Answers to Your Puppy Questions
Depending on where you live and what you do, COVID-19 and the nation’s quarantine have caused a lot of changes in daily life. But for unadopted pets, our stay-at-home-orders have resulted in thousands of adoptions in every state, including Oregon and Washington. After all, when you’re home all day long, you have the time to devote to a new pet. However, with all those new puppies and new pets at home, pet owners have had some great questions about socialization, food, and potty training.
Q: How much socialization do puppies need with people and other dogs?
A: Socialization is the act of getting your puppy to become a happy and healthy part of human society. This means getting them used to other people, places, noises, smells, as well as other animals. If a puppy is not socialized, they can develop into dogs that are less comfortable in new situations, which can manifest in fear and aggression. Thankfully, even a little socialization can have great results.
During quarantine, your puppy might only interact with you and your immediate family, but they will also be socializing within your home and on your property when others come to see you. Taking your puppy for frequent, socially-distant walks, can help with socialization as well. Even if your dog does not get to interact with other humans, they can greet other dogs once they’ve had all of their required vaccinations.
Other socialization opportunities include trips to the vet and groomers, taking them with you on car trips, keeping your puppy with you while you vacuum or do other loud chores, and encouraging them to walk on different surfaces (in the bathtub, for example). You might also look for virtual puppy training courses online.
Q: How much should puppies sleep and eat?
A: That depends on the puppy, but typically a young dog will sleep for six hours a night. By the time they are 16 weeks old, they should be able to sleep through the night. And like humans babies, puppies will sleep throughout the day as well, getting up to 14 hours of sleep per day. Some active puppies that are growing a lot will spend 20 hours per day sleeping and eating.
What you feed your puppy will often dictate how much they will need to eat in order to get enough calories and other nutrients to grow. Additionally, the larger your dog will be at maturity, the more they will need to eat.
Q: What immunizations do puppies require?
A: Required vaccinations include distemper, parainfluenza, adenovirus, parvovirus, and rabies. Your veterinarian can help you determine the right age for all vaccinations, which typically are given at 6 weeks, 10 weeks, 12 weeks, 14 weeks, and at 12 months. Optional vaccinations you should consider are Bordetella, coronavirus, leptospirosis, and protection from Lyme disease. Again, your veterinarian can help you decide what is right for your canine.
Q: Do puppies need any vitamin supplements?
A: A balanced diet, including vitamins and minerals, is essential for puppy growth and your overall dog’s health. Look for puppy vitamins that include calcium and phosphate for growth, as well as vitamin A, vitamin D, and iodine in low levels.
Q: Why should I buy puppy food? It’s it just regular dog food?
A: Because puppies and older dogs have different dietary needs, puppy food can be essential. The right puppy food can help with your dog’s overall growth and development. That’s because puppy food is specially formulated to support strong teeth, bones, muscle development, and improved brain and vision development.
Q: What is the best method for potty training?
A: Potty training should start right away when you bring them home. However, puppies do not have full control until at least 12 weeks.
To start, ensure your puppy is on a regular feeding schedule. You’ll want to take their food away between meals until they reach adulthood.
Get your puppy used to going “out” immediately in the morning. Then take them out again every 30 minutes, and after every meal, to the same potty location. If they take a nap, take them “out” right after they wake up. Stay with them while they do their business and praise them with a treat every time.
If your puppy is a quick learner, they will pick up on this schedule fast. Of course, there will be mistakes, but with patience and treats, potty training can go quickly.
Q: Should I play rough with my puppy?
A: Puppies love to roughhouse with one another. It’s part of the socialization process. However, because you are so much larger than your puppy, it’s important that you be careful and not hurt them. Try using tug-of-war toys that encourage biting, and remember to play along and growl now and then to let them know you’re the one in charge.