Most FAQs About Puppies

The thing about raising a puppy is that unless you've done it before, you're not sure if you're doing it the right way. To quell those fears, here are the most frequently-asked questions we receive. We've also provided answers you can rely on from our experts.

Q: How much should I play with my new puppy?
A: Aim for between three and six play periods per day, but remember that he'll tire easily as a youngster. A game of fetch is ideal, as it includes exercise and a lesson on commands.

Q: How often should I take my pet to the veterinarian?
A: Three times per year during puppyhood (which ends in about one year for small and medium sized breeds and between 18 and 24 months for large-breed dogs). After that, he should have a visit once annually, unless he gets sick.

Q: How do I teach my pup not to jump on people?
A: Hold a treat in front of your dog's nose then raise it over his head. As his nose comes up, his head should come down. Say "Sit!" Reward him when his hindquarters touch the ground. Repeat the drill and gradually remove the food used during the lesson. (But always give him a treat afterwards if he's followed your rules.) Once he learns the command, ask him to "Sit!" each time he greets someone.

Q: How are the nutritional needs of large-breed and small-breed puppies different?
A: Small-breed pups develop much faster than do others. They have faster metabolic rates and thus need higher levels of protein, fat, calcium and phosphorus. Meanwhile, large- and giant-breed dogs aren't considered full grown until they're nearly two years old. And while many people surmise they should eat huge quantities of food, they simply need meals that pack a nutritional punch. (If overfed, these animals risk putting on too much weight too quickly and developing skeletal problems.) The scientists at Eukanuba have developed specific formulas for every size puppy so you'll be sure to know they've got all the nutrition they need to grow up healthy.

Q: What common ailments should I watch for?
A: Worms and infectious diseases such as parvovirus and distemper are most problematic. These can be avoided with appropriate deworming and vaccines, though it is smart to limit your puppy's exposure to other dogs until he has been fully immunized.

Q: How often should I groom and/or bath my pet?
A: Long-haired breeds should be brushed out every day or so (give him a treat when you're done so that he learns grooming is pleasurable). Bath when stinky, but avoid overdoing it, as his skin is sensitive.

Q: When should I switch to an adult dog food?
A: For small- and medium-breed puppies, move to a high-quality adult formula like Eukanuba when he blows out the candles on his first birthday cake. Large-breed dogs should switch by the start of his second year of life.