HERE'S HOW TO PREP FOR A NEW PUPPY
National Puppy Day is March 23 and what better way to celebrate than to adopt a puppy from a shelter or find one at a breeder? Before you bring home your furry friend, take time to research, plan and prepare. Here’s some helpful pointers to keep in mind as you go through the process of becoming a new pet owner.
FIND A PERFECT MATCH
Research is key. From different breeds and temperaments to checking on breeders and shelters, it pays to learn as much as you can about different dogs. Take time to research the different breeds and find one that best suits your lifestyle. Be sure to find out how big the dog will grow. Will it be something you can handle and will there be enough space? Large dogs require a lot of room to roam while some smaller ones are happy being lap dogs. Evaluate your living situation, daily schedule and finances before you get any dog.
DO YOUR HOMEWORK ON SHELTERS AND BREEDERS
Adopting from a Shelter
If you plan to adopt from a shelter, go there to meet the puppies and gather information. Observe. Are the dogs well taken care of? Do you want to adopt from here? If you feel comfortable and have found a puppy you adore, you’ll want to learn about its past, length at shelter, personality, medical history and behavior. You’ll also want to find out if the shelter has a procedure for pets that get sick shortly after being adopted. If you adopt from a shelter with a limited budget, you may find yourself responsible for the puppy’s medical expenses. It helps to ask questions up front so you are not hit with unexpected hits on your finances.
Purchasing from a Breeder
If you plan to purchase from a breeder, make sure they are reputable. It’s a great idea to network with local veterinarians, dog breed organizations or the ASPCA. Usually a breeder will have just a few types of dogs and they will be in close contact with veterinarians and animal organizations. Once you’ve found a breeder, visit the location to see where the puppies are being raised. Is this breeder honest, knowledgeable and ethical? Ask plenty of questions. Reputable breeders will answer all of them. Ask how they are raised. Have the parents been tested for breed-specific diseases? How many puppies were in the litter and what medical care did they receive like vaccinations, deworming and microchipping. Ask to see documentation. When making your purchase, be sure you receive American Kennel Club paperwork and a contract of sale showing you are the legal owner.
PREPARE YOR HOME INSIDE AND OUT
Be sure to purchase all the supplies you’ll need like a carrier, crate, dog bed, dog house, pet gates, food, bowls, chew toys and cleaning supplies. House preparations include putting away plants, toys, decorations, shoes, clothing, and delicate items. Secure table clothes or anything that hangs down. Secure hazardous materials and household cleaning chemicals. Wires and cords can be wrapped in plastic sheeting or PVC tubing. Protect anything made of wood. Sheeting or PVC tubing can also be used to protect chair and table legs.
Conduct a yard clean up and inspection. Put away garden hoses, tools and toys. Watch for anything the puppy could fall in or things it can pick up in its mouth. Block access to pools and fence off areas where you do not want the dog to roam. Secure fertilizers and insecticides and don’t let the puppy come in contact with these. Check the fence to make sure the puppy can’t get through it.
Fully prepare for the unexpected. Get pet health insurance, which helps keep veterinary visits more affordable. Line up a veterinarian. Rather than searching online, seek recommendations of good veterinarians from local breeders, other dog owners or your local pet store. Enroll your dog in obedience classes for learning proper behavior and getting help with training.
By planning ahead, you’ll be able to bring the newest member of your pack to a home that’s safe, while enjoying peace of mind.