8 Things You Should Consider Before Getting A Puppy
By Sviat Oleksiv | Updated on May 11, 2022
Adopting or buying your first puppy is often one of the best decisions we make in life. It’s also a complex decision, however, as there are lots of factors around it you may not have thought about. So, here we’ve listed the 8 things you should consider before getting a puppy.
1. Think whether getting a puppy really is a good idea for you right now
Everyone loves puppies but many people don’t realize how much work, time, and effort goes into raising a dog. That’s why we always warn people against giving puppies as gifts for others – while the gift itself is fantastic, you need to be sure that the person is ready for everything they’ll be in for those next decade or two.
The same applies when you’re getting a dog for yourself and your family. Make sure everyone at home is aware of the responsibility you’ll be taking on and is willing to participate.
2. Find the right breed
The next big step is choosing the right dog for you. There are great differences between certain breeds – so much so that the experience of raising, training, and living with them is almost incomparable.
It’s not uncommon for people to fixate on a certain breed cause they find it to be cute but then realize that some of its characteristics aren’t actually what they wanted. Do you think Newfoundlands are awesome but didn’t consider the risk of drooling? Do you find pugs adorable but didn’t realize that the tail pocket is a thing and it needs to be cleaned regularly? Or maybe you really want a Labrador Retriever but didn’t consider the fact that separation anxiety is an issue your lifestyle can’t accommodate?
So, there’s a fair bit of thinking you’ll need to do to make sure that you’ve really picked the best breed for you. There is a useful Breed Finder Quizz that can help you out.
3. Think where you should get your puppy from
Figuring out where to get your pup from is another issue most people underestimate. At a first glance, it shouldn’t matter – a puppy is a puppy, right? There are a few key factors to consider, however. So, here are the main places you can get a puppy from:
- Pet stores and puppy mills are the most common places people get puppies from. The prices are low, the puppies are supposedly purebred and healthy, pet stores and the puppy mills that supply them can be found on every street corner, and the pups look incredibly sad and cute in their little glass boxes on the showcase. However, not only are puppies bred very poorly in puppy mills, leading to the passing of lots of hereditary diseases but holding puppies in small glass boxes for days and weeks is tantamount to torture and is really bad for their psyche too. So, getting a pup from a pet store can seem like mercy but it actually supports a very nasty industry.
- Reputable pet breeders offer puppies for significantly higher prices, however, those dogs are properly bred, truly purebred, healthy, and well looked after. They receive excellent socialization as they grow up and they start getting basic training too. Such a breeder will also offer a health certificate, guaranteeing the pup’s health. All this is worth the initial price hike over time as it saves lots of vet bills down the line.
- Other pet owners are often a good middle ground between the first two options. Getting a purebred dog from them is rarely guaranteed but at least you know the pups aren’t raised in glass boxes. The prices are also quite low most of the time. You won’t get a health certificate but you can ask to see the parents and make sure that they are healthy.
- Shelters and rescues are the places we recommend most enthusiastically. Yes, dogs there come from all breeds, ages, and places, however, you can see what their health and behavior are ahead of time. You can get a puppy or a senior, a healthy puppy or one you’ll need to take better care of, you can spend some time with the dog first, and most shelters will give you details about the personal and medical history of their dogs. Plus, you will quite literally be saving a dog’s life.
4. Prepare your home for the new arrival
Puppy proofing your home is very similar in principle to baby proofing. It will allow you to both keep your pet safe and minimize the damage your inquisitive liitle pup can do when exploring, playing, and teething. Here are a few examples of what you’d want to do:
- Make sure your home is open and spacious enough for your pet – this is crucial if you’re getting a large dog as such pets need to move around freely. If you have lots of clutter in your home, you’d also want to put that in order first. Stuff such as clothes and shoes will easily become your pup’s favorite chew toys if you don’t put them away.
- Pet-proof all electrical cords and sockets. This is both for your pup’s safety and to protect the cords themselves.
- Check to see if all your houseplants are safe for dogs. If some turn out to be unhealthy or poisonous for dogs, you’ll need to get rid of them. Even those that aren’t are best placed out of a puppy’s reach as many breeds love to dig and play with leaves.
- Get trash cans that close completely and can’t be opened by a dog as many pets are so food-motivated that they easily turn into trash pandas when given the opportunity.
- Lock all cabinets in your kitchen and home, especially those containing cleaning products, medications, the pet food itself, your family’s food, and everything else you wouldn’t want your dog having access to.
5. Get everything you’ll need ahead of time
Pet food, food and water bowls, a leash with a collar or harness, dog toys, a crate and a pet carrier, doggy blankets, pillow, and bed, training treats – it’s best to prepare such things ahead of time. Of course, it’s not the end of the world if you have to buy some of them on the next day. However, it’s at the very least crucial to make sure that your budget is ready for that extra initial expense.
6. Find the right vet
Something that you definitely want to do ahead of time is find your future vet ahead of time. If the vet you’ve chosen doesn’t work 24/7, make sure that you locate such a vet too, in case you need it. This is easy enough to do online but if a medical emergency happens in the middle of the night and you’re not prepared, you may not have time to find the ideal vet for your pup right then and there.
7. Train yourself how to train your puppy
Training a dog is a process that starts from the moment you bring the puppy home. And it’s a much more challenging process with some breeds than it is with others – that’s why we often mention whether a specific breed is beginner-friendly or not. Even the more trainable breeds still need obedience training, socialization, potty and crate training, and so on.
All of those can go very smoothly, quickly, and fun if you’re prepared or they can be a months-long struggle if you haven’t done your homework ahead of time. Not to mention that stuff such as socialization can affect how your dog behaves throughout its whole life if you don’t do it right.
8. Pick the right time for you and your family
Another choice to make is when to get your pup. This can seem irrelevant at first until you note the fact that potty training can last for weeks with certain breeds like the dachshund. And, as it is a 24/7 commitment, you should make sure that there’s always a family member around your pup to make sure that the potty training goes as quickly and smoothly as possible. In such cases, getting your dog at a time when you can take a couple of weeks off work is greatly beneficial.
As you can see, getting a puppy isn’t as simple as just going to the store and bringing one home. Or, at least, it shouldn’t be. At the same time, however, it’s not all that complicated either. All you need to do is make sure that you’re ready for the commitment, that you pick the right breed and a healthy puppy, get a few basic items, and prepare for a bit of training. Do that, and you’ll all but guarantee that you and your pup have long and happy lives together.