Puppies are adorable little balls of cuteness. In fact, even watching videos of puppies can help to reduce your stress levels and improve your concentration. However, these cuddly little animal babies aren’t always harmless, and to protect yourself and your family, you should understand a few essentials.
At Mazow┃McCullough, PC, we are celebrating National Puppy Day on March 23 by sharing a few tips and ideas with you. If you have a puppy, know a puppy, or are thinking about getting a puppy, keep the following in mind.
1. Puppy Proof Your House
Puppies are curious creatures, and to keep them safe, you need to puppy-proof your home. Typically, you should take similar steps as you would with a young child. Secure electrical and drapery cords so that puppies don’t get tangled or pull on them. Make sure that puppies can’t get into garbage cans, laundry baskets, or any other containers holding smelly items that may be alluring to puppies. Little dogs need to understand that they shouldn’t mess around with these items, but at the same time, you also want to protect them from eating something that could be a choking hazard.
Put toxins such as medications and cleaners in a spot where puppies can’t get into them. Also, don’t forget to hide things that are poisonous to dogs, such as chocolate, grapes, and macadamia nuts. Ideally, for the safety of your home and the puppy, you should have a crate for the puppy to use when you are out of the house. But, make sure that you have a quick release collar or no collar at all because the collar could become a hanging hazard in a crate.
2. Be Careful of Nursing Mamas
Typically, you don’t adopt puppies and bring them home until after they are weaned, but if you are in a situation where you are around a mama dog and her pups, you need to exercise additional caution. Do not approach dogs when they are nursing their young, and make sure that young children in your care understand this rule.
Canine mothers in your care need a safe and private place to keep their pups. If there’s too much light, the mama dog may become anxious and potentially act out. If she doesn’t feel safe in one location, she is likely to take the dogs to another spot; however, moving the puppies too often can put them at risk. To minimize both of these risks, try to provide a safe spot with soft, dim lighting, such as a corner in an unused closet or shed, where the dog can care for her pups privately and securely.
3. Establish the Right Habits Early
Puppies are so cute and seemingly harmless that many owners overlook the importance of puppy training. However, puppies are adults by their first birthday, and if you don’t establish positive habits early in your puppy’s life, you will end up with an adult dog riddled with bad habits. Unfortunately, puppies can do many things that may be dangerous if done by an adult dog, simply because of the size difference.
For instance, if a six-week-old rottweiler puppy jumps up on a person, it’s not a big deal because the puppy only weighs about 10 pounds. However, by the puppy’s first birthday, he’s likely to weigh about 100 pounds, and at that weight, jumping up on a person could lead to falls and injuries. A rottweiler’s weight continues increasing until about their third birthday, further underscoring the need for adequate training when they are young.
However, size isn’t the only reason you need to train puppies. Even with small dogs, you need to think about their developing teeth. Between age two and four weeks, most puppies get their baby teeth which are smaller and rounder than their adult teeth. Baby dog teeth start to fall out around age 12 to 16 weeks, and most dogs have a full set of adult teeth by the time they are six months old. As a result, if you let a puppy chew on your hand or the furniture, those activities may seem harmless for a while, but when your dog gets their adult teeth, these activities could lead to injuries or property damage.
4. Don’t Disturb Sleeping Puppies
Like human babies, puppies need a lot of sleep. To protect your pup’s developing brain and body, you need to ensure they get ample amounts of sleep. Additionally, children need to understand that approaching a sleeping dog or puppy can be dangerous. If you disrupt a sleeping dog or puppy, they may become aggressive and snap.
5. Remember Puppies Are Not Miniature Dogs
Sometimes, it’s easy to think that puppies are just like miniature dogs, but they aren’t. Puppies are much more immature than their older counterparts. They don’t have the control or the empathy of older dogs. For instance, while dogs find yawning contagious, puppies don’t. Although yawning isn’t particularly important, dog experts believe that fact highlights the lack of empathy in puppies compared to full grown dogs, and because of that, you and your children need to be extra careful around puppies.
Once again, happy National Puppy Day from the team at Mazow┃McCullough, PC! We hope that you can enjoy the happiness of a puppy, but we also want to remind you of the importance of practicing puppy safety especially with children.
If you’ve been attacked by a puppy or an older dog and need legal help, contact us today for a free case evaluation.