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Choosing a Puppy

Choosing the right canine for your household is very important. Will the dog
get along with kids? Will the dog get along with other animals in the
household? Does the dog have a good disposition? These are some of the
questions you might ask when deciding what kind of dog you want.

Are you looking for a purebred or mixed breed or just a plan old mutt? Mixed
breeds can be more affordable, whereas purebred can be quite expensive. Don't
dismiss the mutt option either from the local pound. Mutts can be just as
lovable, energetic, and loyal as the other breeds.

Size matters. Think about how big or small the dog is that you want. Do you
have room for the pup to run and play or will it be cooped up because you don't
go outside a lot. If so, do you have a room where the pup can run free?

Personality for a puppy develops around seven weeks of age. Spend a little time
picking and choosing your dog, and you both will reap the rewards. Make sure you
can hold the puppy and cuddle him. Drop a book during a quiet moment and see if
the pup runs and hides. Get on your hands and knees and play with the puppy to
see if he responds in kind or is aggressive toward you.

There are several places to start your search. Asking friends or your vet are
good places to start. Also, you can contact your local shelter or ASPCA for
their selection of animals. There is also a website that can help in your
search --

Basic Puppy Care -- First Weeks

After you select the puppy of your dreams, you get to take him home without a
manual to tell you how to succeed at raising him. The first night is always
hard because the puppy will start to miss his Mom and other siblings. He may
cry or whine through out the night. One can hardly blame him for his actions.

The pup will need a soft, dry, and safe place to sleep. Perhaps throw in a
cloth or toy that has his litter mates or Mom's scent on it. If you run to him
when he cries, you will be reinforcing the habit. Placing a sheet over the box
or crate will get the pup used to going to sleep at that time.

Puppies are mischievous by nature, and like their feline companions, get into
everything. Be sure hazardous items like marbles, wires, rocks, and any type of
harmful plants are far out of the puppy's way.

Scolding your pup should be just like telling a child NO. However, when you
tell him NO, you should show him the correct behavior. For example, if he is
chewing up the newspaper, take it away and replace it wit one of his toys.
Praise him for chewing his toy. Reprimands should be sharp and short. Hitting
or spanking may create more problems down the road. The pup can become fearful,
shy, or aggressive. Always reward for proper behaviors. Treats make a great
reinforcer. So is a simple scratch between the ears and a hug,

Feed him a dry food especially made for puppies. Watch out for very high
protein and extra vitamins as they may be harmful to your growing puppy. Feed
him two or three times a day. Usually after fifteen minutes, the pup will have
eaten all they want, so you can remove the dish. As thy grow, after ten to
twelve weeks of age, feed them one in the morning and once at night.

All of these should help your new pup get through those first horrible weeks
away from his family. The bond forming between you will last a lifetime.

Naming Your Puppy

What an honor that has been bestowed upon you! You get to name this new little
puppy you have just brought home. You are under much pressure to come up with a
name that is not too cute, not too frilly, and something that will fit the
animal's personality. Oh the pressure of a name.
You could go with a classic like Fido or Fifi. These names never go out of
style unless you have kids who want a hip name.

You can also use you favorite movie star or country singer, mythical figures,
presidents, and family members. The sky is the limit.

Some suggestions for choosing a name:

* You will be calling him for the next fifteen year by this name. So pick
something you really like.

* Usually one to three syllables is good for a name. It can get cumbersome to
call out a long name every time. There are dogs though that have three names
just like a child. Keep it simple and not too complex.

* Always use the puppy's name when you speak to him or praise him. When he
hears it next, he will come running because he knows that it's his special
word. Don't name the puppy something that will embarrass you or others when you
have to call him in public.

Take time to play with the puppy and get to know him before choosing a moniker
for the pup. You may name her and find out later that it doesn't fit. Give it a
few days to a week and see what you think then. Ask for advice from family and
friends. Have a Name The Puppy party and give a prize to the person whose name
you chose. There are all kinds of names out there. Just find one that fits your
dog and makes you happy.

Exercising Your Puppy

Puppies can be quite active and they need exercise to keep them in good shape.
Usually a brisk thirty to sixty minute walk can be quite invigorating for them.
If you are unable to do this every day, ensure your yard has more than adequate
space for the pup to run around in and play. You can even take the dog to the
high school's track and walk it there. Some people even train their dog to walk
on the treadmill with them. This will afford both of you some great time
together and good exercise too.

