Disclosure – this is a collaborative post.
Welcoming a furry friend into your family can be quite an adventure. While your mind is probably full of dreams of puppy snuggles, you need to make sure your home and family are prepared for your new arrival. Lucky for you, I’ve put together this handy dandy checklist to give you a rundown of what you need to know.
Feeding your puppy
A puppy has a whole lot of growing to do. Most dogs will reach their full size in their first year of life, making it vitally important that they are well fed from the get-go. If you go into a supermarket, you will find aisles of tins, packets and bags, all saying that they are the best thing to feed your new family member. The choice can be overwhelming, not to mention daunting, when you genuinely want to provide the best for your dog.
Consider a subscription dog food service if you want to take the guesswork out of feeding your puppy. With these, you tell the company about your dog, their age, weight, and breed, and then they determine the best blend of food. Puppies eat a lot! If you have never had one, you may be surprised (or amazed) at how much food they can go through. Another perk of a subscription service is that because the food gets delivered to your door (and the company knows how much your dog will need), you never need to worry about running out.
Whether you are bringing home a teacup chihuahua or St. Bernard puppy, you will have to do some serious puppy proofing. Your new friend will see your home as an adventure, with every nook and cranny needing to be explored and possibly chewed on. To set yourself up for success, take a thorough look around your home to identify possible escape routes or sticky situations. Getting behind cabinets and underneath units is a common issue, so make sure to block off any access to tight spots such as these.
Exposed wires can be incredibly tempting for puppies looking to try out their chompers. Not only can chewed wires cause damage to the electrics around your home, but they can also prove fatal to your puppy if they get a shock from biting through it. Wire tidies that keep wires hidden, or out of reach are easy to find online and can be literal lifesavers.
Puppy handling skills
Puppies might seem indestructible, but proper handling is vital to prevent injuries. The biggest danger to puppies is spine damage when picked up. The best practice is always to use two hands to pick up your dog. Slip a hand between their front legs towards their back, and then use your other hand between their back legs towards the front. This lets you keep their spine straight when you pick them up.
Avoiding injury is a priority, but you must start good habits as soon as possible. A small but impactful habit is never to make hands or feet toys. A puppy pouncing on and nibbling fingers and toes might seem cute, but it’s not so funny when a fully grown adult dog thinks it’s fine to snap and bite at people even in play.
It’s worth investing in a puppy training course; if it’s one, the whole family can attend even better. Children should know how to control their pets, which makes it important for them to attend the course to understand how to be a responsible pet owners. Courses help teach you and your dog basic commands and get your dog used to being around other dogs, which is incredibly valuable.
Vets and insurance
No one wants to think of their pet getting ill or injured, but you need to be prepared if it does happen. Research local vets to find one you’d like to work with and know how and when you can get in touch. Pet insurance is also worth checking out. Vet bills can get very expensive quickly; having pet insurance in place can take the worry out of deciding what to do if the worst happens to your furry friend.
Now that we’ve gone through the planning checklist, I’m going to give the classic line- A dog is for life, not just for Christmas, a birthday (or a lockdown).
Are you sure you are ready to bring a fuzz ball into your life that could realistically be with you for the next 15 years, if not more? A dog is a big commitment; spur-of-the-moment plans must be significantly more thought through. Reading through the checklist, you can see a pretty sizable financial commitment associated with a canine companion.
If you have any doubts about whether you should add a dog to your family, then it is time to put the brakes on everything and seriously think about your next steps. Returning a puppy will be much more traumatic for your family and the puppy than deciding not to bring it home in the first place.
Disclosure – this is a collaborative post.