Bringing home your newest family member is an incredibly exciting and memorable time. It is also a big responsibility, and the first days and weeks can be quite overwhelming if you are not prepared. Dogs (especially puppies) really are like children - they just have fur and can’t talk back! So whether you’re thinking of getting a puppy or are about to bring your new fur baby home, here are 5 things to know that should help prepare you for fur parenthood.
5 things to know before getting a puppy:
- Take time off work
- Find your vet
- Get Pet Insurance
- Make time to train
- Know your breed
1. Take time off work
It is a very good idea to take 1-2 weeks off work when you first bring home your pup to help them settle in and start training. Puppies require constant supervision and attending to their needs (eat, poop, play, nap - REPEAT). It takes time for your pup to get used to you and their new surroundings, so the first few weeks are precious for you to bond and train your pup on the basics. It really isn’t appropriate for them to be left alone for hour especially at 8-12 weeks old, and they need full-time love and care where you can.
2. Find your vet
Take the time to do research of your local vets before your pup comes home - you may need vet advice sooner than you think! If you visit a vet but didn't get good vibes or service, don't feel like you need to keep going to them just because you went there once. Try another vet in your neighbourhood until you find a practice you are comfortable with. Once you have found ‘the one’, it's best to stick with that vet for ease of medical history and familiarity for your dog.
3. Get pet insurance
It may seem like a big expense but it’s a good idea to consider pet insurance because it can save you thousands - it did for us when our pup required leg surgery! Make sure to shop around with insurers and read the fine print in your policy. When picking an insurer, think in the long term. In Australia, most pet insurers will exclude any illness or injury your pet has been treated for prior to the inception of the policy as a ‘Pre-Existing Condition’, so if you plan on moving your policy to a different insurer in the future, you could end up with a lot of conditions excluded. We suggest incepting cover as soon as you bring your pup home because there is usually a Waiting Period before you can claim.
4. Make time to train
The early days are so important to set the scene of accepted behaviours in your household. Your pup is going to test a lot of boundaries! Take the time to train and be consistent every day. Dog trainers are a good investment but there is so much info on Youtube that you can also do it yourself. We highly recommend crate training, it will help your pooch throughout their life and provide a safe, comfortable sanctuary for them to rest and be left unsupervised.
5. Know your breed
It may seem like a no-brainer that you would know the traits of your dog breed but it's a good idea to familiarise yourself with these. Each breed has their own unique characteristics and needs (i.e. prone to overheating, have a tendency to dig or bark, good around children etc). Understanding what these are will help you get off on the right paw with your new family member and how best to manage these traits for a happy and healthy pup.