Puppy Diaries #3. Caring For and Training Our New Pup

Dear Diary,

Sommer has been home for a few weeks and we’re getting into a groove – she’s teaching me as much as I’m teaching her! I’m noticing a distinct rhythm to our days. The schedule revolves around eating, playing, exercising, chewing (with any luck, on a bully stick and not the furniture or carpet), peeing, pooping, and napping – lots of pup naps! What a relief it was, after a couple of weeks at home, she finally started sleeping a seven-hour stretch at night. Getting sleep helped my mood considerably! Potty accidents are still a problem, and I try not to lose patience with her as well as myself. I know that when she has an accident, it’s my fault for not paying attention to how long it’s been since she last went out. But in my defense, it can be hard to keep track of the dog, the kids, my work, dinner, laundry and every other thing that’s going on in the three-ring circus we call life. Even with the challenges and occasional frustrations, there are moments each day that make the hard work and craziness worthwhile, such as the eager greeting we get not only when we come home from being out, but when we leave a room and re-enter it two minutes later. There’s nothing like a puppy’s “welcome home”!

Acclimating to Life With a Pup

Our first weeks home with Sommer were a rollercoaster ride – highs, lows and everything in between. Every morning we’d wake up to her little barks. Something is barking! What is it? Oh, wait! WE HAVE A PUPPY. Yay! That was certainly a daily high point that made every morning feel like Christmas morning. Then we’d scramble downstairs to release her from her crate, and she’d be so excited, she’d pee on the floor. Ugh. A low point!

We soon learned though, that in a world of high-tech, there’s was a lot to be said for the simple pleasures of owning a pup. Cuddling, tossing a ball around the house, creating homemade obstacle courses (she was surprisingly nimble at Army-crawling under furniture) became favorite family pastimes, and lured our boys from their iPads and phones. For our boys, who are ages 12 and 15, Sommer provides a means to release pent-up energy after school, and an emotional outlet for their love and affection, two things that can be hard for kids to demonstrate as they get older.

The main challenge as Sommer acclimated to her new environment, with no littermates and a new pack leader in me, was sleep. Her first two nights at home were the worst and were accompanied by loud crying. I gritted my teeth and did not let her out of her crate, because I felt it would teach her that loud crying would result in her getting what she wanted. That was one behavior I did not want to encourage! It was tough, and I gritted my teeth and had to restrain myself from running to her crate to pick her up, but we got through it.

In addition to trying to discourage crying, we also tried hard not to reinforce negative behavior by responding to her when she jumped up for attention or nipped. I made sure that no one in the family petted her, picked her up or paid any attention to her when she jumped or nipped. A firm “no” and a turned back was enough to stop her in her tracks. Fortunately, Sommer instinctually needed to be near me as her pack leader, and any time I rebuffed her for negative behavior, she quickly corrected in order not to be exiled. It was amazing how quickly she developed habits, and I tried to make them good ones!

As we acclimated to each other, I also made an effort to pick up on Sommer’s signals and body language. What was she trying to tell me? Her pounce-y and bouncy self was right at home with our family, but if another dog came near, she would jump on me to be picked up, even when we were in our own yard. Every person on the planet has something that causes them stress, and apparently, other dogs are Sommer’s stressor. Ha! So, I signed up for a Puppy Obedience class in order to socialize her and help her be more accustomed to being around her “peers.”

Caring For Our Pup

Within a couple weeks of bringing her home, we were at the vet’s office for vaccinations and a check-up. Weeks later, on the second visit, she had a couple more vaccinations, and after I brought her home, she became listless didn’t want to get off the couch or eat a treat. Alarmed, I called the vet, who directed me to bring her back for observation and treatment for a reaction to the vaccination. Sommer was admitted to the animal hospital for a few hours for treatment and observation. As I handed over my credit card and watched the vet tech carry her away from me, my stomach was in knots. Fortunately, I’d signed up for pet insurance, so that was one less worry. Still, I exhaled a huge sigh of relief when I got the call that she had recovered well and was ready to be picked up.

Puppy Diaries #2: Picking Our Pup and Bringing Her Home (8-12 Weeks)

Dear Diary,

After an exhilarating and exhausting seven-hour drive, including stops at every. single. wayside. between Kenosha, Wis. and Minneapolis, we made it! We are home, and we have a pup. Her name is Sommer (Norwegian for “summer” and pronounced the same). She’s eight weeks old, weighs five pounds, and wakes up every few hours to go outside. Somehow our boys manage to sleep through the whining and crying (Sommer’s, not mine), so the nighttime duties are left to my husband and I. Potty accidents, worries about whether she’s eating and drinking enough, appointments for vaccinations — the experience is uncannily similar to bringing home a baby. In a nutshell? Bringing home Sommer has been intense, hilarious, fun, heartwarming and a little crazy at times.

