Puppy Care: 24 Ways to Keep Your Puppy Happy

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If you’re looking for some new ways to stimulate your puppy’s senses or want to make sure she has a healthy, happy life, check out these 24 puppy–care tips, compiled from dog–training experts.

  1. Plan playtime. Make a date with your puppy every day to help socialize her. Race her to the park or even read to her. You choose. She will bask in your undivided attention no matter what you do.
  2. Take a road trip. She'll love riding shotgun to the ice–cream store, to the post office or to pick up bagels. Roll down the window so she gets a bit of a breeze on the way there—but make sure she’s secured in her seat (we recommend a dog–specific seatbelt harness).
  3. Hit the water. Nearly every breed of dog loves water, so prance through puddles, leap into lakes or just play in a baby pool.
  4. Give her a bath. After wading in that stinky pond down the street, give her a nice bubble bath with specially formulated puppy shampoo.
  5. Beat the heat. Exercise with your puppy in the early morning hours and enjoy that sunrise you've missed the past few years.
  6. Walk, walk, walk. To the grocery store. To your neighbor's house. To the elementary school to pick up your kids. You'll be surprised what a good time you'll have.
  7. Do a dance. Your puppy loves your moves, no matter how goofy your dancing may be.
  8. Take her picture. Puppies grow up much more quickly than you think. Capture these moments of puppyhood that fly by.
  9. Check out your local breed club. You'll learn more about your puppy and meet new friends—for both of you.
  10. Learn to speak Puppy. Study her body language so that you know how she's feeling.
  11. Let her sniff. Your life isn't so busy that you can't let her sniff a little extra. Olfactory communication is essential for puppies learning about the world.
  12. Tag her. Millions of puppies are lost each year. Make sure yours isn't one of them.
  13. Get her fixed. Animals who've had the operation lead longer, healthier lives. Plus, you'll be doing your part to curb overpopulation.
  14. Let her chew. Yes, it can be a pain, but it is also developmentally appropriate for puppies. Purchase high–quality chews at pet–specialty stores, and then let her have at it.
  15. Skip the scraps. Feeding puppies table food might seem like a good idea, but such morsels lead to obesity, intestinal problems, choking and hyperactivity. Instead, feed her a perfectly balanced diet from a well–known brand such as EUKANUBA™. She'll enjoy the taste, and you'll know you're giving her the right nutrients.
  16. Say no to sweets. Even though your puppy is part of your family, she does not need her own Easter basket. In fact, desserts such as chocolate can seriously harm puppies. If you must nestle something in that pink grass, bury bones or toys.
  17. Feed to size. Pups have different nutritional needs based on their projected weight as adults. EUKANUBA™ tweaks its formulas to meet the specific demands of small, medium, and large breed puppies so that you don't have to play dietician.
  18. Don't overfeed. Yes, it's true that puppies burn twice the energy of adult dogs, but that doesn't mean they need twice the food. Feed "smart" by giving your puppy a nutrient–dense meal that allows her body to make the best use of the calories eaten.
  19. Keep it fresh. Always dump the water in your pup's bowl before each meal is served (and between meals, if necessary), and then scrub the dish. Even one stray morsel of food can make the supply taste funny. Without water, your pup could get dehydrated quickly.
  20. Brush his teeth. Regular dental care can prevent gum disease, tooth loss and doggie breath. It can even lengthen your dog's life.
  21. Get on your vet's calendar. Ensure your puppy has regular checkups (at least three times in the first year). This will afford your vet the opportunity to get a baseline on her health.
  22. Take her in if she's sick. It is unfair to make a helpless puppy "wait it out" if she's ill. Besides, what you conclude is "nothing" could actually turn out to be something. In which case, you'll want to get treatment for her immediately.
  23. Clip her claws regularly. If you’re not sure about your skills, ask your vet to do it for you. Keeping claws too long could result in discomfort for puppies (not to mention the damage it could do to hardwood floors).
  24. Clean her ears. Puppies are susceptible to several ear issues including mites and infections. Ask your vet how to carefully swab her ears, and then do so regularly.