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Things to Know Before Getting a Puppy
So let’s explore some things you need to know before getting a puppy!
How much prep did you do before you brought home your first child? Was it a lot? Puppies might not need the same level of preparation as a human baby, but they absolutely need the same focus and preparation before they’re brought into your home.
For those of you who don’t have kids, puppies make for good practice. They’re needy, messy, mischievous, and an absolute time-suck…and we puppy parents wouldn’t have it any other way.
Because beneath all the frustration and dependency is an adorable, life-changing set of paws that will be an integral part of your family for the next eight to fifteen years (more, if you’re lucky!).
This blog will explore a few need-to-knows and a handful of wish-I-knew-this-myself-before-getting-my-first-puppy tidbits.
Is a Puppy Right for Your Lifestyle?
The most important thing you need to know before getting a puppy is what kind of home you’re able to provide, and whether your lifestyle is really best suited for the equivalent of a furry toddler with four legs.
Make no mistake, puppies are C-U-T-E. But they also require a lot of care.
Should you get a puppy? Here are just a few things you need to think about before even beginning your search for a new bundle of barking joy.
Puppies Need Attention….Lots of It!
You might be rolling your eyes right now. If so, you’re not ready for a puppy.
Any previous puppy owner will tell you the same thing: their miniature mischief-maker ran them ragged.
Puppies need ample play, training, supervision, and companionship. And they need those things pretty much at all points in the day.
So, if you work a job that requires long hours away from home or enjoy a busy social life that sees you going more than coming, really evaluate whether you’re ready to adjust that hectic schedule for a pooch.
If you can be home more than away for the first, few months, then go for it! If not, consider fostering or adopting an adult dog with experience in a home, instead.
Puppies Will Eat You Out of House and Home.
While young dogs don’t eat quite the volume of a full-grown adult canine, they do require nutrient-rich food that can be extremely expensive. You’ll be surprised by just how much premium chow your chonk needs.
Not to mention, once it’s done chomping away at its food bowl, it’s highly likely to turn its attention to chowing down on your literal home. Puppies are notorious for teething well into their first year of maturity, which means you better have someone handy in drywall on standby.
Puppy-proofing your home is essential, so stock up on socket covers, corner bumpers, and baby gates now.
Your Lease Might Be Temporary…But Your Pet is Forever!
So many renters get wrapped up in a puppy’s cuteness that they forget to pause and think about the terms of their housing agreement.
Most landlords are strict about the number, size, and breed of pet brought onto their property. You must read the fine print of your lease before committing to a puppy, or else you might find yourself in a precarious situation of financial liability, or even eviction.
Are you someone who needs to get their eight hours in every night? If so, lay your dog dreams to rest.
Puppies sleep in spurts, and it takes time to properly train them to snooze through the night (see our blog on crate training to learn how a den can help!).
They need to be let outside at least every three hours, which means you’ll be up and at it in the moonlight no less than three or four times a night. Puppies don’t understand bedtime. They sleep when they want!
So don’t count on a quiet evening. Your tiny bark box will have other plans.
Plan For Expenses…Then Expect Them To Be Much More!
Vet bills alone for a new puppy can be in the thousands of dollars, not to mention the cost of spay/neuter services.
Beyond medical outlays, most new puppy owners will spend hundreds more on toys, beds, a crate, training, food, municipal registration, pet rent…the list never ends!
If you’re strapped for cash at the moment, think about putting “puppy adoption” towards the bottom of your priority list. You’ll thank us later.
Peace Is Never A Guarantee…Know Your Pack!
If you have pets already –especially cats – understand that bringing a new animal into the home isn’t going to be easy.
Puppies are disruptive to the established energy in any dwelling, which means your existing pet pals will have to adjust. And they might not thrilled about it.
You also need to consider that puppies play rough, and if you have an older or sickly pet already in your midst, this could lead to dangerous confrontations. Be sure you’re ready to monitor and mediate interactions between all animals for the first few days.
Are You Ready?
If you’ve checked all the boxes we’ve laid out so far, you might be thinking that you’ve got this whole owing a puppy thing in the bag.
But consider this: Are you ready for the emotional toll that comes along with adoption?
Puppies are cute and tiny only for a finite amount of time. Before you know it, they’re grown-up doggos. Will you still love your dog as much when it’s old and grumpy?
More importantly, are you in a level emotional state to deal with a dog passing on? Those are all eventualities, and you must ensure you’ve got the right mentality and emotional fortitude to handle the ups and downs of pet ownership before you proceed.
Perhaps the biggest misstep new puppy parents make is not being stern or strong enough to stand up to the adorable, glassy eyes of their miniature mutt. But remain steadfast.
Consistency in training, discipline, and reward is key. A puppy without routine and consistency is a puppy destined for a troubled path of disobedience, distress, and disappointment.
Don’t let your newest addition down by being a pushover!
You’re Ready (Probably).
Assuming you’ve made it this far unfazed and are still determined, you might be ready to adopt a puppy.
But before you go hopping on Petfinder.com, contemplate adopting before shopping. There are plenty of shelters and community pages where young dogs could use the love you have to give.
If you’ve already made up your mind about buying from a breeder, make sure you do your research. You might think purchasing a companion is harmless, but if you give your business to someone unqualified or irreputable, you might be promoting puppy mills inadvertently (not to mention the congenital health disorders that are always an inherent risk from shady sellers, due to inbreeding and poor care).
All that out of the way, if you are set on filing papers for a new member of the fur fam, then we wish you the best of luck in your endeavors.
Stay enthusiastic, stay strong, and stay excited! A new puppy is both blessing and curse, but in the end, it’s all a wonderful ride.
Can you work full-time and raise a puppy?
Yes, it is possible, but you are going to need help. Puppies have needs that must be met and if you are gone 8-12 hours a day your puppy will suffer. It is also very difficult to potty train a puppy as they typically need to go potty every 3 to 4 hours, depending on their age.
What is the best age to get a puppy?
Every person’s situation is different, and what age would be best for you will depend on many different factors. However, the optimal age to get a puppy is 8-weeks. By this age, they should be weaned from their mother and will have learned dog to dog etiquette by their mother. Also, the primary age for socialization for puppies is 8-12 weeks old so this is the best time to get them and work on those socialization skills so that you have a confident, happy dog.
Is having a puppy stressful?
Yes, it most definitely can be! It is perfectly normal to feel overwhelmed with a new puppy. However, with age and proper training, the stressful days should decrease and eventually, you and your dog will be living in perfect harmony!
Can I afford a puppy?
To decide whether or not you can afford a puppy, review the annual cost of pet ownership.