How to Care for a Puppy (with Pictures)

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How to Care for a Puppy (with Pictures)
How to Care for a Puppy (with Pictures)

Have you chosen a new member for your family and are wondering how you will take care of him? This article is for people who have just adopted, bought or found a puppy that is at least eight weeks old. Puppies are usually weaned during this period and it is not safe to separate them from their mothers before this stage. If the puppies are even younger, check out this article.


Part 1 of 5: Taking the Puppy Home

Take Care of Puppies Step 1

Step 1. Choose the right dog for you.

Is his fur suitable for the climate where you live? Is it the right size for your home and the energy level you will be able to provide? Give enough thought to such things for the animal's welfare and the happiness of everyone in the household.

Take Care of Puppies Step 2

Step 2. Adapt the house for the puppy

Puppies love to explore environments with their mouths and some precautions are needed to protect the dog and the home.

  • Remove items that might be broken from the area where you plan to keep the dog.
  • Lift or cover all electrical wires. Also close all low windows.
  • Store chemicals and cleaning products in locked cabinets.
  • Buy a trash can that is too tall for him and heavy enough that he won't tip it over.
  • Consider installing a small folding gate to keep you confined in a particular environment.
Take Care of Puppies Step 3

Step 3. Give the dog enough space

Keep your pet in the kitchen or bathroom during the day, as these rooms often have floors that can be washed. Keep the dog in a playpen by your bed at night so you can hear him and take him out to do his chores when he feels like it.

Take Care of Puppies Step 4

Step 4. Buy two stainless steel bowls to serve the feed and water

Metal pots are easy to keep clean and cannot be peeled by the dog. Each animal in the house must have its own bowls so that there are no conflicts. Set them aside during mealtimes to ensure each animal receives the necessary nutrition.

Take Care of Puppies Step 5

Step 5. Buy a puppy bed

There are several options, including baskets covered with towels, playpen with pillows and even dog houses. The chosen house should always be comfortable and dry. Don't forget to have a blanket close by for cold days. Avoid conflict by giving each pet a home.

Take Care of Puppies Step 6

Step 6. Give lots of toys

As puppies have a lot of energy to burn, give them lots of toys. Choose options that are firm enough so that he doesn't choke. Don't give leather bones as toys, just use them as a treat.

Take Care of Puppies Step 7

Step 7. Choose the correct treats to train the dog

Choose small, healthy foods that can be easily chewed and swallowed. The idea is to inform the animal that you have done something that pleased you quickly without interfering with the continuity of training.

  • Consider snacks like chicken cubes, liver strips and industrialized beef steaks.
  • Have crunchy and fluffy options. Soft snacks are good for training, while crunchy snacks help keep your pet's mouth clean.
Take Care of Puppies Step 8

Step 8. Feed him well

Canned, cooked, crushed, and raw foods are great for puppies, but it's a good idea to discuss this with a veterinarian. Ask what the puppy has eaten in the past few weeks to the person who took care of him before you to continue his diet. If you want to change something, do it gradually to avoid diarrhea and vomiting.

  • Feeding your dog raw or homemade food requires a lot of effort, as you will need to prepare the food and ensure it meets your pet's nutritional needs. Discuss options with your veterinarian.
  • Buy puppy food without coloring, flavoring or preservatives, as many dogs are allergic to these substances.
Take Care of Puppies Step 9

Step 9. Buy basic hygiene tools

You need rubber gloves, nail clippers, brushes, combs, shampoos, conditioners, toothbrush, dog toothpaste and towels. In addition to being cute, your dog should be healthy and happy.

Take Care of Puppies Step 10

Step 10. Purchase a collar (nylon or leather) with a metal plate and a nylon guide

Be careful not to hurt the dog when squeezing the collar and choose an adjustable model for when the animal grows.

Take Care of Puppies Step 11

Step 11. Make the dog comfortable in the house. Keep in mind that this is a new environment and that it can scare you. In the first few days, give more affection and attention than usual. Let the puppy know every room in the house while you follow him with a light guide. It's not necessary to show everything on the first day, but start with the common areas.

