New puppies require a lot of time and care as do babies and toddlers. Having older children assist with feeding, cleaning up after the pet and exercise are a few tasks that can strengthen the bond between the pet and child and teach them responsibility. Of course adults should establish duties based on necessary requirements and supervise children.
After one has taken the time to research what puppy breeds are best for your family and lifestyle, it is important to know what to do first to take care of the pet. Research shows that the top three dog breeds for children are Golden Retrievers, Border Collies and Labrador Retrievers. Knowing breed characteristics and requirements can help you plan for what your kids can do with the puppy and future adult dog. If you know the breed, research an AKC or Rescue group website or book for more information.
First Steps to Take Care of a New Puppy
1. Buy necessary supplies. Your dog will need a new collar and leash, pet bed, crate, puppy food and a few toys to get started. Pet supply store personnel and veterinary staff can help you choose the best choices of these items for your pet.
2. Take the puppy to see the veterinarian. Young animals often have weaker immune systems and need to receive vaccinations to boost immunity to various diseases that could be contracted in puppy hood as well as while they are adults. The first vaccines, given on the correct schedule, will ensure the puppy stays at optimum health. The veterinarian will also want to a blood and / or fecal exam to check for parasites. Many puppies have intestinal worms that can cause life-threatening problems if not treated. The veterinarian will also do a physical exam of the puppy’s head and body.
3. Puppy -proof your home. Like toddlers, puppies also are at a low level and are curious. There are number of things to to to keep puppies (and small children) away from toxic, sharp, heavy or other dangerous things around the house. For more information, go the American Animal Hospital Associations’ website for pet owners, Healthy Pet.
4. Grooming and handling a puppy. Puppies need to be carefully petted and handled often to help them socialize to children and the family. Hair Brushing, nail clipping, ear cleaning, baths and even tooth brushing can be easy to do for an older puppy or dog who was taught these things at an early age.
5. Know what and how much to feed a puppy. Discuss with your veterinarian what is best for your dog. Amounts and types of foods can vary depending on the dog breed and age.
6. Exercise. It is a good idea to leash train puppies while walking them outside. Obedience trainers can also assist with this training.
7. Learn how to start housebreaking the puppy. The puppy will quickly need to learn what is appropriate elimination behavior inside and outside the house. Crates and puppy pad can help with this as the puppy stays confined in the crate for a few hours and then let outside frequently to learn a schedule. Baby gates are also helpful to confine animals to only certain areas of the house that you don’t mind them soiling during training.
What Children Can do To Help With Pets
· Feeding and Watering. Kids can be taught how much food is needed each day by using a measuring cup. If using a bowl, have kids watch for empty water bowls and help refill them as necessary.
· Pet Bedding. Kids will enjoy helping set up a pet bed and can alert an adult when it needs to be cleaned.
· Bathing and Grooming. Older kids love giving puppies their bath once they know some basic guidelines like not getting water in ears and soap in eyes and making sure to remove all soap. They also are helpful in remembering to do daily brushing.
· Behavior Training the Puppy. Kids may even want to take part in obedience classes to teach the dog to walk on a leash and other tasks.
· Exercise. Older children may be assigned the task of walking the dog at least two times per day to assist with exercising the pet and leash training. Otherwise, adults and small children can walk the puppy together.
Giving children a small reward of treats, allowance or a fun event can also help inspire kids to want to return again and again to care for their pet, but the true reward is the affection and attention the puppy gives the child who is its’ best friend for life. for the next post, click here