PUPPY GUIDE: MAKE YOUR PUPPY HAPPY
24 Ways to Keep Your Puppy Happy
If you’re looking for some new ways to stimulate your puppy’s senses or want to make sure he has a healthy, happy life, check out these 24 tips, compiled from dog-training experts’ favorite options.
- Plan playtime. Make a date with your puppy every day to help socialize him. Race him to the park or even read to him. You choose. He will bask in your undivided attention no matter what you do.
- Take a road trip. He'll love riding shotgun to the ice-cream store, to the post office, or to pick up bagels. Roll down the window so he gets a bit of a breeze on the way there—but make sure he’s secured in his seat (we recommend a dog-specific seatbelt harness).
- Hit the water. Nearly every breed of dog loves water, so prance through puddles, leap into lakes, or just play in a baby pool.
- Give him a bath. After all that wading in the stinky pond down the street, give him a nice bubble bath with specially formulated puppy shampoo.
- Beat the heat. Exercise with your puppy in the early morning hours and enjoy that sunrise you've missed the past few years.
- 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.
- Do a dance. Your puppy loves your moves, no matter how goofy your dancing may be.
- Take his picture. Puppies grow up much more quickly than you think. Capture these moments of puppyhood that fly by.
- Check out your local breed club. You'll learn more about your puppy and meet new friends—for both of you.
- Learn to speak Puppy. Study his body language so that you know how he's feeling.
- Let him sniff. Your life isn't so busy that you can't let him sniff a little extra. Olfactory communication is essential for puppies learning about the world.
- Tag him. Millions of puppies are lost each year. Make sure yours isn't one of them.
- Get him fixed. Animals who've had the operation lead longer, healthier lives. Plus, you'll be doing your part to curb overpopulation.
- Let him 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 him have at it.
- 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 him a perfectly balanced diet from a well-known brand such as Eukanuba®. He'll enjoy the taste, and you'll know you're giving him the right nutrients.
- Say no to sweets. Even though your puppy is part of your family, he does not need his 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.
- 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.
- 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 his body to make the best use of the calories eaten.
- 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.
- Brush his teeth. Regular dental care can prevent gum disease, tooth loss, and doggie breath. It can even lengthen your dog's life.
- 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 his health.
- Take him in if he's sick. It is unfair to make a helpless puppy "wait it out" if he's ill. Besides, what you conclude is "nothing" could actually turn out to be something. In which case, you'll want to get a treatment immediately.
- Clip his 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).
- Clean his ears. Puppies are susceptible to several ear issues including mites and infections. Ask your vet how to carefully swab his ears, and then do so regularly.