccines. So we don't want to give them more than two weeks apart, but we also don't want to give them more than four weeks apart if we're vaccinating for the same thing because that series will restart that series so that we know that that puppy is boosted and protected from that disease.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (407) 896-0941, or you can email us at [email protected]. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can. Don't forget to follow us on social media Facebook, Instagram