Puppy Pick-Up Day Arrives

You would’ve thought I was waiting to hear whether I’d been accepted into the Ivy League by the way I was pacing a path into the carpeting that August afternoon. In reality, I was waiting for a text from our breeder to find out which puppy of the five in the litter would be ours. I shouldn’t have been tense, but we were last on the list, so we had no control over which pup we’d get. And, I’d made a big, fat rookie pup mom error: Via the photos and emails from the breeder during the previous eight weeks, I’d gotten attached to one particular pup.

Our breeder had warned against such foolishness. My higher self, the one that meditates, eats vegan and practices yoga daily, understood that all the pups were equally fabulous and any one of them would make a great dog. Our boys certainly felt that way, as they changed favorites every week. But my less-evolved self had fallen head over heels with one pup: The little girl wearing the pink collar.

Admittedly, the fact that we have two (human) boys had me naturally leaning toward a girl, even if it was a canine girl. When Nicole shared that there were four girls and one boy in the litter and that the first family to pick wanted a boy, I was happy as could be. Still, of the four girls, the girl in the pink collar reached out and grabbed my heart. It wasn’t that she was the cutest or most photogenic, although of course, she was both cute and photogenic. In the photos, she had a look on her face that said she wasn’t 100% convinced about this photo-taking operation, which made me chuckle. She looked like one cool customer. Everything inside me screamed, “that’s our dog.” I shared photos of the litter with my mom, and she picked the girl with the pink collar. I showed the photos to a friend and my sister-in-law, and they each picked the girl with the pink collar. Still, I didn’t share my wish with Nicole, as I didn’t want to seem desperate or weird, two things that I was starting to wonder about myself.

On the day that families went to the breeder to pick their pup, we were an hour away in Chicago, visiting friends. Because we were last on the list, we couldn’t pick our dog until the end of the day, which wouldn’t allow us enough time to make the seven-hour drive home to Minneapolis. We’d agreed that whatever pup we got, our breeder would send her to a nearby trainer for a night, and we would pick her up the next morning. All afternoon, I paced as I tried with varying levels of success to keep my mind occupied. Finally, at 5 p.m., a text came in from our breeder, saying: “Congrats! The pink collar girl is yours!”

I won’t pretend I didn’t dance around the room and cry a bit while screaming, “The pink collar girl! She’s ours!”

Meet Sommer! The Pup behind Puppy Diaries.

I breathlessly texted back, telling her Sommer’s name and sharing that she was the one we secretly wanted all along. Our breeder responded that two different families had decided to take Sommer, but wound up choosing a different pup. These happy coincidences seem to happen with each litter, she said, and it never ceases to amaze her how things usually work out for the best.

Faith in the universe affirmed, we set off the next morning for the trainer’s house. There we found a gaggle of pups romping in an outside pen. Some were digging at the edge of the fence, but Sommer was wisely keeping an observant eye from a distance. The trainer handed her over, and I scooped her up in my arms and snuggled her.

What Causes Bad Breath in Puppies?

Bad breath is one of the most common symptoms in dogs and is a very common complaint from dog owners. It most often occurs in adult or senior dogs but puppies can get bad breath too!  Learn more about the Causes of Bad Breath in Dogs? and Why Some Dogs Breath Smells like Fish.

Below, we will review common causes of bad breath in puppies, how to stop bad breath, and review products you can use to make puppy’s bad breath better.

Here’s Why Puppy’s Get Bad Breath

The reasons puppies get bad breath can be some of the same reasons as older dogs although there are some differences in puppies.

Below are 8 possible causes of bad breath in puppies:

  1. Ingestion of Stinky Stuff. Puppies explore the world with their mouths and can chew on and/or ingest things as they explore. This is especially true with puppies that are teething between the ages of 8 weeks and 6 months. Learn more about Teething in Puppies. Puppies may ingest foul and sometimes stinky things that can cause bad breath. Some examples include dead animals they may find in the yard, mulch, compost, trash, and/or spoiled food.
  2. Ingestion of Foreign Bodies. Puppies may ingest un-digestible objects that can lead to problems that cause bad breath. Ingested items can get stuck in the stomach and intestinal tract that can cause vomiting and bad breath. Learn more about Gastrointestinal Foreign Bodies in Dogs and Puppies.
  3. Tooth Abscess. A tooth abscess is an infection around the tooth that can cause bad breath. Although less common in puppies, it is possible to have a bad tooth at any age.
  4. Oral Ulcerations and Infections. Ulcers in the mouth can occur from a puppy that ingests or licks caustic substances. Because puppies are curious and commonly get into things causing chemical exposure that can lead to oral ulcerations and infections. Caustic substances that a puppy may lick or chew on include cleaning chemicals, soap and detergents, laundry or dishwater detergent pods and liquid potpourri.  These agents can cause oral ulcerations and infections that cause bad breath in puppies. Another cause for an oral infection is wounds that occur from a fight. Some dogs sustain bites around and in the mouth from fights with other animals.
  5. Respiratory Infections. Pneumonia and infections of the trachea can cause foul smelling breath. It can be especially noticeable during exhalation (breathing out) and coughing.
  6. Problems with Bones. Some bones given to puppies can break and splinter causing trauma to the oral tissues. Bones can also become lodged in the roof of the mouth or around the lower teeth and jaw. This can cause trauma to the tissues, an infection, and foul odor.
  7. Digestive Problems.  Some puppies may have digestive problems that can lead to bad breath. Feeding a high quality easily digestible food formulated for puppies can help digestion.  In addition, puppies commonly have worms which should be treated by your veterinarian with a deworming medication.
  8. Other. There are additional causes of foul breath in dogs that don’t commonly occur in puppies but are common in adult dogs. They may include gum disease, periodontal disease, oral tumors, lung cancer, kidney disease, and uncontrolled diabetes (diabetic ketoacidosis). Some pet owners even describe their dogs breath to have a foul fish type odor.  Learn more in Why Does My Dog’s Breath Smell Like Fish?

