Affection to dogIt’s easy to love a puppy. Puppies are cute, adorable, and oh-so-sweet. Luckily, their collective abilities lull us into a state of pure bliss, preserving their security and well-being.

But, what does caring for a puppy really entail? Endless snuggles? Check. Never-ending laughter? Of course. Heartwarming antics? You got it! All of these things (and more) are part of welcoming a young pup into your life, but there are more serious topics to be aware of.

To ensure the lifelong health of your precious puppy, The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center offer the basics of puppy care.

Go Shopping

Many adoptions happen quickly, but, if possible, it’s best to have these items on hand before bringing your little bundle of paws home:

  • Travel crate or carrier
  • Food and water dishes
  • Age-appropriate nutritional food
  • Nutritious treats
  • Chew toys
  • Leash
  • Harness (this can be easier for a puppy instead of a typical collar)
  • ID tags
  • Grooming supplies (clippers, brush/comb, toothbrush)
  • Bedding
  • Baby gates (to prevent access to the entire home before your puppy is housebroken)
  • Spot cleaner (for the inevitable puppy messes)

A daily checklist is helpful to get both you and your puppy into the full swing of your new routine. Tasks like feeding are pretty obvious, but until your puppy is potty-trained, scheduled bathroom breaks are lifesavers. The introduction of grooming and dental care practices are also critical in the early months.

A Positive Start

The first few months of your puppy’s life will shape his or her personality and disposition. Slow, calm exposure to various stimuli (like crowds, loud noises, and strangers) will build confidence, and your reassurance and positive reinforcement are key to good behavior.
Once your new puppy is between 8-16 weeks old, you can lay the groundwork for successful socialization, housebreaking, crate training, and behavioral training.

Get Started Early

The concept of preventative care is wonderful throughout a pet’s life, but during the early months and years, the term is applied to a variety of practices. For example, when you bring your puppy to see us shortly after adoption, we will discuss with you the following:

  • Age-appropriate vaccinations
  • Spay/neuter procedure
  • Microchip
  • Parasite screening and methods for prevention

Because puppies are more susceptible to various illnesses, Elmhurst Animal Care Center recommends requesting an appointment as soon as possible to keep your puppy healthy. An illness in a puppy may present the following symptoms:

  • Difficulty gaining weight
  • Lack of appetite
  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea, or the inability to excrete waste
  • Signs of pain
  • Lethargy
  • Discharge from the eyes or nose
  • Respiratory distress
  • Pale gums

These signs are indicative of a possible pet emergency, and we urge you to seek veterinary care if one or more are present.

Meaningful Puppy Care

The Pet Experts at Elmhurst Animal Care Center applaud your devotion to your new puppy. Together, we can work toward the best in puppy care in order to raise the healthiest, happiest adult dog possible. Please contact us with any questions or concerns, and have fun with your four-legged friend!