How To Properly Care for Poodle Puppies

Poodle puppy sitting in leaves

Poodle puppies bring a lot of joy and positive energy to any household. They are friendly, careful around kids, and great family dogs. Experts consider them one of the best dog breeds for first-time owners. They are also known to be as smart as a two-year-old human toddler. In fact, Stanley Coren, a canine expert and professor emeritus at the University of British Columbia, says a Poodle is the second smartest breed in the world.

Poodles have an interesting history – the breed name comes from the German word, “pudel” or “pudelin,” which means “to splash in the water.” Originally bred as hunting dogs, they brought back ducks and other birds to their masters, often by stepping into the water. While some waterfowl hunters still use Poodles as retrievers, they are now employed as guide dogs, assistant dogs, and therapy dogs. They are also the preferred canine companions for many of us.

If you have a Poodle puppy or are planning to adopt one, it is important to know how to care for them and establish healthy habits and routines right from the start.

How do you properly care for Poodle puppies? Poodle puppies have special requirements for diet, space, exercise, and safety that we will discuss below.

Understanding Poodle Puppy Temperaments

There are three different sizes of Poodles: Standard Poodle, Miniature Poodle, and Toy Poodle. All of them are known to be friendly and even-tempered, while Miniature Poodles follow their owners around and are the most active of the three. Poodle puppies are lively, intelligent, and spirited, so they need your attention to keep them alert and occupied. Poodle puppies are also known to be quite loyal and bond well with family members, and you need to spend time with them to help these traits flourish.

Preparing for a Poodle Puppy

Preparing Your Children for a Poodle Puppy

Before you bring the Poodle puppy home, you can do a couple of things to ensure a smooth transition for the puppy and your family. Prepare your children and other family members to meet and take care of the puppy. You can do this by demonstrating proper ways of handling and touching a puppy, or watching videos of how to behave around a puppy. You should make children understand that Poodle puppies are young and often playful and should be treated with gentleness and caution. Poodles can confuse children’s toys for their own or even swallow them, so talk to your children about putting away the toys safely. Be extra loving towards little kids, so they don’t feel threatened by a new puppy. You must also remove any indoor or outdoor plants that might be dangerous, and ensure your trash is safely hidden or locked away. Poodle puppies might be clumsy around stairs and swimming pools, so barricade these areas to keep the puppy safe. They’re also known to be escape artists – so ensure all doors and windows can be securely locked.

poodle puppy sitting amongst pillows

Preparing Space for Your Poodle Puppy

It is great if you have ample space or a backyard for your puppy to play in, but you don’t need to worry if you live in an apartment or have a smaller home. Due to their friendly nature and their bonding with owners, Poodles often need lesser spaces than other dogs and can adjust within apartments. However, you need to make sure there is enough room for your Poodle puppy’s crate and bed. They should be able to walk around without knocking things over. Prepare a safe and secure area for the puppy by fencing it with a baby gate or playpen. Try to fence off an area with laminate floors, such as a spare bathroom, a corner of the kitchen, or the laundry room. You might want to line the floor with absorbent puppy pads for extra protection. Place the puppy’s food and water dishes a bit farther from their bedding area, so they do not accidentally soil the bed. It is important to choose a spot close to you, so you can supervise it and also quiet enough for the puppy to relax. Poodles prefer peaceful environments, and unnecessary chaos can cause them stress.

Bringing Poodle Puppies Home

Congratulations! You have just brought home a supply of infinite happiness and good vibes. Poodle puppies will soon adapt to your household and be a part of your family. However, in the first few days and weeks, you will need to give them special attention. One of the first items you will need is a comfortable, securely fitted collar with identification. If your puppies have a toy or blanket they enjoy in their current home, try to bring it with them. This object with a familiar scent will help your puppy feel comforted during those first crucial 48 hours away from the sights, sounds, and scents of the familiar litter. When bringing Poodle puppies home, take them to their specially prepared area or their crate. Once they become familiar with the space, take the puppy on a tour around your house or apartment, skipping places you consider off-limits. Adopt a reassuring and kind tone as you interact with them. Experts also recommend letting the puppy sleep near you for a day or two.

