10 Basic Needs of a Puppy

basic needs of a puppy - puppy paws placed in human hands

A puppy is a growing animal and relies on you for food, support, help, love, and more. It’s important for you to meet their needs, support them, and love them to help them grow into a healthy, happy dog. Here are some basic needs of a puppy:

1. Clean, Fresh Water

Proper hydration is key to good health and it’s important to make sure your dog has access to clean water to drink. Puppies will need extra hydration when it’s hot outside, after a play session, after chewing for a bit, and also after a nap.

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

In addition to water, your puppy will need the right nutrients, and enough of them, to develop and grow as they should. How often to feed a puppy may vary slightly from puppy to puppy, but there are some general guidelines to follow. And, your vet can help you create the right plan and feeding schedule specific to your puppy.

In general, 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 or a half-portion twice a day is typically sufficient for dogs after they turn one.

Protein-Rich Food

Feeding your puppy enough is important and making sure you’re choosing the right food is essential. Your puppy is growing and will likely grow quickly; they need protein to help nourish their growth. Protein-rich puppy 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 and what your vet recommends your puppy should be eating.

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 on schedule.

Regular vet visits during puppyhood and throughout your dog’s life can help you make sure your dog is happy and healthy. Not only do regular vet visits help keep your dog healthy, but they can also help you catch anything that might be happening as early as possible.

4. Chew Toys

Puppies need toys, especially chew toys. Dogs, in general, enjoy chewing, but puppies need appropriate chew toys during puppy teething to help them get through it. 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! There are many factors that determine the grooming level of a puppy and every dog will be a little different in terms of frequency. But, every dog needs the same basic grooming tasks.

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 cause a lot of health issues for them. It also tends to mean hair everywhere, a dog smell filling your home, scratched-up floors and furniture, and a dirty, potentially, 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 or simple praise and pets.

7. Exercise

Taking daily walks is healthy for you and your pup, so enjoy a nice stroll with them a few times a day! Although exercise needs will vary from dog to dog, your puppy needs plenty of daily 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.

But, make sure puppies finish growing before you tackle anything high-impact. Doing too much too soon can damage developing bones and joints. Your vet can help you determine what activities are good for your puppy and when.

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

It may seem like dogs sleep so much, but there are good reasons for it, especially when they are puppies. 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 5-10+ years of your life. Give your dog the love and attention they crave and they’ll return it back to you over and over.

These are just a few basics needs of a puppy. With these basic needs covered, you can bond with your puppy, make them an integral part of your family, and enjoy watching them grow up.

*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.