Dog Puppy Care - Practical Puppy Care Tips For Health & Longevity


How will proper puppy care impact the life of my dog?

It's the foundation of everything. The first round of vaccines, proper nutrition—all that's discussed at the time of them being a puppy. So it's a good place to start and get a good foundation for health in the long term.


Dr. Lander
Advanced Animal Care in Richmond

Why is it important to start good puppy care on day one?

Again, it's a good foundation for the rest of their future. We want to make sure that they're dewormed, talk about nutrition, calorie-rich foods, all of that.

How soon should I bring my puppy in to see a veterinarian for their first exam?

The first exam and the first round of vaccines, dewormer - all of that - is usually anywhere from six to nine weeks old.

What are the most common health problems in puppies?

So puppies can have congenital issues like cleft palates, et cetera. But honestly, the most common ones that we find are intestinal parasite infections. It's usually a pretty easy fix, but if they're having GI signs, et cetera, you need to bring them to the veterinarian. Also, we sometimes have puppies come in and they're not vaccinated and they've been exposed to things like parvo. So these are issues that we want to address long-term.

What are some signs and symptoms of illness in my puppy?

GI signs, especially with intestinal parasites, will be vomiting and diarrhea. Although in puppies, we definitely want to rule out more serious things like parvovirus. A lot of times puppies will eat things that they're not supposed to and they can get obstructed.

What are some signs of a healthy thriving puppy?

Very active, is always willing to eat, drink, urinate, and defecate at home. Those are the kind of things you look for at home.

When should I start training my puppy?

Day one. Training should happen on day one. No play biting, definitely teaching things like sitting, staying, laying down; all of that can really build obedience. And if you can't do that yourself, there are trainers out there that can help.

What will you be looking for when first examining my puppy?

Just his overall physical appearance. How does their coat look? How's the abdomen? Is it really distended? This might tell me maybe the dog has intestinal parasites. I'll do a fecal sample as well to look for those intestinal parasites and then overall, just well-being and activity levels.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 202-3641, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Puppy Care - FAQs


Dr. Lander
Advanced Animal Care in Richmond

What vaccinations does my puppy need?

From day one, your puppy should absolutely receive what's called DATPP. That's distemper, adenovirus, parainfluenza, and parvovirus. And from then, every three weeks, they'll receive that same vaccine, plus some later on.

Are those different than core vaccines?

The core vaccines are DATPP, distemper, adenovirus, parvo, and parainfluenza, and rabies. There are some other non-core vaccines that we recommend later on.

What are the non-core vaccines and why does my puppy need them?

The non-core vaccines (at least the ones that we administer here) are leptospirosis and bordetella. We especially recommend the bordetella vaccine for dogs that go to dog parks or boarding facilities. That's for kennel cough, which is a respiratory condition. And then leptospirosis is a bacterium they can get out in the environment, especially around water, and that can really affect their kidneys. So we'll vaccinate against that.

How often does my puppy need to go to the veterinarian for puppy vaccination?

This is really important. So you'll start them between six and nine weeks and then every three weeks after that, up until their fourth-round—especially for that parvovirus vaccine. We definitely don't want them to be exposed to unknown environments or unvaccinated dogs even three to four weeks after their last puppy vaccine.

Are there any risks associated with vaccinations?

On the whole, everything that we're injecting into an animal does come with associated risks. Most of the time it's perfectly benign and actually helps much more than it hurts. The leptospirosis vaccine, in particular, often causes a mild vaccine reaction with some swelling or pain at the injection site. Thankfully, that’s a pretty simple fix. Just call your veterinarian, and they can prescribe pain meds as needed.

Does my puppy need vaccines even if I keep them inside?

I would say absolutely. By law, the core vaccines DATPP and rabies should be given. But I also recommend the other ones that I mentioned, such as lepto to prevent kennel cough.

What if I miss one of my puppy's vaccines?

We like to stick to those three weeks in between, as it really helps with immunity. But if you've gone a little time passed that, it's not a big deal. If you go much past five weeks, we may have to reconsider this whole time period of boostering certain vaccines.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 202-3641, you can email us, or you can reach out on Facebook. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Puppy Care - FAQs 2


Dr. Sarah Crank
Advanced Animal Care - Waco

What should I expect at my puppy's first veterinary visit?

Right now, we're working curbside, but generally, we will be allowing you to come in with your puppy. You'll have a face-to-face meeting with the veterinarian, being me, if you happen to come here.