If you suspect your puppy has any of the problems identified above, is not eating, vomiting, appears lethargic, is coughing, and/or seems painful around the mouth, please see your veterinarian as soon as possible. They can help you evaluate your puppy for abnormalities that can cause bad breath.

How to Help Stop Bad Breath in Puppies

Below are a few tips to help stop bad breath in puppies:

Brush those teeth. One of the best things you can do to help bad breath in puppies is to brush their teeth. Make it a positive experience. Pick out a veterinary approved toothbrush and veterinary toothpaste that has an appealing flavor to your puppy. Start slowly by touching your puppy’s teeth and gums gently and rewarding your puppy with praise for positive behavior.  Learn more about How to Brush Your Dog Teeth. Here is an article on dental products for dogs.

Provide safe chew toys. Ensure your puppy has plenty of safe chew toys that cannot be ingested. Some puppies will chew on and ingest toys, which can lead to life-threatening obstruction in the stomach or intestines. Ensure they are safe for your puppy’s size and are not a choking hazard.

Puppy Diaries #1: Deciding To Get A New Puppy (0-8 Weeks)

Welcome to the Puppy Diaries! Penned by a respected published author and first-time pup mom Laura Tiebert, the Puppy Diaries series chronicles the ups and downs of pup parenthood: from deciding to get a family dog to celebrating the pup’s milestones, health scares and even a ruined cherished rug. Revealing new pup-parent mistakes and unexpected successes, leading to advice, tips and plenty of humor, the Puppy Diaries will take the reader through the first year of life for Sommer, her pup. Sit, Stay and Enjoy!

Dear Diary,
Today we made the commitment we’ve been tiptoeing around for years. I called the dog breeder and asked her to put our name on the list for an upcoming litter. True confession: My emotions are careening back and forth like a ping-pong ball. I’m scared. And excited. And scared again. What have I done? I’m giddy with anticipation and more than a little anxious. Because I know our lives are about to change – forever.

Going into Puppy Parenthood with Eyes Wide Open

The unvarnished truth about the day I called the breeder? I was a reluctant puppy owner-to-be. Over the years, I’d witnessed friends and family going through all sorts of challenging experiences because of their dogs, some of them expensive (emergency vet calls at 2 a.m., anyone?) and others gut-wrenching (as was the case when my brother’s Sheepdog/Poodle mix was nearly mauled to death by a bulldog in daycare). The puppy love blinders were off, and I was well aware of the reality of dog parenthood.

In fact, two years before I made that call, we’d put down a deposit and had our names on the list to get a puppy. We started picking out names: Scarlet if our pup’s fur was red; Coco if her fur was brown. Months later, with the pups newly born, I got a classic case of cold feet. Although I felt like the world’s biggest curmudgeon, I followed my gut. I called the breeder and backed out, saying the time wasn’t right.

Breaking from the Script 

The kids were disappointed, to say the least. It didn’t help that we’d even received photos of the pups in the litter – teeny tiny fur balls of pure adorableness. Cuteness aside, I simply had too many misgivings. My family had a dog when I was growing up, but as an adult, I was looking at puppy ownership through new eyes. I already felt burdened with enough responsibility for one lifetime. I had a full-time job, my husband was commuting three hours a day for his job, and we had two young boys. Add to that the fact that I can hardly keep a plant alive, much less a living creature (ask Richard, our short-lived hamster who died an untimely death due to a cracked window. Who knew gerbils were so sensitive to a draft?).

And then, life happened, and my husband received a job offer in another state – a job offer that was so good, we couldn’t refuse. My gut feeling was vindicated. That night, with our family sitting around the kitchen table, my husband broke the news to our boys: We’re moving. Our boys broke down in tears. Through his tears, our older son sobbed, “After we move, can we at least get a puppy?”

