My wife and I are going to be picking up our first puppy tomorrow afternoon. We found him at our local animal shelter where they have 3 pups from the same litter and they appear to be about 4-5 weeks old. The one we picked out is a male black lab with a tiny bit of white on his chest and we are naming him Batman. I have a few questions being that I have never taken care of a puppy before. I read on wikipedia that you do not want to purchase a lab before 7-10 weeks of age but they don't say why. So I have to wonder whats wrong with getting a puppy at only 4 weeks old? Is there something special I need to feed it because its so young? Would it normally still be feeding on its mothers milk? Right now the 3 dogs are couped up in a small jail cell with a single blanket, a bowl of what looks like some Ol' Roy and some water. We bought some Purina puppy food for it, should I just go immediately to that or do I need to do something else?
Next is how much and how often do I feed it? I have read that Labs will tend to eat what you give them and thus over-eating can occur. Obviously the amount of food it needs now won't be what it needs when its full grown, so how do I figure what amount to do?
The next concern I have is what immediate health attention does it need? I will take it to the vet Monday since thats as soon as I can get in and I am expecting them to tell me most of this but if there is something I should do sooner please lmk. I want to give him a bath asap, is there anything wrong with putting him in the tub with say an inch of luke-warm water and scrubbing him by hand with dog / puppy shampoo?
I guess thats it for now, I know I probably sound like a total newbie but I just want to make sure I do everything right. I have had dogs in the past and so has my wife, but never a puppy and never a lab.
Thanks in advance for any help you can give!
Bless you for stepping in to help this babe.
The vet will advise about food and other health issues. Good to get there ASAP.
The recommendations that pups not be placed until at least 8 wks comes from the fact that Mom teaches an awful lot of manners those last few weeks. It's also a litmus test for BYBs: If they're eager to offload dogs early ("Well, gee, a family was in here right after you left, and they wanted him tomorrow, so if you're going to act, the time may be now....") it's a MAJOR red flag.
Reputable breeders wait.
But none of that should have any real bearing on your situation. It *may* require some special socialization/obed training when your tot hits the teen years, but for now, don't worry about it.
Oh, and welcome to the Board. ;D
4 weeks is definately too early as the pup should still be feeding off its mother and also it learns valuable lessons from its litter mates on how to behave etc
Im not sure about that puppy food maybe a bit hard for the pup? and dog shampoo shouldnt be used as alotof them state they have to be over 12weeks
Welcome to JL! You are a Godsend to that puppy.
Read the "our best advice" thread up top. It's got some great advice.
I wouldn't bathe him either. Labs have double coats so they really don't need bathing. Plus it will dry out their skin. If he's stinky, you can buy wipes from the pet store and rub them over him gently (actually, I'm not sure you can use those on 4 week old pups either).
"Each is a creature of Earth and is entitled to reside on it with dignity"
Already realizing it was a very good idea to post on here! I can hold off on bathing and I'll look in to the wipes. It also looks like I need to get different food for him, the large breed stuff, but since he is so young does he need some sort of milk or supplements for the milk he isn't getting??
I'd get him to the vet sooner but its just not possible. The animal shelter has a requirement that they hold on to dogs for 3 days before they adopt them out, thats the only reason why we have to wait until tomorrow and they dont open until after the vet is closed.
I'll be reading over the Best Advice thread too.
Oh another question: When should I start crate / house training it? Should I worry about it yet or wait 'til he's older?
I'd start with the crate right away. It's easier for them to adjust if you begin as you wish to continue, know what I mean?
I would try to keep him on the same food that the shelter has him on for a few days - a week and then start to switch him onto what you want him eating.
Good luck and remember to post lots of pics when you get him home!!
ETA: puppies are usually eating well on their own at 4-5 weeks. You may want to soak his food in warm water to soften it up a bit for the first little while, but I wouldn't worry about supplementing with puppy milk or anything like that.
Baloo - 5 year old black lab
Peanut - 7 year old minpin
Monster - 3-ish year old frenchie/jack, rescue
This animal shelter should want to keep these puppies together until they are at least 7wks old. I can't believe they don't have a vet on staff telling them just that... > Personally, I'd pass on this puppy.
~Nicole<br />Grand Ledge, MI<br /><br />
Given the stretched resources at a shelter, it's understandable in this case. And workable, w/some diligence, TLC, and patience from AnimuL.Originally Posted by JacksAndLabs
actually - from a person who works with MANY stretched shelters and rescues I'm with J&L on this one - at the VERY least they might have suggested that AnimuL foster all the puppiesOriginally Posted by dweck
there is NO way those puppies should be denied the socialization that comes from being together at least for 2-3 more weeks... many vets, vet staff, shelter staff etc would foster them ...
you are asking for problems bringing home a singleton puppy at that age and as much as I hate to say it - I'd either ask about fostering all of them or adopt all of them (and place the other puppies in a month) or very seriously consider passing
I'm also wondering how accurate the shelters aging is... I have had 4 week old kittens from shelters brought to me that are in reality more like 7 weeks old (in which case you are fine!)
“I am only one, but still I am one. I cannot do everything, but still I can do something; and because I cannot do everything, I will not refuse to do something that I can do.” H. Keller
I probably should have mentioned that I am only guessing the 4 weeks thing based on pics of other dogs.
He looks older than this:
About like this black one:
And I'd say younger than this:
I'll post pics as soon as I get him.