10 Basic Needs of a Puppy

basic needs of a puppy - puppy paws placed in human handsAs a living, breathing animal, your puppy needs a certain amount of help from you to make sure that their needs are met. Sure, an adult dog in the wild may learn to take care of itself and see to their own needs to an extent, but puppies need the help of their litter, mother, pack, and so on – and you serve as all of the above. That means being aware of everything you need to do to properly look after your puppy. Failing to do so can endanger the health and well-being of your new friend. To that end, these are 10 basic needs that every puppy has, including yours:

1. Clean and Fresh Water

A dog, much like us, prefers clean, cool water to drink. Proper hydration is key to good health, and puppies need a lot of water. In particular, they’ll need an extra hydration boost when it’s hot outside and after they’ve been chewing, playing, or napping.

Set up a drinking station for your puppy. Usually, next to their food bowl is a good placement. But, keep in mind that puppy bladders are small, so you will need to monitor their drinking habits and plan a trip outside shortly after.

2. Food

Of course, your puppy needs to eat. For those puppies between eight and twelve weeks old, they’ll need four meals a day. You can cut that down to three meals a day between three and six months and two meals a day between six months and a year old. One meal a day is typically sufficient for dogs after they turn one.

Protein-Rich Food

Your puppy is growing and will likely grow quickly; they need protein to help nourish their growth. A protein-rich food is very good to promote a healthy coat and proper skeletal growth in your puppy.

Balance Hard Foods and Wet Foods

Wet food can be a contributor to gum disease if the dog’s teeth are not properly cleaned. Hard food helps keep the pup’s teeth clean and healthy, so striking a good balance between hard foods and wet foods is a good idea. The right balance for your dog may shift depending on how often you brush your dog’s teeth.

3. Regular Visits to the Vet

Making sure that your furry friend has all of the shots needed and is healthy is very important. Regular visits to the vet will help you ensure your puppy is healthy and happily growing.

4. Chew Toys

Puppies need toys, especially chew toys. Make sure they have approved chew toys* (Amazon Affiliate Link) available to help keep them occupied.

5. Regular Grooming

It can seem like your dog is plenty clean; they may have short hair and it’s not like they particularly have a lot of body odor, right? Wrong!

The truth is that your dog needs their hair trimmed to match the weather, needs to be regularly washed, have their ears checked, their teeth cared for, and their nails clipped. Failing to properly groom your dog can mean hair everywhere, a dog smell filling your home, scratched up floors and furniture, and a dirty, potentially quite-unhealthy dog.

Brushing your pet may seem like a chore, but it is necessary to keep you and your animal happy. Not to mention grooming can be a way of you showing affection, so set aside some time for regular brushing and pampering. You and your pup will be thankful for it.

6. Training

Training your puppy is a great bonding experience. Not only will they learn basic commands and expected behaviors, but they’ll also become closer to you as part of the process.

Positive reinforcement and reward-based training are typically the best training methods, though the reward may vary depending on your pup. Some puppies work best with treats, while others may respond better to a toy.

7. Exercise

Taking daily walks is healthy for you and your pup, so enjoy a nice stroll! Your puppy needs plenty of exercise to stay healthy. If your dog doesn’t use their body, then they’ll start to develop serious health problems. Puppies, and adult dogs, can sometimes become destructive when they are bored or have too much energy, so make sure they get plenty of activity.

Aerobic exercise via running, playing, swimming, and so on is great for your dog. You can even teach your dog to play frisbee and other games. They’ll enjoy the exercise and the mental stimulation that comes with learning something new. Plus, letting them get rid of excess energy tends to make for a happy and well-behaved pup.

8. Frequent Bathroom Breaks

Paired with plenty of exercise and daily walks are frequent bathroom breaks. Your puppy has a small bladder and they’ll need to go often until they grow a bit more! You can use puppy pads or newspaper if needed, but taking your pup out for timely bathroom breaks is important to their care.

Determine where you want to teach your puppy to go and then focus on teaching your pup how to let you know when it’s time, like barking at the door. Consistent routines, schedules, and patterns are good house training tips and are important for your puppy when they are learning. Outline the process for yourself, stick to it, and have a little patience – your pup will learn soon enough!

9. Sleep

When a puppy is zonked, let them sleep! A puppy’s sleep is important for proper growth and mood. Create a space in your home that is quiet and designate it as your puppy’s sleeping area. Then, let them rest when they need to take a nap.

10. Love

Love and attention are important basic needs of any animal, especially a puppy. With a puppy, you have found unconditional love. They will grow into a dog that will be at your side, thick and thin, for the next 8-10+ years of your life. Give your dog the love and attention they crave and they’ll return it back to you over and over.

With these basic needs covered, you can enjoy watching your puppy grow up and become an integral part of your family.

*Greenfield Puppies is a participant in the Amazon Services LLC Associates Program, an affiliate advertising program designed to provide a means for sites to earn advertising fees by advertising and linking to amazon.com. Greenfield Puppies may earn a commission for purchases made through Amazon affiliate links on our site.