Am I Ready for a Puppy? Tips

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How do I find out if my family is ready for a puppy?

Is Your Family Ready For a Puppy?

You've got kids and you've got a house with a yard, so you should get a puppy, right? Actually, a puppy is not right for everyone, especially if time is something you have a short supply of at the moment. Is your family ready for a puppy?

When you have big changes coming up, such as a new baby or a move to a new home, a new puppy isn't the best idea. Puppies need a lot of care and attention. Potty training, obedience training and cuddle time are all time consuming. You don't want to end up neglecting the puppy and having it grow up to be an ill- mannered or unhappy dog.

If your family's motto is “Have passport, will travel,” you should think twice about buying a puppy. Constant trips to a kennel are not high on most dogs' to-do lists. While you can hire a sitter instead of taking the dog out of a familiar environment, your pup will still miss interacting with the family while you are traveling.

Finally, some people simply don't enjoy having their belongings ruined by puppy teeth or accidents. If this is the case, but you still want a dog, you may want to consider looking for an older animal. Many adult dogs in need of a new family have lovely dispositions and are already housebroken. often has listings for adult dogs that breeders are trying to re-home as well as listings for new puppies.

Is there any way to make getting ready for a new puppy a bit more fun?

Getting Ready for a New Puppy

As you think about all the things you'll need for your new puppy, you're feeling a bit overwhelmed. You wish you could ask someone to throw you a puppy shower as you're getting ready for a new puppy, but that's not really possible, right? Actually, it is a great idea, as long as you're willing to be the one planning the party.

  • Send invitations to the dogs that belong to friends and family instead of the people in the household. Make sure you include a few guidelines about behavior and safety. You can keep it lighthearted by giving the guidelines to the dogs. For example, try asking all dogs to keep their owners on a leash for the owner's safety instead of making a list of dos and don'ts for the human guests.
  • Register your puppy at the local pet store. If you can't find someone willing to go along with your party plans, you can head for a local big discount chain, like Target, to register your puppy. While these stores may not have a registry specifically for pets, they do offer other registries and you can register for any items in the store. Simply modify a baby registry for your puppy.
  • Provide healthy treats for the pets and make sure any food you serve the owners is non-toxic for dogs. Avoid grapes, chocolate, onions and other foods people enjoy that could be fatal for the canine guests.

Should I feel bad about looking for a dog with the right features when dogs are a lifetime commitment?

Dogs Are a Lifetime Commitment

You want a new puppy and you're feeling a bit guilty about shopping for one that has features you like. After all, it is a living creature, not a new car. Isn't it wrong to ask whether this puppy model comes with a shed free coat? Actually, people who do research before they buy a new dog should be proud of themselves. Dogs are a lifetime commitment, so it makes sense to take some time to find out which breed suits you and your family.

  • Make a list of traits you'd like your new puppy to have. Consider the size of your home and yard, your lifestyle and whether family members are prone to allergies as you put the list together.

  • Think about dogs you've seen. That Yorkie with the macho swagger you saw in the park may have melted your heart, while the perfectly sweet Maltese next door just wasn't spunky enough for your active family. Just remember, if you're thinking of geting a Collie because you admire Lassie, it isn't likely you'll find a dog that acts like your favorite canine television star.

  • Do some research to find out more about dog breeds. Sites like provide quite a bit of information about breed characteristics and make it easy for you to compare things like the grooming requirements of several different breeds.

Are children and puppies a good idea?

Children and Puppies - A Match Made in Heaven

Children and puppies go together like cookies and milk. They take adorable pictures together and can entertain each other for hours. However, there are a few things you should do to be sure your kids and your puppy have a safe and happy time when they hang out with each other. To be sure your dog and your child do well together, you should:

  • Always supervise play time. Your child and your puppy are both too young to always behave appropriately with each other. If one or the other of them gets a bit carried away, you'll need to step in before the laughing and barking are replaced with tears or whimpers.
  • Make sure your child knows the rules for interacting with animals. Discuss the fact that the puppy is much smaller and could be easily injured. Talk about how to properly hold a dog and have your child practice with a stuffed toy.
  • Provide the puppy with plenty of chew toys and limit play time to short intervals to lessen the likelihood that it will become overly nippy while it is playing. Puppies become wound up and misbehave when they are overtired, just as children do.
  • Search for child friendly breeds using a site like

What should I do before bringing a new puppy into my home?

