Puppy Care 101

Puppy Care 101

Who doesn’t love an adorable, curious, playful and sweet little puppy? As some of the cutest things ever made, puppies are a source of love, joy and companionship—but it’s not all fun and games. It’s important to remember that with great power comes great responsibility—your new doggie friend will be very dependent on you; therefore, we’ve created a convenient guide that will help you take care of your puppy.

The first few months you have with your puppy will be very important and will lay the foundation for your canine’s future health and behavior. A puppy is a major lifestyle adjustment, and you can expect many accident cleanups to counterbalance the joy of a baby doggie. However, if you follow the below guidelines, you can ensure a happy and healthy life for your pup.

Take Your Puppy to the Vet Immediately

During this vet visit, ask any and all questions you may have. Your vet will also make sure to:

  • Set up a vaccination plan for your dog
  • Go over internal and external parasite control options
  • Discuss signs of illness to look out for during your puppy’s first few months
  • Talk about spaying and neutering

Shop for High-Quality Food

Your puppy’s body will grow and grow, therefore you’ll need to select a food that’s made specifically for puppies instead of one made for adult dogs. Check any potential food packaging for a statement from the Association of Animal Feed Control Officials (AAFCO) which should be visible somewhere. This ensures that the food is nutritionally complete.

Depending on your dog’s breed and size, they will have different schedules which we will discuss during your visit. You should however always make sure your puppy has plenty of fresh and clean water available to them at all times.

Establish a Potty Routine Early

Housetraining your pup is very important early on. You’ll need positive reinforcement, patience and planning to be successful, not to mention plenty of cleaning supplies because accidents will unfortunately happen.

Until your puppy has had all of their vaccinations, you need to find a place that is outdoors and inaccessible to other animals to help reduce the spread of viruses and diseases. Positive reinforcement goes a long way, so whenever your pup does their business outside, praise them—just as important though, is to refrain from punishing them for indoor accidents.

Some common times to take your pup out include:
  • When you wake up
  • Right before they go to bed
  • Immediately after they eat or drink a lot of water
  • When they wake up from a nap
  • During and after physical activity

Be Aware of Early Signs of Illness

During your puppy’s first few months on this earth, they are more susceptible to sudden illnesses that can turn very serious if not treated early. Contact the vet immediately if you notice these symptoms:

  • Loss of appetite
  • Diarrhea
  • Lethargy
  • Poor weight gain
  • Vomiting
  • Painful or swollen abdomen
  • Pale gums
  • Eye discharge or swollen, red eyes
  • Nasal discharge
  • Coughing or wheezing
  • Inability to pass stools or urine
  • Breathing difficulty

Obedience Training

Puppies will be puppies, but teaching your baby dog good manners early on will set them up for a successful life of positive social interactions. Training them will also forge a strong bond between you and your pup.

Essential commands such as sit, stay, down and come will be beneficial in many scenarios. There are also obedience classes available to puppies, which usually accept pets from around age four to six months old. While training your dog, remember to use positive reinforcement which is much more effective than punishment.


Along with obedience training, socialization during puppyhood is imperative to a successful, well-behaved dog. When puppies are around two to four months of age, they begin to accept other animals, places, people and experiences. Socialization with other dogs, cats and situations will enhance their worldview and make them less excited and anxious in their everyday life.


At PAVG, we are always committed to making sure your pet stays happy and healthy. If you have any additional questions about puppy care 101, please give us a call at our following locations:

Chillicothe: 309-273-1909

Dunlap: 309-439-9522

Dunlap II: 309-413-0527