So we bring you in, and we want to get to know the puppy. Although you've not had the puppy very long, you know a little more about their habits and things. And so, we want to get to know the puppy and how the puppy's doing at home. We're going to ask you some history.

Also, it's always a good idea to make sure that you're bringing anything that the breeder or the shelter or rescue may have given you, as far as any paperwork to go over that and make sure that your puppy is up to date. We don't need to update vaccines or dewormers or anything along those lines. Cal here is my helper today, so you may see his head or part of his body pop in occasionally.

We will do a nice, detailed physical exam on your puppy, ensuring that we are checking him from nose to tail and making sure they're healthy and up to date on everything they need.

What questions should I ask my veterinarian at my puppy's first appointment?

As far as the vaccines go, ensure that your puppy is up to date and considered protected. And then, we also always want to know about everything that we can do to try and prevent fleas and heartworms and get them started on prevention.

So, those are a couple of things you want to see and just the basics as far as how things are going at home. That's going to be things like crate training, house training, what kind of food to have your puppy on, any kind of collars and toys that we can recommend. We have a lot of information because, as you can see, we have some big puppies of our own, and so we have experience in that field, and we can hopefully help give you some answers that'll make you feel more comfortable.

How often does my puppy need to go to the vet?

Your puppy will need to come in for their booster series. A booster series is several different vaccines; generally, they're known as parvo vaccines or distemper parvo vaccines. Those are going to be something that we give about every three weeks. And so, during that period, usually that's from about 6, 9, 12, and 15 weeks old, they're going to be getting vaccines each of those times. And then after that, it's yearly unless they're coming in for spay/neuter or getting a weight check or anything along those lines.

When should I get my puppy spayed or neutered?

That varies based on the veterinarian that you're working with. It also varies based on how big your puppy is and what the breed is because, for some of them, we want to wait until later on to spay or neuter them for their overall joint health.

Cal here is a Dane, and so we usually wait until a little bit later down the road to get him neutered just because, as you can see, he's only a little over a year old. He's a big boy, so he's going to grow much more than what your Chihuahua would. And so, we want to make sure that we are offsetting that and making sure they have plenty of hormones in there to help with that growth.

Usually, the earliest we will spay or neuter is six months, but that's very variable. And that's why it's great to have a one-on-one relationship with your veterinarian to talk about your puppy. And that way, you can time it and see what's healthiest for your puppy.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 369-5678, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Puppy Care - FAQs 3


Dr. Sarah Crank
Advanced Animal Care - Waco

How much biting and chewing is normal puppy behavior?

Puppies love to chew. That's why they make chew toys. We talk a lot about how your hand becomes a chew toy, and that's not ideal. Biting and playing are pretty normal, but some puppies can become a little too aggressive with it. So if you're feeling like they are doing a little too much growling or are forceful with their biting, and it's not just whenever they are excited or playful, reach out to us. It may not be quite so normal. And we might need to try and correct it.

My puppy cries a lot at night — what should I do?

Puppies are a lot like babies. They're going to cry at night. And so that's, unfortunately, part of the responsibilities that do come along with a puppy. You want to figure out what they want—are they hungry? Do they need to go out and potty? Or are they just lonely? A lot of puppies come from a litter situation. They have been around their littermates, so this may be the first time they're alone. You need to replace that with a giant stuffed animal or having them in the room with you, something to make them feel more comfortable.

Why is my puppy so aggressive?

Puppies are more playful than aggressive. It just may come across that way because they're growling, biting, chewing, and wrestling. And that's how they grew up playing with their littermates. And unfortunately, sometimes that comes off as aggressive to their owners, but mostly they're just being puppies.

How can I get my puppy to calm down?

Time and exercise, as puppies will just go and go and go. They're Energizer bunnies until they're not. And then they collapse and fall asleep for a couple of hours, but you want to work with them and get their mind going. It's more than just trying to have them exercise and run and play. You also want to be working with training. Puppies can start learning as early as just a few weeks old. And so, by training them, you're not only working their body, but you're also working their mind. And that can help calm them down and hopefully help your relationship and make you a lot closer.

Is it okay to punish my puppy?

I try not to use the word punish. I do like to say; we want to do positive reinforcement. And so, instead of negatively punishing them for something they did wrong because they are not going to retain that very well, I try to positively reinforce behaviors that I do like. So if the puppy is doing something that you want them to do, or even if it's in the direction of what you want them to do, you want to praise that, whether that be with treats or even just telling them, they're a good boy or girl. You'll get a nice little tail wag because that shows that they are just so excited that they did something that made you happy.

