I’ve Inherited a Dog – Now What?

Old and new dog owners and your pet’s well-being

Life is fairly unpredictable, but our dogs have always been dependable, which is why we have them. But sometimes we just have to go with no questions asked while leaving friends, family, and even pets behind. And since everybody believes everybody could definitely use a friend, sometimes we find ourselves with an extra four-legged companion in our lives. The growing trend of leaving pets, especially dogs, has raised questions about what life changes happen when you’ve just inherited a dog.

So what now? You may be thinking about how you didn’t plan to have a dog and what makes things even more difficult is that you have little knowledge and opportunity to provide the proper home for a new companion.

Living in locations such as an apartment can definitely raise a lot of questions. You may have to suddenly arrange to pay a pet deposit or you may not even be able to have a dog in your apartment. These types of situations can really turn what was likely the best of intentions into a big problem.

The challenges

Aside from being able to provide a home in general, there is also the concern about the quality of your home and the changes that will likely take place now that you have a new companion in your life.

The first task is finding room for them or at least making room for them. Keep in mind that your new friend was already trained and has developed a unique pattern of habits they are accustomed to. Not every dog will behave identically or rely on the same schedule. If you are unfamiliar with how the dog acted in their previous home, you’ll want to limit their wandering territory and space until you get a feel for how they are going to act in the new environment.

If you are new to being a dog owner, you’ll need to understand the importance of feeding them and keeping up with similar health responsibilities such as who their vet is and medical information. It often helps to have a discussion with the vet as to the health and characteristics of the dog, especially if it’s likely that they know more about them than you.

Another topic covers the importance of understanding the costs of a pet. Food, medical bills, and the time needed to care for your dog will all change your life economically. You may have to compensate financially or rearrange your schedule to adjust to your new companion’s needs and demands for attention. Many non-expectant dog owners will likely have work related contradictions that make certain tasks such as feeding and letting them out to potty a difficult thing to manage. There are plenty of companies that appeal to the time-budgeted owner, some of which design self-replenishing dog food dispensers and others that dispense fresh water. There is also the concept of grass litter boxes which are inexpensive and easy to maintain. This type of solution is ideal for a new dog owner that is still adjusting to their new way of life.

Passing on your companion

So, what about those who plan on passing their dog to another when they themselves pass? You must always be ready to discuss inheritances like your dog with those that are willing to take on the task of watching over your faithful companion. You don’t want your dog to become a burden on someone who isn’t able to properly provide essential care or tend to the well-being of your pet. Take the time to talk to potential candidates before you make such a decision that may leave your dog and a future owner in an unwanted predicament.

You can also consider giving your dog to someone who is specifically searching for a dog. Sites such as Petfinder.com can help you find a quality future home for your pet in the case you can no longer take care of them. While it can be a little more difficult to plan out, it can provide your dog with a good home and an owner that desires the companionship instead of trying to leave your dog with an unwilling owner.

Handling an unexpected addition to your life just adds to the factors of unpredictability. It might be unexpected, but most often is not unwanted. It’s always a good idea to consult with others to ensure that you leave your faithful companion in the most caring hands. After all, you want your dog to be happy and bring that happiness to someone that wants to inherit such an invaluable friend.

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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Kids and Pets: Pre-School Children

Pre- School Children

Teach your young children the do’s and don’ts of interacting with their pet and they’ll have life-long skills that will help them be confident and loving pet owners.

  1. By no means, should children approach any stray animal.
  2. Request permission first from the owner of the pet they wish to play with.
  3. Let an unfamiliar dog smell their hand first before they start petting the animal.
  4. Warn them not to play around with a dog that is eating.
  5. Children should not take any toy, bone or other essential foods from a dog.
  6. Teach them never to tease an animal.
  7. Kids should not run or yell when a dog is approaching them.
  8. Remind them to always be gentle whenever they play and talk with their pets.
  9. Children should learn that pets are their pals.  You have to explain to your kids that giving their animals the same treatment they want to have is a good start. Animals too have feelings and can get hurt just like how humans can be hurt. Teach them not to pull the ears of their dogs or jump on their backs.  Have fun and be safe!

Any other tips?  What did I miss?

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