Introducing Poodle Puppies to Family and Pets at Home

A good way to socialize Poodle puppies is to ensure all family members spend some time with them. This will help them feel safe and comfortable in the family’s presence. If there are other dogs in the house, you must introduce them to each other gradually. Try to introduce them in a neutral space, and it is best to restrain all dogs for the first meeting. Monitor the dogs closely for a few days until you are sure all of them have adjusted well. If your resident pet is a cat, help build an early friendship through positive reinforcement. For example, you can feed them both at the same time so they associate each other with food rewards or deposit scents of one pet into the other’s territory. Watch out for any signs of aggression, and always ensure the puppies are leashed for the first few encounters. It is also good practice to trim your cat’s nails and take the puppy for a long walk to tire them out before introducing them to the cat. Stay calm and patient while the pets are interacting, to help them take cues from you. Give all pets as much time as they need to feel comfortable around each other.

House Training Poodle Puppies

You can potty train Poodle puppies with a lot of understanding and patience. American Kennel Club advises providing a crate to your dog, and then remove them from their living space when they display an urge to defecate. Poodle puppies may whine or scratch to let you know they desire to go. Use this moment to take the puppy to a definite area, preferably outside the house. You can create a house-training schedule, so they get used to a routine. Puppies can usually control their bladders for the number of hours corresponding to their age in months, up to about a year. This means that a six-month-old puppy can be expected to control their bladder for around six hours. However, give them ample opportunities to relieve themselves throughout the day, so the Poodle puppies do not build up any stress. A puppy might need to go out several times a day, such as after they wake up, after playing, after spending time in a crate, after eating or drinking, or after taking naps. Teach puppies early on there is only one designated area to use – it can be a piddle mat or the streets. If the puppy accidentally makes a mess, do not scold it, but praise and reward it for potty training correctly. The sooner you can make Poodle puppies understand there is an approved place to potty and all other places are off-limits, the quicker you will be able to housetrain them.

poodle puppy running in snow

Food for Poodle Puppies

Dietary Changes of Poodle Puppies

When you bring a Poodle puppy home, you should continue giving them the exact type and quantity of food they are used to. Moving to a new place can be traumatizing for puppies, and abruptly changing the food brand might lead to digestive issues. After the puppy has adapted to its new home in about a few weeks, you can introduce your preferred food brand. This change should be introduced gradually. Add a few pieces of the food for the first few days, and then increase until 25 percent of the food is the new food in the first week. In the second week, you can increase it to 50 percent, and 75 percent in the third week. If your puppy shows signs of an upset stomach, go back to the food mix that was working for them. Any serious issues, such as bloody diarrhea, should be treated by a veterinarian. Watch your puppy and make sure they are gaining weight and strength. If your puppy looks thin and you can touch their spine easily, take them to the vet to rule out any dietary or medical issues.

Feeding Poodle Puppies

The Poodle Club of America says Poodles aren’t finicky eaters and thrive on simple, prepared foods. The amount of food a Poodle puppy should eat depends on their activity level, age, health status, metabolism, and the kind of food you are giving them (wet vs dry). A rule of thumb is Poodle puppies need between 40 to 55 calories per pound of weight per day. It is a good idea to consult with veterinarians and conduct research before choosing the brand and quantity of food. Find a good puppy formula that includes extra nutrients, such as calcium, and extra calories per pound of body weight. Make sure it has the right number of vitamins, minerals, antioxidants, amino acids, carbohydrates, and fats for the right amount of growth. Experts prefer dry food for Poodle puppies, as it is better for their teeth and gums. Dry kibble is also more easily digested by puppies. If you are feeding your puppy commercial dog food, follow the guidelines provided by the company. Always read the ingredients carefully, as it is especially harmful to puppies to ingest food with artificial coloring, flavoring, and certain chemical preservatives. Try to choose hundred percent all-natural brands that use natural preservatives. If you opt for homemade food, make sure it has all the necessary nutrients from proteins, fats, carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins. As homemade food might sometimes miss out on certain nutrients, talk to your vet before starting on one. To prevent bloating, offer meals twice or thrice a day at evenly spaced intervals, with limited snacks in between. Ration the number of treats you give out to puppies and do not give them table scraps. Hydration is extremely important, so always ensure a supply of clean and fresh water.

