Puppy Needs and Necessitiesby Christina Stephens
"I'm pretty sure kisses are a necessity, Mom."
The day has arrived; you and your new puppy couldn’t be more excited to start your lives together. Before you settle into familial bliss, get ready to go shopping, because your new buddy requires supplies. That happy-go-lucky fur ball of energy comes with a variety of dietary, health and training needs.
Food and Drink
First and foremost, every puppy has to eat and drink. Stainless steel, non-tipping food and water bowls are sanitary, durable options for growing puppies. Look for bowls with rubber lining on the bottom. These provide enough grip to prevent spills, unless of course your puppy is of the large, very determined variety. As for diet, continue feeding your pup the same food as the previous owner, shelter or breeder, and make any dietary changes gradually and under veterinary supervision to prevent gastrointestinal upset.
Start your new buddy’s training routine right away with a collar or harness and a 6-foot nylon or leather leash. Make certain the collar fits loosely enough for you to slide two fingers under, but not so loose that he slips out of it. If you find your pup escapes his collar, invest in a secure harness.
Identification tags with your puppy's name and your name and contact information permanently attached to his harness or leash are absolute necessities. These tags will protect your puppy if he is ever lost. You can also have your veterinarian insert a microchip, which will automatically bring up your contact information when scanned with the appropriate scanning device. Most shelters and veterinary offices are equipped with scanners for lost or stray pets.
The good thing about puppies is they don’t require much coat grooming; as youngsters, their adult coats haven’t quite grown in. You’ll still want to brush your buddy with a short pin brush or soft rubber brush to get him used to grooming. The earlier you start, the easier it will be to continue throughout his lifetime. Early grooming habits are especially important for breeds that grow up to need a lot of, ahem, maintenance such a Yorkshire terriers and Afghan hounds. Don’t forget to pick up a bottle of canine shampoo with that brush. Hypoallergenic varieties are good choices for young, sensitive skin and coats.
Tough rubber toys help massage his gums and relieve the pain of teething, not to mention save the coffee table from teeth marks. Interactive toys help stave off boredom and help him learn to socialize. Small tennis balls are great for expending excess energy, while tug toys made of nylon can help you two bond. Make sure none of his toys have any hanging string or ribbon and are large enough to prevent swallowing and choking.
Even the most well-behaved puppy can have the occasional accident. Invest in pet-safe cleaning products. Look for those specially formulated to remove urine, feces, blood and vomit, and make sure they don’t include bleach, ammonia or other toxic cleaning agents. Don’t forget about cleaning up the outdoors as well -- grab a supply of waste bags for easy cleanup when nature calls.
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