Adding a new puppy to the family around the holidays can be fun and exciting, but a lot of families may not realize the level of commitment a new pet requires! Below, we’ve listed things to consider if you’re thinking about adding a new furry friend to your family this Christmas.
Finding a Local Team
Finding a local team you trust is very important! These individuals, like a veterinarian, will help you care for your new puppy. A good veterinarian should listen to your concerns and help you discuss important topics like:
- Recommended feeding schedule and diet
- Vaccines based on you and your pet’s lifestyle
- Age to spay/neuter
- Heartworm, intestinal parasite, flea, and tick prevention
At Dogwood Vet Clinic, our veterinarian will also discuss potty training, kennel training, and takes the time to address any other health questions or concerns you may have. Dogwood also has a certified professional dog trainer to address your puppy’s socialization and behavioral needs! Other members of your local team may include a groomer or daycare/boarding facility.
Choosing Your Breed
Now that you’ve assembled your local team, it’s time to decide what YOU want in a dog. Some dog breeds may be more suited to your lifestyle than others. Are you wanting a small dog or a large dog? Would you prefer to get them from a reputable breeder or a rescue facility? Do you have any young children? Even if you’re wanting a rescue or mixed breed, it’s still a good idea to know which types of dogs work best for your lifestyle! Other factors to consider are:
- Home/yard space
- How much time you have to work on training
- Apartment or HOA neighborhood breed restrictions
- Exercise expectations
Looking For A Rescue / Breeder
If you’ve decided to adopt a puppy from a rescue, it’s important to find the right rescue group for you. Rescues often have puppies year round, but it’s a good idea to call ahead of time and see what their adoption process and requirements are. The American Kennel Club Rescue Network is a great resource for finding a local dog rescue in your area! The AKC website also has an article about choosing the right rescue group and you can read it here.
If you’ve decided on a purebred puppy, you’ll want to make sure you get one from a responsible, reputable breeder. Responsible breeders may:
- Allow you to meet them (Due to COVID-19 restrictions, you may not be able to meet in person, but they may offer to meet with you over Zoom or video chat!)
- Disclose your puppy’s medical history
- Be knowledgeable regarding their breed
- Have a good relationship with a veterinarian
- Provide several references from other families they’ve worked with
A great breeder will be an invaluable resource to you. They will not only be concerned about the welfare of the puppy, but will also want to support you and answer any questions you may have regarding your new pet.
Have Everything Ready!
Before bringing your new puppy home, you’ll need to make sure the house is safe and accommodating for your new furry friend. You’ll need some supplies like:
- An appropriate sized kennel
- Water & food bowls
- Puppy food: It’s very important to get a diet specifically formulated for growing puppies!
- Toys & Chews: See our blog post that discusses safe toys and chews and ones to avoid!
- Puppy toothbrush & enzymatic toothpaste (this will help to prevent future tartar and plaque buildup on your puppy’s teeth!)
- An appropriately sized collar with identification tags
- Grooming supplies
You’ll also want to schedule a vet visit for your new pup! All new puppies should be seen by a veterinarian within the first few days of coming home to ensure they are healthy, free of internal and external parasites, and up-to-date on both vaccines and prevention!
Raising and caring for a new puppy is no easy task, but with time, love, and a whole lot of patience, you’ll have a furriend for life! If you live in the Prospect or Louisville, KY area, Dogwood Vet Clinic would love to see your new puppy for your first visit. To schedule an appointment with us, please call (502) 710 – 0170 or submit an appointment request here.