When should my puppy start obedience training, and can they go before getting all vaccinations?

Obedience training kind of varies. Some places have a one-on-one type of obedience training, and other places are more group. I don't usually recommend group classes just because you don't know what other puppies have been exposed to and things until after their complete vaccine series. If you want to go to obedience training, try to stick with one-on-one or have someone come to your home, but puppies definitely need to start learning as early as possible. And they are going to retain a lot of information as early as six weeks old. And so you want to start working with them pretty early on, and they can learn a little bit more, so the earlier, the better for puppies to learn. But we generally start obedience training towards the end of their booster series so that they are a bit more protected and more mature.

When is it safe to socialize my puppy, and how do I socialize my puppy with other pets and people?

Socializing is vital to your puppy's overall lifelong wellbeing. If your puppy isn't socialized until they're older, you could have many problems, whether with people or other animals. So you want to start whenever they're young. If you have animals in your home, socialize them like crazy with each other. If you have family members and friends that have otherwise healthy and vaccinated animals, invite them over. Or if you feel like you can take your puppy to their home and you're not going to have any problems as far as safety, then do that as well. But once you start getting into taking them to the dog park or daycare, we want to make sure they're fully vaccinated before you do that.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 369-5678, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Puppy Care - FAQs 4


Dr. Sarah Crank
Advanced Animal Care - Waco

How long does it take to wean a puppy from their mother?

That's variable as far as breeder preferences go. But most of the time, it's going to take about two weeks or so for the puppy to completely stop nursing on mom and be solely on puppy food. And they may be having to supplement things, but usually, between four to eight weeks, they're getting weaned.

At what age does a puppy no longer need to be bottle-fed?

Puppies can be on puppy food as early as four weeks old. They're going to benefit most from their mother's milk, which has the overall support they need for those first several weeks to get proper immunity and have excellent bone strength. And so, usually, by the time they're four weeks old, they don't need to be on puppy milk anymore, or at least not as their sole diet.

Can I give my puppy regular milk?

No. Cow milk and dog milk are not the same things. And so if you are going to be getting your puppy milk if you got it whenever it was young or something along those lines, and it still needs that, make sure that you're getting a puppy milk replacer, which is available at a lot of different hardware stores, pet supply stores, Walmart, and other places like that. You don't want to feed cow milk as that will cause them to have an upset belly. It's not going to be near as nutritionally supportive.

What kind of food should I feed my puppy?

There are a lot of varieties out there. And so you want to stick with something that your vet has recommended and that you're comfortable with—large breed, small breed—there are a lot of different types of products out there. And so some of these puppies that are going to be a larger breed adult are going to need to be on a large breed puppy food versus the ones who are going to be a small breed are going to need to be on a small breed food or a regular type that have the smaller kibbles.

Check with your vet. I'm a big Purina fan. So I do like the Purina Pro Plan variety. This guy is on a Purina Pro Plan large breed puppy food; as you can see, he's enormous. He needed that for his overall bone health. You certainly want to talk to your vet and ensure that you're feeding them the right thing. Because food is where they start, it's going to be something that affects their lives overall.

Do puppies need to drink water?

They do. And some puppies don't know they do. One, if they get weaned a little too early or if they've recently been weaned, they may not realize that they need to take the time to drink and understand what drinking is. So you may have to work with them by introducing them to the water bowl, kind of putting some on their face, and having them realize what they need to do with it. Other times, puppies are a little too busy and preoccupied with playing to take time to drink. So make sure that your puppy is adequately drinking water.

How often do puppies need to eat?

It's a bit variable depending upon how big your puppy is. For the tiny ones, usually less than five pounds or so, those puppies need to be eating at least about four times a day. And this is for puppies that are a little older as far as six weeks or so once they're weaned. About four times a day is a pretty good rule of thumb. But for most dogs, three times a day is usually what we're going to be starting with as far as when they're pretty young puppies.

How do I know that my puppy is getting enough to eat?

