What First-time puppy owners should know
Puppies are adorable bundles of joy that will melt almost everyone’s heart. However, we should always remember that a puppy (any pet, really) is a living being that has needs and deserves respect. Pets are for life – so they require lots of love, dedication and commitment over their lifespan. Nowadays, it’s common for dogs to live for over 15 years!
First-time puppy owners should also realise that puppies require a lot of patience, resources (e.g. time, money) and work from paw-rents – much like babies.
If you’re a first-time puppy owner, you may wonder what you should know when paw-renting a puppy. There’s a plethora of things to learn, so this article is non-exhaustive. At this same time, this article aims to cover some of the important things that first-time puppy owners should know. So, what are some of the things that first-time paw-rents need to know?
Like humans, puppies and dogs need shelter from the environment. They also need comfort. It’s good to crate-train your puppies (i.e. provide a safe space for them to sleep, eat and relieve themselves). Do ensure that the soiling, eating/drinking and sleeping areas should be far apart enough from one another, as puppies do not like to dirty their eating/sleeping areas.
For more information on crate-training, speak to your veterinarian.
Puppies need puppy food that is specially formulated for them and their size. Puppies should not eat adult dog food, small-breed puppies should not eat large-breed puppy food and large-breed puppies should not eat small-breed puppy food.
Home-cooked food is tricky, as it is harder to ensure the proper balance of nutrients when you cook your pets’ food by yourself. Consult a veterinary nutritionist, for they’re the best people to help you formulate a complete, nutritionally-balanced home cooked diet for your puppy.
If you wish to feed raw food to your puppies, be mindful that there is generally a higher risk of tummy upsets and worm infestation with raw food. So please consult your veterinarian before you introduce raw food.
Pets will benefit from a veterinary probiotic. Examples include Furment CorVet Postbiotics Healthy Digestive Supplement for Dogs and Cats or Pet Ag Bene-Bac® Plus Pro Biotics Pet Gel for Dogs and Cats. Breeds that are more prone to joint problems will benefit from joint supplements (e.g. Synoquin). Do note that more supplements for a pet are not always better and different supplements suit different pets better - so please consult your vet before you start your pet on supplements!
Puppies require daily toothbrushing and weekly ear cleaning. For teeth brushing, only pet toothpaste must be used. You can consider Oratene Toothpaste Gel for Dogs and Cats and the Virbac C.E.T Dual Ended Toothbrush for Dogs Cats
Human toothpaste must not be used as they can cause kidney failure in pets.
Basic Veterinary Care
As puppies are usually born with high worm burdens, they need a course of dewormers (e.g. Drontal deworming tablets, Troy Puppy and Kitten Dewormer Syrup). They will also benefit from flea and tick prevention (e.g. Bravecto). There are specific schedules for these preventatives, and some of them cannot be used in puppies under a certain age. Do check with your veterinarian before introducing them to your puppy.
Puppies should also be started on heartworm prevention from a young age. There are some heartworm preventatives (e.g. Nexgard Spectra, Simparica Trio). Plenty of puppy and dog owners like these preventatives as they cover against a wide range of fleas, ticks and However, some puppies and adult dogs cannot be started on heartworm prevention without a blood test beforehand. Therefore, you need to consult your vet before starting your dog on heartworm prevention.
A course of puppy vaccinations is crucial, followed by vaccine boosters throughout a dog’s life. Speak to your veterinarian for more information on puppy vaccinations.
Basic Training and Socialisation
Puppies need socialisation with humans and other animals. Therefore, they will benefit from “puppy preschool” and training from an accredited dog trainer. The dog trainer could come to your house to train the puppy. You may be concerned about puppies going out before their puppy vaccination schedule is complete, and that’s a valid concern. Seek out puppy pre-schools that are conducted by veterinary clinics, as these clinics will provide a clean enough environment for puppy pre-schools. Also, if you bring a puppy out of the house before the puppy vaccinations are done, DO NOT place the puppy on the ground. Keep the puppy in your arms at all times, and ensure that you’re clean before touching your puppy. Also, only adult, fully-vaccinated dogs should enter your home until your puppy’s vaccination series is complete.
We hope that this article has helped first-time puppy owners. If you have any further questions, consult your veterinarian for further advice.