Puppy Care

 

Introduction 

The addition of a young puppy into your life is a time of great happiness and excitement for the whole family. With this comes a large responsibility to provide the best care for your new puppy, a responsibility which may last 10-18 years!

New pet owners are often overloaded with advice from many different sources, much of which is often conflicting and confusing. To help you and your new puppy to get off on the right foot, we have discussed the main areas of healthcare for your puppy in the following pages.

Dental Care

Toilet Training

Grooming

Bathing

Children and Puppies

Puppy Safety

 

 

Dental Care 

Puppies get their first set of teeth or their temporary teeth in the first few weeks of life. Their permanent or adult teeth are usually all through by 6-7 months of age. When puppies are teething, they like to chew and it is not uncommon to find temporary teeth that have fallen out!

 

Dental disease is a major problem in adult dogs, so teaching your puppy early to look after their teeth can have major benefits. Puppies should be encouraged to chew on dental aids such as rawhide bones, pigs ears etc. We can give more advice on dental health care needs for your puppy.

 

 

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Toilet Training 

Teaching your pup not to soil inside the house can be fairly easy if you follow a few straightforward guidelines. These are set out below although in order for toilet training to proceed without too many hiccups you really need to stick with it and remain patient.

Try to get in the habit of using one particular word or phrase when taking your pup out to the toilet. As your pups goes to the toilet repeat this word over and over. When they are completely finished make sure you calmly praise the pup. Try not to get too excited when praising your pup as this can lead to an ‘ accident’ occurring just when they’ve done the right thing.

Young puppies only have very small bladders and as such they need to go to the toilet quite a few times each day. Try to anticipate these times and take your puppy outside before they get the chance to go inside! As a rough guide most puppies will go to the toilet when they first wake up, after they have eaten or had a drink and when they calm down after playing.

Often we find that a puppy goes outside and is suddenly distracted. They are too busy exploring their environment to get down to business! Should this occur, put your pup on a lead to ensure they can’t wander at will. Trying to remain outside for at least five minutes each time you take your puppy out will also encourage them to use the time effectively.

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Grooming 

Regardless of your puppy’s breed, grooming can be carried out on a regular basis by all members of the family. Even the very youngest child can be taught how to brush the puppy under adult supervision.

Any puppy which will need to have regular, professional grooming when they are older should be introduced to puppy clips as early as possible. A puppy clip normally involves a groomer clipping the face, paws and tail of the puppy to get them used to the sights and sounds associated with a grooming salon.

When grooming your puppy at home make sure you use a soft brush which will not cut or tear at the puppy’s skin. A bad experience with brushing at this stage in the puppy’s life will only serve to make grooming an unpleasant experience for everyone as the pup gets older.

When grooming your pup it is the ideal time to check them over for any injuries or infections that they may have picked up during the course of their day. Check your puppy’s ears to ensure they are clean and pleasant smelling, check the feet for cuts and grazes, check the eyes to ensure they are clear and bright and check the bottom to be sure it is clean. Attention to these areas on a regular basis can often save you trips to the vet.

Don’t forget that the main purpose of grooming at this age is not to keep your puppy immaculate, but to allow them a chance to get used to being brushed and handled by you. Any puppies who get distressed at being groomed should be handled gently and only by an adult.

 

 

Bathing

A puppy’s skin and coat is very different from human skin and hair and it is therefore best to avoid using any human products on your puppy.

Products such as eucalyptus wool wash will strip protective oils from the coat and also introduce high levels of eucalyptus into the bloodstream, potentially causing poisoning of your pup. Many human shampoos and soaps contain chemicals and fragrances that will irritate a pup’s delicate skin.

It is quite normal for pups to have a ‘puppy smell’ and bathing is only necessary if they are extremely dirty.

When it is necessary to bath your pup please ensure that you only use products that are clearly labeled as suitable for puppies. 

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Children and Puppies 

Having a dog within the family has been shown to generally have a positive effect on children, improving their self esteem and sense of responsibility whilst giving them both a playmate and a confidante. It is important however, that all children are taught to treat a new pup with kindness and respect. A puppy is not a toy and children should never be allowed to treat them as such.

Below are some pointers to help your child develop a good relationship with their new puppy.

Never allow even the very youngest child to hit or chase your puppy as habits learned early in life can be carried through the childhood years and beyond. A puppy will quickly learn to fear your child and may even respond by biting.

Encourage children to help with feeding the puppy as this will help to establish them as higher in the family hierarchy than the pup, whilst also teaching them responsibility.

