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A Pup for Christmas! Now What?

Pet lovers know the unique bond that exists between human and pet – so it’s no surprise that people want to share the opportunity for this with their loved ones by giving a loved one a pup for Christmas.  As they say, “What possibly could go wrong?” 

The answer is a great deal.  The pup brings a 15-20 year commitment of care, cost and concern.  The new owner may not be ready to make the commitment to any of these “go with” obligations.  If you have suddenly been connected to a canine here is a guide to getting started – a kind of “after the wedding” guide for the new pet gift recipients.

A health checkup and immunization plan is the first order of business.  Find a good vet.  It’s worth some time and research to find a local, competent, vet since they are an important part of your pet’s life.  On your first visit establish a immunization schedule. Pups require vaccinations beginning at 6 to 8 weeks old. This is a good time to have a stool sample checked for worms and deworm if necessary.  Puppies can become infected even before they are born.

Spaying and neutering are important for your dog’s life.  If your pup has not already had this short operation don’t delay once your pet is 4 months old.  Your pet will live a longer, healthier and happier life

Flea control – Fleas make your dog uncomfortable, and can become a nuisance through your home. New medications are available to repel fleas.  The sooner you get on top of this issue the less likely you’ll be to have larger problems later.

Heartworm prevention – Easily preventable, heartworms are often fatal to dogsTransmitted by mosquitos dogs can be infected at any time in the year, so it is best to follow guidelines which suggest yearly testing and monthly preventive treatment.

Dog food is not all equal. – While it is rarely headline news, there are many dog food recalls, and the qualify of dog food varies.  Dogs are best fed three times a day with a quality food.  It’s worth a bit of time to research the best food for your dog based on age, weight and breed. Every dog owner should bookmark https://www.dogfoodadvisor.com/ and use it as a guide.

Early training reaps benefits. There are three areas of training that will help your pet get along.   Crate training is likely the best and fastest way to house train your pet. It offers a place of security and comfort.  Provide frequent opportunities for bathroom breaks and exercise outdoors.  Starting at 8 weeks, create fun, short training sessions for your pup on “sit,” “stay,” and “down.”  Reward learning with treats.  

Meet and Greet Moments make for a social pup.  Spend time with your pup and encourage others to do so as well.  Meeting many different people and other pets help them build confidence and security in relationships.

Exercise and play time – Last, but not least, dogs require exercise and activity for both their physical and emotional wellbeing.   The new pet owner has a responsibility for regular exercise.  Dogs failing to get enough activity and time outdoors will not thrive and may engage in destructive or aggressive behaviors. Pet strollers can provide outdoor experiences for new pets, and dog walking services are a backstop for the owner unable to provide adequate exercise.  Open play doggie day care centers can provide socialization and exercise as well.

The bow on the top of the furry ears is gone while years of loving relationship lie ahead. Be a good human and care for your new pet.


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