How to raise a healthy puppy

Stanley Puppy

Puppies are adorable, there’s no denying that, however, they also require a lot of looking after. As is the case with human babies, it’s vital that you take active steps to encourage development and to help them stay healthy. Familiarising yourself with the steps you can take to raise a healthy puppy before you adopt is a great way to prepare before you welcome the new addition to the family. The Natures Menu guide on how to raise a healthy puppy will help you get off on the right foot. 

Provide a high-quality diet

It’s hardly surprising that your puppy’s diet plays a huge role in its overall health, and it should be treated as a priority.  You should aim to provide your puppy with a balanced diet, comprising of the highest-quality foods possible. Getting your puppy’s diet right will help to ensure that they get the nutrients they need to grow and develop. Feeding this high-quality diet doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive, thanks to the Natures Menu range of puppy foods. The extensive range of puppy feeding products caters for all dietary requirements, as well as a selection of healthy treats and chews. There are even options for owners looking to feed their puppy a raw diet. Of course, it’s not just about what you feed your puppy, but how much. The Natures Menu feeding calculator will help you to feed the right portion size for your puppy. 

Exercise regularly

Most owners are aware that regular walking is part and parcel of adopting a puppy, and that it’s important for their physical health, but regular exercise has also been proven to stimulate a puppy’s mind and improve mental health. Combining walks with fun fetching games is a sure way to keep your puppy healthy.  While the length of walk will depend on the size and breed of your dog, all breeds benefit from routine exercise and play. You can use puzzle toys to encourage your puppy to play and stimulate their mind even when you aren’t around. 

Keep vaccinations up to date

Just like babies, puppies need vaccinations when they’re young to protect them from contracting infections and illnesses that their weaker immune system cannot fight against. While the cost of puppy vaccinations might seem expensive, the veterinary bills you’ll face if your puppy does get ill could be much more.  Vets often send reminders for these regular vaccinations, but we’d recommend you keep track of dates and appointments yourself, too.  

Sarge 13 weeks old

Keep them groomed

Grooming your puppy isn’t just to keep them looking good, it can also have health benefits. You should bathe and brush your dog regularly to clear away any dirt as this could cause skin irritation if left for too long. Be sure to use a specially formulated dog shampoo, taking any existing skin conditions into account when choosing the shampoo. It’s also important to regularly trim long-haired puppy breeds, as hair could irritate their eyes, increasing the risk of irritation. You should also cut your puppy’s claws on a regular basis to prevent them curling and pressing into the paw pad, which could be uncomfortable. Take care, though-it’s important that you don’t cut your puppy’s claws too short, so be sure to cut them just in front of the quick.

Don't forget their teeth

Your puppy’s dental health is another important factor in ensuring its wellbeing and, providing you establish good habits from the start, it’s pretty easy to stay on top of. Your puppy’s milk teeth will start falling out when your puppy is around 14 weeks old, but it’s important to familiarise your puppy with a dental hygiene routine as early as possible to make it easier for everyone involved.  You should use a toothbrush specifically designed for dogs, or your finger wrapped in gauze, along with a small amount of dog toothpaste. Rub gently along the teeth and gums, never pressing too hard. The more regularly you do this, the more your dog will accept it and the easier it will be to maintain a good dental health routine later on. 

Teach your puppy it's ok to be alone

It goes without saying that you should only adopt a puppy if you have enough time to care for them, but it’s pretty normal that you’ll need to leave them alone from time to time. It’s important that your puppy is just as happy alone as they are when you’re around and that they don’t develop separation anxiety or a phobia of being alone. Keeping your puppy away from you and your family from time to time—even when you’re in the house—is a good way to help familiarise them with being alone. 

Know what's normal

Every puppy is different, which means what's healthy and normal for one puppy might be out of the ordinary for another. You’ll be spending the most time with your puppy, so it’s up to you to get to know what’s right for them. Be sure to check their mouth, ears and eyes on a regular basis to keep an eye out for any abnormalities. You should contact your vet if you notice any changes, or if you have any concerns that something isn’t quite right. 

Of course, every puppy will have slightly different needs. Whether your puppy has a specific dietary requirement, or a health condition, the fundamentals of raising a puppy are all the same. As with any problem, prevention is always better than a cure, which is why it’s important to keep on top of your puppy’s health. Should you have any questions or concerns about your puppy, your vet will be happy to advise and help in any way they can. Got a question about feeding your puppy a healthy diet?