Even if you really love your new puppy, you might not know what's best for it. These 6 tips should sort that out.
Most only live between 10 and twenty years, and therefore it is important for us to make the most of their lives, no matter how short they may be.
Pet owners are often not fully aware of the nutritional requirements their pet might need in order to live a healthy life, as they are very different to those of humans. It is best to find out these things when getting a puppy, not a few years down the line, when problems might arise.
When starting out with your new best friend, it is important to understand the differences between your small-, medium-, and large breeds.
Large breed dogs have shorter lifespans than smaller breeds do.The reason for this is that they start to develop arthritis and hip dysplasia sooner, because of their big bones and muscle build.
It is advisable to put your puppy onto a good veterinarian-approved dog food immediately, which caters for the individual needs of each breed size. Besides feeding your pet a nourishing diet, there are also some other health tips of which new dog owners should take note.
A puppy should be dewormed for the first time at the age of 2 weeks, then again at 4 weeks, 6 weeks, 8 weeks, and then every month until it reaches the age of 6 months. Thereafter, every 3 to 6 months is sufficient. It is good to use a broad-spectrum dewormer that also kills off tapeworm.
If your puppy is younger than 6 weeks of age and has fleas, first ask your vet what you may use. Otherwise, there are flea treatments that are safe to use on puppies from 6 weeks and older.
Between the age of 6 to 8 weeks old, your puppy should be taken to the vet for their first inoculation and then repeated every 3 to 4 weeks until about 4 months of age. The inoculations protect your puppy against distemper, parvo virus, hepatitis and rabies.
Do not give your puppy calcium supplements as it causes skeletal disease, which is the rapid and irregular growth development of the bones.
Do not feed your puppy cow’s milk, as dogs are lactose-intolerant and milk can cause diarrhoea. If your puppy is younger than 6 weeks, and still requires milk as it cannot eat solids or kibbles yet, and the mother is not lactating for some reason, or is no longer present to administer her milk, then milk supplements are available at your nearest vet or vet store.
Do not feed your puppy cereals, Pro Nutro, or wet food, as it has absolutely no nutritional value for them. Put them directly onto a good nutritional veterinary diet as soon as they are weaned off the milk.
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Reviewed by Rolf Knicsh (veterinarian), Bird & Animal Clinic, Welgelegen (021-558 1625)