In our post, 10 Common Mistakes Dog Owners Makes, we explained the importance of socializing and training your dog from an early age, and how regular vet check-ups will help you to avoid common ailments.
However, there are a few other useful pieces of advice that dog owners should heed to ensure their pet is happy and healthy, especially when adopting a puppy. While training and vet visits are essential for any puppy to grow up fit and socialized, they require unique demands to ensure they reach their potential.
Adopt from a Certified Breeder or Kennel
The best way to avoid adopting a puppy with unknown or undeclared health issues is to use a registered breeder or kennel. The Kennel Club is the official governing body for dogs and their breeders in the UK. However, just because a breeder or kennel is not associated with The Kennel Club, it doesn’t mean they are untrustworthy. Ask about what health checks the puppy has received, make sure you get any relevant paperwork, and, upon adopting the puppy, book an appointment for a check-up at your local vet.
Age-Appropriate Diet and Meal Plan
To ensure your puppy has all the energy and nutrients they need, you should feed them puppy-specific food because it has more essential ingredients for growth, like protein and calcium; feeding your puppy adult dog food means they will likely suffer stunted growth.
It is also important to feed puppies healthy meal sizes. Despite their insatiable hunger, puppies have small stomachs, so feeding them large meals can cause them problems. Instead, feed your puppy 6 small meals a day, so they can eat their recommended daily amount without injuring themselves. For a handy guide to feed your puppy a healthy meal plan, see this useful puppy feeding guide by pet food experts James Wellbeloved.
It is distressing for a puppy to be taken from his or her mum and litter at such a young age and placed in a strange home. Consequently, this adjustment period requires patience. Many new owners place their puppy far from the bedroom at night, so they can sleep without being disturbed. However, this will lead to your dog developing anxiety. Instead, stay close and, when your puppy whines, give them some attention and show them love and support. They’ll quickly learn that they are in a safe environment.
Get Your Puppy Microchipped
Since 2014, microchipping has been the main means of reuniting lost dogs with their owners. In fact, the process is so effective that it is now illegal in the UK not to microchip your dog. Not only will doing so save you a potential legal headache, but it will give you peace of mind if your dog ever was to get lost—as well as making the whole experience less distressing for your puppy.
Play, Play, and More Play
You should also supplement at least two walks per day with regular play sessions. Your puppy and you will develop a close bond, your puppy will enjoy it, and it is a great way to simultaneously train them, teach them social boundaries and to stimulate their brain.
Most owners who adopt puppies have the best intentions about raising their dog. But dogs and puppies especially are dependent pets and can be too demanding if you are unprepared. However, with just a little research and awareness of what your dog is experiencing, physically and emotionally, you can ensure your puppy grows to be healthy, loyal and cheerful.