“Yes!” my husband responded, “Yes, we can.” I looked at him in alarm. “What did you just say,” I screamed inwardly. “You’re going off script! A puppy isn’t part of the deal!” But it was too late. A deal had been struck.

Fast forward a year and a half in our new home later. The family was settled in, and it was time. A deal was a deal — even if I didn’t make the deal.

As it turns out, I was right to seriously consider the timing of taking on a puppy. As my mom sagely put it: “Your life will never be the same.” As much as I hate to admit it, Mom was right.  Our family’s life has forever changed – but in the very best way.

Next Entry: Bringing Our Puppy Home

“The Puppy Diaries” is an ongoing series that explores the journey of pet parenthood, from making the decision to get a puppy, to bringing a puppy home, to the joys and struggles of training, and beyond. Laura Tiebert is an experienced nonfiction writer and first-time puppy parent who lives in Minnesota with her husband, two sons and a new puppy. 

Are you puppy crazy or considering adding a puppy to your family? Sign up for our Puppy Diaries email newsletter and get the next entry directly to your inbox.

What We Learned: How to Make a Good Decision About a New Puppy

Do your homework when determining whether to get a puppy (yes, there’s homework involved, if you do it right). My research boiled the decision down to two key factors that determined our ability to be good puppy owners: the availability of time, and money. My advice? If you are short on either, proceed slowly and with caution.

Understanding the Costs of Getting a Puppy

According to the American Pet Products Association, Americans spent an estimated $62.75 billion on their pets in 2016 (and that number is estimated to grow to $69.36 billion in 2017!). Estimates for the cost of a puppy in the first year range from $770-$1,285. There is great variation in cost, depending on whether you’re getting a puppy from a breeder or a shelter.

Here’s How to Help a Puppy Who Will Not Eat

Having a puppy that will not eat can be an emergency. Puppies less than three months, especially the small and toy breed dogs, are predisposed to hypoglycemia (low blood sugar) when they don’t eat.  Examples of toy breed dogs include Yorkshire terrier, Maltese, Shih tzu, Pomeranian,  Chihuahua, Cavalier King Charles spaniel, Havanese, Italian greyhound, Miniature pinscher, Toy poodle, and Pug.  The inability to regular blood sugar in young dogs is referred to as juvenile hypoglycemia. In fact, there are special care needs for toy breeds. Learn more about Caring for Toy Breed Dogs.

What Do You Do When Your Puppy Will Not Eat?

What do you do when your puppy won’t eat?  Look at our 5 steps below to help your puppy.

Step 1. Look for Why.

The first thing to do is to try to figure out why.  Some reasons a puppy will not eat can be minor and others can be serious and even life-threatening.

Causes for a puppy will not eat include:

  • Gastrointestinal parasites (worms) such as roundworms, hookworms, whipworms
  • Viral infections such as parvovirus or coronavirus
  • Intestinal protozoan infections such as Coccidia or Giardia
  • Bacterial infections
  • Ingestion of toxins
  • Stomach upset from a sudden diet change or table foods
  • Getting into the trash and eating spoiled food
  • Ingestion of a foreign body (which is an indigestible object such as sock, toy, panties)
  • Other –congenital problems such as a liver shunt, heart defects, as well as many other problems that can affect organ function

Step 2. Evaluate your puppy.

Carefully look at your puppy for additional symptoms besides the not eating. Look for any underlying causes as well as evaluate your puppy for additional abnormal symptoms. Look for:

  • Vomiting and/or diarrhea
  • Worms in the stool
  • Fleas or ticks
  • Lethargy or weakness
  • Trembling, muscle twitching, and seizures
  • Limping
  • Signs of pain or discomfort
  • Coughing or trouble breathing
  • Pale gums

 

Step 3.  Get Help.

Puppies can get sick and go downhill quickly. Don’t wait too long to seek medical help for a puppy that will not eat. If you see any of the signs above, please see or talk to your veterinarian.

Your veterinarian may ask you about exposure to trash or toxins, history of deworming, vaccine history, and additional symptoms such as vomiting or diarrhea. They may check your puppies body temperature, check a blood glucose level, perform a fecal examination, as well as other tests depending on your puppies examination and clinical signs.

