Bringing home a puppy is a major decision. Puppies bring tons of joy, love and excitement into our homes. But they also mean more responsibility for all family members and an initial disruption of the rules and routines. So it’s important that your family is ready to adapt to all a new puppy requires.
Doing your homework upfront can save a lot of heartache down the road. To help you along the way, here are 6 helpful tips we hope you’ll use.
1. Don’t adopt/buy on impulse.
Don’t decide on a whim to get a puppy. The responsibilities and the cost of care are too great. First, you need to evaluate the cost of raising a pup into adulthood, the amount of time you have to care for a growing pup, and make sure it’s the right time for you to take on such a task.
2. Start with the right breed or breed mix.
Match your new puppy to your environment, family, lifestyle and experience with dogs.
- Environment. If you live in a small apartment, a small breed may be best. If you have lots of outdoor space for a dog to run, you may be able to take on a larger pet. But size isn’t the only determining factor. Some dogs, large or small, have more energy to expend and require more time and attention, so do your research first.
- Family. Be sure to take into account the needs of all of your family members. If you have children, you’ll want to find a breed mix that typically does well in a family setting. If you have an allergy sufferer, you’ll want to look for dogs that shed less hair and dander, like a Schnauzer, Bichon Frise or Poodle.
- Lifestyle. If you don’t have a lot of free time, choose a smaller dog that requires less exercise per day than some of the larger breeds that may need to run or walk at least 30 minutes a day.
- Experience. If you’re a first-time dog owner, you should consider one that has less temperamental or willful natures, such as Goldens, Labs or Pugs.
High quality dog shelters, rescues and dog breed professionals can help you understand more about dogs they have in their care and help you find a dog that will be right for you. Researching various breeds online to learn about their characteristics, behavior and care needs, is a good idea to start. Having this perspective will help you select a breed that fits well into your home and lifestyle.
3. Evaluate the cost.
Recent figures from the ASPCA show that it can cost anywhere from $700-$900 a year to keep a dog—and that’s the average. If you adopt a pup that has health issues or special needs, those costs will be even higher. Make sure your budget can handle taking on a new family member before taking the plunge.
4. Make sure the time is right.
Take a hard and honest look at your lifestyle. If your job requires a lot of travel or you’re gone 12 hours a day, a puppy may not be the best idea right now—unless you have nearby relatives or friends willing to help with daily care. Also think about how much time you have to spend with your dog. A puppy requires a lot of attention, and as he grows into an adult, he will want a lot of quality time from you. If you don’t have that to give, perhaps now is not the right time.
5. Visit shelters.
Don’t believe the myth that you have to have a purebred dog. Or that only mutts can be found in shelters. A lot of purebreds end up in shelters, too, for a variety of reasons, including that their previous owners didn’t do their homework to determine whether they were purchasing the right breed for their personality and lifestyle. Some of the most loving, best-behaved dogs have been adopted from local shelters.
6. Talk to a dog breed professional.
Be sure to ask if you can observe both parents so you can see what behavioral traits your pup is likely to inherit. Also be sure to inquire about the parents’ health and any issues that could be inherited by your pup. If you are picking from a litter, look for a pup that is bright-eyed and healthy-looking, playful and curious.
Feed him well! Once you’ve found the perfect pup for you, be sure to feed him well, right from the start. Bil-Jac Puppy Select is created with our exclusive balance of nutrients your growing pup needs. It’s a super-premium food that gives your puppy a strong foundation for the rest of his life. Bil-Jac Small Breed and Large Breed puppy foods are formulated with varying levels of fat, protein and other key ingredients to meet specific needs.
Join our Puppy Club! With so much to learn about your new best friend, the Bil-Jac Puppy Club is a great way to keep pace. Each month, you’ll receive valuable information delivered right to your email box—information that will help you with everything from feeding to grooming to crate training and puppy-proofing your home. You’ll also receive special offers on Bil-Jac puppy products!
Following these tips and signing up for the Bil-Jac Puppy Club are sure-fire ways to help make sure you choose the right puppy—and enjoy him for the rest of his life.
Have you recently adopted a puppy? We’d love to see photos or hear about your experience, so please share below!