10 Week Old Puppy
Taking Care of Your New Puppy’s Needs
If you’re a first time puppy owner, you’re probably starting to wonder about your new responsibilities. Now that you’re responsible for another life, it’s important that you understand what these responsibilities entail.
Your puppy’s diet is first on our list. Puppies are on their mother’s milk until they are about six to eight weeks old. This weaning age is usually when breeders allow the puppies to be taken home by their new owner. Ask your breeder what the pup is currently eating and continue to feed him that. Usually they will be eating a soft canned food mixed with puppy milk replacer. Use less and less milk until your puppy is on pure canned food. You can do the same when switching to dry food by mixing in a little soft food and then cutting back a little each day until the puppy is on dry food only. Dry food is recommended as the best type of food for dogs as it has less fat content and keeps your dog’s teeth strong and free of plaque build up. This should happen gradually over the course of about 7 – 10 days. You should never feed your dog human food (ie: table scraps) at any time during his life. A dog’s diet requires a specific balance of certain nutrients and feeding your dog table scraps will upset this balance. Also remember to keep a water bowl filled for your pup at all times.
The next item on the list is vaccinations. If your dog’s breeder hasn’t taken care of the vaccinations, then it’s up to you to see that your dog gets immunized. There are three separate shots given to cover the “core” illnesses, which are: distemper, parvovirus, and hepatitis. The first shot is usually given at 6 weeks of age with the other shots following in three week intervals at 9 and 12 weeks. Your veterinarian will be able to take care of the vaccinations for you, as well as recommend any non-core vaccines that they feel your dog should have. The importance of non-core vaccines differs depending on your dog’s breed and where you live. You will need to return to the vet every year of your dog’s life for an adult “booster” shot. You should be aware that social interaction with other dogs is not recommended until after your puppy has completed his round of vaccinations, with an additional 5 – 10 days for the immunization to become effective.
Grooming is another important aspect of owning a puppy. Some dogs have stricter grooming requirements than others, particularly ones with long or curly fur. Certain breeds of dog are particularly susceptible to ear infections and require that their ears be cleaned frequently. All dogs should have their nails clipped periodically (usually when you hear their paws click on the floor you know it’s time for a trim!). It’s very important that this is done in the correct fashion using proper canine nail clippers, as cutting to deeply in your dog’s claws can result in severe pain and bleeding.
Exercise is one of the most vital aspects of your dog’s health. Your puppy will have a great deal of energy, which is completely natural! You should encourage playtime, especially outdoors so that he can have tons of room to romp around. If your puppy becomes restless, he may chew excessively which can be dangerous for your puppy (think of all the cords/cables plugging into your outlets, as well as wooden furniture that can splinter!). Pet steps are a great tool you can use to give your dog a workout. The time you spend training him to use the dog stairs to get onto furniture will encourage your pup to bond with you as well as to be obedient and respectful.
For more tips on raising a healthy pup, visit HelpYourPets.com.