Step 4. How To Help a Puppy That Will Not Eat

  • Below are tips that can encourage puppies to eat.
  • Begin by offering your puppy his regular food once again. If he refuses, continue on to the next step.
  • Moisten the regular food with water of chicken broth for moisture and flavoring. Sometimes make the food more appealing.
  • Offer different canned puppy foods to help stimulate your puppy’s appetite. The best approach is to add a small amount of canned food to his regular food and hope that he eats the combination of regular food with some of the canned. Canned food can be more palatable and has the additional benefit of having a higher water content which helps with hydration.
  • Feed a bland diet such as a combination of boiled hamburger with rice. You can purchase a commercial version of this diet e.g. Hill’s Science Diet i/d or make your own. Get the recipe here –  How to Make a Bland Diet for Your Puppy.
  • Heat a small amount of canned food in the microwave for a few seconds to release the aromas (but ensure it is not too hot to the touch) to stimulate interest in the food.
  • Offered baby food such as a chicken flavored food.
  • Syringe feed. When mixed with water, baby food or canned dog food mixed with water can be easy to pull up in a syringe to gently syringe feed. Sometimes getting a small amount of food into a dog or puppy can encourage them to want to eat. Please make sure your puppy is alert and has a normal swallowing reflex to minimize the risk for aspiration.
  • Only feed a small amount at a time to ensure your puppy tolerates it and doesn’t start vomiting.
  • Besides food, encourage your puppy to also drink. Ideas include:
    • Give your pet an ice cube to lick
    • Adding an ice cube to the water bowl can encourage some pets to drink
    • Allow your puppy to lick water from your hand or your finger
    • Offer small amounts of Pedialyte®
    • Offer low sodium chicken broth

If you try these tips and your puppy still won’t eat, the best and safest thing is to take your puppy to the veterinarian.  If your pet seems weak, becomes unable to stand, and/or you notice any additional muscle twitching – this is an emergency. This can be a sign of a low blood sugar. This is an emergency situation. Immediately call your veterinarian or closest emergency clinic. To help a low blood sugar, you can rub Karo® syrup on his gums.

Step 5. Avoid It

If you figured out why your puppy wasn’t eating – avoid the same situation in the future.  For example, if your puppy got into the trash, avoid exposure to the trash. If your puppy has worms, make sure you follow the prescribed a treatment and ensure you follow all instructions from your veterinarian.

Additional Articles of Interest Relating to Food for Picky Dogs:

What You Need to Know About Rehoming Puppies

Owning a puppy is a big commitment. And while puppies may seem like a good idea at the time, you may come to learn that you are actually getting more than you bargained for. If you got a new puppy only to find that it isn’t working out, rehoming may be the solution. Rehoming puppies happens for many reasons.  Here are the top 5 reasons for rehoming puppies:

  • Gifting – You received a beautiful new puppy as a Christmas gift or a birthday gift, only to discover that it wasn’t a good fit for you. You may also buy a new puppy as a gift for your children, only to find that they are not responsible enough to care for the puppy.
  • Impulse buy – You noticed the cute little puppy and bought it before having a chance to think through the whole puppy experience.
  • Too big of a commitment – You find that house training and dealing with the needs of a puppy are just too much for you.
  • Allergies – Family members experience pet allergies they didn’t know they had.
  • Other pets – Introducing a new puppy may upset the status quo in your home. Other pets in the home may not get along with the new puppy and this can create a difficult living situation.

There are many reasons you could be looking to rehome a puppy. Whatever the reason, you’ll be happy to know that there are good homes out there with good people who are looking for rehomed puppies. All you have to do is make the right connection.

No doubt you want to ensure that your puppy goes to a good home, so there are several steps you can take when rehoming puppies to ensure a good match. Here are a few things to look for:

  • Make sure the new owners understand the commitment of owning a new puppy, especially if they are a first-time puppy owner.
  • Make sure the puppy will fit into their home life, especially if they have children or other pets in the home.
  • Make sure the new owner has the time and the financial resources to care for a puppy.

Rehoming Puppies

Rehoming a puppy is easier than rehoming a dog. Since the puppy has not spent as much time in your home it will be easier for him to adapt to a new home life with a new family.

A rehomed puppy is more desirable when it is spayed or neutered, and when all of its vaccinations are up to date. By taking care of these things up front, you will increase your chances of being able to find a good home for your puppy.

When looking for a new home for your puppy, start with your inner circle. Speak to friends and family members, neighbor and co-workers. Maybe someone you know would be willing to take the puppy.

Talk to the breeder or the person you bought the puppy from – often times they will be able to help place the puppy in a new home. Talk to your veterinarian. He or she may know of someone who is interested in adopting a new puppy.

If you are still unable to find a new home for your puppy, it’s time to advertise. Make some flyers with a good photo of your puppy. Tell your puppy’s story – what is it about your puppy that makes him special? Describe your puppy’s physical characteristics as well as his personality. Is your puppy good with other household pets? Does your puppy love children? Give as much information as possible to increase your chances of making a connection. Post the flyers in high-traffic areas, like the supermarket, your veterinarian’s office, at work or at school.

Don’t forget about the power of social media. Use your social media accounts to reach out to others. Post your puppy’s photo or a great video, and tell his story. Ask your connections to share the information on their social streams. Look for adoption websites where you can advertise. Ask your local shelter if they have a website where you can post your puppy’s information, or see if they have a newsletter.

Rehoming your puppy to a stranger can be a little daunting. After all, how can you be sure that you are sending your puppy to a good, loving home? When rehoming puppies, it’s good to take some precautions. Ask the right questions to find out if the potential new owner is ready, willing and able to care for your puppy. It’s okay to ask potential owners to fill out an application, and it’s okay for you to ask to see their home before making your decision.

