A new puppy on for the Holidays is cute and endearing. Before you make the decision to buy or adopt one, make sure you are prepared.
A puppy's first year is critical to its development. Puppies should remain with their mothers for the first six weeks of life. Once the puppy reaches six weeks, you can bring it home. Purina offers these tips on how best to care for yours.
Preparing Your Home
Before bringing home your puppy, you'll need to purchase supplies. When going to the store, remember these tips. Your puppy's food and water bowls shouldn't tip easily; an ID tag should be attached to your puppy's lightweight collar, grooming supplies will vary according to your puppy's breed and a 6-foot leash is ideal.
Bringing Your Puppy Home
Once the puppy reaches six weeks, a new owner has much to consider. Vet appointments, puppy vaccinations and diet are just the start.
Vaccinations are very important. During the nursing period, a puppy receives protective antibodies from the mother's milk. This natural immunity will begin to disappear with time, and may be gone soon after weaning. Consequently, around 8 to 10 weeks of age, a puppy is susceptible to a number of diseases. That's why it is so vital to take your puppy to a veterinarian as soon as possible for a check-up and vaccinations.
Raising Your Puppy
While for the first six weeks, a puppy gets the nutrition it needs from its mother's milk, your puppy should have begun nibbling on solid food at 3-4 weeks. Don't be alarmed if you notice changes in your puppy's appetite. Growing can affect your puppy's digestive system causing him to lose his appetite or experience digestive upset occasionally. If stomach symptoms become severe or continue for longer than a day or two, contact your veterinarian.
Playing With Your Puppy
What your puppy learns now about people and his environment will stay with him for the rest of his life. From his 4th to 12th week, a puppy acquires almost all his adult sensory, motor and learning abilities. The more loving interaction you establish now, the stronger your bond will be later. Plan to spend at least 2 periods a day playing with your puppy.