The thought of a little, four-legged best friend is beyond exciting but can also interrupt us from remembering some important things (like basic necessities and care since all we want to do is play!). While we’re always pining for a new companion, the holidays seem to be one of the most popular times to get a new pet. If you’re considering hopping on this bandwagon, here some reminders about the responsibility and work it takes to maintain your new love’s healthy and happy life!
Before the Dog
If you don’t already have a pet, don’t forget that you need basic necessities such as:
- A bed (like Lion + Wolf’s beds, which are perfect for any zzz’s!)
- Water and food bowls
- Leash or harness and collar
- Toys galore! Okay, maybe not galore, but enough for you to play together without getting too bored with the same two things
- If you have a particularly fluffy new friend, get a brush to make sure the coat doesn’t get matted and stays healthy and shiny
- An identification tag with your number and address
For the Dog
- The First Vet Visit: Chances are that before adoption, your pup has seen the vet at least once or twice, but it’s always best to make a visit to your local vet so you can keep up to date on any vaccinations or health questions you may have. This would be a good time to get microchipping done, and an especially good time to spay and neuter your fluffy friend if they haven’t been already. Try to get on it as soon as possible- as long as your pet weighs at least one pound, which they likely do, it’s time to be microchipped
- Dog Walker: If you work and don’t have anyone else in the family who can walk the pup during the day, look for a dog walker. Sites like Rover and Care.com provide listings of available caretakers nearby
- Puppy Class: If you’re welcoming a puppy into your family, make sure to sign them up for puppy classes where they can learn training and socialization skills. The work outside of class is up to you, but it may make things a lot easier!
- Making Time: A puppy is not a toy you leave at home to play with when you’re bored. They require attention, love and a lot discipline. Make sure you leave time to play with and train your puppy every day. Schedules are important for young dogs, and it helps them understand when they’ll be taken outside and when they’ll be fed, which will begin to give them a daily structure. This is especially important when housebreaking a pet. If you don’t have a lot of time for training, consider adopting an older dog who is already trained and could use your love!
- Keeping toxic foods and plants out of the way! There are lots of ingredients that are toxic to pets, so keep that in mind!
- Crate training: This was one of best pieces of advice I had when getting my puppy, and it makes a big difference. The crate replicates the pups natural habitat and becomes a place of safety, and their nighttime resting place, and your best shot at getting a good night's sleep yourself.
Responsible Pet Options
When it comes to getting a new pup, it’s important to think about where they're coming from. The phrase “adopt, don’t shop” is fairly popular, but if you do decide to shop, make sure you know exactly where the dog is coming from (i.e. no puppy mills!)
- Local shelters have plenty of options and fluffy friends to love! A lot of shelters run out of space, or may destroy the dog, so if you can, adopt!
- Pet stores don’t often tell the truth when it comes to their links with puppy mills, so it’s best to just generally avoid them, unless they partner with a local shelter
Breeders are a responsible way to “buy” a dog, especially if you have any allergen problems with dogs and fur; find and visit a reputable breeder to see what they have available. To find a reputable breeder near you, visit the American Kennel Club’s breeder referral site.
Adoption Sites to Consider:
A puppy is a lifelong friend and commitment, so make sure you're ready for the responsibility you'll have once he's a part of the family. If you're ready to make the jump, start preparing now to give your pup the best life possible. He'll love you forever, we're sure of it- really though, we promise!
Mariah is our superstar intern, shaping the Lion + Wolf marketing department with her content and PR expertise.
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