If you just got a new puppy in your home, you're probably working on things like house training, basic obedience, and proper sleep scheduling. However, many new pet owners don't realize how much is involved in actually keeping a puppy healthy. There are a few things you need to do to make sure your set your puppy on the path of good health for life.
1. Give the right amount of food and schedule feeding times.
Puppies need plenty of calories and nutrients to feed the explosive growth and brain development that comes with puppyhood. However, puppies should not have an all-access pass to the food bowl. Set up a preliminary check-up with a vet, like those at Kenmore Veterinary Hospital, to discuss food types and feeding needs. Feed your dog meals that you measure out. Sticking with a feeding schedule makes sure your dog gets the nutrition it needs, but it also helps prevent obesity as your puppy grows into adolescence and young adulthood.
2. Get a vet right away.
People think of needing a vet only when a dog is sick or injured, but you should get a vet as soon as you get a puppy. Not only will your vet need to perform regular checkups for your dog, but a vet helps you to stay on schedule for essentials like vaccinations (puppies need several rounds) and flea treatments. Obedience and behavioral issues can also be resolved with the help of the vet, reducing the risk the dog being given away to a shelter or needing to be re-homed because of behavior problems.
3. Learn basic dog first aid.
Your dog can get sick, tired, and injured just like a person can. Some basic care tips can help to treat common ailments. For example, did you know that dogs can get sunburn on skin that isn't well-protected by a thick coat? Some dogs need a little sunscreen on their noses or on ears that have only a thin amount of hair. Similarly, you should watch for things like dandruff, rashes, and basic cuts and scrapes, as these can cause irritation and can easily be fixed by adjusting your bathing routine or hygiene products.
You should also learn the signs that indicate more serious illness. For example, dogs naturally have a higher body temperature than humans, but they can still get fevers when they have an infection. A dog has a fever when its temperature is above 103 Fahrenheit, and a fever usually indicates the need for medical evaluation.