Evaluate your dog's needs and formulate an exercise plan that will work for
both of you. A young puppy might like to go for a run whereas an older dog may
just enjoy a nice leisurely walk. Start out with puppies for about 15 minutes.
Build up to an hour as they get bigger and can handle it.

If you like to walk at night, use some reflective clothing so that cars will
see you on the side of the road. You can also wear light colored clothing as

The best time to exercise your puppy is right before or right after they have
eaten. Also provide him with very small amounts of water, a full stomach may
cause upset.

Upon arriving back home, check the animal's paws to make sure there is nothing
stuck in it. Items such as glass, burrs, ice, and rocks can be removed

Teaching your dog how to play "Fetch" can also be great exercise. Start by
rolling a toy a short distance away from the puppy and letting him go get it.
As he gets older, increase the distance you throw the toy for him. Always give
praise when he does go get the toy and bring it back to you.

Nutrition for Puppies

When you bring the new puppy home, the first thing you will want to do is feed
him. What kind of food do you use? What are his nutritional requirements? Will
he like what you give him? Make sure your vet is involved in his diet planning.

Make sure the dog's food is healthy and tasty. Try to find something for the
stage of life he is in. For example, if he is a puppy, buy him puppy food.
Decide on what you are going to feed him before you bring him home. This
prevents last minute decisions that might not be healthy for your pet.

Dry food is quite popular. It is easy to store and usually tastes great. It is
also good for helping keep the teeth clean.

Soft and moist food are great for your dog to eat because he will eat most of
the food and get the added nutrition.

Canned food have the highest water content. These also contain less nutrition,
so you may need to feed your dog more than usual to equal out the nutrition
they may need.

Look at the levels of vitamins and crude materials on the label. Is there
enough fat, protein, calories and other nutrients? Is the food tasty and is the
price too expensive? These are things to consider when buying puppy food.

If your dog becomes finicky and will only eat certain things, this is sometimes
due to change in diet. Allow the dog time to adjust. If he still won't eat, try
a new food. If he still doesn't cooperate, you may need to take him to the vet
for a checkup to make sure nothing is wrong.

Some people feed their dogs from the table. This is like in between meal
snacking and kills the dog's appetite for when it is time for him to eat his
food. Avoid feeding the dog off the table.

Puppy Safety

Before you bring the pup home, you will need to dogproof your home. Much like a
curious child, your puppy will be into everything. You must keep a vigilant
watch over what goes into your puppy's mouth.

Poisons such as cleaners, detergents, bleach, rat poison, and mothballs need to
be placed high in cabinets. If the puppy gets into these caustic substances, he
can become quite sick. In some cases, the ingested poison could be fatal.

Plants can be beautiful to spruce up your home, but some are deadly to puppies.
Spinach and tomato vines, Aloe Vera, Ivy, Easter Lilies, Elephant Ears,
Poinsettias, Poison Ivy and Oak, and Rhododendrons are just a few of the plants
that can cause problems. Apple seeds, Apricot, and Peach pits can also make the
puppy ill.

Make sure to keep your toilet lid down as well. Bigger puppies are able to play
in and drink the water. This can be quite hazardous due to the cleansers that
are used in the toilet. So break the habit before it begins.

Electrical cords are a huge problem. These dangling ropes just look like so
much fun to the pup. He will most likely use them for chewing. He could burn
his mouth, start a fire, or be electrocuted. So hide any cords that are just
laying around. If you can't move the cord, at least unplug it for safety.

If you live in a high rise apartment, make sure all the doors with access to
balconies or porches are locked tightly. Some animals are so small they can
slide through the rails and fall.

The best rule of thumb is to get down on all fours and go exploring around your
home. Anything you see that might cause a problem, remove it before the puppy
arrives. Start him in a safe environment and he will be around for a long time
to come.

Puppy Vaccines

Vaccines are important to your dog's health as they help to ward off illnesses
that may otherwise cause problems. A vaccine helps the puppy's immune system
build up antibodies to the specific disease for which it is being given. That
way, when the puppy comes into contact with another dog with Distemper, he
already has the antibodies to start fighting it before it makes him deathly ill.

There are a few major illnesses that your puppy needs to be vaccinated against
when he is young. They include Canine Distemper, Bordetella, Rabies,
Parvovirus, and Leptospirosis.