  • Letting the puppy run around will result in accidents.
  • So that the puppy does not feel lonely, let him sleep in your room, in a playpen.
Take Care of Puppies Step 12

Step 12. Give affection often

It is very important to pet your puppy several times a day to make him feel loved and create a loving bond between you.

Pet the puppy and stroke its paws, legs and belly to make it comfortable with such touches in the future when you need to trim the animal's fur or trim its nails

Take Care of Puppies Step 13

Step 13. Handle the puppy with care

Like human babies, puppies are fragile. Pick it up carefully in case you need to lift it, always keeping one hand under its chest.

Take Care of Puppies Step 14

Step 14. Protect the puppy

As these animals are naturally curious, they can escape and get lost easily, even if you are very careful. Put a comfortable collar on the animal with a tag that contains your contact information. Include the pet's name, address and phone number.

  • It's a good idea to register the dog. In some cities, such as São Paulo, the General Animal Register is mandatory.
  • Don't forget to vaccinate the puppy as soon as you can.
Take Care of Puppies Step 15

Step 15. Implant a microchip in the dog

This small device is placed under the animal's skin, in the shoulder region, and records all of its contact information. If the animal is found by a shelter or a veterinarian, it will be easy to reunite it with the dog.

As much as the dog has a collar and a tag, it is recommended to install a microchip, as it cannot be removed

Take Care of Puppies Step 16

Step 16. Find a safe place for the puppy to play, such as a fenced yard

If you live in an apartment or a house without a yard, use a steel fence to delimit the animal's play space.

Part 2 of 5: Feeding the Puppy

Take Care of Puppies Step 17

Step 1. Choose the right kind of food

As tempting as it may be, the cheapest rations will hardly be the best option for the animal. Look for foods that contain high levels of quality protein such as fish, chicken, lamb, beef or eggs. Discuss diet options with a veterinarian and make any changes gradually so as not to upset your puppy's stomach.

Take Care of Puppies Step 18

Step 2. Feed the animal correctly

Provide small portions of puppy food several times a day. Portion sizes will depend on the breed and size of the dog. Consult an internet source or a veterinarian to find recommended amounts, and always choose the lowest amount available for your age, size and breed. Increase the amount if the puppy looks too thin or if the vet tells you to. The amount of meals will depend on the puppy's age.

  • Puppies between 6 and 12 weeks should eat three to four times a day.
  • Puppies between 12 and 20 weeks should eat three times a day.
  • Puppies over 20 weeks should eat twice a day.
Take Care of Puppies Step 19

Step 3. Follow specific instructions for small dogs

Small dog breeds, such as Yorkshire terriers, German spitz, and chihuahuas, tend to have low blood sugar. These breeds typically need access to food throughout the day (or every three hours) until six months of age so they don't get weak and have seizures.

Take Care of Puppies Step 20

Step 4. Avoid leaving food available all day so the dog doesn't overeat

The puppy will bond with you by associating good things like food with humans and home. The puppy needs a limited amount of time to eat, which should normally be 20 minutes.

Take Care of Puppies Step 21

Step 5. Watch the dog eat to assess his health

While a sudden lack of interest in food can be a matter of preference, it can also be a medical concern.

You need to notice any changes in the animal's behavior. Call your veterinarian and try to find the cause of the change

Take Care of Puppies Step 22

Step 6. Do not give leftovers to the animal

As tempting as this is, human foods are unhealthy and can make the dog obese. In addition to the health risks, this habit can be quite difficult to control later on.

  • Feed the dog foods designed specifically for him.
  • Ignore the dog completely while eating.
  • Consult a veterinarian to find out which "human" foods are safe for dogs. Popular options include roasted chicken breast and fresh green beans.
  • Fatty foods can cause pancreatitis in the dog.
Take Care of Puppies Step 23

Step 7. Avoid toxic foods

As the body of dogs is very different from humans, some foods can be toxic to them, such as:

  • Grape.
  • Pass grape.
  • Tea.
  • Alcohol.
  • Garlic.
  • Onion.
  • Avocado.
  • Salt.
  • Chocolate.
  • If the dog has eaten any of the above foods, contact your city's toxicology control center or a veterinarian.
Take Care of Puppies Step 24

Step 8. Provide fresh water

Unlike food, you need to leave a bowl of fresh water for the animal at all times. Your puppy is likely to have to urinate after drinking a large amount of water, so take him outside on a leash so he doesn't have any accidents on the floor at home.

