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Puppy Care

Poodle Puppy Care

Overview

Even though this breed was first a “water dog”, helping hunters retrieve prey that had fallen into bodies of water such as swamps and ponds, today’s Poodle is a pampered, indoor dog.
Proper care for the Poodle will involve many aspects that will all work in combination to maintain excellent health and promote learning and good behavioral habits.

It is important to establish a foundation of proper care during the puppy stage that will carry over throughout the Poodle's life.

We will discuss:
  • The items that you should have to care for a Poodle puppy
  • Details on the 5 most important tips for proper care - Feeding, house training, offering the right amount of exercise, grooming and how to offer a healthy environment.
Toy Poodles and Mini's will be puppies for the 1st year; standards mature at a somewhat slower rate and are considered to be puppies until the age of 2 years old. During this time, much care is needed for both physical growth and mental development.

Bringing your new Poodle home is not as simple as just picking up your new family member from the breeder. Good care involves planning ahead.  It helps to have all needed items well in advance so that you can focus on the puppy without having to rush out for a needed supply items. 

One of the most important elements to be aware of is that no matter what the puppy has been fed since he or she began eating solid food, you should have the exact same brand on hand. Quickly switching foods can cause upset stomach and other issues…and in the case of a puppy it can be the cause of hypoglycemia. A slow change must be made. If you opt to go with a different brand or to home cook, have enough of the 'old' food on hand for several weeks, as well as the 'new' so that that you can make gradual changeover. 

Puppy Supplies to Have for Your Poodle

Now, let’s look at all of the items that you should have BEFORE you bring your Poodle home and most certainly have to keep your Poodle happy and healthy.
A quality dog bed – A new puppy will feel stress going to even the best of new homes. This is why making sure that you have a nice, soft, comfortable dog bed is important. 
You should show your Poodle that this is the area in which he can rest, sleep or just get away from noise when things seem to overwhelming. If you will be leaving your puppy home alone during the day, it is best to have the bed placed in the area where he will be staying. 

A gated off section of a room or inside a canine playpen works well. The entrance to this can be left open when you are home with your puppy can of course, closed off when you are away. In this way, the puppy will become accustomed to the area. 

If you will be home with your puppy, place this in the corner of room that is frequently used but not chaotic. Dogs like to have their own quiet spot, but not feel isolated.
Poodle puppy with silver gray hair
Walking and ID accessories –  Along with a retractable leash and a collar for ID purposes, it is highly recommended to have a harness for your puppy. 

Toy Poodles (no matter what the age) and all Mini and Standard puppies should have on a harness and not a collar when they are on a leash. When a leash is connected to a dog collar, this can create too much tension on the neck, which can cause collapsed trachea. 

The trachea (windpipe) is protected by rings of cartilage…when this happens, those rings collapse in, causing pain and breathing problems. All it takes is for the dog to take a leap and be jerked back by the leash’s end… or even when walking, if the dog runs ahead and the owner does not have time to react quickly enough and the dog is jerked back by the leash. 

Using a harness spreads out the contact points across the dog’s chest, underarms and back so that no harm comes to them. These can be purchased at a pet supply store and come in many unique and interesting designs so that your Poodle always looks stylish.  

If you are not sure which harness would be best for your Poodle puppy, you may wish to look to both 'Accessories' and 'Clothing- Harness' in the Poodle Specialty Shoppe.
A Car Safety Seat - Long ago cars did not even have seat belts for humans. But now, of course, we all know how many lives they save. The very same is true for dogs. Even if you are a conscientious driver, you cannot be in control of those who are driving near you. Be sure to secure your Poodle into a car safety seat. 

All it takes is 1 second of you having to quickly brake for your Poodle to go sliding off of the seat, completely unprotected. These are also great for dogs that are prone to car sickness.  A raised booster seat will assist a puppy in being able to look out of the window which reduces motion sickness. 

