Your Puppy Needs A Timetable – The Basics of Puppy Care for New Pet Parents

Congratulations on your new puppy! The newest member of your family is going to grow in leaps and bounds, and you need to feed her appropriately to keep up. Puppies are a bundle of energy who need a lot of food to power their high levels of energy and their growing bodies. It is easy to overfeed at this stage, and it is important to understand your pup’s nutritional needs to set them up for success. It is also important to create a routine or schedule for your puppy so that he knows what to expect and give him structure and stability. 

What Should I Be Feeding My New Puppy?

Your puppy should ideally continue what he or she was eating when they were with their mother. When switching foods, you have to introduce the new one slowly along with the old food so that your puppy doesn’t reject anything. Slowly introducing new foods also ensures that you can monitor whether or not your pup is getting a tummy upset. 

When you take your pup to your local vet, your vet will give you a few options regarding food. Different vets have different recommendations about brands and types of food you should give your puppy. This is because they will recommend brands and types that they have the most experience with so that they are able to help you better in the long term. Generally, veterinarians recommend high-quality puppy food like Merrick Classic food for puppies that are specially formulated for your puppy’s nutritional needs. 

How Often Should I Feed A Puppy?

You should give your puppy food three to four times a day, depending on their activity level and size. Your puppy should have a high-quality breakfast in the morning to power her through the day. Throughout your dog’s life, but especially at the puppy stage, you should stay away from cheap food that has fillers high in starches and carbs that might hamper their growth. Lunch and dinner should be at the same time. 

You should be aware of the amount of food you are giving your dog, especially if you are training as well. Generally, training uses treats as a motivating factor, which can add up and make for a pudgy puppy. You should choose a treat that is easy for you and your pup to handle, as your pup needs to be able to eat it fast and focus back on the task. 

Why Does A Puppy Need A Routine?

From a pup’s perspective, he or she has been taken away from a familiar situation by strangers. They don’t know what you expect from them, where they can go, or what they can do. It is a brand new environment for them and brand new people. By having a set routine for them, you are telling your new puppy your expectations from him or her, thus making them feel less confused. You are also setting boundaries for your puppy, which will set the ground for training later on. 

What Should A Routine Look Like?

Your routine should consist of wake-up time, breakfast time, potty breaks, play breaks, nap times, and bedtime. Start the day by taking your puppy outside and allow him to relieve himself. Puppies have poor bladder control and a lot of urine gets accumulated in their bladder while they are asleep. The best practice would be to not interact with the pup until after they have taken care of business so that they know the focus is on urination/defecation in the proper place before they get cuddles. 

Next, after breakfast, take your pup out to their designated bathroom area again as they usually need to go again after eating. You should do this after every meal, as they need to relieve themselves after eating any large meals. 

You can play with him or train him after this. Ideally, puppies should have a pen or a crate that they can be safely confined in. This makes sure that even if they aren’t tired, they are in a place where they can’t chew on what they aren’t supposed to or hurt themselves. 

You should be taking your puppy out frequently for bathroom breaks. You could mix up taking them to a designated bathroom area and taking them on walks so that their energy is also worked off during those trips. Make sure you also include play sessions with your puppy, like playing catch or tug-of-war. This is how you bond with your pup, and she learns to trust you as well. 

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