Natural Puppy Care – Effective Tips to Take Care of Your New Puppy
Choosing a puppy sometimes is more challenging than it sounds. As much as we may want to decide over their cuteness, we have to remember that puppies grow and soon become big dogs. Getting a puppy is a commitment. So, when considering the breed you want, ensure you have enough space and time for the dog throughout its life.
Some breeds need more exercise and constant training, while two daily walks are enough for others. Before getting a new puppy, you can discuss it with a veterinarian. They will help you understand different features and specific pure-breed health issues. For instance, Siberian huskies are predisposed to autoimmune disorders affecting the skin. German shepherds are prone to hip dysplasia. Bulldogs may have respiratory problems. Pugs can have eye problems. Cocker spaniels are likely to get ear infections. Labradors are prone to obesity. Schnauzers may have diabetes, etc.
Ensuring your puppy grows into a healthy and happy dog takes time and energy. But it is totally worth it!
After choosing the breed that suits you and your family the best, it is time to bring your new puppy home.
How can you prepare yourself when getting a new puppy?
First, you must have all the products you need for the puppy already at home. If you need to know which ones to get, don't worry - there are plenty to choose from. Here are a few ideas:
- Leash and collar. Pick an adjustable collar and put the dog's identification tag and license (containing your address and phone number). The leash should be solid and well-made, with an easy-grip loop.
- Dog bed. You can choose from a wide range of dog pillows, memory foam mattresses, cushions, and couches. And all can match your house decor. We advise you to choose one with washable, removable covers.
- Grooming supplies: Comb, ear cleaning solution, nail clippers, brushes, shampoos, conditioning spray, etc. Teaching your puppy how to behave during the grooming process from the start is essential.
- Carriers and crates. These are a must-have for the first period. Make sure your dog can move around and stretch inside. Crates are great for housetraining.
- Food and bowls. Puppies have a big appetite and need many calories. Special puppy foods are formulated to satisfy their needs. Choose bowls you can clean, sanitize, and, most importantly, unbreakable ones.
- Toys should be durable, strong, and well-made. You can choose from numerous kinds, such as fetching toys, plush toys, chew toys, ropes and tug toys, and critical thinking toys.
- Identification. We recommend that you have both an identification tag and a microchip. The ID tag should contain your address or phone number. You should make it easy for others to contact you if your dog gets lost. Microchips are devices injected between a dog's shoulders and can be read with a scanner. Also, remember to keep your contact information up to date.
Natural Healthcare Approach
Did you know that many pet owners today choose natural pet care? The holistic approach is a concept that involves every aspect of a dog's life: diet and good nutrition, supplements, exercise and training, lifestyle, and environment.
- Healthy Diet
Like humans, good nutrition is a foundation for your puppy's overall health. You can find many options, opinions, and information about proper dog food.
Though domesticated, dogs still need nutrition as they would in the wild. You must ensure your puppy gets enough energy and the food is well nutritionally balanced.
If you give your dog premium dry food, don't overfeed and overgrow them too fast.
You can add up to 25% home-prepared food when giving commercial dog food. Remember to give your dog plenty of water to avoid dehydration.
On another side, eating the same food daily for years harms overall health.
Dogs should have a well-balanced diet with proteins as the primary food. You should also add vegetables—preferably organic products.
When using the holistic approach, dogs' best diet is raw food. The benefits of a raw diet include reduced allergies, excellent dental health, less obesity, less inflammation, diseases, etc. If you follow this approach, give your dog plenty of different meat. You can use liver, minced meat, chicken, pork, lamb, beef, and even some fat.
Just be sure to start with one protein source and switch to another when the dog's digestive system gets used to it. It is also vital to give your puppy raw, soft, meaty bones as a source of calcium.
If you feed your dog raw food, you must avoid calcium supplements. However, some supplements are a must-have: zinc, probiotics, colostrum, essential fatty acids, coconut oil, digestive enzymes, and a multivitamin/mineral supplement.
Introducing a raw diet doesn't need a transition period after dry food, so you can start immediately. Don't mix the kibble with raw food because the dog might have trouble digesting that kind of mixed food.
And last but not least, feed according to your dog's needs and weight, up to three times daily.
- What about veterinary care?
Due to controversies about vaccines, many people choose to give their dogs fewer vaccines. If this is your decision, be sure not to skip veterinary appointments.
Most holistic vets agree that dogs should be vaccinated. There are core vaccines, and the rabies vaccine is mandatory by many state laws.
Distemper, parvovirus, and hepatitis are life-threatening diseases, and vets also recommend having dogs vaccinated against them.
In the early weeks, puppies are protected through their mother's milk. So the best time to start vaccination is when they are 16 weeks old.
Before the second dose, you can do tests to see how many antibodies your dog has. A blood titer check measures antibody levels in the blood and shows how protected your puppy is. If the test is positive, you can postpone the second dose of the vaccine.
Veterinarians recommend that titer doses be given every three years. Nevertheless, before every titer dose, you can ask your vet to do a blood titer check to see how well-protected your dog is and postpone the vaccination.
