Buying your first puppy
- Credit: Archant
Andrew Wills, veterinary surgeon and owner at Toachim House Veterinary Surgery, advises on buying a puppy this Christmas
Q: I am keen to buy a puppy this Christmas to keep me company, as I live alone. But I don’t know where to start!
Bringing a new animal into the home during such an exciting holiday can be just the opposite of a positive beginning, as there are a lot of things to consider. The first few days in your home are a special and critical time for a pet. It will be stressful for both of you. Training a new pup is hard work, so be prepared for some sleepless nights while he settles in. Your new pet will be confused about where he is and what to expect from you.
As for what breed, think about the size of dog that suits you and your home, also the amount of exercise you are able to give him over the foreseeable years. Never decide based on cuteness. It may be that the pet you think is most unlikely to be your perfect companion is the very one that is. Read about the care and training of the breed you are hoping to bring into your home. Visit your local rescue centre, it could well be that an older, calmer and already trained dog may be more practical.
With the decorations, foods and bustling around, the festive period can be a dangerous and scary time for a young puppy. This is when bad habits can begin; your pet’s first experience in your home with your family should be positive and calm. On Christmas Day itself there are usually lots of extra hazards, all of which look to an animal like good things to chew on. You don’t want your first night (or any night) with your new pet to be at an Emergency Clinic, so prepare your home carefully.
An idea of the sort of things to be aware of: no dangling cords, small toys on the floor, no sweets or other foods within easy reach, toilet seats closed, a stairgate in place and ensure the garden is puppy proof. Also check your garden for toxic plants.
You will need to get the necessary equipment, but one of the most important preparations is to create a quiet place for your pet to sleep, eat and just get away from things.
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Always speak to the staff at your Vets, they will be able to offer you some great advice about vaccinations, healthcare products, training, insurance and compulsory microchipping.
There is so much information available nowadays to ensure that you and your new pet have the best start possible and a fantastic future with lots of fun together.