What Do I Need When Purchasing a New Puppy?

The purchase of a new puppy can be an exciting time in many households. Considering a few important points prior to purchasing your new pet can help make the transition into the new household more manageable and more enjoyable for all concerned. Ensuring that you choose the correct puppy for your needs and ensuring that you are adequately set up to deal with the puppy is essential for a happy start to a lifelong relationship.

Types of Puppies

The most important consideration when purchasing a new puppy is to consider the type of puppy (and eventually adult dog) which will best suit your circumstances. Potential owners should consider the time they have available to spend with the animal as both a puppy and as an adult dog. This will need to include a consideration of their exercise needs and your ability to provide this exercise. The size of your backyard should also be taken into account here. The temperament of the owner is also important. Are you an active person or more sedentary and looking for more of a companion with limited exercise needs? Although all animals are individuals, the known temperament of the breed being considered is equally important as the temperament of the owner. Is the breed you are considering known to be very active, quite sedentary, highly represented on dog bite statistic data? Are they perpetual puppies regarding their nature or are they regarded as easily trainable breeds? How much grooming will be required? What is my realistic budget for maintaining and treating my pet over its lifetime? Ensuring that these considerations are addressed as a bare minimum before deciding on a breed will help ensure a more appropriate match between pet and owner than what may otherwise occur.

Health and Vaccination Checks

Once you have assessed your needs and abilities in providing for a dog you need to ensure that the puppy you choose is healthy. Where you purchase your new puppy from is important. You may be able to ask friends and family members for recommendations of reputable breeders or pet stores. The place of purchase should be clean and all animals should look to be in good body condition. In the case of breeding establishments, the parents should be available for viewing. The puppy chosen should generally look healthy, be in good body condition, bright, alert, responsive, free of external parasites such as fleas and ticks and have no evidence of diarrhoea or other bodily discharges. You should enquire whether the puppy has been recently vaccinated and given intestinal worming treatment and request documentation of this. Any vaccinations administered will likely be just the first in a series required over the coming months. In some states legislation requires that all puppies be microchipped for identification purposes prior to being offered for sale or rehoming. You will need to receive written documentation of this procedure and ensure that the contact details are updated immediately. Although emotions often play a major role in choosing a new puppy, objectivity is needed first, with emotions only used to choose between appropriate animals which meet your requirements.

Dog Food and Nutrition

Having a basic understanding of a puppy's nutritional requirements will help keep the puppy in optimal health and allow for appropriate development of the animal. High quality commercial puppy foods are readily available from veterinarians and pet produce suppliers. Puppies have distinct nutritional requirements, particularly with regard to protein requirements. Adult dog food is not appropriate for growing puppies. Similarly feeding homemade diets, unless designed professionally by a veterinarian or animal nutritionist, can result in the development of significant dietary imbalances. Many human foods are not appropriate for puppies or dogs and some can even be toxic to animals. It is important to ask the breeder or salesperson what diet the puppy has been on to date to allow for a gradual introduction of your new chosen pet food. Rapid changes in diet can cause gastrointestinal upsets such as diarrhea.

Each animal will need its own pet bowl for food and you will also need to provide an adequate number of water bowls for your pets. Food and water pet bowls should be purchased which are strong, durable and easy to clean. As well as dog bowls, there are many stylish pet accessories available which can match your existing decor and dog's colouring.

Pet Medications for Dogs

Puppies can become infested with numerous internal and external parasites, and can in fact be born with some intestinal worms. Providing regular worming treatment and preventatives is essential. Intestinal worming, heartworm treatment and flea control need to be provided to help keep your puppy in maximal health. The use of these products should be discussed with your veterinarian prior to use as the age and weight of the animal must be considered. Although many products exist, only those registered for use in puppies should be used and the manufacturer's directions with regard to age of use and dosage rates/intervals should be strictly followed.

Pet Accessories and Identification

New puppies should be taken to their new sleeping area at a regular time each day. They should be provided with comfortable, warm bedding made from durable and easily washable materials. Dog beds can be purchased which are very stylish and match a range of decors.

As mentioned above, all puppies should be implanted with a microchip for identification purposes. This can be done by a veterinarian or registered implanter if not already done at the time of purchase. Another method of identification which allows for rapid identification in the case of escape or injury is the use of pet tags. They should be attached to a dog collar. The pet collar can also hold the local council registration tag. Dog collars should be made of durable materials and be fitted to be firm and snug but not tight. Matching dog leads can usually be purchased for use when walking. Leads should also be made of durable and very strong materials which cannot be chewed through by the dog and which can withstand the pulling forces of a strong adult dog.

It is recommended that puppies not be walked outside their own yard until the full puppy vaccination schedule has been completed. Your veterinarian will discuss this with you. When at your local or online pet supplies store, consider the type of walking equipment which will be required. Walking harnesses, haltis and dog collars are all used for walking. Collapsible water bowls are a great accessory to have when walking your dog, as are pet poo bags which can be bought in dispensers which attach to the pet collar or dog lead and make cleaning up on your walk easier. Car travel harnesses should also be purchased. These allow the puppy to be safely restrained in motor vehicles.

Dog Toys and Dog Treats

Puppies are known chewers. They will often destroy a myriad of owner's shoes, cushions and just about anything they can find. Providing an adequate number of appropriate chew toys to entertain your new puppy and help fulfil his need for chewing as he teethes will help reduce the frustration felt by many owners by this somewhat normal puppy behaviour. Boredom can also cause increased chewing behaviours to develop so ensure enough entertainment is available for your pup. You must consider the size of your pet and the durability of the chosen pet toys to reduce the risk of the pup swallowing whole or parts of toys and developing an intestinal obstruction keep in mind puppies grow quickly!

Puppy and Dog Grooming

Skin disease in pets can cause significant discomfort and disease. Use of appropriate dog shampoos designed specifically for puppies, combined with regular grooming can help keep the skin healthy and prevent matts from developing in long haired breeds. Getting your puppy used to these procedures at a young age can help with their tolerance of them as an adult. Do not use human shampoos on puppies or dogs as they have a different skin pH and the normal balance of the skin will be disturbed if inappropriate products are used. Dog brushes, dog clippers and other dog grooming aids exist which are suited to all types of hair length in puppies and dogs.

Whether it is just for regular vaccinations, desexing and health checks or for life threatening emergencies, you will be visiting your veterinarian on numerous occasions over the course of your pet's life. Your veterinarian's contact details should be kept readily at hand at all times. Your first visit to your veterinarian with your new puppy should occur soon after purchase. A general health check will be needed and you can discuss all the health requirements of your puppy at this visit. Your veterinarian may also be able to recommend or offer puppy preschool training. Training your new pet is essential if an enjoyable and long lasting pet-owner relationship is to develop.

Purchasing a new puppy is an exciting time in many households. However owning a pet is a lifelong commitment so ensuring that you purchase your puppy with a thorough knowledge of what is required and what needs to be provided for a healthy and happy upbringing will make pet ownership much more enjoyable over the long term.