At six weeks of age, the puppy will receive his first vaccine for Canine
Distemper, Canine Hepatitis, Corona Viral Enteritis, Parainfluenza, Parvo
Virus, and Leptospirosis. The secondary vaccines come two to three weeks later
up to sixteen weeks of age with annual revaccination. Rabies is given at three
months, six months, and annually after that.

The puppy should start receiving his vaccines beginning before he is four
months old. The vet will know what to give and in which order. They will
usually give you a card that tells you what the puppy has gotten and what is
left to get.

Booster shots are important to keep your pet up to date on his vaccines and to
keep his immune system built up. The more immunity he has, the less chance of
the puppy getting sick with the major illnesses listed above.

You should also keep in mind that some vaccines don't work on some puppies.
Some puppy's immune systems are just weak by nature. If you have a puppy that
is ill, even though he has received all his vaccines, you should call the vet.
Never hesitate to get help if you are unsure. The vet will be able to answer
your questions and get your pet feeling better.

Puppy Health and Giving Medicine

You need to keep a watchful eye on your pup at all times. His environment,
food, and social factors can affect him in different ways. Most importantly, he
can become deathly ill with some of the illnesses that befall puppies. When you
need to identify a problem, be sure to include your vet in the process. He will
know the appropriate action to take.

Symptoms to watch for in your new pup are diarrhea, vomiting, coughing,
sneezing, lethargy, pain of any kind, no appetite, and a fever. Dogs cannot
tell us what they are feeling so we have to watch for these symptoms and call
the vet to see if they need to be seen. Make sure their vaccinations are all up
to date. Also monitor his contact with other dogs as they may be sick and the
owners may not know it.

Once you see the vet and decide on a course of action, he may decide some
medicine would help the animal feel better. There are several ways to get the
puppy to take the medicine whether it is liquid or tablet. Some dogs may spit
it out. You have to keep trying until they get it down or call the vet and see
if something else can be done.

For liquid medicines, some dogs will lick it right off a spoon or out of the
dropper. You can pour it in some food and mix it up. If the dog is
uncooperative, you can hold him by the back of the head. Pull one side of the
mouth up and shoot the medicine toward the back of the mouth and they will
swallow it.

For tablets, the same thing applies. Most people will disguise the food in a
piece of bread or in the dog's food. Some dogs will take it right out of your
hand. If the dog is uncooperative, tilt your dog's head back and place the pill
as far back on the tongue as you can get it. At no time should you hurt the
animal while giving medicine to him.

Puppy Development

A puppy progresses almost like children do. They need to eat, sleep, and learn
new things along the way. Always interact and play with your puppy to give him
exercise and keep him mentally and physically fit.

The first two to three weeks are usually the hardest. The puppy will begin to
move around and open his eyes. He will know his Mom and her smell.

At three to four weeks, the pup will begin to recognize you. Any kind of
negative happening like immediate changes can impact his personality. So try to
keep things calm during this time. Mom is beginning to teach the litter how to
be a dog, so they need to stay with her now.

During the four to eight week stage, he begins to interact with his siblings.
He will also learn how to play. Weaning happens around this time and Mom will
teach her mischievous brood a few manners. They are not ready to be separated
from Mom as she has a few more things to teach them. This is also the time to
start them on puppy food.

Once they get to eight weeks, some puppies hit a fearful time. Things they used
to be accustomed to now terrify them. Do not yell or scream at the puppy or
isolate him during this time. This is the time to teach simple behaviors such
as sit and stay.

At three months, the puppy will be more independent every day. He will
challenge you by not doing the simple commands he already knows. He will wait
to play wrestle and even if you win, the puppy will still think it is alright
to fight with you which can lead to other bad behaviors down the road.

Four months brings the teenage stage. He will go through hormonal changes and
have an even lesser desire to do what you say. He will also go through
teething. Always have something cold, if possible, for the pup to chew on. This
stage ends at six months which is the perfect time to spay or neuter.

First Vet Visits

You will want to take your new puppy to the vet as soon as possible. He can
often find things you might have missed. Ask friends and family who they
recommend. Visit the office before taking the new puppy to see if it is clean
and if they have hours that fit your schedule. Talk to the vet and develop a
rapport so you can bring up concerns when they arise. This person will become
pretty important in your dog's life. So you and your dog need to feel
comfortable with your choice of vet. By building a trusting relationship with
the vet, you will have a long-term effect on your pup's life.

