You Got that Puppy in the Window

Preparation tips for new dog owners
Preparation tips for new dog owners

Your friend just showed up at your door with a furry friend. You pet them and note how cute they are. In fact, this pup seems to look just like the one you spotted in the window last week. And what do you know, you’ve just been surprised with a new member to your household. This can be a little exciting at first, but it can also be a little unsettling, especially if you haven’t made any preparations to accommodate your new friend.

While you may adore your new friend, you aren’t exactly prepared for what you need to do now that you’ve become a new dog owner. It’s important to understand that owning a dog is a responsibility that needs to be taken seriously. They will change your life in many ways, many of which will be a blessing if you understand the responsibilities of what it means to be a dog owner.

Puppy proofing your home

First things first, your pup is a surprise to both you and everyone else in your home. So, you’re going to need to puppy-proof their new environment. It’s best to start in a particular location. Dogs that have been freshly introduced into a new environment will not only need to be confined to smaller areas, but will actually feel more comfortable in them. This is because there are new sounds, scents, and activity that they won’t necessarily understand. Additionally, it’s about their safety as well. This means that you’re going to be cleaning up the house and getting ready for a small and curious companion who will undoubtedly find interest in just about everything.

Power cords are a big issue, especially around the holidays. Not only can they be chewed on, but they can also be a tripping hazard for young puppies who haven’t quite gotten a hold of their balance yet.

Chewable items can be just about anything, and the smaller they are, the more dangerous. Controllers, devices (electronics like your Xbox), cell phones, and even loose change can all be attractive items to nibble on or swallow.

Then there are the downright dangerous items that include chemicals and even food products. As a new pet owner, it’s important to understand what can hurt a dog that we humans often take for granted. Harsh cleaners should find their way into top cabinets. But, food is a hazard that many new owners don’t think about at first. Chocolate is well known as a dangerous poison to dogs, but the list also includes onions, avocados, alcohol, caffeine, and grapes, to name a few. As a new pet owner, it is wise to only feed your dog healthy dog food and refrain from any table scraps.

Addressing their needs

Preparing the home is one thing, but you’re also going to need to figure out what it is that your puppy needs from you. Feeding- what should you feed them? What’s in a healthy diet? Pay attention to what your choice dog food is designed for, such as puppy mix, adult, senior, or weight. The contents, texture, and size will all affect your dog’s ability to eat and their general health (puppies require more fatty acids and growth-stimulating nutrients).

And if they eat, they’re going to have to go potty. Choose a location for your dog to potty and take them back to it right after they’ve finished eating. Proposing a command will help associate your dog with the purpose of their particular visit to the potty location. Just be sure that your designated potty area and command remain the same throughout the training process.

The right toys for your pup

Toys are something else entirely. Young puppies aren’t picky about what they play with, so you could give them anything and they’ll jump right on it. Just be cautious about hard-plastic toys, stuffed animals, and objects that could be swallowed. Plush toys that lack stuffing are available and tend to be the softest for a young puppy’s choice entertainment.

While toys are good for entertainment, a young puppy is going to seek out your attention. You are after all, their new best friend. They trust you, look to you to teach them all the good habits, and to keep them happy. While the season can be full of hustle and busy schedules, this is the most important responsibility for any dog owner.

Being surprised with a new friend does happen, especially during the holiday season. Not everyone who gets a dog is expecting a dog. And while many people consider a dog a wonderful gift, it’s important to remember that it is the happiness that comes from the experience that is the true gift.

Keeping up with your pet supplies can be just another thing you don’t want to have to remember.  After a long day at work and going to the store, the last thing you want to do is have to go “to the store” again.  Consider home delivery of your pet supplies!

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Tips for Avoiding Puppy Mills

photoSeptember 18th was Puppy Mill Awareness Day. This yearly event aims to educate the general public about the problems associated with puppy mills, as well as the actions that can be taken to address these issues.

A puppy mill or a puppy farm is a facility that breeds puppies in large quantities. Some of the most common problems that can be found in puppy mills include overbreeding, inbreeding, overcrowding, unclean facilities, and lack of human interaction. And because the puppies are not fed well and do not always receive proper veterinary care, diseases are also prevalent, and many unwanted animals are killed.

Puppy mills are illegal but have been around for decades. People are strongly discouraged from buying dogs from such places as the animals suffer from horrible living conditions.

Aside from the mill itself, puppy farm dogs are sold through other avenues such as flea markets, newspaper ads, or online. Sometimes, they are sold to agents and pet shops. So how do you avoid puppy mills? Here are some tips to make sure that your next pet does not come from one:

1. Do not purchase from flea markets, pet shops, or online.
2. Look at how the pups are being kept. Do they live in small cages? Can they move around? Are their surroundings clean?
3. Observe the dogs’ attitude when they meet strangers. Are they happy to interact with people or are they hesitant?
4. See if you can meet the parents of your potential pet to find out if the dog breeder takes proper care of his animals. Check if they are healthy and friendly.
5. Different breeds of dogs have different needs. If a breeder offers various breeds, ask questions to see how much he knows about them.
6. Ask for client references. A reputable breeder should have no problem providing these.
7. Ask for the puppy’s vaccination and health history.
8. Most dog breeders provide after sales support. A responsible breeder will be available to answer any questions you might have after you’ve taken your puppy home.
9. Be wary of pushy dog breeders. Professional breeders give their clients time to think things over before making a decision.
10. Trust your gut. If you have a bad feeling about a certain breeder, you’re most likely right.
11. Another option is to adopt from shelters or rescue groups. Since these organizations are non-profit, you can rest assured that their top priority is the dog’s well-being.

Always keep in mind that puppy mill breeders are only interested in earning money and do not care about the welfare of the animals. Help put an end to this cruel trade by not buying from puppy mills and telling other people about it.

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National Dog Bite Prevention Week

Today, Monday, May 17th marks the beginning of National Dog Bite Prevention Week. Based on a report done by The Humane Society of the United States (HSUS), there is an estimated of 4.5 million people who suffer from dog bites every year in the United States and most of these incidents are avoidable.  It has also been said that dog attacks are the most widespread public health issue of children residing in the United States.

A majority of these reported bites are by dogs whose owners claimed that their dogs are safe.

Tips in Preventing Dog Bites

1.)  It is not recommended that you run by a dog since the natural instinct of a dog is to run after and capture its prey.

2.)  When a dog intimidates you, never scream. You also have to avoid eye contact and stay motionless until the dog starts to leave the area, then you can move away slowly carefully until the dog is finally out of your sight.

3.)  Never come close to an aggressive dog, most especially if it seems unsecured or unattended.

Ways to Become a Responsible Dog Owner

1.)  Teach proper behavior to your dogs help them engage other people and praise him for his appropriate behavior.

2.)  Keep your dogs in different room when a new person comes to visit or on a leash.

3.)  Never let others approach your kids when the dog is around.  The normal instinct of your dog is to defend the family members.

4.)  Dogs that bite are the ones which have not been appropriately socialized, get little attention and care, or the ones being left tied up for a very long time. Or, who have lived in fear or with aggression exhibited towards them. When they have experienced these things, they are most likely become biters.

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