There is nothing more exciting than having a brand new family member!
If you brought home a puppy a week ago, but have no idea how to start raising it, do not panic! Raising a puppy can be a lot of fun, but it can also take serious time away from the rest of your life.
It’s like taking care of a newborn baby! It’s a full-time job!
In this guide, you will learn everything about new puppy parenthood and being the best dog owner!
Table of Contents
How Much Work Is a Puppy Exactly?
To answer the question “How much work is a puppy?” the answer depends on many factors, like the dog itself, the dog owners themselves, resources, money, time, etc.
Different dogs require different amounts of care! The only correct answer is the puppies need A LOT of work and time!
Whether you have a puppy or an older dog, it takes a lot of time and patience to take care of one.
Let’s break down the important aspects of raising a puppy so you can be ready for any situation!
How to Raise a Puppy: Important Things to Remember
There are just too many factors to consider when raising a puppy!
To make things easier, we have categorized all the essential parts of taking care of a puppy and raising it to be healthy and safe!
You want to start by feeding the right food to the right dog at the right time and in the right amounts!
Since the dog is still young, it can be pretty daunting to figure out what exactly you can and cannot feed it. After all, you want to puppy to have a healthy diet!
According to the American Kennel Club, you can feed your puppy on its first year according to this time frame (1):
- At 6-12 weeks, your puppy should be fed puppy food four times a day to get the appropriate nutrients. You can consult your veterinarian to create a specially formulated diet.
- DO NOT give your puppy adult food as they are not nutritious for a young puppy.
- At 3-6 months, you can gradually decrease the feedings from four times to three times a day.
- If your puppy is still quite pudgy, keep feeding it smaller portions.
- At 6-12 months, you can reduce feeding to 2 times a day.
- Continue feeding your puppy nutrient-rich food.
- This is also the age where you slowly transition to adult maintenance food.
- After 1 year, you can start feeding your puppy fewer portions (around half-portions) but still twice a day.
Types of Food
As mentioned earlier, it is important to feed your puppy the right things! Dog foods usually come in canned or kibble, and either will do!
- KEEP IN MIND: Some canned foods contain meat only, which is not a balanced diet for the puppy.
- Kibble is the ideal type of food for a puppy as it is balanced for the dog, regardless of age!
As for human foods that you can feed your puppy, most lean meats will be good, such as chicken, turkey, or beef. Remember to keep these in minimal amounts!
AVOID meat with cooked bones or ham bones!
Vegetables like carrots, broccoli, or asparagus also make great treats and are healthy for your puppy! Fruits like apples, bananas, and watermelon are okay, too, as long as there are no seeds.
Remember to keep these to a minimum as well!
Some fruits and veggies to AVOID are grapes, avocado, mushrooms, onions, garlic, and potatoes. If you are unsure about what to feed your dog, do prior research or consult your veterinarian!
When it comes to potty training, you have to start them off as early as possible! One of the most effective methods of potty training is to crate-train them!
How to Crate-Train Your Puppy
Crate training is one of the most useful techniques for toilet training.
The idea behind using a crate for house training is to give your puppy its own little space to call its own. Think of it as their territory or puppy home.
Once your puppy is accustomed to its crate, when it has to go to the bathroom, it will instinctively not go in its little puppy home, forcing them out.
It is up to the owner to let them outside and do their business there and not in their little puppy pen.
Make sure to let your puppy out as soon as possible! Otherwise, it may go inside the house or in its crate, and you do not want your puppy to think that the indoors is the bathroom!
Additional Potty Training Tips:
- If there’s no one home, your puppy can retreat to a stack of puppy pads to do its business.
- Monitor your puppy’s diet as it can affect how often they’ll need to go.
- Set a house-training schedule for when to let your dog out.
- Remember to reward your puppy for doing its business outside!
Of course, it is also important to make sure your puppy stays clean and well-maintained!
If you are unsure where to start with grooming, you can take your new puppy to a professional groomer and see how it reacts to everything.
This also helps the puppy warm up to being handled in unfamiliar areas or techniques!
Here are some tips if you want to groom your puppy on your own!
Take note of your puppy’s coat type and consult your vet on what kind of shampoo and conditioner to use, as some puppies may have an allergic reaction to some shampoos!