On the first visit, the pup will be checked for any type of defect. The vet
should also take a health history and do a complete physical exam. He should
also give any shots that are needed. When you go to the visit, bring along any 
medical records you may have. You need a copy of all the medicines the puppy 
takes and information about his mother and father. If you get obtain a fresh 
stool sample, take it with you as well. Make sure the vet answers all your 
questions before you leave.

For the first six months, your vet will want to see the puppy for checkups and
vaccines. After six months, the visits taper off to once a year. Taking your
puppy to regular checkups will help him grow into a healthy dog. It will also
add years to his life.

Emergencies are when you need to call and transport the animal to the vet
immediately. Times when the puppy isn't behaving as usual, if he seems in a lot
of pain, if he isn't breathing and you can't feel a pulse, if he has been
vomiting or has diarrhea for more than twenty-four hours, has suffered a burn
of any kind, or has a wound that won't stop bleeding.

Fearfulness in Puppies

Puppies tend to pick up on the emotions of people around them. They can be
excitable or very calm depending on how you act to certain situations. The tone
in your voice and the way you posture yourself will tell the dog if there is
something to fear or not. If you want the pup to remain calm, then you must act
this way yourself. He is learning emotions and will mimic what you do.

Puppies can be afraid of other dogs, especially larger ones. Let your dog come
into contact with other dogs. When you are walking him, you may run into other
dogs. At the vet's office, he will run into other canines and maybe a few
Try to find some friendly dogs at first. This will help the pup build

Puppies fear people at times too. They may see them as a threat if they have
had other bad experiences with people. Try giving the person a treat to toss to
the dog or let the dog walk up to the person. Never drag a dog over to a person
he doesn't want to meet. Allow the dog to set the tone. Give him a treat or
praise when he meets someone new and doesn't growl. If the pup becomes
aggressive, you may need to have a dog trainer work with him.

The most common fear is the fear of veterinarians. You certainly can't blame
the pup for that. There are so many things going on at the vet's that the dog
doesn't get to see anywhere else. There is sensory overload, other animals
ranging from dogs, cats, birds, and reptiles, many unfamiliar people, and the
dreaded shot. Bring a toy or blanket with you. Bring some of his favorite
treats so when he does a correct behavior, you can reward him.

Travel and Holidays with Your Puppy

Taking your best friend with you everywhere you go is always a treat. But if
you are flying halfway across the country, is it worth taking the pup with you?
Can you find someone to take care of him in your absence? Should you board him
at a kennel? These are things to think about when making those travel plans.

Prepare for the trip by contacting the place you are staying and find out if
they allow pets. Make sure all your puppy's vaccinations are up to date. Ask
the vet if the pup is ready and healthy enough to travel.

You will need to pack up his supplies as well to take with you. You need his
bowls, toys, leash, and any medicines he is taking. You will need to bring his
crate so he doesn't miss any training by being let run free. Bring food and
some water as well. Don't feed him for at least three to four hours before
leaving. Traveling can cause an upset stomach. Feed him when you get to your
destination and take him outside right afterwards.

If going to your destination by plane, try to go during off peak hours. See if
you get the nonstop trip or get as few stops as possible. If your carrier will
fit under the seat, the animal can sometimes travel with you on the plane.
Attach a LIVE ANIMAL sticker to it so people around you know you have an animal
with you. Before you leave, take the dog for a nice long stroll before you go to
the airport. He may have to be quarantined in foreign locations. Ask your travel
agent about the restrictions.

With a little planning, your best friend can accompany you to your destination
and be thereto enjoy the vacation. If you can't take him, please have a trusted
friend watch him or have him placed in a kennel.

Getting the Puppy His Own ID

Fifteen to twenty million dogs were lost in the last year due to no
identification on the dog. Even simple collar tags can help your pet to be
returned. Without any form of ID in place, if your dog goes missing, there is
no way to track him even if someone finds him. Take a moment and make it easy
on your best friend if he gets lost. Make sure he can find his way back to you.

There are several ways to insure the animal will be returned. The first is an
ID tag and Rabies Certificate which should be worn on a collar. The tag should
have your address, phone number, and the puppy's name. The Rabies Certificate
tag has a serial number that can be traced by a vet. You can also place a tag
with any illnesses the animal may have such as Diabetes.

A new device is gaining popularity. It is a microchip they place under the
dog's skin. A computer scanner can read the bar code on it and find where the
animal belongs. The owner's name and address is entered into a national
database. The only downside is the chip may move to other places in the body
making it hard to find.