Buy Supplies Before Bringing a New Puppy Into Your Home

You finally gave in to all of the pleading and promises to feed and walk a dog and you have agreed to buy a puppy. Congratulations!

Now, you need to make some serious preparations before the big day arrives. Just what do you need to do before bringing a new puppy into your home? Prepare yourself. There is much to be done.

For starters, the tip of the iceberg, you will need to invest in a good, solid puppy crate. Despite the devastated howls your new dog makes when you put him in his crate, he actually wants his own space so that he feels safe and cozy. He also needs a place to stay when you can't supervise him and he needs to have boundaries set for him. "This is your place, puppy."

Leaving puppies out of their crates at night can mean cleaning up a huge mess in the morning and can prove fatal, as these little guys can find inventive ways to reach dangerous things, like electrical cords or chemicals, that seemed to be perfectly secure.

Another thing you will need to consider is whether you will be walking your dog during potty breaks. If so, you will need a harness, leash and pooper scooper or poopy bags. Ideally, you will need a securely fenced area for your puppy to exercise in, but city dwellers do not always have this luxury.

Don't forget food and water bowls, a washable puppy bed, sturdy toys, such as the Nylabone puppy starter kit, and quality puppy food. While you can buy everything else well ahead of time, avoid shopping for puppy food until you find out the brand of food your new dog is already eating. It is a very bad idea to switch food suddenly on a new puppy as it can cause intestinal problems for your new baby.

Are there any tips for bringing home a new puppy?

Tips for Bringing Home a New Puppy

It is finally time for the big event. You're bringing home a new puppy and you couldn't be more excited if it was a new baby! You want everything to be perfect, so you need to know if there is anything special you should do as you pick up your dog.

First, you will need a safe way to transport the puppy. Cuddling your new baby in your arms sounds like fun, but the reality of the first trip home can involve upset stomachs and weak bladders. A small crate with a towel in the bottom is a secure and cozy way to get your puppy from point A to point B. If you absolutely refuse to put your dog in a crate for the ride home, be sure your outfit is wash and wear.

Next, give your puppy a quick check before you head for the car, even if you've been to visit him every week for the past month. Be sure he looks alert and healthy and has a clean bottom.

Finally, make sure you have a copy of the vaccination record, pedigree information and a health guarantee before you leave. All of these are important documents for your dog's well being and it isn't the best idea to chance getting them at a later date.

What is the cost of caring for a puppy?

The Cost of Caring for a Puppy

Your children have emptied their piggy banks in an attempt to persuade you that the family can afford to buy a dog. However, you are hesitant to agree to their wish, since you are sure there are other expenses involved. Should you accept the puppy on your tight budget or should you turn a deaf ear to your children's pleas? Since the cost of caring for a puppy is higher than the purchase price of the dog, it is a good idea to take a look at the expenses before you make your decision.

  • Puppies need immunizations, just like children. Expect to pay around $200 for your puppy's shots during the first few months at most veterinary hospitals.
  • Ideally, you should plan to neuter your dog at around six months. For a medium sized dog, a spay/neuter program for your area can keep the costs around $50. Very large and very small dogs often cost more because of veterinary fees associated with more difficult surgeries.
  • Flea and tick medications and heartworm preventatives are almost essential during the Spring, Summer and Fall seasons. You should expect to pay another $100 a year for these medications.
  • A good diet helps puppies grow up to be strong and healthy. Most pet owners opt to feed a quality dry kibble diet. Depending on the size of your dog and the brand of food you buy, your costs could be as low as $100 a year or as high as $1,000.
  • Your town or county probably requires pets to be licensed. The fee for this is usually minimal and neutered pets often receive a discount.

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Carma Spence-Pothitt