Unless you've done it before, you're not sure if you're doing it the right way. To quell those fears, here are the most frequently asked questions submitted to You & Your Dog magazine, along with answers from Eukanuba® experts.
Q: How much should I play with my new puppy?
A: Aim for between three and six play periods per day, but remember that he'll tire easily as a youngster. A game of fetch is ideal, as it includes exercise and a lesson on commands.
Q: How often should I take my pet to the veterinarian?
A: Three times per year during puppyhood (which ends at about 1 year for small- and medium-sized breeds and between 18 and 24 months for large-breed dogs). After that, he should have a visit once annually, unless he gets sick.
Q: How do I teach my pup not to jump on people?
A: Hold a treat in front of your dog's nose, and then raise it over his head. As his nose comes up, his head should come down. Say "Sit!" Reward him when his hindquarters touch the ground. Repeat the drill and gradually remove the food used during the lesson. (But always give him a treat afterward if he's followed your rules.) After he learns the command, tell him to "Sit!" each time he greets someone.
Q: How are the nutritional needs of large-breed and small-breed puppies different?
A: Small-breed pups develop much faster than other breeds of dogs. They have faster metabolic rates and need higher levels of protein, fat, calcium, and phosphorus. Meanwhile, large-breed dogs aren't considered full grown until they're nearly 2 years old. And while many people think that large breeds should eat huge quantities of food, they simply need meals that pack a nutritional punch. (If overfed, these animals risk putting on too much weight too quickly and could develop skeletal problems.) The scientists at Eukanuba have developed specific formulas for every size puppy so you'll be sure to know they've got all the nutrition they need to grow up healthy.
Q: What common ailments should I watch for?
A: Worms and infectious diseases such as parvovirus and distemper are most problematic. The latter two can be avoided with vaccines, though it is smart to limit your puppy's exposure to other dogs until he has been fully immunized.
Q: How often should I groom and/or bathe my pet?
A: Longhaired breeds should be brushed out every day or so (give your dog a treat when you're done so he learns that grooming is rewarding). Bathe your dog when you notice an odor, but avoid overdoing it, as his skin is sensitive.
Q: When should I switch to an adult dog food?
A: For small- and medium-breed puppies, move to a high-quality adult formula such as Eukanuba when he turns 1 year old. Large breed dogs should switch by the start of their second year.