Lukewarm water only! Keep your puppy relaxed as it cannot handle extreme temperatures. Don’t forget to be gentle and careful around the mouth, ears, nose, and eyes.
Lastly, rinse thoroughly!
You can dry them off using a blow dryer but not on high settings. As much as possible, find a gentle blow dryer.
People forget to take care of their puppy’s teeth, which is essential for puppy care!
Start brushing your puppy’s teeth early, but wait until it has adult teeth (at around 6 months). This may take some getting used to, so best to start as early as possible.
You can consult your vet on what kind of toothpaste to use as well! NEVER USE HUMAN TOOTHPASTE!
Aside from brushing, give your puppy a chew toy for teething. Chewing teething toys can help relieve pain when puppies start to lose their baby teeth and gain razor-sharp teeth.
Trimming your dog’s nails is another thing that people forget about! Long nails can be painful for the puppy, so best to start trimming them early.
This may also take some getting used to, so don’t forget to reassure your puppy by handling their paws often and keeping them comfortable.
Use special dog nail clippers when trimming, and don’t forget to be GENTLE!
If you are nervous about doing it for the first time, you can take your puppy to a dog groomer and watch how they do it and how the puppy reacts!
With regards to exercise, different puppy breeds require different amounts of exercise. Generally, you want to exercise your puppy for five times their age (in months) minutes.
So three months old = 15 minutes of exercise, etc.
Of course, this rule of thumb may change depending on if your puppy gets tired easily or not. You can adjust the time frame as you monitor your puppy’s activity.
You can use simple games, take them out for a walk, or let them roam free and explore as their form of exercise and staying active.
Additionally, your puppy will also monitor its own activity and will rest when it needs to. If it still has a lot of puppy energy, it will keep going. Otherwise, it may be time to take a break.
The owner should adjust to the dog’s pace as well.
Avoid over-exercising! Your puppy can only take so much physical activity at a young age!
Whether with other pets or pet parents, socialization is vital for your puppy’s mental health!
If a puppy gets along well with other humans and dogs, it can become more behaved and relaxed.
You can take your puppy on a playdate with another friend’s puppy or take them to training centers and daycares, where they can meet other dogs all while receiving puppy training.
A walk in the park may work well as it may encounter other owners walking their puppies!
It may be a quick interaction, but puppies must also be exposed to new sounds, sights, and outside elements.
It is crucial that the puppy also learns to be comfortable and trusting with its new owners.
After being separated from its mother, dogs may experience separation anxiety, and you need to be present and attentive to them!
You cannot forget about your dog’s physical health as well! Keep a close eye on your pup, and look out for any weird behaviors to prevent sickness or injuries!
Remember to take your puppy for regular check-ups and watch out for any canine illnesses!
If your puppy starts experiencing symptoms or anything unusual, take them to the vet to get treated immediately!
Make sure your puppy is fully vaccinated as early as possible to prevent diseases! Remember to get regular booster shots throughout the puppy’s life as well.
Spaying and neutering your puppy has many medical and behavioral benefits as well! Neutering prevents cancer and increases their lifespan.
Pets who have been spayed or neutered are also likely to be more behaved.
You can start spaying or neutering your puppy at around eight weeks to nine months old, as long as they are healthy.
Adult dogs can also be neutered but are likely to experience more health complications, so it’s best to get it done early!
As always, safety first!
If you have a puppy who likes to run around the house a lot, always remember to puppy-proof certain areas!
These include areas with many breakables, wires, or other things that could harm your puppy.
You can prevent accidents and injuries by setting up baby gates or barriers to prevent your dog from entering areas that you don’t want it to.
If you are too cautious and don’t want your puppy running around all the time, you can also set up a puppy pen!
- Puppy pens are great if you cannot keep an eye on your dog because you are busy during the day.
- Your puppy sleeps and uses the bathroom here, too (a good way to potty train it)!
- You can also use a pen to teach it to be house trained!
- It also gives you less to clean up since it’s just in one area!
- A pen keeps your puppy safe and secure! Think of it as giving your dog its own bedroom!
Additional Puppy Tips to Consider
Now that we have covered the basics of taking care of your pup, here are some additional tips that could make taking care of your puppy easier!
Find Ways to Keep Your Puppy Occupied
Since you cannot monitor your dog 24 hours a day, you should find ways to keep them occupied and active.
