Certainly, giving your puppy lots of cuddles can make them feel loved. However, veterinarian Dr. Katrina Warren says there’s plenty more you can do to ensure your puppy’s happiness.
March 23rd is National Puppy Day, so what better time to think about our puppy’s health, happiness and wellbeing? Indeed, while most of us would happily spend all day (and night) playing with our adorable puppy, fur babies need more than fun and games to ensure they grow up to be fit and healthy adult dogs.
Vet Dr. Katrina Warren shares her top tips for ensuring a healthy and happy puppy.
‘Walkies’ for wellbeing
“We all know how important exercise is for humans, but some of us can be guilty of letting our training regime slide, “ explains Dr. Warren.
“However, regular exercise is essential for your dog. Remember that while you are at work, your dog probably does very little. Dogs that have lots of energy to burn can become restless and potentially hyperactive if they don’t have adequate physical activity. Exercise is essential for ensuring your dog maintains a healthy weight and helps heart and bone health.”
Food for fuel
“Puppies need to eat more frequently than older dogs to fuel their rapid growth, so you will have to feed them three to four meals a day until they are six months old. After six months cut back to two meals a day and make sure there is always more than one source of water available. Puppies are always knocking over water bowls, so use something heavy to weigh the bowl down and have a few in different locations,” advises Dr. Warren.
“It’s also worth considering what type of food you are feeding your dog; just like your own diet, the least processed foods hold the most benefits. Dogs can start having raw bones at 12-14 weeks of age, but only if the bones are big enough so that the puppy cannot swallow them whole. When introducing any new food, do so gradually over several days to avoid tummy upsets.
“It’s a good idea to introduce a probiotic to develop and maintain healthy everyday digestion and gastrointestinal microflora. Feeding your pet a daily probiotic powder can also restore and improve intestinal balance, in the case that your puppy does have any tummy troubles.”
“Getting your puppy used to being around other dogs, noisy little children, loud vacuum cleaners and all sorts of distractions is one of the most sensible things a dog owner can do,” says Dr. Warren.
“Many behaviour problems in older dogs can be traced back to the owner not taking the time to socialise the puppy properly. Puppy classes offer an excellent opportunity for socialisation. Getting your puppy used to being handled from an early age will also make life easier for everyone when he has to be groomed or visit the vet for injections and check-ups.”
“Puppy’s nails grow just as yours do, and they will become curled and hurt your dog’s paws if he doesn’t walk on hard surfaces frequently. If you need to clip them cut only the tip of the nail, avoiding the blood vessel inside,” Dr. Warren advises.
“Vets will do this for you if you feel nervous about cutting them yourself. If you are confident about clipping, start training your puppy early to be comfortable having his paws touched – use treats to reward him each time you touch his feet.”
While puppies are super cute, they also take responsibility. Part of being a responsible pet parent is recognising the unconditional love a puppy brings, but also knowing what you need to do to care for your puppy’s health and welfare.
Celebrating National Puppy Day
National Puppy Day is the perfect excuse to celebrate your little fur baby and to clue up on how to best meet his or her needs.
Here are 8 ways you can celebrate the unconditional love your puppy provides.
- Give your puppy a DIY grooming session. Even if you just give him or her a brush, it’s a great way to get rid of knots and bond with your furry friend.
- Have a portrait painted of your puppy.
- Support a local pet business; buy a fancy new collar and lead for your adorable pup.
- Wash your puppy’s bed to ensure it’s nice and clean.
- Learn about pet first aid and create your own handy kit (if you don’t already have one).
- If you have kids, why not spend some time teaching them about the importance of being kind to pets (and all animals, for that matter!).
- Teach your puppy a new trick.
- Take your pup on a pet-friendly outing.
How do you keep your puppy happy and healthy?
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Images courtesy of Unsplash.