How To Switch Your Dog’s Food: Vet Recommendations

Your vet may have recommended a new food or you may just be thinking about changing your dog’s food to something new. There are “right ways” and “wrong ways” to change the food and we will give you recommendations below on the very best way. To make it extra easy for you, we will share a day-to-day schedule of how to change your dog’s food.

Sudden changes in dog foods – even from one very good food to another good food – can cause gastrointestinal upset in some dogs. There are dogs that do fine with a total fast change but other dogs will have problems. The most common symptom a dog will exhibit is diarrhea. The next most common symptom is vomiting. And some dogs will have both vomiting and diarrhea.

The best thing to do is to prevent a gastrointestinal upset by following the recommendations below on how to change your dog’s food.

How to Change Your Dog’s Food 

The key to changing a pet’s food is “slowly!”

The best way to start a new food for your dog is to begin by mixing a small amount of the new food in with the original food and do this over several days. Gradually increase the percentages over 10 days until you are feeding almost all new food then make the final switch.

For example, here is a schedule of how to change your dog’s food over 10 days:

  • Day one – Feed 90% original food, 10% new food.
  • Day two, Feed 80% original, 20% new food
  • Day three – Feed 70% original, 30% new food
  • Day four – Feed 60% original, 40% new food
  • Day five – Feed 50% original, 50% new food
  • Day six – Feed 40% original, 60% new food
  • Day seven – Feed 30% original, 70% new food
  • Day eight – Feed 20% original, 80% new food
  • Day nine – Feed 10% original, 90% new food
  • Day ten – Feed 100% new food

You can accelerate this by doing it over 3 or 4 days but the ten-day transition works well in most dogs.

What You Should Know About Feeding Your Dog 

Since you are going through the effort of changing your dog’s food, why not make sure you are picking the best food?  Below are a couple very good nutrition articles that may help you provide the best nutrition for your dog:

  • How to Read Dog Food LabelsMost pet owners don’t understand pet food labels. This is an important article to help you understand what everything on the label means to help you choose the very best food for your dog.
  • Commonly Asked Questions about Canine NutritionThis is a really good article that covers topics and answers questions about how much should you feed your dog, how often should you feed, should you feed canned or dry, is it safe to give bones, are rawhides good or bad, do dogs get bored eating the same food every day, should you be giving vitamins or supplements, should you feed raw meat and thoughts about raw meat diets, and much more. There are 22 dog nutrition questions and answers in this excellent article.
  • Nutrition in Dogs – This is a great article on nutrition in dogs. This will help you understand how to feed your dog and exactly what he or she needs to stay healthy.
  • 5 Ways to Combat Pet Obesity – Obesity is very common in dogs and can cause a lot of health risks. Some veterinarians believe that keeping your dog at an ideal weight can potentially increase life expectancy by two years! The formula is generally pretty easy and consists of 3 keys. 1. Eat less. 2. Eat lower calorie food. 3. Exercise more. Learn more about how to combat obesity in your dog.
  • What You Should Know About Feeding Bones – Do you feed bones to your dog? Do vets routinely recommend bones? The answer may surprise you. Check out this article.

What You Should Do If Your Dog Gets Diarrhea and/or Vomiting 

If you follow the instructions above, hopefully, your dog will do fine with the food change. However, vomiting and diarrhea can happen. Below are some tips on what you can do at home. These are really good articles to even save and print in the case it is a problem in your home at any time.

Vomiting and/or diarrhea are two of the most common reasons dogs go to the veterinarian. Anything from changing food, table scraps, viral infections, bacterial infections, liver disease, pancreatitis, diabetes, and much more can all cause vomiting and/or diarrhea.

10 Thoughts You Have After Adopting A Puppy

Adopting a puppy is a thrilling experience, but it is also a time that is filled with a variety of questions. Especially if it’s your first puppy. Before you bring home a puppy, there’s a number of things you’ll want to do to ensure you have everything you need when you bring the puppy home. Once you do bring home your puppy and are enjoying playing with her, you might observe some behaviors that make you curious.

This article features some of the common thoughts new puppy owners experience in the first few days of owning a puppy.

This Puppy is SOOOO Cute!

Bringing home a puppy is an absolute joy. The first few hours you have with your new puppy at home will feel like they’re moving in slow motion. The adorable little pup will do basic things like run across the room or fall asleep in your lap, but these things will tug at your heartstrings and seem like the cutest acts you’ve ever scene. Enjoy these puppy moments.

 I Thought Cats Were the Curious Ones?

Your new puppy is going to be curious to check out your her new home. They’ll range throughout your home smelling and exploring all the rooms, objects, and potential napping locations you have to offer.

Is She Supposed to Sleep This Much?

