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14 Things To Consider Before Buying A Puppy

Photo by Savs on Unsplash

Buying a puppy should not be a decision made on the whim. A puppy is a big commitment. Here are 14 things to consider before jumping in and buying a puppy.

#1 Dogs Need Ample Exercise

Regular exercise for puppies improves digestive health, reduces behavioral problems and promotes house-training.

You don’t want to over-exercise your pup.  Exercise for puppies should increase by 5 minutes per month of age up to twice a day. For example, 4-month-old puppies should have 20 minutes of exercise each day, 25 minutes at 5-months-old.

Contributors: Morgan Thacker from The Pack of Tampa Bay

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#2 Timing is key for House-Training

Puppies being house-trained need more frequent potty breaks than grown dogs. Dogs can only be relied on to hold their bladder one hour for every month old they are, until 8 hours at 8 months old. That means a 4-month-old puppy being house-trained can typically hold it 4 hours, 5 hours at 5-months-old. Puppies will typically need to eliminate:

  • When they first wake up in the morning;
  • After a play session (or even sometimes during!);
  • After a nap;
  • Just after drinking;
  • Just before or just after he eats;
  • After chewing on a bone or chew toy
  • If he hasn’t been out for an hour or two.

Contributors: Morgan Thacker from The Pack of Tampa Bay

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  1. Definitely sharing these tips with my friend who’s having issues with house-training her puppy. Hope they’ll help!

#3 Puppy poop can be Illegal

Most metropolitan areas have imposed fines, some cities up to $750 if you don't pick up after your dog in a public place. A normal puppy poops up to five times a day! If you are bringing home a new puppy, make sure to start saving up for those poop pickup bags. An eco-friendly alternative is to purchase a grocery bag holder and recycle your plastic grocery bags.

Contributors: Morgan Thacker from The Pack of Tampa Bay

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#4 Health Is Key

Mixed breed dogs aren't always healthier (as my dachshund mix with spinal issues can attest) However, most purebred breeds do have some sort of genetic issues due to inbreeding. Talk to the breeder and ask how they've bred to avoid these. Ask what most of their dogs eventually pass from and at what age. Do your research; a few breeds do not have breed-specific specific health issues. This is one of the major reasons I went with a whippet.

Contributors: Beth Gordon from spacewhippet

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#5 What Food Has This Puppy Been Eating?

Some breeders and pet stores send puppies home with a supply of food that the pet has been eating. If not, inquire as to exactly the brand, volume, and timing that has been given. Also, inquire if the pet has shown a preference for certain types of protein varieties. Just like humans, dogs crave variety and even may prefer one meat over another.

You should continue this diet for a week or so as your puppy gets acclimated to his/her new home and environment. Your new family member may be a bit overwhelmed and stressed initially in new surroundings so it's not advisable to add a dietary change to the mix. Many pet parents may ultimately want to transition the puppy to a natural or grain-free food, or even a brand other dogs in the household eat.

You can start this transition during the second week. You should transition his/her food slowly to avoid tummy upset, adding more and more of the new food each day and less of the previous food. This transition should happen over a 7 - 10 day period until your puppy is completely on the new food.

Contributors: Roger Morganfrom pawTree

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  1. I’ve used the pawTree food our puppies. My Yorkie is a picky eater and has really taken to the pawPairings seasoning blend on top of her food.

#6 What Veterinary Care Has This Puppy Received?

Most breeders and pet stores have the pet's health checked by a veterinarian prior to being available for sale as well as should be able to provide you with shot records and other updates. You should request to see what tests have been performed and the results as well as the immunization history as well as any spay or neuter or microchip services already provided.

Regardless of where you purchase your puppy, you'll want to quickly set up an initial health check with your own veterinarian within a week of bringing the puppy home. This exam may provide more detail on potential breed or considerations to be mindful of and to ensure overall health.

Contributors: Roger Morganfrom pawTree

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#7 Cute But…

Puppies are cute, but they are a pain in the neck! If you are thinking of getting a dog, consider going to the shelter and picking out a nice adult dog. The shelters are full of well-behaved, house-trained, adult dogs who are homeless through no fault of their own. The people at the shelter can help you find a dog whose energy level is a good fit for your family.

Contributors: Laurie Endicott Thomas from Not Trivial

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#8 Find Out Who The Breeder Is

When you find a puppy you like, you need to find out who the breeder is. Make sure they’re legit and have a history of breeding healthy puppies. Often, the pet store will have this information along with knowledge about the puppy’s parents.

Contributors: Holly Zink from Grapevine

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#9 Are you up for it?

Dogs are people too, except not really, they’re more like high maintenance people who need to be cared for constantly. Do you have a fenced in backyard that your dog can use as a playground/ bathroom? What about the time? Can you commit to walking your dog every day, keeping it cooped up is a great way to cause your dog to go stir crazy? Will you be able to keep up with the costs? Having a dog comes with a lot of maintenance costs, if you’re struggling to keep your lifestyle and budget on the same page, you may want to hold off on getting a dog.

Contributors: Caleb Backe from Maple Holistics

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#10 What Breed

There are many kinds of dogs each comes with their own unique traits all of which vary greatly from breed to breed. Are you an outdoorsy person or more a lay on the couch person? You may think this is irrelevant but it may be the driving force behind which dog you decide to get.

Contributors: Caleb Backe from Maple Holistics

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#11 Observe Litter Behavior

If possible, try to observe how the dog behaves amongst their fellow litter mates. Demeanor is an important factor, and will likely predict future temperament. Although young dogs are generally excitable, certain behaviors - such as displays of asserting dominance - will likely continue into adulthood.

Contributors: Amber Holden, Marketing Associate, Critter Sitters

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#12 Puppy Socialization

When buying a puppy, you should ask the breeder what they are doing to begin socializing the puppy. Puppies have a sensitive period for socialization between 3 and about 14 weeks of age. If they have lots of positive, happy experiences during this time it helps them to be calm and friendly adult dogs. The breeder should be raising the puppy in a home environment and getting it used to normal household sights and sounds. Of course, it’s important for you to continue socialization once you bring the puppy home, and a great way to get started is to sign up for a good puppy class with a trainer who uses positive reinforcement.

Contributors: Zazie Todd from Companion Animal Psychology

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#13 Cost and Time

  • Can you afford pet insurance? The average cost of wellness care for acat/dog is approximately $150 annually, and that doesn't include medicaltreatment for a sick pet.
  • Do you have enough free time to take care of a pet especially the needs of apuppy?
  • Do you have help if you're away for the weekend?
  • Are you able to walk your puppy at least once a day?

Contributors: Kac Young author of The (Supposedly) Enlightened Person's Guide to Raising a Dog

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#14 Puppy Supplies

Have your home puppy-ready before you go to pick up your new pup. Have a crate, some blankets, toys, bowls and most important gates to keep your pup safe and keep your home safe from wandering pups. Pick up things from the floor that the puppy would like to chew on, have some clean up enzyme ready for accidents, and consider child safety locks on lower kitchen cabinets as well. Prepare your children for appropriate play and handling of puppies. Locate a vet that you would like to work with and set up an appointment for your new puppy. And find a training center nearby that offers puppy classes, as these times are important for socializing your pup and for your to gain valuable information from experts.

Contributors: Sally Morgan from Pet Behavior Solutions & Hands-On Healing

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