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It happens to most people who walk around agricultural show grounds or other summer outdoor events where there are all sorts of animals being shown. You walk around sampling the goodies being sold by food vendors, you buy something from one of the many clothing stalls and then you come across a small enclosure full of delightfully playful puppies, maybe a kitten or two and suddenly you're hooked. Many people just cannot resist the temptation to pick up a puppy and take it home with them without really thinking it through.
Adopting or even buying a puppy is a serious business because there's lots to think about. Puppies are notoriously cute but they grow up and sometimes they grow into large dogs – sometimes a little too large for a person's home and budget. But that is just one little part of what offering a puppy a home really involves, there's so much more that it takes careful consideration and a lot of planning. Below are 10 things to you need to consider before adopting or buying a puppy.
Ask yourself why exactly do you want to get a puppy? Have you just lost a dog and would like to replace your old friend? Is it the first time you have ever thought about having a dog in your home? For whatever reason, puppies grow up and can live with you and your family for anything from 10 to 15 years, some dogs can live even longer. A cute little puppy is destined to become a member of your family and is there for the long haul through the good times and the bad times.
A puppy can be a very demanding little creature and you can't just ignore them when you are busy or feeling tired. You have to give them all the time in the world and on top of this, you have to feed them the correct food, always making sure they have access to fresh clean water. You have to make sure they get enough exercise – both mental and physical, and you have to give them all the love and care they will ever need every day of their lives throughout the year. A lot of puppies end up in rescue centres because people just do not realise how much time they need to give their puppies.
Keeping any animal costs money – and this does not just mean the cost of feeding a puppy, because there is so much more involved. You may need to have a bitch spayed when she is old enough, and this can be expensive. If you have a male dog, then you might want to get them neutered, although not as expensive as spaying a bitch – it will still set you back a few pounds. Then there are the training classes should you decide to go down that path. On top of this there are the veterinary bills which includes the necessary vaccinations, regular check-ups and then any emergency care your puppy might need.
You might also need to puppy proof your house and garden which could cost a little money. You would then have to think about the expense of buying everything you need for your puppy, including dog bowls, blankets, bedding, toys, leads, micro chipping, dog cage for when you take them with you in your car. When you go on holiday would you need to place your dog in a boarding kennel. Lastly, you have to think about pet insurance which is always a good idea – but you would need to read the small print of any cover you take out to make sure vet bills are well covered.
Puppies are cute, but they can also be little devils to have around a home – especially when they have not been litter trained. Are you a very house proud person? Remember, dogs lose hair, they often come in with wet and muddy paws and when young can be a little destructive until they are taught not to be - in the kindest possible way.
Then of course there is the possibility of your puppy catching fleas – which can be a real problem for your pet. On top of this you might experience a flea infestation in your home if you don't get on top of the problem immediately. Remember, once your puppy is allowed to socialise they can pick up fleas from other dogs they encounter in the park!
If you are renting then you would need to find out if your landlord allows pets in their properties. What if you have to move? You would need to find somewhere that accepts pets which can be hard at times, especially if you live in a town or city!
If you're the sort of person who has to travel a lot or if your job frequently takes you away from home overnight – it might be an idea to wait because leaving a puppy or pet alone is never an option.
Is your home environment suitable for the puppy you would like to adopt or buy? If you live in a small apartment, then a bigger dog is not an option and even some smaller dogs like terriers would not be very happy cooped up in a small place. Terriers are very active little creatures that need a lot of regular exercise. There are a few breeds of larger dogs that can cope with lying on a couch all day – but this is never a good idea health wise!
You need to think about this carefully and choose a breed that not only fits in with your lifestyle but your home environment as well.
Are you the sort of person who would make a responsible dog owner. This basically means would you be prepared to look after your dog the way it needs to be taken care of. Then on top of this would you be prepared to have your dog spayed or neutered when the time is right. Would you keep your dog on a leash in a park when needed and then pick up any mess they make in public places. Are you the sort of person who would be totally committed to your dog?
When you go away on holiday, do you know anyone who would be able to look after your dog or would you need to put them in boarding kennels? You might want to consider a pet-sitting service instead so your dog stays at home when you are away which is a lot less stressful for them.
When you adopt or buy a puppy, you are in effect bringing another member into your family. Dogs that are well cared for can live for a very long time – are you prepared to look after them as you would a family member? When they are sick would you take them straight to the vet? If you found you could no longer keep your puppy, would you pro-actively find a new home for them?
Before you buy – think about adopting a puppy from one of the many rescue centres situated all around the country. There are so many little creatures that need to be given a second chance so they can lead great lives in a loving home. Lots of people take on puppies without realising just how much time, money and commitment it involves. Consequently many of them end up in rescue centres when they are still very young.
Puppies are gorgeous, they are innocent and eager to please – adopting one is great because not only do you get to have a new four legged friend in your home that will become a valued family member, but you are giving the little creatures another chance to lead out a happy and content existence – and it does not get much better than that!