Welcome back to the Eagle Animal Hospital blog! Spring will be here before you know it, and for many of you, this means you will be welcoming a new puppy into your home. Getting a new puppy is incredibly exciting and joyful, and is arguably one of the most rewarding experiences a person can have. At the same time, owning a dog is a huge commitment that requires a lot of preparation and responsibility, as these amazing creatures need a lot of love and attention throughout their entire lives, which can typically range anywhere between 8 and 15 years. Many people either purchase or adopt a puppy on impulse, yet there are many considerations you will want to think carefully about before committing to your new canine companion. Before you bring home your furry bundle of joy, here are a few things to consider in the weeks before getting your puppy.
Am I Ready for a Long-Term Commitment?
Making the decision to welcome a puppy into your home should be thought of in the long-term. Once you make the commitment to your new furry friend, you can count on them being a part of your family for at least a decade and beyond. While you will want to consider the commitment to your puppy as he or she grows and develops, you will also need to consider their happiness, health, and wellbeing down the road. Will you enroll your pup in dog training so that they can learn to be well-mannered? Will you keep up with regular vaccinations, wellness exams, and senior wellness exams once they reach that stage of their life? Be sure to consider your future plans, and that of your family, and how your precious pup will fit into these plans.
Will I Adopt from a Shelter or Buy from a Breeder?
For many, they have their hearts set on purchasing a purebred from a breeder, while others would prefer to rescue a puppy from a shelter. No matter which you choose, you will want to make sure that your rescue puppy or purebred is one that matches your lifestyle, and that you can commit to their specific needs.
What Are My Preferred Breeds?
First, you will want to consider the dog breeds you enjoy, which can help determine what puppy you would like to bring home. Are you looking for a smaller breed such as a Yorkshire Terrier, a Dachshund, or a Miniature Schnauzer? Or do you prefer larger breeds like Labrador Retrievers, German Shepherds, and Golden Retrievers? Or would you prefer something in-between? Do you want an energetic dog or one that has a more relaxed temperament? Keeping these things in mind will help you decide on the perfect breed for you.
Is My Home Puppy-Friendly?
Another thing that can help you choose the right breed and size of dog is your living space. Puppies are naturally curious and even more so in the first weeks and months of their lives. They explore everything using their noses, mouths, and paws, and will get into just about anything. You’ll also want to think about the interior and exterior spaces of your home, as well as your belongings. Before committing to getting a puppy, do a survey of your home and consider the following:
- Do you have a house with a yard and plenty of space for them to run and play? Or do you live in a condo or apartment with limited interior space and little-to-no yard? If so, will you have access to a dog run, open space, or dog park?
- You will also want to consider the state of your home before welcoming your puppy. Think about the plants you have in your home: are they toxic to dogs? Are you willing to move them or get rid of them, if need be?
- Think about the electronics in your home: are there a lot of exposed and easily accessible cords lying around? Do you have a lot of electric plugs that your puppy could lick and bite?
- Do you have a lot of clutter? Are there a lot of loose objects either piled up or laying about your home? Do you have a lot of chewable objects set at levels close to where a puppy’s head is? Items like coasters, candles, remotes, pillows, shoes, rugs, and more? Do you have space to store these items during the first several months to a year of owning your puppy?
- Where will you set up a comfortable space for your puppy in your home? Do you have space for a kennel?
- How close are your neighbors? If your puppy is crying at night or during the day, will your puppy’s cries interfere with your neighbors?
These are only a few of the things you will want to consider in regards to your house before welcoming your precious puppy into your home.
How Will I Manage My Time Commitments?
One of the most important aspects of owning a puppy you will want to consider is how you balance your time. Most people are unable to bring their pets with them to work, and cannot just take days and weeks off at a time to take care of their pup. One thing you will want to consider is taking at least the first day or two off from work so you can familiarize your puppy with your home, your routines, and introduce them to their kennel, if crate training is something you’re interested in. Additionally, you will need to make sure your puppy is able to go outside to use the bathroom at least every two hours for their first few weeks. Their bladders are very small and they can only hold it for so long before they need to go. If you are unable to get home to let your puppy out, you might consider hiring a local pet sitter for the first month or two as you housebreak them.
You will also want to consider your overall lifestyle and how your puppy will fit into your schedule. Most people must make some sacrifices to meet the needs of their puppy, whether that means going straight home from work to let the puppy out, walk them, and feed them, or having to skip that out-of-town weekend adventure if your puppy is too young to stay at our pet resort.
Talk with Your Vet
Before you commit to puppy-ownership, feel free to give our veterinary team at Eagle Animal Hospital a call. Our trained and friendly animal care staff will be happy to talk with you about your plans and preparations for welcoming your furry family member into your life and home. We can offer our recommendations for puppy care and vaccinations with our vets, as well as suggestions for puppy-proofing your home, nutritional advice, and dog training. Call us, your trusted animal hospital in Kansas City, today!