Who doesn’t love puppies? They are cuddly bundles of cuteness overload. Those saucer-shaped eyes, wagging tails, and sprite-like pounces on your lap to lick your face can be difficult to resist. But before you bring an adorable puppy home, there are a few things to consider.
Here’s what you need to know:
They are babies
To state the obvious, puppies are babies. All babies, even animal babies, require ‘round the clock care and supervision. Consider the commitment involved. If you work all day, take the children to soccer or music classes in the evening, and spend your weekends running errands, your puppy will be home alone a lot. Too much! Very young puppies have tiny stomachs and require smaller meals more often than adult dogs. You or a family member will need to be there to keep the puppy on a regular feeding schedule while your fur baby grows. Puppies also need you to be home to help them feel safe and loved while adjusting to a new home and family.
Your puppy will need to be house trained
Are you prepared for the occasional “accident” in your home? It can be difficult to remove the stains if your puppy soils. If you have expensive area rugs or carpeting, will you be patient and understanding while your puppy learns to control his/her bladder and bowel until it’s time for a walk? Remember, your puppy is still learning how to behave and needs your compassion throughout the journey to adulthood.
Everything is a toy
Puppies love to explore their environment and just about everything they find can be perceived as a toy, game, or something to chew on. Your expensive designer shoes are sure to entice your pup. Will you be accepting of the occasional mishap, and prepared to surrender some of your prized belongings, as your puppy learns which objects he/she can chew on or play with? Do not adopt a puppy and plan to leave him/her in a crate all day to avoid any potential destruction of objects or furniture, and avoid disciplining him/her harshly or cruelly should mischief occur. Being gentle and kind to your puppy during his/her development will go a long way in fostering a loving bond.
Your home should be puppy proof
Because puppies will eat just about everything, you will have to be diligent about leaving nothing harmful anywhere for your puppy to find. Are you prepared to keep garbage hidden away, detergents in a locked cupboard, and medications securely out of reach? If you have small children, will they be able to keep all their toys tidy and put away? Young pets are naturally curious, and without constant supervision and dedication on your part, your pup is at risk. Sadly, many pets end up in the animal emergency hospital after eating something toxic or swallowing an object that becomes lodged in the digestive tract.
They are high energy
Puppies have a lot of energy, and they need to run and play to burn it off. Consider whether or not this high-energy pet matches with your own disposition and lifestyle. Will you be able to keep up with your puppy’s demands to play, throw the ball, or keep him/her busy? If you prefer a quiet, low-key and serene environment, perhaps you should consider adopting an older dog for a better match.
Puppies need socialization
Young puppies need to be exposed to a variety of experiences—peoples, places, other animals, and stimuli. You should introduce your puppy to all the situations you expect he/she will encounter. Are you prepared to have company in the house to allow your puppy to become familiar with friends and extended family? Are you willing to take your puppy on play dates with other dogs? Will you introduce him/her to a variety of outdoor activities, such as walks in the woods, strolls along the beach/boardwalk, and trips to the dog park? Will you let him/her smell the outdoors and enjoy the sounds of nature, and be willing to create a stimulating home environment when weather prohibits you from going outdoors? Your puppy’s social development is important to nurturing a happy and healthy pet.
Note: Always talk to a veterinarian about the vaccines your puppy needs before taking your pet to a dog park or anywhere he/she may be in contact with other pets and wild animals.
It can be expensive
Your puppy will need all the paraphernalia of a new pet: a cosy pet bed and blankets, a pet crate for travelling in the car, toys and balls to play with, collar and leash for walks, and nutritional food several times a day. As your puppy grows, it is important to consultant a veterinarian about his/her changing dietary and nutritional needs. Your new puppy will also require veterinary care, which includes: vaccines, preventative medications, wellness exams, microchip, and spay or neuter surgery. You must be prepared to care for your pet throughout his/her lifespan. Options for health insurance for your pet may help, should your dog become ill or experience trauma.
You may need a trainer
Unless you are very experienced at training and socializing dogs, you may want to consider hiring a professional. The time and expense invested in helping your puppy to grow up to be a happy, well-behaved, and well-adjusted family member are worth it. Do some research and be sure to find an individual or school with a good reputation. Avoid hiring anyone using cruel methods to train your puppy. Ask questions and go by recommendations.
You need a dog licence, microchip, and ID tags
A dog licence, microchip, and identification tags containing your up-to-date contact information can help reunite you with your pet should he/she escape from your home, bolt, and/or accidentally become lost. In an emergency, these precautions can make all the difference to your pet’s well-being and safety.
Are you ready and prepared for the responsibility?
Adopting a new puppy is a big responsibly and it requires a lot of thought. Are you prepared to get up early in the morning for feedings? Will you go for walks with your pup several times a day? Can you provide the love needed throughout his/her lifespan, even when your pet becomes older? Too many pets are surrendered to shelters when they are no longer tiny and cute, causing a lot of distress to the animal unable to understand why he/she was abandoned.
When you are ready to welcome an adorable puppy into your home and family, give him/her lots of love and you will be rewarded with a loyal companion for life.
Contact your veterinarian immediately if your pet is in distress or you think your pet has consumed something toxic/poisonous, or call:
ASPCA Poison Control at 1-888-426-4435
Pet Poison Helpline at 1-855-764-7661.
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