Did you know that March 23rd is national puppy day? Puppies are a pretty great thing to celebrate, so today's blog is all about puppies and tips for first-time puppy owners. And if you're not a puppy owner—what are you waiting for?!
Pick a Puppy Based on Your Lifestyle
Not all breeds are suitable for all owners, so it's best to think about your lifestyle before choosing a puppy. If you live in a studio apartment, a Great Dane or Greyhound probably won't be a great fit, but a toy breed dog might be the perfect companion to curl up on the couch with. If you have neighbors on the top, bottom, and both sides, a barking Beagle could be bothersome, but if your nearest neighbor is a mile away, a noisy dog is no problem. If you're an exercise junkie, there are plenty of breeds who would love to accompany you jogging or hiking. And if your idea of a marathon is a movie marathon, there are breeds out there who would love nothing more than to be a couch potato with you. No matter who you are, there is a dog breed out there that will perfectly complement your lifestyle. With a bit of brainstorming and research, you'll be ready to find the perfect pup for you! And you don't necessarily have to go to a breeder if you are looking for a specific dog breed. Animal shelters aren't just full of mixed breed dogs, and if you are patient, you can often find the specific dog breed you are looking for. If you're in search of a less common dog breed and haven't found luck at your local pet shelter, breed-specific rescue organizations are another great choice to find your furry friend!
Start Socializing Your Puppy Early
If your puppy is the only dog in the house, it might be a good idea to enroll her in "puppy classes." Many dog training businesses will offer these classes in order to help your puppy learn to play nicely with other dogs and used to other people, too. It's critical that you socialize your dog while he's young, or else he may develop behavioral problems down the line. Socializing doesn't just just have to mean getting used to other dogs and people. It's important to socialize your dog to experiences, too, so that she's used to things like car rides, baths, going for walks, people wearing hats, etc. At a young age, your puppy is like a sponge and is ready to absorb all of the sights, smells, and experiences that you are going to bring to him, so make sure that your dog is having positive epxeriences in order to set him up for a well-adjusted life as an adult dog.
Puppy-Proof Your Home
Anyone who has been around puppies know how mischievous they can be. If you turn away for one second, they'll find a way to get into something they shouldn't so it's best to make sure your dog's opportunities for mayhem are safely out of reach. Make sure that any objects you don't want to be chewed up are safely stowed away, and anything that your puppy could swallow is safely out of reach. Cover cables or keep them behind furniture. As a final check, it doesn't hurt to get down on the floor and explore your home from your puppy's perspective. There may be things that you missed standing up! It's natural for puppies to explore their environment with their mouths, so make sure that you have plenty of toys for your pup to play with so that he's chewing up toys and not shoes!
If you've never owned a dog before, it can be overwhelming thinking of all the supplies you'll need. The basics you'll want to purchase are food bowls, a dog bed, a crate, a collar and leash, a brush or comb, puppy pads for potty training, toys, and food. If you're looking for a great puppy food, we have plenty of amazing foods for puppies of all types, so take a look and you'll be sure to find the perfect food for your pup.
Register with a Veterinarian
Since you have a puppy, you're likely already regularly going to the vet for puppy-shots and spay/neutering when your puppy is old enough. If you get an older puppy who has already gotten her shots, the vet might not be the first thing on your mind, but the time to find a vet is NOT when your pet is having a medical issue. If you are set up with the vet beforehand, it will make it easier when your pet really needs to visit. Another good idea is to get your puppy microchipped at the vet if he is not already. Most veterinarians will charge a small one-time fee for microchipping your pet, and it is definitely worth the peace-of-mind it will guarantee you. If your pet gets lost without his collar/tags, his microchip will be able to be scanned so you and fido can be reunited. And a bonus of getting your pet registered with the veterinarian early is that you can use it as a time to create good experiences at the vet, so when you say the word "vet" in the future your dog doesn't run and hide!
Puppies are one of the greatest joys in life, and if you put in the effort to start your puppy off on the right paw, you'll be rewarded with years of companionship, love, and memories!