Having a new puppy at home can be both an overwhelming and exciting experience. But, there’s much more to having a puppy than training him to sit and stay and go to the toilet outside. In addition to making sure that your puppy is happy and well-trained, making sure that he is healthy is also very important. So, what are the most important things that you should be doing to make sure that your puppy grows up to be a healthy, happy dog? We’ve put together a handy checklist.
#1. Get Puppy Insurance:
First things first; it’s important to make sure that your puppy is covered by a pet insurance policy, which will pay out in the event of illness or injury. Vet bills can quickly add up, and since puppies tend to be inquisitive and into everything at a young age, you simply can’t afford to take the risk. Get your puppy checked over by a vet before you get insurance as pre-existing conditions can make it harder to find a provider who will take your pet on. Everypaw, a pet insurance provider, offers a range of dog insurance policy options for pets that may suit your needs.
#2. Keep up to Date with Vaccinations:
Many vets recommend the first set of vaccinations at eight or so weeks, then follow up with one or two boosters in the following weeks. The average puppy is vaccinated against distemper, parvo, hepatitis, and parainfluenza. However, although we all want our new puppies to be protected from infectious diseases, it’s important to be aware of the health risks that vaccines can cause for your dog. Vaccinating once at 16 weeks is an alternative option that several vets are now recommending. If you do this, be careful where you take your puppy until he is sixteen weeks old. He should not be allowed to mingle with other dogs until he’s adequately protected against these diseases.
#3. Get Their Diet Right:
Providing your puppy with a healthy diet from the get-go is important to their current and future health. Bear in mind that it’s not a good idea to change your puppy’s diet suddenly, so if they are already used to a particular brand or type of food, continue with this and gradually change it if you need to. Opt for a high-quality brand of dog food that is designed to support your puppy’s growth and provide them with the nutrition that they need. If you like, you can add pet supplements to further support your puppy’s development.
#4. Protect Against Fleas and Ticks:
Fleas and ticks can be irritating for both yourself and your dog. Failing to protect your puppy against these creepy crawlies can leave him constantly scratching. And you’re not immune, either – fleas or ticks in your home can be difficult to get out and will leave you suffering from irritated, itchy bites too. So, make sure that you are regularly protecting your puppy against fleas and ticks with a high-quality treatment. If you’re unsure which one to use, speak to your vet who will be able to prescribe one that they recommend.
#5. Start Training Early:
When it comes to training, starting as you mean to go on is the best way to ensure that your dog grows up healthy and happy. Toilet training is likely going to be the first thing that you will teach your pup. Puppy training mats can be a great idea but ideally you should get them used to going outside to do their business from as early as possible. Crate training is a great idea to support this as most dogs won’t go to the toilet in their own bed.
#6. Keep Boredom at Bay:
Last but not least, a puppy who’s got plenty of things to play and keep himself occupied with will be a happy dog. Boredom can quickly lead to behavioural issues in puppies which can make it harder to continue training them successfully. Chewing is a particular issue with many young puppies so make sure that you have plenty of chew toys for them to get their teeth into. Your puppy will thank you, and so will your shoes! Once your pup is vaccinated and covered by insurance for dogs, make sure that you are taking them for regular walks to keep them busy and on top of their energy levels. The length of walk will depend on the particular breed of puppy; high-energy dogs such as Huskies and Collies tend to need longer walks from a young age, whilst Bulldogs, Cavalier King Charles Spaniels and Pugs, for example, can manage well on less exercise.