Getting a puppy is a big commitment! When the time comes to get a dog, do research, prepare your home, and prepare the people in your household. If you're thinking about getting a dog, here's what you need to do.
Research Breeds and Basics
Different breeds of dogs have different personalities and quirks. If you plan to buy a purebred dog, know the different characteristics of the breeds you're considering. Base your decision on the needs of the dog and the characteristics of people in your household, not on the dog's appearance.
For example, if you have a large family with small children, consider dogs that are known to be good with small children (example: French bulldog, beagles). If you would like to take your dog running, get a breed that is known to enjoy intense physical exercise (example: pitbulls, laborador retrievers).
Prepare a Schedule
Prepare a schedule that includes everyone in your household who can care for your pet. To ensure that everyone understands their new responsibilities, go over the schedule with everyone in the household before getting the puppy.
Puppy Proof Your Home
Puppies are a lot like human toddlers. They get into things they're not supposed to have, chew on things that they find interesting, and eat things that can be dangerous for them. If you want to protect your puppy, you'll have to make adjustments to your home.
- Put childproof locks on your cabinet doors.
- Move chemicals and cleaning products so they're no longer in your puppy's reach.
- Get rid of (or put up) plants that are toxic.
- Buy a food trash can with a sturdy lid.
- Put medicines in cabinets where they are unreachable.
- Get rid of open trash cans in rooms like the bedroom (puppies like to eat facial tissues).
Walk through your home before the puppy arrives and look for anything that might be enticing. This could include cords, baby toys, and candy. Put away anything that could harm your puppy or that you want to protect. For more information about the type of household things that could harm your pet, talk to the veterinarian you'll be working with when you get the puppy.
Buy the Supplies
Puppies need a lot of supplies. Buy the supplies you need before getting the puppy. Typical supplies for dogs can be broken down by category: feeding, entertainment, sleeping, bathing, and so on. Some supplies are basically a given for any dog owner, including a food bowl and water dish, puppy food, toys, a brush, and a leash. However, there are some supplies that are optional, depending on the dog owner.
A crate is useful for toting small dogs to the vet. Crates also keep indoor dogs safe while their owner is away. If you plan to get a crate, read up on crate training your dog.
If you plan to take your dog anywhere in a car, research car harnesses or portable crates that can be buckled in. Plan to use this every time your dog gets in a vehicle.
If your dog is going to spend a lot of time outside, a dog house is appropriate. Buy or build something with at least three sides, shelter to provide shade from the sun, and enough space for your dog to lay comfortably.
Contact a Vet
Make an appointment with a veterinarian for your puppy to get an exam within a few days of bringing your puppy home. Dogs need lots of vaccinations in their first year. Talk to your puppy's vet to find out what kind of services your dog will need in the first month.
At Alta Vista Veterinary Clinic, we're happy to answer your questions about bringing home a new puppy. Call today to find out more!