puppy Care Guide

Puppies are boundless balls of energy and joy—but they also require a lot of attention and care to grow into healthy, well-adjusted adult dogs. Here are a few of the most important things to know in order to set your pup up for a long and happy life.

Preparing for a Puppy

Try to find the right veterinarian before you bring your new puppy home. A veterinarian can suggest a reputable shelter or breeder, as well as help you pick a breed that’s best suited for your lifestyle. If you don’t know a good veterinarian, ask friends or local dog walkers and groomers for a recommendation.

Finding a veterinarian first will also give you information on the medical costs you’ll encounter when caring for a puppy, such as vaccinations, spaying or neutering, and parasite prevention. To prepare for routine appointments and emergencies alike, consider opening the CareCredit credit card, which is accepted nationwide and offers both flexibility and convenience.

This is the advice pet parents to social media celebrity Manny the Frenchie offer to first-time dog owners. “You want to give your dog the best care possible,” they say. “Unexpected things happen, which can get costly, so resources like CareCredit can literally be a lifesaver.”

Very young animals are highly susceptible to infectious disease because their immune system is not yet fully mature. In many instances, the first dose of a vaccine serves to prime the animal's immune system against the virus or bacteria while subsequent doses help further stimulate the immune system to produce the important antibodies needed to protect an animal from diseases.

-The American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA)

Puppy Nutrition

Complete and balanced nutrition is essential for a puppy’s growing body and mind. Puppies have special nutritional needs based on their age, size, and breed, so consult your veterinarian on when, how much, and what to feed your newest addition. Look for AAFCO (American Associations of Feed Control Officials) approval on the label to confirm it’s a high-quality food or treat.

Puppy Socialization and Exercise

Puppies love to play—and for good reason. Playing not only helps your pup release energy and stay active, but it also exposes him to new people and dogs, teaching him important social skills. Proper socialization will help your puppy grow into a friendly, well-mannered and confident dog.

Talk to your veterinarian about how much and what kind of exercise is best for your puppy’s age and breed, as overdoing it can put your dog at risk for orthopedic diseases or injuries.

Manny the Frenchie suggests building in plenty of nap time for your puppy to rest.

Choose your dog’s life stage

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