Some puppies seem like they want to eat and eat and eat, and they'll have a nice little chunky belly going on. Others are too preoccupied to sit down and take the time to eat. And so you can actually look on your bag of food and look at the side panel or the back, and it'll have a chart on there that recommends a daily amount that your puppy should be feeding based upon the adult weight or how much they currently weigh. That's a pretty good rule of thumb as far as the guideline. And then you want to watch your puppy to see if they're getting too chunky or if you can count their ribs, and that'll allow you to set the amount of puppy food.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 369-5678, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Puppy Care - FAQs 5


Dr. Sarah Crank
Advanced Animal Care - Waco

What is the most important thing to know about raising a puppy?

The commitment and time you need are the two most important things about raising a puppy. Puppies are going to be around. They're going to turn into adult dogs. They're not going to stay little puppies forever. So, you have to realize that. They're going to turn into big puppies at some point or another, and eventually adults and then senior dogs. So, you need to make sure that you have the willingness to commit to that and to that time and make sure that you're putting in the effort and the budget for it.

What should I consider before adopting or buying a puppy?

You want to consider the breeds you are interested in and how they match your lifestyle. So, in the case of an energetic breed, make sure that your lifestyle is pretty active. Because if you have a more sedate-type lifestyle, you may be in for a rude awakening as far as how much energy your puppy has.

What should I look for in a puppy?

It depends on your lifestyle and what type of breed you're looking for—a small breed or a larger, giant breed. You want to ensure that the puppy's personality matches what you're able to do for them. It's also important to know how big they're going to be whenever they're an adult. And I know that can be a little hard if you're getting the puppy from a shelter or a rescue, as they might not know what breed mix they are.

You also don't want a puppy interfering with housing or anything like that, especially if you're renting. All of those are things you have to take into consideration whenever looking at puppies.

How can I puppy-proof my house?

It's similar to baby-proofing your house. Anything they can get into or chew on, you need to get that out of harm's way—shoes, dirty laundry, anything like that, that they could inadvertently chew on and destroy or ingest—the same thing with chemicals or toxins that they can get into. You also want to get a trash can that they can't flip the lid up on. If you have cabinets that are pretty easy to open or push open, you'll want to get child locks on those. Anything that you can think of that a child could get into that could be harmful; then you'll also need to puppy-proof that.

Is it possible to care for a puppy while working full-time?

It is. People do it every day, although it's a big commitment. You certainly want to make sure that you can provide that puppy with the appropriate time once you are home from work because they will need training. They are going to need to be able to be let out during the day sometimes.

So, If you have a tiny puppy, you have to keep in mind that you may need to be going home during your lunch to let them out just because they won't be able to hold it as far as needing to urinate or have a bowel movement. So, that may be something to consider as far as getting an older puppy or an adult dog instead.

How long can a puppy be left alone?

It depends on how old they are, but most of the time, I usually say that a puppy will need to be let out to urinate based on their month of age—they only have about one to two hours per month of age that they can hold their bladder.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 369-5678, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Dog Puppy Care - FAQs 6


Dr. Sarah Crank
Advanced Animal Care - Waco

What can I give my puppy for teething?

They make a lot of great toys out there. I always recommend a stuffingless toy if they need something soft. If it has stuffing in it or a squeaker, they will rip it out and potentially eat it. And that could lead to you coming to see me because they may need surgery. But I like the Kong toys. They are overall pretty durable, and they're also still a little easy on their teeth. They have a lot of variety, and also the Nylabones. They make some pretty good ones as well. You want something durable but not going to break their teeth.

What is the best way to potty train my dog?

I'm a big fan of crate training. Many people are not fans of that because they feel like it's harmful or doesn't lend itself to a great relationship with your puppy by using it. But I've come to find that if you crate train the puppy when they're young, they can be overall house trained. And then they can stay out of their crate once they're a little older and can be more trustworthy.

What is positive reinforcement training?

Positive reinforcement works a lot differently than scolding your puppy. It seems to work along the lines that the puppy remembers what you're enforcing as far as good behavior. So if your puppy is doing something wrong, try to push them in the right direction. And if they start going that direction, give them all the praise that you absolutely can. So whether that be treats, giving them their favorite toy, just a good boy or a good girl and a nice little pet, those things can help them out.

How do I teach my puppy basic commands?

Treats or a toy are your best friend, or even just praise in general. You want to be teaching them to sit, stay, and lay down. Those are going to be some commands that could be life-saving for them in the future.

If you still have other questions and you'd like to reach out to us, you can call us directly at (859) 369-5678, you can email us, or you can reach out on social media. But please do reach out, and we'll get back to you as fast as we can.

Service Category: 

Share this Content