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Posted on 03-03-2016

Puppy season is coming.  Establishing good and healthy habits in those first few sleep-deprived weeks with a new puppy will lay the foundation for years of happiness ahead. Here’s a guide to help you care for the new addition to your family.

The first place you and your new puppy should go together is straight to the vet for a checkup. This visit will not only help ensure that your puppy is healthy and free of serious health issues, birth defects, etc., but it will help you take the first steps toward a good preventive health care routine.

Ask your vet which puppy foods he or she recommends, how often to feed, and what portion size to give your pup. Your puppy is growing and needs a food that’s formulated especially for puppies. Look for a statement from the Association of American Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) on the bag to ensure that the food you choose will meet minimum requirements. Your vet will discuss additional important information with you such as: a vaccination plan, parasite control, signs of illness to watch out for, and spaying and neutering.

Potty training is an important part of having a new puppy, and it requires patience and consistency. Until your puppy is fully vaccinated, find a place outdoors that’s inaccessible to other animals to avoid exposure to disease. For the first few months, puppies are more susceptible to sudden bouts of illnesses that can be serious if not caught in the early stages. If you observe any of the following symptoms in your puppy, call your veterinarian right away: lack of appetite, vomiting, lethargy, diarrhea or constipation, coughing, limping, or sudden behavior changes.

By teaching your puppy good manners, you’ll set your puppy up for a life of positive social interaction. Positive reinforcement is the most effective and most humane way to train. Teaching your pup basic commands such as sit, stay, down, and come will help keep your dog safe and under control in any potentially dangerous situations. Just like obedience training, proper socialization during puppyhood helps avoid behavioral problems down the road.

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