Just as people have basic needs, so too do puppies, and some of them aren’t that different. Their five basic needs (which are called ‘welfare needs’ by the experts) are described below. In fact if you own a puppy or a dog, you must provide them to your pet by law.
Your puppy should be provided with a suitable environment. This includes the following:
Ø Bed – you puppy needs a comfortable dog bed which should be in an area that is free from draughts, dry and quiet.
Ø Exercise – you should give your puppy the right amount of exercise which means not too little and not too much. This will depend on the age and breed of the puppy, so it’s best to ask your vet.
Ø Toys – just as babies need toys to play with and help them develop, so too do puppies. You should also spend a fair amount of time playing with your pet which of course is one of the main reasons for having one.
Ø Care when you aren’t there – you shouldn’t leave your puppy alone for any longer than four hours. If you have to be away, then arrange for somebody to call in and take care of it for a while.
Obviously you will need to feed your puppy, but you need to take care of how you do so.
Ø Your puppy requires a healthy diet. It needs to be balanced and to meet its nutritional needs. The amount of food that you should give it depends on its size, so again you can take some advice from the vet.
Ø Never feed your puppy on scraps from the table, and never overfeed it. Obesity in dogs is as serious a problem as it is in humans and can shorten their lives considerably.
Ø Your dog should always have access to fresh clean water; and we mean always.
You should allow your puppy the opportunity to behave as a puppy should. This has a number of elements which include:
Ø Socialisation – the more you allow your puppy to socialise with other dogs and people the better adjusted it will become. But, apart from its own mother, it shouldn’t associate with other dogs until it has been properly vaccinated.
Ø Training – You should start house training your puppy as soon as you can and then continue its training using rewards and never punishments.
Ø Identification – when in public your puppy will need to wear a collar and identification tag. Micro-chipping is also recommended which increases the chances of your puppy being returned to you should it ever get lost.
You will need to look after the health of your dog and protect it from pain and suffering
Ø Vaccinations – your puppy will need to be vaccinated when it is 8 to 9 weeks old with a booster jab a few weeks later. It will then need annual boosters on an ongoing basis.
Ø Worming and fleas – you should worm and de-flea your dog as recommended by your vet.
Ø Grooming – you should groom your puppy regularly, though be very gentle. Increase the amount of grooming as it grows.
Ø Regular checkups at the vet are recommended. It is also advisable to take out dog insurance so that you aren’t faced with any unexpected vet bills.