Puppies are everything cute and right in the world. But they also come with a great deal of responsibility and commitment. Unfortunately, some folks melt for their cuteness without giving enough thought as to what having a happy, healthy pup entails.
Before you fall for those puppy eyes, let's explore 10 things to consider before bringing your puppy home. Look at this some of the great tips for the dog owner.
Consideration # 1 - Do I Have the Time?
As a baby, puppies will take time. Time to train, time spent feeding, grooming and general pet care and time spent for play and exercise. This is a significant commitment and one that needs to be addressed.
Ask yourself, realistically, how much time do you have during the day. If you work full-time, you will need to find someone to come in to let your puppy out during those work hours, or you will have to make a point of coming home on your lunch.
If you're getting the dog for your kids, the "novelty" of having the pup will most likely wear off, and you will be the one left picking up all the...errr...stuff.
Having a puppy is demanding so be prepared to put in the necessary work for the health and happiness of your new family member.
Consideration # 2 - The Right Breed
Humans tend to be visual creatures, so that we may fall victim to the appearance of one breed over another. However, those appealing looks also come with personality traits which may not always be so appealing. For example, if you are a low-key person that prefers evenings on the sofa, then a high-energy dog such as a Border Collie would not be the right choice for you. Do some research on the breed of dog you think you may like to find out what it will need. Too many dogs end up in a shelter purely because the owner wasn't prepared to handle its genetic qualities.
Consideration # 3 - Allergies
Does anyone in your family have allergies? Will the dog's hair or saliva aggravate or trigger these symptoms? If you can answer "yes" to either of these questions, then having a dog may not be the right pet for you. Or you may want to choose a dog that is more "hypoallergenic" like the Poodle. It's heartbreaking if Fido is causing someone in the family to be ill and has to be rehomed, so find out this information before bringing home just any pooch.
Consideration # 4 - Financial
The first year of your puppy's life will be costly. From vaccinations to food, bedding, toys, grooming, and spaying or neutering, you can expect your financial burden to be from 1,000 to 1,500 in the first year. You will then have the general maintenance of your dog for the duration of its lifetime. Of course, your monthly costs will vary depending on the breed (large dogs are going to cost more than toy breeds) you still have to be prepared to budget for your pooch.
Consideration # 5 - Dog-Proof Home
Like children, dogs (especially puppies) will get into everything that isn't nailed down, closed up or tightly secured. So before you bring home your furry pal be sure to puppy-proof your home; this includes putting those toxic plants and substances out of reach, securing your breakables and keeping a tight lid on the garbage bin.
Consideration # 6 - The Right Veterinarian
You wouldn't bring your child to just any doctor, give your canine the same consideration. If you've never had a dog before, ask friends, family or colleagues for recommendations on a good veterinarian.
Pet parents will be quick to give praise or "regrets" on their family vet, so get some feedback. If you choose a vet that you aren't comfortable with, then don't be shy about changing up. Having a professional that you and your pet feels comfortable with is worth it, in the long run, after all, you could be dealing with this person for 10 to 15 years.
Consideration # 7 - Doggy Diet
There are numerous choices when it comes to the food we feed our canine companions. However, not all food is created equally. When it comes to a quality diet for our pets, we may need to do some research first. This can be done by reading the side of the dog food bag. Look for ingredients that make up a healthy kibble such as real meat sources, no by-products, and a minimum of fillers such as corn, wheat, and soy. If you are overwhelmed with your choices, ask your veterinarian what he or she would recommend for your particular breed.
Consideration # 8 - ID Works!
Even the most responsible person can have a dog that escapes their yard. This is where IDing your pooch comes in handy. Whether you choose the dog tag on the collar or the more technological microchip, having your dog proper ID will get him back to you quicker in the case of an emergency.
Consideration # 9 - Vacations
Although many pet parents may not give our next point a whole lot of consideration, it bears mentioned. If you love to vacation several times-a-year, do you have a responsible person that can take care of your dog in your absence? If not are you prepared to pay the boarding costs? If you want to travel with your dog, then you will need to address how the dog will travel (i.e. in the cargo hold of an aircraft) or if there are specific quarantine laws in place at your final destination mpoint.
Consideration # 10 - Lifetime Commitment
Our last consideration may be the most important one. As an animal advocate, it's difficult to see dogs tossed away simply because the owner has become bored, tired or inconvenienced. Before you bring home a puppy, be sure you are in it for the duration of its lifetime and truly want to be a pet parent.
Having a canine is a privilege, not a right. Let's be the best pet parent we can be by loving (wo)man's best friend and treating them like true members of the family, not a prop or toy that is easily discarded when the novelty and impulse have passed.