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Raising a healthy puppy

Health is a combination of physical and emotional well being. A puppy who has clear boundaries set, who is well socialised and exercised, and fed a balanced diet is likely to be a healthy puppy that matures into a healthy adult dog. There are no guarantees of course, anything can go wrong in the best situations of course and genetics definitely play a part.

Choosing your pup

So firstly you should be choosing a puppy from a reputable breeder who makes all efforts to have their breeding animals tested for known health issues, particularly ones related to their breed, and who keep a check on the puppies they breed and sell. These breeders can give you information about how other puppies they have bred over a period of years are going in all their different situations. Ensure the breeder keeps their breeding dogs in good conditions, not in cages and runs simply being fed and bred. Ensure the parents and any other dogs on the property are in general good health, and you have a good starting point.

Health care

Check your pup daily in the first weeks until you know your pup through and through - check by looking and feeling your pup all over. This is also great for your puppy becoming used to a physical examination and being comfortable with this happening. You will quickly then notice any lumps, hot areas, painful areas or anything different about your pup.

Introduce your puppy to your veterinarian early so that you get extra good advice on raising your pup and health issues to be aware of in your breed or in your area.

Feed your pup a high quality diet mixed with a good level of exercise. The best way to exercise your pup is to play with your puppy in your home or backyard. Walking your puppy needs to begin with very short distances and be prepared to carry your puppy to avoid exhaustion and putting too much pressure on rapidly growing long bones.

Have a worming routine worked out, keep your puppy free of fleas and other parasites and vaccinations up to date.

How to check your puppy over is often something you don't know where to really start at. The following video gives you a good guide. The most important thing is to do this regularly so you know what is normal, and can notice changes quickly.

Emotional care

Provide your puppy with plenty of socialisation and entertainment.

If you have to go out to work, take this into account before purchasing your puppy and provide an environment that is not going to distress, isolate and bore your puppy. Puppies often become dogs displaying many problem behaviours simply for these reasongs - digging, chewing, destroying, chewing themselves, barking and escaping.

You may be able to hire someone to check on your puppy during the day and spend some time there playing with the puppy to assist.

A group of healthy puppies - starting by purchasing your puppy from a reputable breeder is so important as you are more likely to buy a puppy with less genetic health problems that has been well fed and raised in a disease free environment

Act fast

Don't leave small things to become large problems!

Develop a network of experts that you can rely on:

  • your Veterinarian
  • your breeder
  • other people with dogs that you trust
  • internet forums

If something seems not right, get advice and act straight away - puppies can dehydrate quickly and a minor problem can become serious quickly. Prevention is always far preferable to curing!


male maremma playing with his pups displaying the loving nature of these livestock guardian dogs

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