You’ll likely be surprised how much your little puppy is sleeping. While you’ll want to cuddle and play with your new puppy as much as possible, your puppy does require plenty of shut eye. A puppy needs to get about 18-19 hours of sleep a day, so you’re going to notice her taking plenty of naps.

Ouch! His Little Teeth Hurt!

Biting is common for little puppies. When they were still living with their mothers, puppies will often play-bite with their littermates. Because of this positive playing with their littermates, many puppies will play-bite with their pet owners thinking it’s fun for each of you. Here’s a guide for training your puppy to stop biting.

Why Doesn’t She Want to Go in Her Crate at Night?

When it’s time for bed and you go to place your new pup in her crate, you might face some pushback. If so, no worries it’s normal. Here are some tips on crate training your puppy.

How Often Should I Be Taking Her Outside?

Typically you should be taking your puppy outside to use the bathroom shortly after she eats. If she’s alone during the days when you’re at work, taking her out for a long walk once you get home is a great way for her to get some energy out.

How Long Until She Starts Listening To Me?

Puppies are cute to look at, fun to play with, and great to cuddle with. But, they do lack the skills to listen to commands. At least at first. Here’s a guide to start teaching your puppy basic commands.

Can I introduce My Puppy To My Friends? And Their Pets?

You’re going to be excited to show off your new puppy. Snapping adorable pics on your social media accounts will only get you so far. Conditioning your puppy to get use to being around other humans and pets is called socialization.

Some puppies will adapt to the company of others rather quickly and seamlessly. Others will take a while. It largely depends on the type of environment your puppy grew up in. Regardless of how prepared your puppy has been for socializing with humans and other pets, there are good and bad puppy socialization methods that owners should be aware of.

That’s Not the Bathroom!

It’s inevitable that your puppy is going to have some accidents early on. The tremendous sense of smell, and preference towards habits, will make cleaning up after these accidents essential for you as a pet owner. If your puppy can identify the stench of their urine, they’re likely to repeat the accident in a similar spot. Here’s some tips for getting rid of puppy urine smell.

She Seems Perfectly Healthy, But How Can I Be Sure?

You’ll want to set up an appointment with a nearby vet shortly after you bring home your puppy. You’ll want a vet to give your puppy a full examination to make sure she is in good health and to set up a schedule for the necessary vaccinations your puppy will need.

Training Your Puppy

Puppies; they’re cute adorable bundles of fluff that love to follow you at your heels and sleep in your lap. In fact, they’re so sweet that you’ve probably become convinced that they’re perfect after only having your new puppy home for a few hours. Sure he has had a couple of accidents, but he’s so well behaved! He never barks, chews, or does anything bad! Well, we hate to burst your bubble, but this period isn’t going to last. Right now, your baby puppy is almost too young to be bad. Now don’t get us wrong, they can get into a lot of mischief while 8-9 weeks old, but mostly they just eat, sleep, and go potty. But soon, they’re going to get bigger, have more energy, and more teeth and start being rambunctious little whirlwinds.

 

Now is the time to start training your puppy. You don’t want to wait until their six months old to suddenly realize that your puppy has grown up with no rules and free reign of your home. Starting healthy and safe habits early in life will help you and your puppy to have a long-lasting and positive relationship.   

 

Even the youngest new puppy can learn to “sit,” “lie down,” “stay” and “come” when asked. But looking at your innocent new puppy, it’s hard to imagine that training would be necessary at all. Of course, it always is. During training, we should view our pets as companions who both understand and respond to us. Training should be considered as a means of teaching pets good manners so that, as our puppies mature into adult dogs, they’ll be welcome both in our homes and outdoors in public. For practical purposes, training should be initiated as early as possible, and all members of your household should participate.

 

It’s most likely that your puppy will view only one or two members of your household as alphas, but he or she should be trained to listen to anyone in the house, both for safety reasons and for ease of living. You don’t want to teach your puppy that it only needs to listen to you. This may make them act out with others like other family members or loved ones. Raising a puppy is a team sport, and everyone needs to play.

 

Puppy Training Reward System

Puppies learn best when they receive exciting rewards for their efforts. Even the youngest and tiniest puppy will be enthusiastic about food treats and will be eager to work with you. Experiment to find your puppy’s favorite reward, whether it’s food, a tossed toy or a warm word of praise. Only positive, gentle methods should be used – punishment is likely to harm your puppy’s confidence and has no place in good training. Puppies, like children and even adult humans, learn best when they enjoy the learning process and receive something in return. In the home or in the park, differences are usually very obvious between reward-trained dogs and those trained by force.

 

Keep in mind that one treat will not work for all puppies. Some may like dry treats while others need juicer temptations. For breeds that have strong noses, like hounds, you may need to put in a lot of work to find the treat that gets you puppy’s nose off the ground and pointed at you. But don’t lose patience. This process may take a few tries, but it will be worth it in the end.