Addressing Allergies in Poodle Puppies

Over 20 percent of dogs suffer from allergies, and your puppy might be one of them. Five main categories usually trigger allergies: contact, food, flea, inhalants, and bacteria. Allergies mostly erupt in symptoms that cause physical discomfort to your puppy, such as intense itching, chewing at paws, sores, infection, nasal discharge, breathing difficulties, wheezing, and coughing. When Poodle puppies show signs of distress, it is important to identify the cause, minimize or eliminate them, and offer immediate medical relief. For example, if you suspect the puppy might be allergic to substances like carpets, molds, or air fresheners, you must take steps to reduce or cut off their use. If your puppy seems agitated by cigarette smoke, it should be kept far away from any secondhand smoke. Check your home for fleas, and treat surfaces to ensure their removal. Be very careful while introducing your pet to anything new, such as laundry detergents or cleaning products. It is also important to watch out for any signs of food allergies in your puppy, such as itchy skin, vomiting, diarrhea, and subtle symptoms like hyperactivity, weight loss, or even aggression. The most common food allergens in dogs come from proteins, especially those found in chicken, dairy products, beef, lamb, eggs, soy, or gluten (from wheat). Monitor the puppy’s behavior as they eat these protein sources. Immediately seek advice from a vet, offer medical treatment, and remove known allergens from their diet.

Toy poodle with ball on a white background

Keeping Poodle Puppies Fit

Exercise and Activities for Poodle Puppies

Poodle puppies are lively and playful by nature, so make sure to include lots of fun activities and playtime throughout their day. The Kennel Club recommends Poodles get up to an hour a day of exercise per day. For Poodle puppies, experts recommend five minutes per month of age, twice a day. This means that three-month-old Poodle puppies would require 15 minutes of walks twice a day. You can also play a game of fetch with Poodle puppies, or take them for short swims after putting on a lifejacket. The length of exercises can depend on your puppy’s willingness – if they enjoy walking, you can stretch it a little more. But if Poodle puppies show signs of overexertion such as lagging, panting, or lying down, you should end the exercise. It is also important to ensure exercises for mental stimulation for Poodle puppies. These mental challenges can be games, training, and age-appropriate puzzles. One easy and useful game is to hide toys and treats of puppies, and let them find them by using their sense of tracking and scenting. You can also research chew toys and dog toys that move on their own.

Training Poodle Puppies

Poodle puppies are usually eager to please their owners as they are fond of people and seek belongingness. This also means it is usually easier to train them and teach them to answer commands, especially when they are puppies. Start setting boundaries for poodle puppies, and help them learn house rules, right from the time they enter the house. You can train your puppy to go to their safe place when they are tired or nervous (crate training), listen to and follow your commands (obedience training), and behave properly on a leash (leash training). Find training ideas and processes from reputable sources, and introduce them gradually to your puppy. When you find any unwanted behavior like chewing and biting, use the technique of redirection to divert their attention. Always be extra kind and gentle when training Poodle puppies, allowing them ample time to get used to it. Make sure to encourage them with your words, actions, and special treats when they follow their training commands!

Grooming Poodle Puppies

It is important to start grooming Poodle puppies at a young age. Poodles are one of the few dog breeds that do not shed, and their hair will grow indefinitely if you do not cut it at proper intervals. This not only leads to a rough and unkempt look but can also lead to a matted and painful coat. At around 16 to 18 weeks of age, when Poodle puppies have completed all their vaccines, take them to a groomer that you (and they) feel comfortable with. A professional groomer will know the best way to trim the hair, shaving correctly around the face and paws. After that, you can take Poodle puppies to the groomer every three to six weeks. Unless Poodle puppies have a close trim, owners need to groom the hair every day. At home, make sure to gently bathe Poodle puppies with dog-safe shampoo and conditioner. Use a good-quality slicker brush to smooth out any knots and tangles every day.

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