Tattoos are another option. They are placed inside the ear. It will cause a
minor discomfort to the animal for a couple of days. In the long run, it's
better to have some pain than to lose you best friend because he got away from
you. They will tattoo a serial number and register it with the national

Licenses for dogs have gone up in the last few years. They used to be ten
dollars and are now up to twenty to thirty dollars depending on whether the
animal is spayed or neutered. Licenses insure the dog's rabies shot is up to
date. Rabies is fatal 99% of thetime for both dogs and humans.

Puppy Parasites

There are too many internal and external parasites that dogs develop to list
here. They begin in the fetal life of the pup and most times, the Mom already
had them when she became pregnant. After about forty days of pregnancy, the
parasites will travel through the placenta to the fetus. Parasites can also be
passed through the mother's milk. Of those parasites that have infected a pup,
Most are quite mobile. They can move to the intestines and lungs.

An awful internal parasite is the heartworm. Transmitted by mosquitoes, they
can be fatal to your dog. Have a blood sample taken and analyzed. Even if the
test is negative, the vet will probably start your pup on heartworm medicine
that he will take once a month. If positive, the animal will have to

Roundworms can be a problem because most puppies are born with them. The larvae
are transmitted from the Mom to the fetus. They are easily transmitted to humans
in the dog's stool. They can be ingested if your dog eats another animal's
stool. Wash your hands frequently after handling the puppy and remove all feces
from the yard. Some people have no symptoms at all. There have been cases where
the worms have migrated to the liver, brain, and eyes of humans. Your puppy
should be wormed at two, four, six, and eight weeks of age.

An external parasite is the tick. These animals live on the dog's skin. They
look like small black dots. You must use tweezers to pull them off the skin. DO
NOT use fingers. Ticks can bite and suck blood out through the skin as well as
transmitting diseases such as Lyme Disease and Rocky Mountain Spotted Fever.
You must make sure the whole tick comes off the skin as they can burrow deep.

Crate Training for the Puppy

Puppies generally need enclosed small places to feel secure. Crating works
because the pup feels safe in his own private place. Some think that crating is
like placing the pup in jail. In this instance, you should never use the crate
to administer punishment.

Make sure the size of the crate is comparable to the dog. It is fine to get a
larger crate if the dog will grow into it. Use a partition board to keep the
crate smaller until the pup grows. Make sure the animal has enough room to lie
down, turn around, and stand up comfortably.

Introduce him to the crate first. Let him explore around it. He may go in or
just sniff around it at first. He will slowly become at ease with the
structure. Begin by placing the pup in the crate for 20 minutes at a time. If
he starts to whine, you should ignore it. Placing a cover over top of the cage
also helps. It makes the crate seem more confined. You can also put a toy or
blanket inside with him.

After twenty minutes, take him out of the crate and then straight outside to
potty. Praise him if he does. Take him back inside afterward, and play with him
for about half an hour. Then place him back in the crate again. If he doesn't go
in, throw a treat inside. Praise when he enters and close the door. Try another
twenty minutes. Puppies can be confined for one hour for each month old they
are plus one hour. If your puppy is four months old, he should be ale to build
up to five hours.

Never leave puppies in the crate for longer than eight hours. They need to be
let out at regular intervals to exercise and potty. Following a schedule is the
best way for a new puppy. He will come to learn wha is expected and comply with
minimal fuss.

First Aid for Puppies

Start by organizing a First Aid Kit for the puppy. Include such items as a
thermometer, ice packs, gloves, towels, meat flavored baby foods, tweezers,
scissors, peroxide, and alcohol wipes. A small toolbox works nicely for keeping
all the items together in one place. Under the cover, write your name, address,
phone number, and the vet's name and number in case you lose the box.

For bleeding, apply direct pressure until bleeding stops. Hold for at least ten
minutes and bandage wound.

For burns including chemical, electrical, or heat, you will see swelling,
redness of skin, and blistering. Run the wound under plenty of cool water. Ice
the injured part for twenty minutes. Make sure to wrap the ice pack in a towel
first. Call vet immediately.

Diarrhea can cause some serious issues for your pup. Take food away for twelve
to twenty-four hours, but leave some water available. Some animals that look
constipated are actually sore from diarrhea. If the puppy doesn't improve, call
the vet.

Heatstroke can be quite scary. You will see rapid or difficulty breathing,
vomiting, high body temperature and weakness. Run cool water over the animal.
Wrap the pup in a cool wet towel and stop all ministrations when temp is 103
degrees. Call vet immediately.

