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By Nan Talleno

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – If you’re adopting a puppy, here are a few helpful facts to know.

Puppies need a lot of time, love and attention. Ideally, puppies should never leave their mother and littermates before eight weeks of age. That’s an important time for their physical growth and social development.

Puppies should always be fed a healthy high quality puppy food daily, without fillers. Regular adult dog food doesn’t provide puppies with nutritional requirements such as calcium that their growing body needs. Always follow the packaging label guidelines as well as your veterinarian’s advice to determine how much to feed your puppy.

Check in with your vet to make sure your puppy’s development is at a healthy weight. Puppies should be fed three to four times a day until they are at least six months old. When older, and after a year, you can feed twice a day through adulthood.

Healthy puppies can be spayed or neutered as young as 8 weeks old, although some veterinarians may prefer to wait until four to six months old. Spaying and neutering can occur at any time in life, and will always reduce risks of cancer and other problems, but if females are spayed before the first heat, it can greatly eliminate risk of developing mammary cancer at a later age in life.

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