Making the decision to get a puppy is exciting. Bringing a new furry companion into the home to provide it with a lot of cuddles, playtime, and love is wonderful, especially if you are a dog lover. However, when getting a puppy, many questions arise regarding all aspects of care, especially for new dog owners.
Before you get a puppy, you should be completely prepared and know that you will be able to care for its needs throughout life. Besides love and affection, you need to consider many things. Here is a breakdown of questions you should ask, what to know, and what to look for when you bring a puppy into your home.
Preparing for Your New Puppy
Depending on your lifestyle, you may need to make some adjustments when you are getting a puppy. Some questions you might want to ask yourself include:
● Expenses – affording a puppy is not just the initial fee. Budgeting is necessary for costs associated with a pet, such as accessories (food bowls, leashes, pet beds), food, veterinary care, medications, insurance, licensing, and so on. Costs will be ongoing so you should be prepared to set aside extra money in case of emergencies, too.
● Time Management – taking care of a new pet requires a lot of time, especially in the beginning when you are working on house training and obedience, teaching commands, and setting up a schedule. In addition, most dogs don’t do well when being left alone for long periods, so if you work away from home, consider the puppy’s care while you are away from the house.
● Exercise – most dogs will need regular exercise every day, so make sure you have the time and energy for walks, runs, and playtime. If you have a large yard for a dog to run around in, this may suffice, but if you live in a smaller space or apartment, you will need to make sure there is a place nearby you can take your dog.
● Home Accommodations – making sure your home has an area for your dog to eat and rest is essential. Dogs need to have their own place to escape to and relax. You should also be sure to check things within your home to ensure that they will not pose problems for a new puppy, such as visible cords they might chew on, furniture, or shoes. Until you can properly train your puppy, you do not want to make it easy for them to be destructive.
Talking to a Breeder
Most people desire to find pets and puppies from trusted breeders or animal shelters. When you first contact a breeder, you should ask about breeding practices, what breeds they might recommend, and find out about the puppies’ environment. A reputable breeder should also ask you questions regarding your lifestyle and ensure that you make a good owner for their puppies.
Things you want to find out regarding a breeder or shelter:
● Can you visit to see the puppies? Seeing them in person helps you view their environment and see how clean and well taken care of the puppies are.
● If they are a licensed breeder, can you see the license? Some breeders need them depending on operating as a business, and they should not have any problem providing evidence.
● How many litters has the mother had, or will she have? Most dogs should not have more than 4 to 5 liters, tops. Though there is no set rule on how many litters a dog can have, just be wary if it seems a dog is being bred too often.
● How old is the mother? Dogs over the age of eight or under a year at the time of breeding are not recommended.
● At what age will the puppy be able to leave its mother and go home with you? Puppies shouldn’t be leaving their mother until eight weeks (2 months) of age, but some breeders may choose to keep them a little longer if they believe it benefits their social development.
Visiting Your New Puppy
According to the professional vets at Bond Vet’s Manhattan animal hospital, when you visit a breeder or shelter to look at the puppies, there are several things to look for and pay attention to at the location. First, it helps to have all the information about the site ahead of time. Prepare yourself to walk away if something doesn’t seem right. You should never get a puppy from a place that could be a possible puppy mill.
Some things to examine when visiting the dog’s environment:
● Do the puppies and mothers appear happy and healthy? The puppies should be at a healthy weight, have a shiny coat, and be alert. You can check on sight and hearing by waving in front of them or clapping to see if they respond. The mother’s temperament should be good and don’t be afraid to ask the breeder about her since your puppy could very well share the same characteristics and qualities.
● Has a vet checked the puppies? A vet should have already checked on the puppies within the first few weeks of birth, identifying any issues and weighing them regularly.
● Will the puppies have their first vaccinations before you take one? In most cases, puppies will be receiving their first vaccinations, as well as possibly be microchipped and registered (papers) before you take one home.
● How social are the puppies? The puppies should be used to being handled by the breeder and be socialized. You can ask the breeder what sorts of things they do in the area.
Choosing Your Puppy
As long as you feel confident about the puppy’s environment and location and feel prepared to bring one home with you, you can now choose the right one for you. Maybe you already have a particular breed in mind, such as a beagle, labrador, or morkie. If you are lucky enough, you might even have the pick of the litter.
Some things to look for when choosing include:
● Gender – a puppy’s gender doesn’t indicate whether or not the pet will be a good one; you must consider whether you plan on getting your dog spayed or neutered. Females who aren’t neutered will bleed at least twice a year and be in heat, attracting male dogs.
● Temperament vs. Appearance – if you’re looking for a show dog, you may want to consider the appearance. However, the temperament of your new puppy is more important to assess. How does the puppy interact with its brothers and sisters? Does it seem more docile or more active? Take these things into consideration when choosing your puppy.
● Interaction – how puppies interact with other people and strangers is vital. For example, are they confident in approaching a person? Do they seem to want more or less attention?
There are many things to consider when getting a puppy, and when choosing a furry friend to have by your side for years to come, you want to be sure to examine all of the pros and cons. Being a responsible pet owner means doing your research ahead of time and preparing yourself and your home to accommodate your new puppy.