By: Tracey Zysk – January, 2105
How many of you found an adorable cute little puppy under your tree this holiday season? If you did or are planning on adopting one for the spring, planning ahead will make puppy’s transition and yours much easier.
Here is a quick little check list
1. Do a meet-and-greet with the veterinarian you will be choosing to care for your dog. Set up an appointment, tour the hospital and ask to meet the vet. This is going to be your puppy’s “doctor” and you want to feel comfortable with him and to make sure his facility is the right fit for your dog.
2. Start interviewing a pet sitter or doggy daycare provider. Especially if you are working full time, your pup will need some special attention during the day for feeding and potty breaks. www.petsit.com has a wonderful network of pet sitters and dog walkers in your community. To be on this site the pet care provider must be insured & bonded. Doggy daycares are more for when your pup is an adolescent or teenager but look into these options. Not all dogs are meant to go to doggy daycare, your dog will have to go through an assessment before entering their specific program.
3. Research dog trainers. Your puppy may be absolutely adorable but you want him to be well behaved too. There are a few different options for training styles, from at-home training and facility training. Each dog is different so make your decision based on the dog’s personality.
Now you have your puppy home…what do you do?
4. Set up an area designated just for him. If you are crating, place the crate in a specific location and keep it there. Put nice bedding and some new toys inside. Also place a t-shirt or something with your smell on it inside the crate. This will help with puppy anxieties and help keep your pup calm while adjusting to the crate. Usually if you start a pup in a crate, he takes to this quickly and considers it “his space”.
5. Buy a collar. Measure the puppy’s neck and buy a collar appropriate to his size and growth. The sooner you put the collar on him the quicker he will become use to it. Buy a name tag and have all your contact information on it. When your dog is old enough, have your vet microchip him and when all puppy shots are complete, register your dog with your town. As for a leash NO retractable, they are very dangerous, I recommend a basic flat nylon or leather leash.
6. Measure the food appropriate to his weight. More importantly, buy quality food for your dog. Try to stay away from generic brands or products filled with meat by product. www.foodadvisory.com is a great resource to help you decided which food is best for your pup.
7. Play time and exercise. Your pup will be growing and have tons of energy. Designate a time to walk your dog a couple of times a day. If you have a back yard, have an area fenced in for your dog to run around. Get out there with your pup and play. Toys, balls, treats, run around and have fun. It will be beneficial for both of you.
8. Most importantly LOVE him. You chose to bring this little fur ball of life into your home. He isn’t temporary, he isn’t something your kids will outgrow, this is a lifelong commitment you made. Animals provide the most unbelievable unconditional love. Enjoy and embrace every minute you have with your pup.
Tracey Zysk, owner of Wiggles & Jiggles Pet Care in North Andover MA is a local pet care professional. She has been featured on local radio, tv and newspapers educating the general public on animal care and animal health & wellness. Tracey is a proud supporter of Police, Fire & Military K9 units and National Award winner of the Platinum PAW award. Tracey may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org. Become a fan on facebook at Wiggles & Jiggles Pet Care