Puppies are so adorable and make a great addition to a family. Potential pet owners that have never owned a puppy or dog need to educate themselves prior to taking one home. So what’s the big deal? It’s just a pet. Wrong! Caring for a puppy or any pet is a huge responsibility and you should be prepared.
A lot of breeders or adoption agencies will not let you take the newborn home before 4 to 9 weeks. The puppy will nurse for around four weeks and be dependent on its mothers milk. If it is orphaned it may be easier to allow the rescue group or breeder nurse the puppy so it will be in great health before you take your new puppy home.
If you find yourself in charge of an orphaned puppy it is crucial that you take it to a trusted vet (we recommend Carolinas Animal Hospital & Dental Clinic if you’re in the Charlotte, NC, area of course!). We can give you a recommendation for a canine milk replacer. Cow’s milk or other milk may cause health issues. For the first four weeks your work will be extra crucial and attention to detail is a must.
Here are a few questions you should ask us here at CAHDC. A good vet will tell you everything you need to know so take good notes.
- How to bottle feed.
- Best canine milk replacer.
- Best way to keep your puppy warm.
- How to build a secure and comfortable den.
- Schedule for feeding.
Caution: The first four weeks are crucial to keeping your puppy alive. If you do not have 24 hours a day to take care of your newborn puppy find a responsible party that does.
With all of the precautionary newborn puppy info out of the way, here are some great tips to keep your puppy happy, healthy, and safe.
1. The first thing you should do is schedule an appointment us for a thorough physical examination to make sure your puppy is healthy. We will discuss vaccinations with you as well.
2. Start to potty train immediately. If you wait a long time it may become much harder. Here are some times your puppy needs to be taken out to go potty.
- If they walk around while sniffing the ground
- If they go to the door and whine
- After waking up in the morning or after naps
- After eating or drinking
3. Purchase safe toys that are large enough not to swallow. Do not play tug of war – it will teach your puppy to play rough, it promotes aggression and it may get worse as time goes by.
4. Puppy and dog proof your home. Make sure you keep them in a safe crate while you are not at home so they will not hurt themselves or your belongings.
- Use child proof locks on areas that contain toxic chemicals and food poisonous to dogs. Some poisonous foods include (but are not limited to) bread dough, avocados, chocolate, alcohol (beer, wine, mixed drinks, etc.), grapes, macadamia nuts, moldy food, onions, garlic, xylitol (the sweetener), and more. Ask CAHDC for a more complete list.
- Remove all poisonous plants from your home and garden.
- Keep all medicine in a safe place.
- Keep all string (floss, yarn, rope toys, etc.) out of reach. String can get stuck in the puppy’s digestive track and stomach and can be fatal.
5. Until all of the vaccinations are complete keep your puppy away from other animals.
6. Purchase a collar and id tag. Make sure there is around a two finger width space between the puppy’s neck and collar. Do not use a chain or choke collar. Include your name and contact information on the id tag. Also, a microchip can be implanted under the dog’s skin for more security. If the puppy becomes lost a vet can scan them with an RFID scanner to retrieve owner information. This takes 1 minute, your puppy is awake for microchip placement and it hurts no more than a vaccination.
7. Start to introduce your puppy to other people and pets.
8. Exercise your puppy on a regular basis. This will help their mental health and get rid of any nervous energy that may lead to behavior issues.
When in doubt, call Carolinas Animal Hospital and Dental Clinic, or your local vet or animal hospital. Taking care of a puppy can be like taking care of a small child. It is a huge responsibility but is very rewarding. Contact us if you need any advice.