Toys – Some owners mistakenly believe that “more is better” and simply stock up on 20 or so generic toys. However, choosing high quality toys that can stand up to continual chewing and hold a puppy's interest is better.
Puppies are full of energy and filled with curiosity; having a good supply of toys at all times will be very helpful. Puppies that are in the teething phase will be experiencing discomfort and teething toys will help to sooth sore gums and offer a chewing outlet See also: Poodle teething
Grooming Supplies - Poodle care certainly involves proper grooming. This includes nails, dewclaws, bathes, drying, wrapping, trimming, clipping and topknots. See also: Bathing a Poodle
Poodle puppy with blue shirt on
Clothes - Particularly for tiny toy Poodles, protection against the elements should be implemented as needed. During cold, icy winters the use of canine shoes (or paw wax) helps protect paw pads from ice melt chemicals and aids with traction. A sweater or cute vest can keep a small Poodle puppy from becoming chilled. During hot months, shoes help protect sensitive paws from hot surfaces. 
Bowls - Plastic bowls often contain heavy dyes that can cause staining on a Poodle's coat. In addition, tiny scratches that easily develop in plastic bowls can also harbor dangerous bacteria. It is best to use stainless steel or ceramic bowls for both food and water. 

Dishes should shallow so that a puppy can easily reach both food and water without bumping their heads or straining to reach.

Toys and Mini's may like raised bowls. However, Standards - who are prone to bloat- should only eat and drink from bowls that are at floor level. 

5 Top Poodle Puppy Care Tips 

1- Have scheduled feedings.  Free feed until 3 months old (leaving food out at all times) and then give your puppy 3 meals per day plus healthy snacks. Please choose your food wisely; cheaper foods with fillers will not offer the proper nutrition needed to aid with the rapid growth that is associated with the puppy phase. You will find that if you reserve snacks and treats as rewards for training, housebreaking and command training will go smoother. Read more: Feeding a Poodle
2- Start house training right away, keeping in mind that it is your commitment to the process that will bring about success. Generally, housebreaking takes 2 to 3 months. If your Poodle puppy will be expected to use an outdoor area, do not focus too much on indoor training when the pup is home along, since it is difficult for puppies to learn 2 different methods. Read more: Housebreaking a Poodle puppy

3-  Make exercise a daily activity, once your puppy has all of his/her puppy shots.  Do keep in mind that young puppies should not be over-exercised since it can interfere with growth plate development; however a daily 20 to 30 minute per walk is perfect. 

Walks allow a puppy to release pent up energy, it expands their view of the world and is a good staring point for socialization techniques and learning proper heeling. 

Poodles are generally very active dogs. Aside from a walk each day, this breed loves to run , jump and show off their agility capabilities. Playing catch, Frisbee or training your Poodle to jump through hoops will keep them in good health, both physically and mentally.  See also: Poodle Exercise Requirements
4- Begin a routine of grooming and care. While many puppies will balk at the idea of being brushed or having teeth cleaned, doing these tasks on a regular basis allows a puppy to become accustomed to being touched and taken care of. Taking care of the teeth during the puppy stage is important since dental hygiene will affect the adult teeth that have not yet erupted. Read more: Poodle dental care

5-  Limit stress, focus on fun. One of the most important elements of Poodle care is to offer a loving, safe environment. Puppies and dogs are sensitive to their owner's moods and the atmosphere of the house in general. Puppies can become easily stressed in noisy, chaotic homes. 

Puppies should be given a designated area to retreat and rest if feeling overwhelmed. Often, a gated off area that is secured when a pup is home alone, but the entrance is open when owners are home works best.  Speak to your pup in a pleasant voice and remember that positive reinforcement for good behavior works much better than scolding for bad behavior. 

Take time to puppy proof the home, clearing the floors of any small items and stowing away shoes and other objects to higher ground. This should be done before bringing a puppy home but also on a regular basis. 
See also:

What it means when a Poodle puppy shakes - If a Poodle is suddenly shivering, you'll want to look to these top reasons.
Top 10 Poodle Care Tips - The most important essential for a Poodle of any age and any variety. 
Poodle Winter Care - Everything you need to know about caring for your Poodle during the wintertime. 
Poodle Summer Care - Guidelines during hot weather, including exercise, feeding, paw & skin care, water requirements, heat stress and more.
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