What You Need to Know Before Getting a New Puppy
Published October 7th 2022
Puppies are so adorable that we cannot help but love them. Unfortunately, the popularity of puppies can hurt them as well. Thousands of dogs are kept in poor conditions or abandoned once they outgrow their cuteness. With Christmas around the corner, it is more important than ever for aspiring pet owners to be properly educated. Here are some essential things you need to know before committing to purchasing a puppy.
It matters where you get your dog
Your responsibility as a pet owner starts before your new puppy even enters your house. Where you source your dog has a great impact on not just your puppy but their parents and the animal ownership industry on the whole. Many pet stores and pet sellers get their puppies from unethical puppy mills, where dogs are kept in appalling surroundings and forced to breed until they suffer from debilitating health conditions and even die.
As a pet owner, you must make it a point not to support puppy mills. You can do this by adopting a puppy from your local pet rescue or by only getting a puppy from friends or family. Another option is to find reputable breeders who have a proven track record of caring for their dogs properly. Online platforms such as Pawrade.com can help to connect you with hand-picked ethical breeders so you know that you are not contributing to the suffering of other dogs.
Dog training is a must, not an option
While it is true that some breeds of dogs are naturally docile and less likely to have behavioral issues, no dog understands what their human wants immediately. This is why every pet owner needs to train their dog. Many people who neglect to train their dogs end up blaming them for actions that come naturally. For instance, it is normal behavior for a dog to chase a running child. Unless the dog is taught that a particular behavior is not allowed, they cannot be expected to simply ‘behave’.
Dog training not only teaches your new family member the limit of acceptable behavior, but it also teaches you as an owner how to think and act appropriately. In a family with several members, each person should attend a dog training session at least once. This will prevent inconsistent behavior from family members that confuse your dog. Experts recommend that you start training your puppy from the time they are 8 weeks old.
Your pet needs your time and attention
Having a puppy around is wonderful for the holidays but what will happen when you go back to work and your children go back to school? Dogs have little to do aside from spending time with their family. Some dogs do better with isolation than others but be warned that boredom and loneliness can lead to behavioral and emotional issues for your dogs. If you have to leave your dog home alone for long periods, you should reconsider the decision to get one. Alternatively, you can enroll your dog in a trusted doggy daycare facility.
Dogs are very much like human children. They need quality time and attention. Spending time with your dog is the best way to build trust and a strong bond. This trust is important when you need them to cooperate. For instance, when you need to clip their nails or when they need to be examined by a vet. It also helps your dog become more confident. Be sure to allocate at least half an hour each day to give your furry friend your undivided attention. You can take them for a walk or brush their coat or just have a cuddle on the couch.
Be sure you are financially ready
Speaking of vets, be aware that the upkeep of a pet is expensive. Make sure that you are prepared for the financial burden of having a dog. You may have paid a one-off cost to purchase your pet but the responsibilities do not end there. From vaccinations and training to food and routine check-ups, your dog will cost you hundreds or thousands of dollars a year. If you are not ready or able to set aside funds to care for the well-being of your pet, then you are not ready to be a responsible pet owner.
In addition to regular costs, accidents can happen. Your dog can get injured or sick just like any other animal or person and may need expensive veterinary treatment. Furthermore, as your dog ages, they will experience more illnesses and need extra care—particularly if they are genetically predisposed to issues like hip dysplasia. Be sure to have an emergency medical fund for such contingencies. You can also consider purchasing a pet insurance policy that will help you to deal with veterinary bills when they occur.
A puppy can bring great joy and happiness to any family. However, dogs are intelligent and sensitive creatures with complex emotions and needs. Before you get that puppy, make sure that you are educated and prepared to be a responsible pet owner. Never buy a dog from a puppy mill and spend time training and building a bond with your dog. If you take care of your furry friend well, they will become an indispensable member of your family and give you pure love and loyalty for years to come.