 

Puppy Training Command System

Training should utilize word cues – “commands” – that will be of practical use to you as your pup’s human companion. The most helpful tools are “sit,” “lay down,” “stay” and “come.” It’s also important to teach your puppy to walk on a leash without tugging. If you have intentions of enrolling your dog in obedience competition, you will need to train a formal “heel, ” but this can wait until your puppy is older. For future obedience competition candidates, enrolling your pup in a puppy training class is highly advisable.

 

Puppies can also benefit from nonverbal commands, such as hand signals. This way, if you’re ever in a loud environment, you’ll be able to signal to your puppy the behavior that you’re looking for, and he will be able to respond. Pair each verbal command with a gesture and utilize that gesture every time you employ your command. When your puppy is older you can start switching between vocal only, gesture only, or dual commands.

How to Be a Good Puppy Owner

Even if the breeder or shelter has done everything right and you adopt a near perfect puppy, it doesn’t take long – if you are not careful – to undo all the good work and create problems that will trouble you and perhaps your pup for the rest of its life.

The first month or two after adoption is the most critical, although the juvenile period that follows is also important. Let’s suppose you adopt your new puppy at 8-weeks of age and let’s suppose you’re heading home with your new dependent to a household that you have carefully prepared to accommodate the youngster’s needs. You have purchased a dog bowl, puppy food, various chew toys, a doggy blanket, an X pen, a crate, a dog bed, and a collar and lead. “Now what?” you may think to yourself as you pull into the drive and carry your new pup across the threshold.

Unless you have been through this before, unanswered questions will pour through your mind, starting at that time and continuing for weeks as you approach one hurdle after the other. Should you introduce him to the whole family at once and allow them to pet him and get to know him? How long will he need to go between naps? Where should he sleep? How often do you feed him? How do you feed him? What do you feed him? What do you do if he cries for attention at night? What do you do if he becomes mouthy? When do you start training him to eliminate outside? When should you begin training him and when and where should you take him to puppy training classes? These and many more questions will need to be addressed if the puppy’s physical health, behavior, and psychological well-being are to be optimized.

The First Day At You Bring Your Puppy Home

As you step across the threshold, your first thought should be for the wee mite. He has just finished a mysterious journey in a jolting jalopy and now finds himself in an unfamiliar den, full of unfamiliar sights, sounds, and smells. It must be a disturbing time. For that reason, some quiet time, downtime, should be first on the agenda. Perhaps you could bring the pup through to a quiet room and introduce him to his blanket or dog bed, to his water bowl and food bowl, and stay with him for awhile until he becomes curious and starts to investigate. Then other individuals in the household can come along and introduce themselves peacefully and slowly, bearing in mind all the time the pup’s best interest.

Since you can’t spend every waking moment of the first day entertaining your pup, and bearing in mind that he will need to sleep fairly frequently, it is a good idea to set up an X pen in a reasonably well-populated area of the house. Put the pup’s blanket, food, and water at one end and – just in case – some newspapers or a “Wee-Wee” pad at the other end. This can be his sanctuary, a place to rest and get away from it all when things get too hectic or when the owners are otherwise occupied.

What about toileting in the first 24-hours? While some pups can be reasonably well house trained by 9-weeks of age, such success can only be achieved by constant diligence and realistic expectations. A 2-month old pup can only go for about 3 hours between bathroom breaks and will need to be taken out on a regular schedule and encouraged to eliminate outside. Accidents will happen at the beginning and should go unpunished. Proper cleanup with an odor neutralizer should be conducted in the event of an accident, and then the whole issue should be forgotten.

The first night, the puppy should be allowed to sleep in the owner’s bedroom, preferably confined in a crate or X pen. If the pup cries, it should be attended to. You should get out of bed and spend time with it, reassure it that you’re there, speak kindly and then go back to bed. If the crying continues, you can visit the pup again 5 or 10 minutes later and reassure it again. Gradually increase the time between your visits until the pup learns that you are there for it but that it has to stay in its own sleeping area. Eventually, he will go to sleep and, incidentally, the next night the whole procedure will be much quicker as he gets the message that the enclosure is his sleeping area.

The First Week After You Bring Your Puppy Home

On awakening each day, the first thing to do is to pick the young pup from its pen and bring it outside to a well-chosen spot where it can eliminate. A successful “mission” should be a joyous occasion. The pup should know, in no uncertain terms, that you are delighted with what has transpired, and he should be rewarded immediately with praise and, perhaps, a food treat. If the mission is unsuccessful, the pup should be brought back into the house, confined in a relatively small area such as a crate or behind a kiddy gate and taken out again 15 minutes later. Each day, after breakfast, the pup should be taken out again as the process of eating will stimulate its gastro-colic reflex, thus necessitating a “bathroom” run. Regular visits outside should be made during the day at say mid-morning, lunchtime, mid-afternoon, late afternoon, early evening, and last thing at night. Also, the pup should be taken outside when it transitions from one behavior to another, for example, after sleeping, after chewing, after playing, etc.