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Getting A Puppy - Everything You Need To Know

After marriage, moving house and having children, it is strongly suggested that getting a puppy is the single most significant responsibility you can take on. This is often because the romantic image of having a new and lovingly devoted best friend often overrides the multitude of other considerations that need to be made before you or your home is ready for this newest addition, espeically if said addition is a little puppy or - equally important - an older dog from a sanctuary who has a story all of its own. We'll get to the latter in a future post, but for now we're looking at the epic responsibility of getting a puppy.

getting a puppy

How Much Does a Dog Cost?

For the last few weeks, I've been going through dog breed information listings for Hoobynoo and each time I see the price of a new puppy (Kennel Club registered or not) I always find myself double-checking to see if I read the numbers correctly. Dogs are expensive and unless you're adopting them - which can also involve adoption fees - you're looking at anything from £500 to £5000 for your new pet.
There are also other costs, not so much hidden but easily described as that because they're so often overlooked: a dog lead and collar, food (which can be almost prohibitively expensive if you're determined to do everything right when it comes to nutrition) and even a kennel if your little friend is going to spend any length of time outdoors in the summer.

Path of Destruction

I once walked into a friends house and didn't recognise the place. I'd been there only a year before but now all the skirting boards were rotted away, the wallpaper was torn and most of the furniture looked damaged. They'd got themselves ONE new puppy. Evidently, they'd decided not to get new stuff for the house until their latest addition had grown a bit but I'm guessing that was a steep learning curve. To this end, I would definitely have any spare money put aside for the potential of replacing damaged property.

Vet Bills

The one thing few dog owners manage to prepare themselves for are the occasionally astronomical vetinary bills: these can include routine procedures like vaccinations, flea treatments and worming solutions right the way through to - heaven forbid - operations needed as a result of dog attacks or other unforeseen sicknesses and ailments. Vet bills are never cheap and I know of very few appointments that have ever cost me less than £40, even in the case of a very brief check up. 

A Savings Account and Pet Insurance

The two indespensible tips for getting a new dog are also arguably the most obvious: establishing a savings account for emergencies and getting your pet a good insurance policy. The one often goes in hand with the other as many policies require an excess fee to be covered before any substantial payout is instructed.

The Essential Tasks and Items

We've spoken about some of the essential items, but it's time to go into some more detail about items AND tasks that need to be completed even before your puppy arrives.

1. A collar and leash or lead sounds like an obvious necessity for your puppy, but the need for a collar really cannot be understated. The Law in regards to the legal requirements for Dog Tags in the UK is now very clear: every dog while in a public place should wear a collar with the name and address of the owner inscribed on the collar or on a plate or badge attached to it. Our up to date page on the UK Dog Law 2019 can be found here.

2. Choosing a vet and making sure that it's the right vet for your puppy is a real prerequisite to dog ownership. Remember that the vet you select is likely to be with you right the way through your dog's life from beginning to end and it must be an individual or a firm that you feel really cares about your dog. Other things to take into consideration are the proximity of the surgery to your home and how well organised it is in terms of making your pet feel less anxious or more at ease while waiting for a consultation.

3. Proofing your house. It is unfortunately true that you have to take the same level of precautionary care with preparing your house for a puppy as you would if you were doing the same for a child. This can include putting child locks on the cupboards, covering all the electrical chords and making sure things like medicines or dangerous food items are all on high shelves and/or locked away.

4. Halti and Other Anti-Pulling Equipment. When your puppy is eventually ready to go for his or her first walk, they're going to be filled with the sort of excitement that just can't be contained and to that end they're also going to pull. A lot. Constantly. While a good lead will ensure that your puppy stays with you, it might also ensure that you get your arm yanked from the socket! To stop this happening, it's worth investing in a good halti or some other dog-friendly pulling aids that don't hurt your puppy but protect you from injury. To find out more about them, click here.

5. The Dog Bed. Never buy a bed just big enough for your puppy: buy one that can grow into and one that feels like home. Admittedly, a large dog bed can be quite intimidating for a young puppy so aim for a medium sized bed that you're not going to have to change for a year or so. Go for one with a soft interior and remember that your puppy is going to want to be close to you in the evenings for a long time so ensure that you get a bed you actually like looking at yourself! For a good guide, click here.

6. Puppy Gate. Like a child gate (it's the same thing) a puppy gate prevents your puppy from falling downstairs, going upstairs (if it's a small/toy dog stairs can damage their spines at a certain age) or even screening them off from rooms in which they could get themselves into trouble. These gates need to be sturdy and yet easy to open when you're moving between rooms yourself. A good selection can be found here.

7. Grooming equipment. Depending on the type of dog you're getting, grooming equipment is either important or absolutely essential (unless you're thinking of using a professional dog groomer in order to keep your puppy in good condition). A really good selection of dog brushes and nail trimming utensils can be found by clicking here.

8. Outdoor kennels. There may be times when your dog has to spend a few hours outdoors and therefore requires a kennel: these need to be comfortable places for your dog to shelter from the sun (in Spring/Summer) or the rain (in Autumn/Winter) and should be considered very carefully. Remember that even a small amount of time outdoors alone may be distressing for your dog, as it may be seen initially as a form of punishment: the better the kennel, the lighter the experience for your puppy. A good selection can be found here.

9. Shampoo. Arguably, nothing smells worse than a wet dog....unless it's a wet dog that hasn't been shampooed by its owner! Dog bathtime - like children's bathtimes - can be either stressful or fun for your puppy. If you make it fun, you'll never have to worry about telling your dog that it's time for a bath! Dogs like feeling clean and smelling fresh: they also like all the fuss with the towl afterwards! You can get puppy shampoo from pet shops or in most supermarkets.

10. Toys. These are absolutely essential for your puppy's development process, not to mention the fact that they're loads of fun. Aside from rubber bones and squeaky chew-toys, there are also lots of other treat toys like kongs (where you place a piece of food inside and the dog chews at the toy endlessly to get one delicious piece after another). To see some, click here.

Don't Give Up - It's STILL a Great Idea

Here at Hoobynoo we literally eat, sleep and breathe puppies and kittens and we're certainly not trying to put you off changing both your life and the life of your new little beauty in the most rewarding way imaginable: we just want you to be adequately prepared for the great adventure that is dog ownership.

getting a puppy

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