Avoid unsafe environments if you choose not to vaccinate your puppy, especially before the 16 weeks.
Every vaccine may have a potential adverse reaction due to its active ingredient or other potentially harmful components.
Before the vet appointment, try to learn more about core and non-core vaccines, possible side effects, and which ones are not law-abiding.
If your puppy was vaccinated before coming to your home, you could give him supplements to manage vaccination effects.
Regular veterinary check-ups are essential to your dog's dental care. Your vet will give instructions on brushing your dog's teeth and tips on how the puppy will accept tooth care. The vet can also suggest good dental care products.
Try brushing your dog's teeth 2-3 days per week. Canine toothpaste is flavored to suit your dog's taste buds; check if your dog has allergies before choosing a flavor. You can use a human toothbrush or buy a dog toothbrushing kit. And you can add dental powders containing probiotics to your dog's food. It will help healthy bacteria grow in its mouth and kill plaque-building ones.
When choosing dental chews and treats, ensure they have Veterinary Oral Health acceptance. Healthy chews prevent tartar and plaque build-up and can be given once a day.
No matter how much dental cleaning you do at home, take your dog to the veterinarian for regular dental check-ups and cleaning.
Routine worming and heartworm medications can be avoided, just like vaccination. However, most worming tablets are effective and safe for use. They can be given once a month.
Some natural dewormers are just as safe and effective: dried coconut, apple cider vinegar, trace minerals, pumpkin seeds, fennel, grated carrot, and watercress. All can be given daily with food or water to eliminate worm infestation.
When choosing your holistic vet, ensure you have a great traditional veterinarian for specific health care.
- Exercise and training
Regular physical activity is as essential for pets as for humans. It prevents obesity and other health issues. Puppies have much energy, so exercise shouldn't be challenging. Establish a routine you and your dog can keep up with once he ages.
Your dog needs fresh air, so start with short walks. Puppies also love to play, so adding toys to your walking routine enriches their mental health. Make sure not to get them over-excited; dogs also need time for relaxation.
As the dog ages, you can take him hiking, running, cycling, doing sports, and other demanding physical activities. It is crucial that you spend as much time as you can with your puppy.
A significant part of raising a puppy is training. Training a dog from a very young age prevents terrible behavior and habits.
You can train your puppy yourself or find training groups and classes where you both can learn a lot. Rough, exciting play, food guarding, toileting inside, play-biting, chewing, etc., can all be managed with calm assurance and persistence.
Choose a good puppy preschool where your puppy will play with other dogs, teach you how to live with your puppy, and, most importantly, use positive and gentle training.
If you get a purebred puppy, you should learn more about your dog's breed to understand its exercise needs and temperament.
Breeds like Pomeranian, Maltese, Pinscher, Chihuahua, Dachshund, Pug, Pekingese, French Bulldog, and Shih Tzu need minimum workouts, such as fetch, obstacles, tricks, and short walks.
On the other hand, some breeds need a lot of exercise and agility training—basically, much hard work. The following require a lot of mental and physical activity: Border Terrier, Vizsla, Husky, Australian Shepherd, Border Collie, Cane Corso, Dalmatian, Irish Setter, Labrador Retriever, etc.
About half of pure breeds, most crossbred and mixed breed dogs need moderate exercise. You may take them on two brisk walks daily and add energetic activities whenever possible.
- Lifestyle and environment
All dogs, just like humans, need a daily routine. Regular grooming and claw care routines should start as early as possible. When the dog gets used to it, you will have no problems later on.
Grooming is essential when dogs shed more during fall and spring. To avoid claws overgrowing and causing painful infections, trim your dog's nails whenever they are too long.
Socialization is another significant part of your dog's healthy and happy lifestyle. You must expose them to other animals, people, scents, places, etc., as soon as possible. Just remember, if the puppy is not vaccinated, wait to do it before it is 16 weeks old.
Take your dog wherever you go if you can bring them. Whether you go to the beach or mall, visit friends, or walk around the park.
A great way your puppy can sniff other dogs is by going to dog parks. You can let him off his leash and play with other dogs; be careful not to let them get overexcited.
People often forget about mental stimulation and stress management. Animals often feel stressed when the owner is stressed; they tend to absorb and manifest our stress.
Mental stimulation, exercise, interactive play, and training are a part of stress management in pets. You can leave your dog Kong toys, food-dispensing balls, and toys for sensory enrichment to keep him amused while you are away.
Remember that your puppy relies on you to teach them good habits and make healthy decisions. You can choose a holistic vet as a part of your puppy's health care. Natural health care consists of acupuncture, nutrition, homeopathy, chiropractic, etc. Whatever you choose for your pet increases his chances of a healthy, long, happy life.
Please keep in mind that as much as we want to follow an all-natural approach to caring for our puppies, sometimes we need professional help.
Raising a puppy takes a lot of work, love, and patience, but in the end, it is worth every moment.
Sources: dogs naturally, only natural pet, WellBeing, PetMD, HealthyAnimals4ever, CaliRaw, Cesarsway