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Week-by-week: A fun filled first year with your dog

Managing Your Puppy’s Needs

The first year with your dog is a year filled with exciting firsts, as well as challenging milestones. You are probably wondering what sort of changes you will have to make to your lifestyle with a new puppy, i.e., will they need to be drastic, how much attention and training does my dog need, and where do I begin? Don’t worry, we’ve got you!

a black puppy lying down with a blue ball in her mouth
Pre-Puppy planning, breeder, rescue expectations, and beyond Three Weeks Prior:

Discuss what your breeder or rescue is currently doing for the care of your puppy, set proper expectations.

Two Weeks Prior:
  • Schedule a session with a Trainer to create a schedule and start puppy-proofing your home. You should expect to go over
    • How to create a “safe zone”
    • Creating a dog’s schedule
    • Creating a consistent language for the household
  • Set up a Zoom call with New York Veterinary Practice to discuss your dog’s Annual Wellness Plan.
Day of arrival – tips for success:
Entering Your Home:
  • Take your dog to their “safe zone,” setup during your puppy-proofing. Your dog should have access to go in and out of the crate. Put kibble or a treat in the crate so there is positive association with the area.
  • Based on the schedule established with the Trainer, put down food and water (do not leave these down for more than 30 minutes). This will help your dog feel more comfortable.
  • Introduce your dog to your family and household. Do not approach all at once as this can be overwhelming. Allow your dog to come to you.
  • Tour your dog around your home, avoid areas you do not want them to go.
  • Now is a good time to begin your brief period of solitary downtime in the playpen / crate
    • Solitary downtime, or crating, should be no more than one hour per month of age
    • Avoid exceeding nine to ten hours in a day (not including sleeping periods).
    • This development is important for bladder control, preventing chewing / destructive behavior, and independence. A one hour period of aerobic exercises should follow these sessions.
Your puppy is home, has their own space, and is comfortable – what next? Check out this week-by-week guide to check in your and your puppy’s progress!
What is Matting?

Matting occurs when a dog’s hair next to the skin gets knotted, tangled in clumps masses. If un-brushed, the clump gets bigger, tighter, and closer to the body.  This can be caused by a lack of brushing, wet coats that have not been brushed out or dried properly, or a harness or collar that continually rubs against a dog’s fur. It is important your dog stays mat free as it can cause health issues like stress from licking and biting at the area, leading to general discomfort. Fleas and parasites might be hiding in their coat, which might cause sores, lesions, bruising, or discolored skin. The matted hair might also be hiding hot spots, and other skin infections. Unchecked, those areas can get bigger and spread. This could lead to the dreaded shave down.

a brown dog half way through getting a shave down

Simply put, matting is painful for your dog and brushing out established matts involves a process of pulling live hair out of the skin as healthy hair is encase in the matting. De-matting can cause increase pain and irritation, redness, and swelling.

What does it feel like to brush it out? Imagine a painful knot you’ve had to brush out of your own hair. Now imagine that you don’t understand what’s causing that pain. And to top it off, its on sensitive areas of your body like behind your ears, or in your armpits or on your chest. Yikes!

Do we need to get a shave down?

If the matting is somewhat loose and not close to the skin, it may be possible to brush through and remove some areas. This process is usually painful and stressful for most dogs. The kindest way to remove matting is the dreaded shave down, whether the matting is sparse or covers the dog. Shaving out the matting is not an easy fix! The clippers the groomers use get hot, which can cause further irritation. The matting might pull on the skin as it’s being taken off, which increases the likelihood of nicks. The best thing to do is to avoid matting in the first place, and maintain a healthy and knot free coat.

Maintain your Dog’s Coat = No Shave Down

short, manageable, & cute

Welcome to Part 3 of Puppy 101!

This week, we’re going to discuss your puppy’s hygiene. Hygiene is vital to your dog’s overall health and well-being. Not only do you want your dog to smell, look, and feel clean at all times, you also prevent numerous diseases and harmful parasites when you keep your puppy groomed and fresh.

grooming-1

 

 

 

 

 

 

Some key hygiene pointers to stay aware of:

  1. Starting a regular grooming schedule early will allow your dog to get comfortable with the many tools groomers use. Scissors, shears, and clippers can seem threatening to your puppy, so conditioning them not to fear these implements is a very smart move.
  2. As we said above, maintaining proper hygiene prevents numerous health issues. Grooming uncovers issues that are missed by the untrained eye. On countless occasions, our groomers have found nearly life-threatening symptoms on puppies during grooming.
  3. No one wants their fur to host a flea market! By consistently grooming your puppy, you avoid matting, hot spots, and itchy, unhealthy parasites like fleas and ticks. Keep your puppy clean and comfortable by ensuring their beautiful coat stays soft, warm, and clean.
  4. Keeping your puppy’s fur trimmed and under control keeps dog hair off your furniture and out of your drain pipes.
  5. See our previous posts on dog grooming for tips on home ear cleaning, teeth cleaning, and nail trimming.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Great news! Biscuits & Bath offers a 20% discount on dog grooming for puppies under 8 months on both haircuts and baths! If you set up a standing appointment, you’ll always get the time slot and groomer you love, every time!

Dog Grooming: Ear Cleaning

dog ear cleaned with cotton swab
dog ear cleaned with cotton swab

To acclimate your pup to the ear cleaning process, practice playing with and handling your dog’s ears gently. Reinforcing good behavior with treats while you carefully massage the inside of the ear is one of the easiest ways to get your dog comfortable with the sensation of ear cleaning. Once your pup is comfortable, repeat the process with cotton balls.  It is recommended that you check in with your vet or groomer to get recommended ear-cleaning products that suit your dog. Engaging in frequent ear cleanings will insure that your pup’s ears are free of uncomfortable wax, hair and debris, but more importantly will help you to understand what a healthy ear looks like, which will help you to identify when your dog is uncomfortable.

Dog Grooming: Teeth Brushing

Brushing a yorkie's teeth.
Brushing a yorkie’s teeth.

Doggie dental hygiene is an often-overlooked aspect of the dog grooming process, with around 80% of dogs suffering from some type of dental disease. Cleaning your pup’s teeth is often easiest when they are tired and calm. Sitting comfortably with your dog’s head resting (facing away from you) on your lap. Using some form of pup-friendly toothpaste, gently rub the gum and the base of the tooth. Once your dog is comfortable with the taste of the toothpaste and the rubbing sensation, it is time to upgrade to a soft children’s brush or a brush designed especially for dogs. There is no need to ever pry your dog’s mouth open, just gentle brushing on the outside of the teeth works wonders.

 

Dog Grooming: Nail Trimming

Nail Trimming
Nail Trimming

Trimming a pup’s nails is similar to ear cleaning in the sense that they both require a certain level of trust and comfort having a specific body part handled.  Again, the best way to acclimate your dog is through repetition and positive reinforcement. When your pup is comfortable with you handling their paws, you are well on your way to safe and easy nail trimming. Always go about trimming the claw paw up, and be sure to watch for the “quick” (the visible and sensitive nerve bundle at the base of the nail). Knowing where the quick is can be difficult on dogs with black nails, but as long as you are not cutting too short, your pup should be comfortable. It is also important to remember the dew claw, which is located on the upper inner surface of the paw. 

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