by Peter Garant
A healthy puppy should be clear-eyed, somewhat roly-poly, loose-skinned, free from any skin trouble, hungry for its meals, and lively. It should not be timid or shy.
If the puppy seems warm or sleepy most of the time, ask one of your parents to take its temperature. A dog's temperature normally is between 38 and 39 degrees Celsius. If its temperature rises above 39 degrees, call your veterinarian.
When you buy your puppy, ask what shots it has received and when it got them. If it has not received shots to prevent distemper, infectious hepatitis, leptospirosis, and rabies, take it immediately to a veterinarian to have them. Then get yearly boosters.You should also find out whether your puppy has been wormed. Most puppies have worms at some time.
For the first few days, you should feed your puppy the same diet as the owners did. If you wish to change the diet, do so gradually. Each day, feed a little of the new food mixed with the old.
Puppies 6 to 10 weeks old maybe fed 4 times a day. From 10 weeks to 6 months, 3 times a day should be enough. After 6 months, twice daily will serve. And after 1 year, once a day-plus a biscuit for breakfast-is ample.
Meat should be the main part of your dog's diet. Fresh, canned, or frozen beef or horsemeat are good choices. It is not necessary to cook the meat, but it should be served at room temperature. With the meat, mix a dog meal or kibbled biscuit soaked in hot water, soup, or milk. You can get the meal or biscuit in the supermarket, feed store, or pet shop. Puppies need vitamins and minerals, and your veterinarian can give you vitamin tablets that your dog will enjoy chewing.
Other foods you may safely give your dog are well-cooked chicken, lamb, beef hearts, liver, and leafy vegetables. Hard biscuits of the right size for the dog's mouth and dog candy will be appreciated too. A little cooked rice or dry toast may help the dog in illness or when it is recovering.
A puppy loses its baby teeth when it is between 4 and 5 months. It will be grateful for beef hide or rawhide strips to chew. You can buy them at supermarkets and pet shops. These strips are also very helpful in keeping the puppy from chewing your shoes and the furniture. Pet shops and markets also carry special hard marrow bones that help in teething and in keeping the new teeth clean and healthy.
Leave a bowl of water so that your dog can have a drink at any time-but remove the supply of water at 5 or 6 PM when you're housebreaking a puppy. This will help the puppy go through the night without mistake.