It is generally only a good idea to give children full responsibility for feeding when the puppy has learnt basic commands such as sit and stay and will respond to the child’s command. Giving young children this responsibility too early on in the pup’s life may create anxiety within the child, causing them to retreat from the responsibility rather than enjoy it.

All puppies need a place to retire to when they wish to be left alone. This is particularly important when there are children in the house. It is essential that all children within the family are taught to respect this area and that they are not allowed to pester the puppy when he or she retreats here. Whilst saying this, it is also necessary that the puppy will accept removal from this area by an adult should the need arise.

While your puppy is still quite small it is a good idea to show children how to pick them up correctly. Start by standing facing the side of the puppy. Place one arm around the front of the pup’s chest and follow this by scooping the other arm under the pup’s bottom and lifting him or her into your arms. When holding the puppy make sure they are held against the body as this tends to give the puppy a feeling of security.

Taking your puppy for a walk once it is old enough is one of the many joys of pet ownership. Allowing your children to participate is beneficial to both them and the puppy. The important thing to remember here is that young children should always be supervised when walking the puppy. Let them take the lead in ‘safe’ areas such as a park, but be sure to keep a firm hand on the lead yourself when walking near busy roads. All too often children get pulled off their feet by a boisterous pup and the last thing you want is for this to happen where there is a danger of anyone being run over.

As you are probably aware it is illegal for you to allow your dog to defecate in public places without cleaning it up. Teach your children right from the beginning that going for a walk includes having to pick up any faeces. By the time they are old enough to take the dog alone cleaning up will be a natural part of the walk.

Always try to involve the children in obedience training. Most obedience clubs will encourage children to participate and if you find that the club you go to doesn’t, perhaps you need to find a club that does! Children need to learn that obedience training is a necessary part of owning a puppy and they should be encouraged to join in under supervision.

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Puppy Safety 

Puppies will always try to eat what they shouldn’t. It is important to be aware that many common products and objects found in and around your home may be harmless to humans but can cause serious problems for your new puppy.

Listed below are some of the obvious and not so obvious items to take care with.

Poisons

Some common poisons are listed below:

  • Battery Acids and Polishing Agents.
  • Alcoholic Drinks
  • Toiletries -including perfume and aftershave.
  • Drugs and Medications -including over the counter preparations.
  • Pesticides
  • Insecticides
  • Antifreeze -this has a very sweet smell, making it extremely attractive to puppies.
  • Rat, Mouse and Snail poisons – It is important to note that PET SAFE poisons are deceptive. The safety is related to the product being less attractive to pets. These products, however, are still toxic if they are ingested and remember, some puppies are not too fussy about what they swallow
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Toxic Plants

Some toxic plants are listed below:

  • Mistletoe
  • Lilies
  • Azalea
  • Wisteria
  • Impatiens
  • Hyacinth

Most puppies will ignore these plants but if your pup takes a liking to chewing sticks or plants remove the toxic varieties wherever possible. If this is not practical try putting a fence around these to make that part of the garden a ‘no go’ area for your puppy.

Foods

Avoid feeding your puppy the following foods:

  • Spicy foods and Curries
  • Raw Meats
  • Chocolate – (as little as one chocolate bar can make an average size dog very sick. Cooking chocolate is even more dangerous and can be fatal!)
  • Raw Onions – (given in excess can produce a form of anaemia)
  • Cooked Bones – (cooking bones makes them less digestible and far more likely to splinter when chewed.)

Keep out of reach of puppies

  • Polystyrene trays
  • Food wrap
  • Plastic Bags
  • Rubber Bands
  • Socks
  • Electrical Cords (the use of a bitter spray eg.woundgard can be helpful to discourage a persistent puppy)
  • Jewellery
  • Marbles / Lego (Any children’s toys that are small or have small components need to be put well out of reach.)

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Pet Safe Toys

Puppies do need plenty of entertainment but try to avoid anything that can be swallowed or has sharp pieces. Small balls, Sticks, Frisbees (unless specifically designed for dogs), Children’s toys and Tennis Balls should all be avoided. Fragments from any of these items can be easily ingested, lodge in your pup’s airways or puncture their skin.

Some of the toys that we do recommend you allow your puppy to play with are set out below. These can be purchased from the clinic or ordered in at your request.

  • The ‘Kong’ range of toys
  • 'Aussie Dog' range of toys
  • Pet Frisbees
  • Rope Bones
  • Large Solid Rubber Balls
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