Part 3 of 5: Keeping the Dog Healthy

Take Care of Puppies Step 25

Step 1. Provide a safe environment for the animal

A dirty or unsafe location can harm your pet's well-being and cause you to spend a note with the veterinarian.

  • After finding urine or feces around the house, clean the area immediately. Don't forget to train the dog not to go to waste anywhere.
  • Get rid of plants harmful to dogs. Some common plants like lily of the valley, oleander, azalea, yew, foxglove, rhododendron, rhubarb and clover should be kept away from dogs.
Take Care of Puppies Step 26

Step 2. Don't forget to exercise the dog

Each breed needs a different amount of exercise and you should take this into account when choosing your puppy. Take it out in the garden or outside after meals when the vet says it's safe to go out with the dog. Some puppies have small energy spikes followed by long nap sessions.

  • Avoid excessive exercise and heavy play during the dog's developmental phase. Wait for it to be nine months old before walking with it for more than half a kilometer.
  • Walk for about an hour a day with the dog, divided into two or four sessions. Allow him to interact with friendly dogs on the street, but only after he's been vaccinated.
Take Care of Puppies Step 27

Step 3. Choose a veterinarian

If you already have other dogs in the house, chances are you already have a veterinarian. Otherwise, choose a clinic that looks tidy and clean recommended by friends and family. Ask the veterinarian and staff a few questions and choose the office that suits you best.

Take Care of Puppies Step 28

Step 4. Take the puppy to be vaccinated when he is between six and nine weeks old

In Brazil, dogs are usually vaccinated against distemper, hepatitis, parvovirus, parainfluenza and leptospirosis. The veterinarian can recommend some important and specific vaccines for the dog or for the region. In Brazil, the rabies vaccine is recommended after the animal's fourth month of life.

  • Also talk about deworming during the consultation with the veterinarian, who should recommend medication immediately. Some professionals ask for a stool test before prescribing medication.
  • Deworming is important not only for your dog's health, but for yours as well. Various parasites that infect dogs can be passed on to humans and cause various health problems in the home.
Take Care of Puppies Step 29

Step 5. Socialize the dog

The period of greatest socialization for puppies occurs between the 7th and 17th week of age. If possible, enroll the dog in a puppy day care center to socialize him during this phase. These environments are safe for puppies that have not yet received all of their vaccinations, which should take place during the 16th week.

Take Care of Puppies Step 30

Step 6. Neuter the cub.

Discuss castration with your veterinarian. It should indicate that you wait until the dog is fully vaccinated before having the procedure, but there are other considerations to be made.

  • Casting larger breeds is more complex and costly. If the dog is large, the veterinarian will likely recommend neutering before it reaches 20 kg or 30 kg.
  • Sterilize females before the first heat to reduce the chances of developing breast tumors, ovarian cancer and pyometra.
Take Care of Puppies Step 31

Step 7. Turn trips to the vet into fun trips

Take some snacks and toys with you to make the experience fun or at least tolerable for the dog. Before the first appointment, make sure the dog is used to human touches on the paws, tails and face, so that he does not find the exam strange.

Take Care of Puppies Step 32

Step 8. Watch out for health problems to discover them early

The dog's eyes should be clear and free of runny, as well as the nose. The fur should be clean and shiny, never slack. Look for lumps, skin lesions and inflammation, and signs of diarrhea.

Part 4 of 5: Taking care of dog hygiene

Take Care of Puppies Step 33

Step 1. brush his fur daily to keep you clean and healthy.

This will also allow you to look for skin and hair problems. The type of brush and the frequency of cleaning will depend on the breed. Consult a veterinarian, groomer or breeder to find out more about your puppy's breed.

  • Brush the dog thoroughly, including the belly and paws.
  • Do this when the puppy is small and not afraid of the brush.
  • Start slowly using toys and snacks. Brush the dog a few minutes at a time so you don't overwhelm him.
  • Do not brush your face and paws with instruments that could hurt you.
Take Care of Puppies Step 34

Step 2. Trim your nails.

