5 Things To Remember When Getting A Puppy

| March 6, 2012
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A Maltese puppy.

So you’ve thought about it for a while and decided it’s time, you’re ready to get a puppy? Congratulations! This is an exciting time in your life but there are some things you should be prepared for. Here are the top 5, from your veterinarian.

1. Puppies Are Expensive

I’ve seen people spend several hundred dollars on a puppy and then not be able to afford its care through the first year of life. There will be a series of vaccines when you first get the puppy through 4 months of age. You will need to purchase bowls, crates, beds, toys and more toys. Puppies also don’t know the difference between their toys and your toys so they will destroy something of yours at some point. Most puppies will also need to be spayed or neutered in the first year. While you are planning on the puppy’s arrival, take some time to plan a budget for the first year of the puppy’s life.

2. Your Vet Knows Best

A lot of breeders will send you home with a list of things that you should do and not do. Some breeders have started telling their clients certain things your veterinarian will say that are “wrong”. Remember that your veterinarian went to 8 years of college and continues to take a minimum number of continuing education courses so that he or she will be able to make the best recommendations to you. Respect their education and expertise and listen to their advice.

3. Pet Insurance is Worth Considering

Odds are that your puppy will eat something it isn’t supposed to at least once in its first year of life, resulting in an extra vet visit. Puppies are also the most at risk for broken bones as they are clumsy and their bones are growing. There are many pet insurance companies available now with varying policies. Take a moment to look into the policies and decide if pet insurance is right for you. A great website to use is http://www.petinsurancereview.com/.

4. Shelter Pets Need Extra Love

I am a big supporter of shelter pet adoption. As rescue groups continue to pop up across the country and puppy mills are shut down, there are more and more pure bred puppies ending up in shelters. These puppies make great pets and need loving homes. Unfortunately, some of them have come from environments with little socialization or have been abused. Some shelter pets may have already been in 3 or 4 homes within their first year of life. When adopting a shelter puppy, please remember that they may not have had the best start to life and need you to love them unconditionally.

5. Training Starts on Day 1

The day you bring your puppy home is the first day of obedience training. Decide where the puppy is going to sleep, what rooms it will be allowed in and what commands you want it to learn. Stop unwanted behaviors like biting and jumping the moment they start. Working on these things early will help ensure a long, happy life for puppy and you.

The AKC has an Android App for puppy buying. You can download it here: http://www.thekennelclub.org.uk/puppybuyingguideapp

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Category: COLUMNS

About the Author ()

I am a companion animal veterinarian at South Arundel Veterinary Hospital in Edgewater, MD. I grew up in Calvert County and knew since I was young that I wanted to be a veterinarian. I majored in Animal Sciences at Auburn University and was accepted to the class of 2010 at Auburn's College of Veterinary Medicine. I love my patients and have the best job in the world!

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