Caring for a New Puppy

Caring for a New Puppy

Many children (and grown-ups, including my sister) were given new baby animals for Christmas. The most popular animal gift, it seems, is a puppy. Why, I’m not sure, since it’s the most needy baby animal that requires the most responsibility (though it’s definitely worth it for the right people). Me, I’d start with a goldfish or hamster and go from there.

If you do give (or get) a puppy for a gift, it’s very important to take proper care of your new baby pooch. New puppies are not just like human babies (despite what people with puppy fetishes might tell you), but they are a lot like them in some ways. They need to get plenty of sleep. It’s best to help your puppy sleep well at night so YOU can get some sleep, too; otherwise, he or she will keep you up wanting to play by nibbling your toes and growling! (A baby kitten is often the same way.) To do this, try keeping puppy up for as long as you can during the day by playing with him, walking him, and keeping him engaged and active so he’ll sleep well at night.

That said, you don’t want to wear him out, either, or he’ll just go to sleep earlier. Keep the play light. When sleeping time comes, provide him or her with a warm, comfortable place to sleep, such as a doggie bed or thick blanket, to cuddle up in. Sleeping with your puppy is fine if he or she is big enough, but tiny dogs can fall from tall beds and get hurt.

That said, during the winter, it can be dangerous to take puppies outside—especially small ones. Using a puppy pee pad throughout the winter months is a good strategy to use if you have small pup who could easily get lost or not hold his body temperature well. When it’s warmer, regular outdoor play is important for your puppy’s development, not to mention his enjoyment! He or she should get regular exercise and fresh air every day when it is safe.

Regularly feeding your puppy and keeping fresh water available at all times are also essential. Seeing a veterinarian is the best way to determine how much your puppy needs to eat as well as how often. He or she can also advise you on your pet’s health, breed, and other possible needs, such as medicine. You should also set up an immunization schedule and a time for your pet to be spayed or neutered while at the vet.