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Preparing for a Puppy

Preparing for a Puppy

Preparing for a Puppy

Bringing a puppy in to your home and your family is a big responsibility – but one with plenty of rewards. In this section of the PawClub site, we provide you with help and guidance on selecting the perfect puppy for your family, preparing your family home and give you some ideas on what to expect in the first year with your new puppy.

Expert Answers

Our expert vet team posts answers to the more common questions. Some questions you may be interested in are :

Most dogs are scared of unfamiliar objects/beings (including other species of animals) and loud sounds. Thorough socialization when they are young can minimize this.

The most common reason is separation anxiety (SA). This simply means they are scared of being apart from their owner and alone. It can also be a result of pure boredom. So keep your dog entertained by placing some of their favourite toys around.

Getting angry doesn't usually solve anything. You will get better results and bigger changes using positive reinforcement.

Any dog can have smelly ears, but especially floppy-ear breeds where the ear flap covers the ear canal and traps moisture inside. On the other hand it can sometimes be a sign of an underlying health disorder such as ear mites, a yeast infection or a bacterial infection. You should get your veterinarian to do a check for you. Ask your veterinarian to show you how to clean your dog's ears properly. Using Q tips for example may cause trauma and compact debris in the ear canal, making any underlying infection worse.

There's no definitive answer to this question because almost any dog has the potential to get along well with kids. Saying that, certain breeds do have a reputation as naturally kid-friendly such as Labradors, beagles, terriers and collies.
Ideally, you want an intelligent dog with a good temperament and medium energy level.

You might also want to consider the age and size of both your kids and the dog. Toddlers can be knocked over by a gangly, awkward puppy. Bigger kids could accidentally do damage to a small dog.

For more ideas and help in selecting the perfect breed for you and your family, have a look at our puppy selector.

They definitely can be, so do some checking before you buy a certain breed. It might take some time to discover whether or not you are allergic to a particular breed.

You can be allergic to the shed dog skin, hair, saliva, or even their urine. Some of the reactions include nasal congestion, sneezing, itchy and watery eyes, skin rashes, headaches, fatigue, coughing, shortness of breath, wheezing, and serious asthma attacks.

One way to see if you - or your child - develop a reaction is to visit a breeder. Spend some time petting the dogs, expose your forearms to their coat and see if you get itchy or develop a rash.

It's better to visit the dog first; to see it in person so you know what its nature is like first hand. If you don't mind what breed, you may be able to find a dog that suits you through a pound or rescue agency. If you're after a particular breed, you will need to seek out a breeder. Do your homework and use trusted breeders whenever possible

This is a topic that can be discussed on your first visit to the Veterinarian. Use an appropriate puppy shampoo that is specially made for puppies or dogs. The water temperature should be the same water temperature that you would comfortably shower in.

You can shampoo your pup just like you shampoo your own hair, and rinse it off after lathering.

Alternatively, you can also fill a small bath with warm water and some shampoo and drench it over your puppy. If you have used a lot of shampoo, then a final rinse is recommended.

Make sure you don't get any shampoo or water on your puppy's face, eyes and ears. Some shampoos can be irritating to eyes and water-logged ears can lead to ear infections in your dog.

Towel-dry your puppy once it is all done. Leave-in puppy or dog conditioner can now be applied for a nicer shinier coat. In warmer climates, it is often not necessary to blow-dry your puppy. If you need to blow-dry your puppy, make sure the hairdryer is on low heat and is constantly moving, so that you don't accidentally burn your puppy's skin.

The best diet you can give your puppy is actually premium brand puppy food and water only, once they have been weaned fully. Once your puppy has been fully weaned, they no longer require milk, so you do not have to give them puppy milk at all. The dry form of puppy and dog food is the most economical and is also better for your dog's teeth, compared to the canned foods.
As much as we love to spoil our puppies with table scraps, treats and snacks, and make our own home-cooked meals for them, the nutritional balance in such diets is often not very good and it may lead to nutritional deficiencies in your puppy.

All premium brands of pet foods have been carefully and scientifically prepared to ensure the best nutrition for your puppy, and it may seem bland to eat the same thing day-in and day-out, but rest assured that you are really doing the best for your puppy.

Moreover, if you don't ever feed them human foods, they will not develop a taste for them, and thus may prevent future begging behaviour, obesity, vomiting and diarrhea, anal gland problems etc. And they will be very happy with their dog food for the rest of their lives!

Generally, you should only bring your puppy out for a walk at least 2 weeks after it has had its last puppy vaccination. This is because there are many viruses out there that your puppy may pick up while on walks in public areas.

All sorts of dogs are walked in public areas, both vaccinated and unvaccinated. The unvaccinated dogs may shed some viruses that stay in the environment for many years, and these viruses, if exposed to your puppy before it receives its full course of vaccinations, may make your puppy very sick and many do die from these diseases. There is no cure available for these viruses, similar to many childhood viruses in children.

However, it is important to start socializing your puppy, but it should only be done in safe environments - such as puppy preschools at veterinary clinics, friends and relatives' homes with healthy vaccinated dogs etc.

Right away! Dogs are never too young or too old to train!
Effective training methods are taught by dog trainers at many dog obedience schools and puppy preschools at veterinary clinics. Lessons range from basic commands such as sit, stay, drop etc. to more advanced classes involving agility training and fun tricks.

Puppy skin is different to human skin, dog skin has a completely different pH from human skin, as such they are therefore very sensitive to soapy human shampoos that are designed to strip the oils off. As a result, your puppy may develop dry, sensitive skin when human shampoos are used. Ideally, use a shampoo specially designed for puppies or dogs. Dog or puppy conditioners are also available to improve the appearance of their coat.

Puppies love to nip a lot in play and their young sharp teeth often hurt and scratch very easily. Aside from the pain factor, a nipping puppy that does not learn to curb this behaviour will often grow into a dog that uses his mouth for rough play. Dogs love to play tug of war and our natural instinct to pull away during nipping emphasizes this type of play. By starting young, you can easily teach your puppy or young adult that mouthing is just not acceptable. Here are a couple of techniques to try:

  1. Try and reverse the instinct to pull away from your puppies mouthing and gently pushing into the mouth a little. This isn't designed to hurt your puppy just confuse his play. While the puppy is expecting the usual 'tug' away, instead the game is broken and they learn that that type of play isn't rewarding.
  2. Simply get up and remove yourself from the puppy and cease interaction. Your puppy longs to get attention from you and if a behaviour removes this attention swiftly then they soon learn not to do this again.

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