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Puppy Care Checklist

On March 23, pet owners everywhere celebrated National Puppy Day! It can be difficult to raise a puppy and ensure that you've done everything required to keep them happy and healthy. To aid those who celebrated on Sunday by adopting or purchasing a puppy, we've compiled a check list to help provide comprehensive care to new pups.

1. Find a Veterinarian

Finding the right veterinarian is likely the most important concern for any puppy or dog you hope to adopt. Veterinarians are responsible for providing you with the knowledge and resources necessary to care for your pet and for identifying and treating problems before they can seriously threaten your petís health. Additionally, itís important that you find a veterinarian with whom your dog is comfortable. This established level of comfort will make visits easier for you, your dog, and the doctor.

Itís also important that your veterinarianís work schedule is compatible with your own, so remember to inquire about their regular office hours and how their office handles emergency situations. It can be helpful to ask friends for recommendations while searching to ensure that your veterinarian will meet your needs adequately.

2. Pet Insurance

Paying for visits to the veterinarian can quickly become expensive. Pet Insurance can help mitigate these costs and prove to be invaluable in the event of unexpected misfortunes that threaten your petís health. There are various types of insurance available for pets, with some that offer bare protection for emergencies while others comprehensively cover your petís health care costs.

Insuring your pet is recommended for all pets, as every pet needs regular visits to the veterinarian and medical emergencies can be costly. Even one serious scare can cost enough to make pet insurance worth every penny. Pets are more expensive to insure depending on their age and current health condition. This means that some insurers might require basic testing before they can provide an accurate rate for your pet.

3. Vaccinations

Itís extremely important that any newly adopted dog is up-to-date on their vaccines. There are a myriad of serious diseases that can be easily prevented by the administration of the proper vaccine. Itís recommended that most new puppies be vaccinated for rabies, distemper, hepatitis, and parvovirus. Vaccinating against these diseases can prevent the exorbitant costs of treating these diseases and can even save your petís life.

Vaccinating your pets isnít always as simple as receiving shots during a single visit to your veterinarian. Many vaccines require boosters in order to be effective that require several appointments throughout your puppyís first year. Additionally, elective vaccines offer protection from a variety of other diseases that may afflict your dog, including Lyme disease, Bordetella, and more.

4. Flea and Tick

Fleas and ticks are just some pests that commonly plague pets. There are a wide variety of preventives on the market that offer protection against these insects. Although some treatments use pesticides that can be unsafe for young puppies, most of them can be applied to dogs as young as eight weeks of age. Additionally, there are natural solutions available which are safe to use on younger puppies.

Flea and tick preventives can also work to ward off other pests like flies, mosquitoes, and lice. By using preventives, itís possible to prevent infestations from ever threatening your pet. Using a preventive is important because it can cost much more to remove an infestation from your home than it is to prevent one. Furthermore, pests can carry diseases that can further harm your dog if an infestation occurs.

5. Other Parasites

Fleas, ticks, lice, mosquitoes, and other insects are only some of the parasites that threaten your petís well-being. Internal parasites threaten your petís health in a way that can be more difficult to detect, so it's important to stay vigilant in the fight against ringworms, roundworms, and tapeworms.

Many puppies are born with these parasitic infestations, so itís important to have your puppy tested immediately. These worms can cause serious health complications if left untreated. To protect your puppy, be aware of the symptoms of infection; if you notice that your dog is exhibiting these symptoms, have the veterinarian test them immediately.

6. Spay/Neuter

Many pet owners know that spaying or neutering your pet can have a large impact on the pet population and help reduce homelessness in animals. Though this is one great reason to spay or neuter your pet, it's not the only benefit offered by these elective procedures. In addition to helping the community, these procedures can be improve the health of your pet.

According to the Humane Society, rates of pet longevity are highest in states with high rates of spaying and neutering. This indication of the health benefits of the practice can be contributed to a variety of factors. Dogs that have undergone the procedure are less likely to wander into perilous territory (where fighting with other animals, car accidents, and other dangers lurk) and that the procedure can reduce the risk of certain types of cancers (reproductive and uterine cancers).

7. Food and Diet

It's important to ensure that your pet has a well-balanced diet. While your puppy is young, they may require formula to help wean and transition to solid foods. This can be accomplished with food that is specifically formulated to help pets wean. Additionally, further transitory food formulas are available for your puppy that offer special nutrition.

Dogs grow rapidly in their first year, meaning that they need more nutrients and energy throughout their day. In addition to feeding them formulas that are specially crafted for puppies, there are a variety of treats and supplements that can further promote your dogís health. Nutritionally appropriate treats can also help with training your puppy.

8. Pee pad and training accessories

Treats are one of the most basic accessories used to train your dog. Other accessories, such as pee pads, can also immensely facilitate the training process. These pads can help build boundaries and teach your puppy when used properly. Additionally, their absorbent nature can help keep your home clean by preventing spills.

Other useful tools include training collars and training sprays, which both provide a safe way to gently discourage undesirable behavior. Training collars might use a gentle shock to discourage barking, while the spray causes mildly discomfort to your dog to discourage actions at your disgression.

9. Teething and Toys

Dental health is one area of dogs that is often neglected. People are a bit wary when it comes to cleaning their dogís teeth; however, ASCPA recommends that you brush your dog's teeth at least several times per week. There are a wide variety of dental kits available that come with a brushes and dental gels that make maintaining your dogís dental health simple.

Many owners choose to use supplementary methods to promote dental hygiene in addition to brushing. Certain chew toys, such as a flossy braided rope, can scrape away plaque and tartar from your dogís teeth and gums. Certain treats feature an abrasive surface that cleans your dog's teeth while chewing and nutrition that promotes dental health. These supplementary methods can help prevent the onset of dental disease and work to improve your dogís overall health.

10. Crate Training

Dogs are den animals. This means that they have instincts which often make a seemingly small or cramped space the ideal resting place for puppies. Enter crate training. Using a crate or kennel to house your dog can provide a comfortable space for your pet while simultaneously preparing your dog for traveling and visits to the veterinarian.

Crate training can also help with housebreaking your dog because it establishes a safe space for your dog. Your dog will not want to soil this space, meaning that it will be more receptive to waiting for bathroom breaks. The process of crate training can take time, so itís best to start early and to use a reliable method.

We hope that you find this guide useful in raising your new puppy. Let us know how you take care of your puppy in the comments!

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