If you think the dog has fractured a limb, call the vet immediately. Look for
bleeding wounds and signs of shock. DO NOT try to set fracture yourself, you
could do more damage without being aware of it. Transport animal to vet and
support limb gently as you can.

If your pup sustains bite wounds from another animal, you must avoid getting
bitten. Even non-biting dogs will bite when in pain. Clean the wound with
saline and wrap with gauze to keep clean. If bleeding profusely, apply
pressure. Don't ever use a tourniquet. Do wear gloves because you don't know
the extent of the contamination.

Socialization of Your Puppy

You will want to be able to take your puppy for walks and for rides. You need
to get him used to meeting people and other animals. There are many ways to
acclimate him to the new surroundings. You must take your time and not push the
pup into a situation where he is uncomfortable. Puppies don't come into the
world knowing all the right things to do, so be patient and have fun with him.

The first few months of the puppy's life is the best time to introduce him to
all the wonders in the world. Expose the pups to everyday chores in the
household. The mother will also teach them some social skills.

As soon as you bring the new pup home, introduce him to the family in a quiet
setting. This gives him time to get to know the person without the noise of
many people in the background. That can cause undue stress on the new puppy.

As soon as the puppy is vaccinated and the vet says it is alright, start taking
the puppy on walks and outings so he can begin to get used to his surroundings.

Make sure your puppy meets people of every age. He might become frightened
later if you only introduce him to elderly people and he runs into some
children. This can also lead to aggressive behaviors in some dogs.

Give the person you are introducing a small treat to give to the puppy. This
will help build trust between the two. They can even get down on the dog's
level and play on the floor with him after a couple of meetings.

If you don't have time to invest in the adventure of raising a puppy, please
don't bring one home. They do need lots of patience and caring their first
months with you. They need to follow a schedule to learn what is expected and
what is wrong behavior.

Newborn Puppy Care

Taking care of the newborn puppy if you are midwifing the Mom can be quite
exciting. Watching a new life come into the world is a miracle in itself.
Observe the birth in awe, but be ready to help Mom if she is having trouble.

You will need several items when whelping (birth) starts. Have these ready
beforehand so you don't have to leave Mom during the birth. You will need
plenty of towels, a heating lamp, scissors, betadine, alcohol, dental floss,
paper and pencil, and lots of patience until the big event happens.

When the first pup is born, let it start to nurse immediately. This helps to
stimulate contractions for the next pup. Place the new pup under a heat lamp
for warmth. After each new pup is born, you can place all the puppies back
until the next contractions start.

If a pup is lifeless after birth, rub him down with a coarse towel to help him
take that first breath. Some people also try placing the pup in water,
alternating between hot and cold to get them to breathe. You can also try CPR
by placing the pup on his back and blowing into his mouth. Then apply pressure
to the chest. DO NOT GIVE UP! Some people have revived pups for up to thirty
minutes after birth.

Encourage the new pups to start nursing right away. They need the colostrum
that is in the mother's milk. This nourishing fluid contains antibodies and
special vitamins that help protect the newborn pup from sickness. Make sure all
the puppies are able to latch on and get the colostrum. Some of the bigger
puppies will push off the smaller ones.

After each pup is born, look for any problems that may be present. Obvious ones
like a cleft palate or a shortened limb are easy to spot. Sometimes there are
internal problems like organs that are not fully developed. Call the vet
immediately if you spot a problem.

Body Condition and Temperature

You must keep a watchful eye on your puppy making sure he doesn't eat too much
food or too little. Simply going by the recommended amount on the label may not
be enough for a growing puppy. He may need a little extra sometimes. But with an
increase in food, you must increase exercise or you will have an overweight

The extra weight can put your pup at risk for heart problems, respiratory, and
muscular problems. Avoid obesity by preventing it in the first place.

If the pup is underfed, increase his ration for two weeks. If he is growing
back to where he should be, keep with the plan until he reaches an ideal weight.

If the pup is overfed, reduce the amount of food you give until he is down to
an acceptable weight. Also increase his exercise routine.

Overweight and underweight puppies have lower immune systems. They can catch
something from the dog next door or the one down the street. Keep a watchful
eye on your puppy when he is trying to maintain a stable weight.

