March 11, 2021 – With their boundless energy, enthusiasm and adorable antics, puppies are hard to resist. On March 23, National Puppy Day, a day of celebration for all that puppies add to our lives, here are seven things to keep in mind when you are considering bringing a puppy into your home.
- Before getting a puppy, learn everything you can about the breed(s) you are interested in, even if you are leaning toward a mixed-breed dog. Understanding what diseases a breed is prone to developing, their behavior and longevity, will better prepare you for what lies ahead. The American Kennel Club website is a great place to find breed-specific information!
- Keep in mind the costs involved in taking care of a dog for its lifetime. Veterinary organizations estimate that the average annual cost of owning a dog is around $700 to $1,500 depending on the dog and where you live. This does not include a major illness or veterinary emergency, which can easily run to several thousand dollars.
- Find a veterinarian before your puppy comes home. Your new pup’s first veterinary visit should be within days of joining your family. This first visit can help look for potential health problems that went undetected before adoption. Your veterinarian can discuss microchipping and a vaccine schedule that works best for your dog’s breed, ancestry and lifestyle (indoor lapdog versus a dog that loves to run through forests and drink lake water!).
- Puppies need socialization and recommendations have changed about when socialization should begin. Socialization should begin early, with behavior experts noting that the first three months of a pup’s life is a critical window for socialization. This socialization process can start in the home, and pups can be taken outside as long as they’ve started their vaccination series. Seven to 10 days after they’ve completed their puppy series of vaccinations, they’re ready to meet large numbers of new friends!
- Consider your lifestyle before sharing your home with a new dog. Dogs come in many sizes and temperaments. Some dogs are high energy and need lots of stimulation and exercise to keep them happy. Others are content snuggling on the couch with you watching Netflix for hours on end. Finding a dog that fits your lifestyle will save both you and your new companion unnecessary heartache.
- Puppy proof your home. Before your new puppy comes home, get on the floor at dog-eye level to see if you can remove potential hazards, including electrical cords, plants, and unlocked lower cabinets with potential toxin hazards inside. Make sure your trash area is secure, too!
- If the idea of housebreaking, chewing and destructive behavior makes your head spin, reconsider getting a puppy. They take a lot of time, patience and energy. Consider adopting an older dog that will provide the same loving, wet-nosed companionship with a little more composure. Even old dogs are puppies at heart.