Puppy Routines



Feed a high quality diet designed for puppies. A wide variety of diets and formulations are available and your veterinarian should be your primary source of information as to the best choice for your puppy. The amount fed will vary with the type of food and the individual dog, but in general, should only be as much as the puppy can consume in 5 to 10 minutes at a given meal.

Puppies are usually fed 3 times daily when between 6 and 12 weeks old, 2 times daily when 12 weeks to 6 months old, and may be fed 1 or 2 times daily when older than 6 months. For certain large breeds of dogs, your veterinarian may recommend that several smaller meals be fed rather than 1 large meal (even when your dog becomes an adult) because an association has been suggested between the consumption of large meals and a serious medical condition called gastric dilatation/volvulus or "bloat."


Health Exam/Vaccinations:

You will want to have your new puppy examined by a veterinarian to ensure that it has no major health problems and is started on a program of preventive care. Your puppy's health care plan includes a series of vaccinations against distemper, parvovirus and coronavirus (gastrointestinal diseases), infectious hepatitis, and respiratory infections (adenovirus, parainfluenza, and bordetella).

Vaccination protocols are designed on the basis of your puppy's risk of infection and may vary depending upon your puppy's age, breed, and environmental exposures (e.g., in certain locales, vaccinations for Lyme disease and leptospirosis may be considered standard parts of the protocol). Vaccinations are usually given at 3-week intervals from 6 to 16 weeks of age. At 15 to 16 weeks of age, the puppy receives its first rabies vaccination.

Puppies should be checked for intestinal parasites (usually 2 stool samples 3 weeks apart), fleas, and heartworm disease (depending on age), and appropriate treatment or preventatives administered.



Regular brushing, bathing, and nail care are essential. Protect your puppy's eyes and ears when bathing, and don't allow the puppy to become chilled after bathing. Your veterinarian may recommend that you do not bathe your puppy when it is younger than 10 to 12 weeks unless absolutely necessary (especially if your puppy is one of the smaller breeds).

See General Schedule, in Obedience, training, and socialization section.

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