At least two to three times a week, be sure to check your pup's temperature to
make sure there is no fever brewing. A normal temperature for dogs is between
99.5 and 102.5 degrees. If you are uncertain, please get the vet to show you
how to do it. You will need to lubricate the thermometer with petroleum jelly
or mineral oil and slide it halfway into the rectum. Leave for three minutes.
Remove and read the mercury level. If the pup is running a fever, you should
see your vet immediately. DO NOT ever use an oral thermometer for a rectal
temperature. The readings could be off and make you think the dog is sick when
he is really not.

Kids and Puppies

You just brought the new pup home and now you are concerned he won't get along
with your kids. This can cause anxiety in you and the pup. Sometimes
introducing the pup in a quiet room and maybe letting the child give him a
treat as well. This may show the pup he can trust the child. Don't force the
puppy into a meeting he isn't ready to handle yet.

Children should be prepared and told about the new pet coming. They should ask
questions about anything they are uncertain of concerning the puppy. They
should be told how to treat the new puppy so it won't feel scared or frightened
and try to bite. Read a book concerning puppy care to the child. Show them how
to pick up the puppy without hurting it. You may need to set some ground rules
concerning how much the child can handle the pup.

They should know never to hit or hurt the puppy. Tell them how it may retaliate
and become aggressive. Watch that they don't step on him or pinch his ears.

Do not let the child have responsibility over the animal. They can help with
feeding and playing, but an adult needs to oversee the process. Teach them to
love and nurture the puppy so that it will grow into a lovable affectionate dog.

Under no circumstances should the child play tug-of-war with the puppy. This is
a dominance game to the puppy and even if the child wins, the puppy thinks it is
alright to play rough in the future. Also do not the child growl or bark at he
dog at this can frighten the puppy as well.

If time is taken to teach children the proper way of treating the new puppy,
everyone can live together happily most of the time. There are a few instances
where the breed of dog would not allow this to happen.

Puppies Get Bored Too

Puppies need exercise and lots of attention. Otherwise, they may start to
entertain themselves doing things that will annoy you. Play with the pup and
interact by giving praise or a scratch between the ears. Take him for a short
ride down the road.

Bored puppies can pick up some really bad habits. Some of these are really hard
to break. Start showing correct behavior when you see the puppy doing the wrong
one. Give a treat and praise him when he performs the right behavior.

Licking is a big one. Excessive licking may mean a problem for the vet, or the
puppy could just be bored. A bath may help to calm and soothe. Praise the puppy
for staying still in the bath.

Whining is hard to deal with at times. If they have been put to bed, maybe
place the crate in your room so they know you are near. But each time you go in
to check on them, when they whine, reinforces the behavior.

Whining can mean several different things. Some good and some bad. A dog who is
housetrained may need to go outside. A sudden yelping whine may mean he is in
pain and a trip to the vet is needed.

Some dogs whine when you are eating because they want your food. Some whine to
be let in the house. The most important thing is not to give in. Teach them by
praising during the quiet times. Then they learn when they are quiet, they will
get praise and attention.

Puppies will chew everything in sight from shoes, books, or papers. He may be
teething, and like his human counterpart, his gums are sore or itching.
Sometimes he is just trying to entertain himself. Make sure he has toys that he
can chew and praise him for chewing the right ones. Say NO in a low voice so he
will know you disapprove of his actons.

Housetraining Your Puppy

Housetraining takes patience and the ability to follow a schedule. Most puppies
respond to a schedule because it gets them used to doing the same thing at the
same time every day and they learn the behavior you want easier.

You must first determine your puppy's limit in holding his urine. Keep a diary
for several days until you spot a pattern between eating and eliminating. This
minus 15-30 minutes will give you the puppy's comfort zone. This is how long he
can hold his urine after he has gone potty.

The puppy will usually have to go after they eat, drink, play or sleep. Most
dogs need to be taken out upwards of three to five times a day providing they
haven't drank an excessive amount of water. The best thing to do if you take
him walking is not to bring him back until he does potty. Be ready to stay
outside until he does. This could take some time. If you bring him back in
before he is ready, he most likely will have an accident before you can get him
back outside again.

The most important thing is to lavish him with praise each and every time he
does the right behavior. This reinforces it because he receives attention and a
treat. If you wait and praise him later, it won't be effective. To keep him from
finding spots, close doors to rooms with carpeting or rugs, because they prefer
certain area to eliminate on.

If the puppy does have an accident, use a pet odor neutralizer to prevent any
odor. They sometimes will sniff around until they find the exact same spot they
went the last time. Don't use ammonia based cleaners as they break down into
urea, which is a part of urine.

