Watch as Veterinarian Dr. Katy Nelson shares all the basics of building a positive relationship with a puppy. You’ll learn everything from taking care of your puppy’s basic needs to socialization. When all is said and done you’ll learn how a happy puppy makes for a happy owner as well.
Hi, I'm Dr. Katy Nelson with IAMS, and today we're going to talk about how to take care of your puppy. First and foremost, you want to understand and meet your puppy's needs. Here they are in order of importance. Number one: basic health-- water, nutrition specifically formulated for puppies, and sleep. Also, immunizations and regular checkups are recommended. Number two: safety. As with small children, you need to keep your puppy in an environment that is safe for him. Puppies explore with their mouths, and they learn about different textures by gnawing. Also, chewing helps massage their gums. For your puppy's safety, keep things that he or she should not be chewing on out of reach. Number three: psychological.
Your puppy's greatest psychological need is to be part of a group and be socialized with other dogs. However, to do this successfully, you need to be a guardian he can depend on. Once your puppy's basic needs are met, you want to understand the way he sees the world, so that you can build a strong relationship. Your puppy does not understand the world you live in, so you cannot expect him to. Two things you need to understand is that to them, everything is edible, and they will lunge at anything exciting—you, kids, guests, and other animals, until you train them not to. Praise him exuberantly to encourage the right behavior. Give him treats, pet him, play with him, and be stern to discourage the wrong behavior—ignore him, stop petting, or stop playing. Most importantly, be patient and consistent. Don't be harsh. Puppies have lots of energy, and it's healthy for them to use it. Periodically, helping your puppy release energy will minimize his urge to dig and chew on things. Spend time out in the yard making him run in short bursts. Go on walks or play fetch. Puppies are used to playing with their brothers and sisters. When they're separated, they're looking for their next playmate. Playing with your puppy will also make him more focused on you, improving your bond and making training easier. It teaches him new behaviors, self-control, and will help him gain self-confidence. Like play, socialization is also fundamental to raising your puppy. This is why socializing your puppy as soon as you bring him home is important for both of you. Socialization teaches your puppy to be calm in stimulating circumstances, and to obey when instructed. It also gets him used to being touched, handled, and even used to having hands and inedible things in and near his mouth, so that he behaves around other people, kids, and his veterinarian. Also, know that puppies are sensitive. They can read facial expressions and emotions. Be consistent about what things your puppy does that make you express happiness. Also, be careful not to give your puppy reason to think he's at blame for negative emotions you have from other areas of your life, like when you've had a bad day at work. Emotions are contagious. The happiest puppies tend to be in the most positive and loving households. I'm Dr. Katy Nelson with IAMS, and I hope that you found this helpful as you welcome your new addition to your family.
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Keeping Your Senior Dog Healthy and Active
It depends on the breed of dog, but your pet's senior years generally begin at age 7. Louise Murray, DVM, director of the ASPCA's Bergh Memorial Animal Hospital in New York City and author of Vet Confidential (Ballantine, 2008), tells you what you need to know to keep your older dog spry and happy.
Senior Dog Health: Preventive Health
At this stage, Murray recommends taking your dog to the vet twice a year. "So much can happen to an elderly dog," she says. Your veterinarian can take blood annually to test liver and kidney functions. "Discovering problems early is extremely important," she says. Your vet can be on the lookout for conditions that often affect older dogs, such as anemia and arthritis.
Senior Dog Health: Urination, Bowel Movements, and Appetite
Pay attention to what might be subtle changes in your dog's habits: Is she drinking more water or urinating larger amounts? These behaviors might indicate a liver or kidney problem. Have your dog's bowel movements shifted? This could indicate a digestive issue. Diabetes or digestive problems might cause your dog to eat more but still lose weight. Knowing the dog's patterns can help the veterinarian determine a course of treatment.
Senior Dog Health: Flea, Tick, and Heartworm Medicines
Continue to use preventive medicines.
Senior Dog Health: Dental Health
Clean your dog's teeth daily. If she has tartar buildup, you might need to have her teeth professionally cleaned at your vet's office, which requires sedating your pet.
Senior Dog Health: Exercise
Your dog is probably less active, so steady, moderate exercise is best for her now. Don't turn her into a "weekend warrior" who, after lying around on weekdays, accompanies you on a 10-mile hike on Saturdays. This is especially hard on an older dog's joints.
Senior Dog Health: Diet
Your veterinarian might wish to put your dog on a senior diet, such as IAMS™ ProActive Health™ Senior Plus. These formulations contain nutrients specifically geared toward older-dog health.
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