Kit: How are you today, Kapoodle?
Kapoodle: I’m great Kit, how about you?
Kit: Well I am a little worried today, Kapoodle. My owners are talking about getting a new puppy! I am the only pet in the house right now and it’s not just that I like having all the attention, I’m worried because my owners have never had a dog.
Kapoodle: Oh my, that is big news and it’s normal to be worried – a new puppy comes with a lot of responsibility but can be a great addition to a family!
Kit: I guess it would be nice to have another pet to hang out with. But how will they know what breed to get and how to train it? I sure don’t want to step in dog pee! And what if the puppy gets sick? I know when I got sick once, my family found it hard to fit the cost into their budget. What if the puppy doesn’t like cats and chases me around the house, oh no! I’m getting more stressed all the time… what should I do, Kapoodle?
Kapoodle: Take a deep breath. There is a lot of good information out there to help your family pick out a wonderful puppy that will fit just right and maybe even become your friend! I can help answer some of your questions if you want, after all, I do know a few things about dogs 😉
Kit: Oh would you!? That would be great Kapoodle, then maybe I can stop worrying and get back to playing with my toys and watching birds through the window.
Kapoodle: First of all, picking the right breed of dog is one of the most important things to consider! Every family is different and some breeds may fit into a family much better than others. For example, if your family has lots of time and loves to hike and play outdoors, or you live on a large property or farm, a larger breed or more active breed might be best. On the other hand, if you have a family that lives in a small apartment and works long shifts, a smaller, less active dog might be best. There are dogs that shed less for people with allergies or who are bothered by dog hair too! Some families have young kids and if so, it would be important to pick a breed that is known for being wonderful with kids – gentle and calm.
This website might be helpful in choosing a breed:
Does the family have any pets already living in the home? This is very important to consider, as everyone wants his or her family members to get along! If getting a puppy from an SPCA or shelter, it would be important to make sure they get along with any pets in the home before deciding to adopt. Some places will allow a home visit to see how the pets get along and other shelters might already know if a certain dog does not get along with cats. I am sure your family will make sure they get a dog that enjoys the company of a cat, Kit J
As you mentioned Kit, pets can be costly to care for sometimes so it’s important to be sure a new puppy will fit into your family budget. Even puppies that are adopted for “free” are never really free. Puppies in their first year of life can be quite costly as they require frequent deworming, vaccinations, spaying or neutering, food, dishes, and of course, lots of toys to play with! New puppy owners should also consider long term costs as well, such as health issues that may pop up. There is nothing more sad for an owner or a veterinarian then when a pet is very ill and the cost of care is too great for the owner to afford. Pet Insurance is something that new puppy owners should strongly consider. When a pet is ill, it can ease a lot of stress from an already stressful situation for the owner and the veterinarian. The pet is able to get their care they need and deserve without breaking the family budget or putting a family in a very difficult financial situation.
Kit: Thanks Kapoodle, I feel better already. Is there anything else they should know?
Kapoodle: Well Kit, training can be a challenging issue for some owners. A well behaved dog, like myself, doesn’t just happen, it takes work! I remember chewing up many of my owner’s favourite things when I was a puppy! I got in big trouble and learned quickly that when I was good, I got lots of snuggles and treats! Kit, did you know that many pets are surrendered to shelters because of bad behaviour that could have been avoided and corrected with proper training!
PetFocus offers puppy socialization classes and obedience classes at many of their locations! These can be very helpful for new puppies to learn proper behaviour and manners. It is also a great way for them to be properly socialized and be mentally stimulated. Obedience classes are great for older dogs too, I have gone to a couple with my owner and had a ton of fun, and I got lots of treats too!
Where should you look for a new puppy? Once you decide what breed or size of dog might suit your family, you then need to find that new puppy! There are many breeders out there; ask your vet for a recommendation. They often know many good breeders. You can also check out your local shelters and SPCA. There are always lots of nice puppies and mature dogs looking for a loving forever home. A mixed breed dog can be just as great as a purebred and many times have fewer health issues too. When choosing a breeder, it is important to see the mom and dad, ask for health certificates and be sure they are well bred and well cared for. You may want to see what kind of personality the parents have or how big they are. Be careful purchasing pets online; you want to make sure the pet is healthy. Never get a puppy from someone who won’t give you all the information you want – or who wants to meet you in a parking lot!
Always remember that pets are forever – families should look into the future and decide if it’s the right time to get a new puppy. Our futures are never predictable but a family should consider what they have planned such as changes in career, a move, financial changes, marital or parental status changes. Pets are sometimes surrendered to shelters because of a divorce or because a family is moving and cannot take the pet. It’s something to think about – your home should be a forever home for a new pet.
Puppy Proofing your home!
Puppies also like to chew and eat things they shouldn’t! Its very important to “puppy proof” your home like you would for a baby. Keep clothes and socks off the floor, all food should be locked away or up on high counters where pets cannot reach. Did you know Kit, that veterinarians see many puppies every year for tummy troubles? Many times the puppies have eaten something they shouldn’t, sometimes the item even gets stuck in their tummies and they require costly surgery to remove it!
“Puppy proofing” your home and using a crate to contain your puppy while you are at work or away can greatly reduce the chances of a puppy ingesting something it shouldn’t. And always remember that chocolate, raisins, grapes and onions can be toxic to dogs! Yuck… I stay away from all of those things – and you should too!
Lastly Kit, there are a couple of health related things to know about puppies! Puppies should be vaccinated at 8, 12 and 16 weeks. Your veterinarian can help a family decide which vaccines are appropriate for their puppy. Puppies also tend to have worms! Ewww! They need to be dewormed every 2 weeks until they are 3 months of age, then monthly. Flea protection should be used monthly as well. It is recommended that puppies be spayed or neutered at 6 months of age. This prevents unwanted puppies. Many people do not know this Kit, but spaying and neutering is also important to prevent many health issues, some of which can be life threatening! It can also decrease behavioural issues such as marking areas with pee and roaming or running away for example.
Kit: Oh wow Kapoodle! You have given me so much helpful information! I feel so much better now. I will bring this information to my family to help them chose the right puppy and make sure it stays healthy and happy! Maybe they will contact our veterinarian at PetFocus as well to get some help!
Kapoodle: You never know Kit, you might think this new puppy is just as awesome as me!
Kit: Hang on now Kapoodle, you are my friend, but you will always be a DOG J