The Dreaded Bath

Giving a dog a bath can be fun or it can be a terror. Puppies either love or
hate the water. There is no middle ground. When giving a puppy a bath, consider
two things. Do you know how and how many times a month should it be done?
Bathing the animal too much will strip away essential oils needed to keep the
coat shiny.

Gather all your supplies before starting. You don't want a wet dog running
behind you through the house. You will need tearless shampoo, towels, and
possibly a comb if your pup is a long hair breed.

Begin bathing when the dog is young and has time to acclimate to the water.
Place puppy in sink or a tub and reward him with praise for staying still. Give
him a treat or scratch to reinforce good behavior.

Use only lukewarm or tepid water and never put soap in his eyes or ears. Take
some water in your hands and pat their heads and noses gently. Make sure the
head area is washed last to minimize the urge to shake. Rinse well because
leftover soap can cause itching and flaky skin.

Pet odors are caused by a number of things. Soiled fur on long haired dogs gets
matted and traps dirt. An ear infection can cause odor as well. Make sure to
check the dog's ears during bathtime. Dental problems can be quite a problem.
Check teeth at every bath and look for swollen gums or missing teeth. Call your
vet if you see something suspicious and have it checked.

Nail clipping should follow a bath unless you get a groomer to handle it.
Massage the paws and praise puppy for staying still. Gently squeeze his paw to
extend the nail. Differentiate between the nail and the quick. If you cut too
far down, the quick will start bleeding. If you are unsure, have a professional
show you how to clip the nails without hurting the animal.

Orphan Puppies

Puppies usually become orphaned when Mom doesn't make enough milk to feed them,
has a physical problem that prevents her from caring for the pups, or has died
during the birthing process. These puppies can be raised by you if you are
willing to work hard at keeping them healthy. They will need to be seen by the
vet after birth so he can start them on their feeding schedule.

You must follow a regular schedule of feedings, bathroom breaks, playing, and
sleeping. It is quite time consuming but can be a rewarding venture. You must
consider the nurturing and socialization of the pups, how to prevent diseases
from arising since they are not starting out with Mom's milk, what to feed them
and how to get them weaned in several weeks, and the sanitation of the area you
will be keeping them. Take all of this into consideration and decide if you
will be able to give the puppies the time they require.

You will have to bottle feed or tube feed. Bottle feeding is better for most
people, because the tube could be passed into the lungs and choke the pup. Feed
the pup while on its belly not on its back. Puppy formulas are available and are
nutritionally balanced to meet your puppy's needs. Most people use Esbilac or
Puppylac. Do not use cow or goat milk. Do not give raw egg whites as there is
an enzyme in the egg that will cause a biotin deficiency in the puppy. Don't
give the puppy honey either, it can be fatal.

Caloric intake should be as follows in calories per pound per day:

- Week One, they should receive 60-69. 
- Week Two, they should receive 70-79. 
- Week Three, they should receive 80-89 
- Week Four, they should receive 90-100.

The Cat is Not a Chew Toy

Puppies will chew on anything in sight. Plants, electric cords, furniture, and
you brand new $100 shoes. They are bored and trying to entertain themselves or
teething. You must let the puppy know which items are bad for him to chew on.
Make sure he has a wide assortment of chew toys nearby. If he is over six
months old, you may need to see a vet concerning any dental problems.

One good idea is to freeze a wet washcloth and let him chew on it. The cold
will feel good and he will bite the cloth for a while. You can even give him
some ice cubes to munch on. This will also help soothe the gums as well.

It is quite natural for the puppy to want to chew. Like small children, they
put everything in their mouth to learn about it. Keep all objects of worth out
of the pup's way and find a nylon bone or the like to take its place. Then
praise for correct behavior. Nylon bones can be quite effective for the puppy's
chewing problem. You must use them from the outset though, otherwise they get
used to other bones such as ham bones and won't use the nylon. These types of
bones look like a cord of rope and help the teeth stay clean.

Be leery of pork and chicken bones. They can splinter in the stomach or cause
any number o digestive problems. Give bones that are too large to swallow. Also
as a rule, pig's feet, hooves, and any other half-digested treat are not good
for the puppy either. And the old thick rawhide the butcher gives you can give
the puppy diarrhea.

If you find them munching down on items they aren't supposed to be, you need to
move them to another area, and bring one of his chew toys to him. If he starts
to chew on it, give praise and a treat. He will learn what makes you happy and
what doesn't.

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