You can keep them entertained with safe chew toys or by letting them roam free and explore their surroundings.
It is also a good idea to introduce different types of chew toys to your dog. It may get tired of the same chew toy, so buy ones of different shapes and sizes!
As mentioned earlier, you can take your dog to a daycare center! At least you know it will be occupied, mingling with other puppies, and taken care of well!
Being busy for a few hours with work and not attending to your dog may cause separation anxiety.
So remember to spend some time with your dog when you are done with work for the day!
Reward Your Puppy for Its Good Habits
Positive reinforcement goes a long way, even for an adult dog!
From teaching it how to sit to use the bathroom outside, puppies rely a lot on positive reinforcement (What’s in it for me?) to perform good habits.
Give them a treat every time they exhibit good behavior!
With the proper conditioning, your puppy will be well behaved and potty trained, even as a grown-up dog, and eliminate bad habits!
Get a Puppy Sitter
If you have to go out for work and have no one to look after your dog, you can hire a puppy sitter to do the job!
You can hire a pet sitter to be your dog walker, feeder, cleaner, all while you are away!
This is a good tip as it exposes the puppy to new people and eliminates separation anxiety. With a bit of time, your puppy will soon warm up and trust the sitter as much as you!
Pros and Cons of Owning a Puppy
Before you raise a puppy, you have to understand what you will be getting yourself into! Raising a puppy requires a lot of time, and you cannot just decide to do so on a whim!
Here are some pros and cons to help you!
Pros of a Puppy
There is a reason many people own dogs as they have a lot of positive effects on the household! Here are just a few of these reasons!
Makes Family and Household Happy
Having a cute furry friend in the house will boost the positive energy in the household!
Imagine coming home after a bad day and seeing your little puppy be the first to greet you at the front door! There is no greater feeling in the world!
Additionally, puppies can help you overcome emotional problems and are also a great stress reliever after a tiring day!
If you live alone and are not comfortable having roommates, you can rely on a puppy to keep you company!
Helps With Your Exercise
If you are not the type to exercise, having that 4-legged creature around could encourage you to do so!
When you are too lazy to walk, you can make it more fun and go walking with your pup instead! Dog walking is great for both you AND your dog as it is good exercise for the both of you!
It may be best to walk in calm weather conditions, not during winter or summer break.
As mentioned earlier, having a puppy is just like having a new baby!
After bringing your first puppy home, you may find yourself getting frustrated or annoyed for the first few weeks.
But after performing one task after the other, you will learn to be more patient, just like how a parent cares for their baby!
Cons of a Puppy
On the other hand, there are reasons why people would prefer not to have a puppy and would rather spend their time and energy on other things.
Here are a few drawbacks to owning a puppy.
A LOT of Work
It’s no surprise that puppies are A LOT of work!
There is a lot of time and energy taken out of your day just by taking care of your dog that you do not have time for other things.
On top of being a lot of hard work, puppies are also expensive! Not only are they costly to buy or adopt, but they are also expensive to take care of!
This includes buying new food, paying for check-ups, grooming, and a bunch of other expenses.
It’s not just dog expenses; you should also consider that your pup may cause damage to your furniture or valuables, especially if they are not trained properly. You will need cash to fix those too!
So, Should I Get a Puppy?
The correct answer is: Get a puppy ONLY if you are willing to devote your life to it.
If you are willing to devote money, time, and care to it, then, by all means, adopt one (or even a few puppies) from a shelter or rescue group!
Both old and new puppy owners (anyone who owns other pets, for that matter) will tell you that puppies can only be handled by those who are really committed to taking care of them.
Otherwise, puppies may not be a priority right now.
If you decide to ultimately bring a new dog home, here are some LAST-MINUTE TIPS:
- Set aside extra money for its expenses for the next few months.
- Have extra help (from family, friends, or dog walkers) at the back of your mind.
- Show the same amount of care for when your puppy becomes an adult dog.
And there you have it! Everything you need to become the new puppy parents! And congratulations too!
Taking care of a new puppy is a lot of hard work, especially during the first few months.
But with a bit of patience and extra effort, you will be just fine!
Trust us! Cleaning and looking after them will all be worth it when it’s all said and done.
We hope this guide helped teach you all about raising a puppy! We wish you the best of luck, and we hope your new puppy grows up to be happy and healthy!