Your Puppy’s First Year

by Gayla on March 14, 2014

Bringing home a new puppy is a fun and exciting time for any family. Puppies bring so much joy and laughter into a home. While you may be enjoying your time with your new friend, it is important to consider their health and well-being during the first year of their life. This period is a time of many changes and taking good care of your puppy during this time will help ensure that you and your furry friend enjoy many more years together.

Keeping Your Pup Healthy

When your pup is young, you will need to arrange for vet examinations at 8, 12 and 16 weeks of age. Not only will your vet be checking out your pup’s health and developmental progress, but visits will also include vaccination, deworming, flea prevention and heartworm prevention.

Another reason for keeping an eye on your pup’s health is that some issues that he may experience can affect you and other humans in your household. These include fleas, mites, hookworms, ringworms and roundworms. Both your family and your puppy may need treatment and the sooner the better. Once your puppy is between four and six months of age, you should arrange for him or her to be spayed or neutered.

Keep an eye on your pup’s mouth as he grows up. He’ll start to lose his baby teeth from about 4 months of age. Some dogs need to have these extracted if they do not fall out on their own, to avoid overcrowding and misalignment of his permanent teeth.

Keep in mind that it is not uncommon for pups to experience at least one or two illnesses during the first six months of their life. They can suffer from vomiting or diarrhea. They may develop itchy skin or even a cough. In most cases, these illnesses are easily treatable and mild in nature.

It’s Never Too Early for Training

Once your dog has reached the 12 week mark, it’s time to look into puppy pre-school. These classes are more to train you, as the dog owner, how to train your puppy and also give your puppy a chance to socialize with other dogs.

After pre-school, give some thought to continuing on with training as your dog grows up. You may find you’re interested in some fun dog sports such as agility or canine musical freestyle, but make sure you look into age requirements for these activities.

A Well-Groomed Puppy is a Happy Puppy

Grooming is an important part of keeping your pup healthy and happy. Some breeds of dog will require regular haircuts and it’s a good idea to let them get used to these early. Make sure you start cleaning their ears, trimming their nails and brushing their teeth at an early age.

Housebreaking

Toilet training a puppy can be challenging! When it comes to housebreaking, it is important to be patient and consistent. This may take several months, so be prepared to let your dog learn to control his bowel and bladder in his own time. This isn’t something that can be forced and trying to do so will only stress both of you.

Your pup’s first year is hard work for you, and also for your pup as he grows and matures into a young adult. If you spend the time getting it right, then you’ll be rewarded with a well-mannered and good natured dog that is a much loved member of your family.

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