Puppies for the Holidays!

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Receiving a puppy for the holidays can be a great surprise. Other times, it can be a disaster. If you got a puppy as a present, you should have also gotten the supplies you need for your pet, and budgeted correctly so the cost of owning a pet doesn’t take your family by surprise.

It requires a huge amount of responsibility to be a pet owner. Dr. Kerry Hoobler-Riek, a veterinarian at Countryside Animal Hospital in Fort Collins says that, “Owning any pet can be a 12 to 15 year commitment…. Having a dog is a BIG responsibility and you have to plan your life around taking care of them.” It is important to make sure you can care for your new pet and having enough responsibility to do so. Whether your new pet is adjusting to your home or has been in your family for a while, you need to make sure you give the attention and spend time at home with them. You need to keep them fit and on a good diet for their needs based on age or breed. It is also important to know the cost of your pet. Dr. Kerry says an important question to ask yourself and your family is, “Can you afford to adopt and care for the puppy right now?” If the answer is no, it would probably be best to wait until a more appropriate time to adopt a pet. If the budget doesn’t allow for a new pet, costs can spiral out of control and sometimes unexpected health costs might pop up.

You might be ready for your new pet, but is your home ready? There are a few essentials that are required to own a dog. Dr. Kerry says, “You should have a crate, food and food bowls, leash, toys, etc. The house should also be puppy-proofed – just like having a baby crawl or toddle around, keep things out of reach of the puppy.” Without these essentials at hand or puppy-proof furniture, it is difficult to properly care for your puppy or dog. It is just as important to talk to a veterinarian for advice and tips to help care for your new pet. Dr Kerry states, “Schedule an appointment with your veterinarian for the first couple of days after adopting your pet. The veterinarian will look for any health concerns, advise you on vaccine schedules, nutrition, heartworm testing and prevention, parasite deworming, and flea and tick preventatives.” Going to the vets office will help to treat your dog properly, now and in the future. It can also help to answer your questions.

Adopting a puppy in winter can be a struggle for both the pet and the owner. Potty training is a long process and during winter, it can be cold and even snowing, yet you still have to take your pet outside. Not all the information about your dog that you need to know is on the internet. It is important to get records from either the shelter or breeder. Dr. Kerry says, “Take this paperwork with you to your vet appointment. Get dog advice from your veterinarian, not from ‘Dr. Google!’.” it is important to know what medication your pet might have previously been on or past medical history so in the future, you don’t repeat procedures that your dog already has. Signing up for classes can be helpful to take care of your dog. Dr. Kerry says, “Sign up for obedience classes very soon after adopting your puppy. There are “puppy kindergarten” classes, or if your dog is older, a beginning obedience class with help you and your dog learn good habits right away.