Learn the cutting technique from a veterinarian or groom so you don't hurt the animal during the procedure. Great care must be taken, especially in dogs with dark nails that make it difficult to visually locate the nail bed.

  • Toenails that are too long can injure the animal's feet and damage floors and furniture.
  • Trim your dog's nails once a week, unless your veterinarian instructs you otherwise.
  • Start cutting your nails little by little, using snacks and compliments, so as not to overload the animal.
Take Care of Puppies Step 35

Step 3. Keep your dog's oral hygiene up to date

Give him some chew toys to keep his teeth healthy and brush them with a dog-specific brush and toothpaste. Get your pet used to brushing slowly so that he enjoys the experience. Don't forget to praise him a lot and serve snacks!

Take Care of Puppies Step 36

Step 4. Bathe only when needed

Overwashing your dog dries out his skin and removes important oils. Introduce the dog to the water gradually, and don't forget to praise him and serve him treats as usual.

Part 5 of 5: Training the Puppy

Take Care of Puppies Step 37

Step 1. Train the dog to clean up in the right place as soon as he gets home

The more time that passes, the more dirt you will need to clean and the more difficult the training will be. For the first few days, if you don't have a backyard, consider using a sanitary mat, but don't forget that you still need to take it for a walk and do your laundry on the street.

  • Secure the dog with some newspapers or hygienic mats to train him when not under your supervision.
  • Do not let the dog loose outside of playtime. Put him in the playpen or tie him up with a collar in an area.
  • Watch for signs that he needs to do the job. Take him for a walk immediately, always to the same place.
  • Praise the dog and give him some treats when he needs to be outdoors!
Take Care of Puppies Step 38

Step 2. Get the dog used to being confined

This is a useful procedure as it allows you to sleep without worrying about the dog and also avoids destructive behavior. Also, this is an effective method of getting it to do the job in just one place (provided it's used correctly, of course).

Take Care of Puppies Step 39

Step 3. Teach the dog basic commands.

Start teaching good habits early on to create a better relationship between you, as it is very difficult to break bad habits.

  • Teach him to come.
  • Teach him to sit.
  • Teach him to lie down.
Take Care of Puppies Step 40

Step 4. Get the dog used to driving

Go out with him often to get him used to and avoid the anxiety associated with car travel. If the puppy is sick in the car, ask a veterinarian for medication to control nausea. That should make the trip more enjoyable for you.

  • Keep your puppy safe. Consider purchasing specific belts, safety devices, barriers or boxes to avoid accidents and further complications.
  • Never leave the dog in the car on hot or cold days. The car's temperature can rise too high on hot days, putting the animal's life at risk. On a hot 30°C day, the temperature inside the car can reach 40°C in 10 minutes, even if the window is slightly open. On very cold days, the dog can get hypothermia and die.
Take Care of Puppies Step 41

Step 5. Enroll the dog in an obedience and training class

In addition to training the dog, the dog will learn to socialize and act around strange people and dogs.


  • Explain the rules of living with the dog to everyone (teach people to handle it carefully, not to play violently, etc.), especially for young children.
  • Let the dog get enough rest (at least six hours a day).
  • Love, pay attention and teach the dog good manners.
  • If you adopted the dog as a child, be prepared to take care of him. Young children tend to lose interest.
  • Wash your dog's bowls daily with warm water and mild detergent to prevent illness and bacteria, and make meals more enjoyable.
  • Give cow's ears or something similar to the dog to chew and clean its teeth. This saves you from having to brush his teeth so often.
  • Be careful as some dogs and animals can attack and even kill the puppy. He is your responsibility: always take him on the lead so he doesn't run away or get lost.


  • Do not leave any objects that could suffocate the dog lying around the house.
  • Wait for the dog to be vaccinated before exposing him to other dogs. Socialize it during youth only with dogs vaccinated in uncontaminated environments.
  • This article is specific to puppies eight weeks and older. Never adopt or buy a puppy younger than this, as it is too young to move to a new home.

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