Tips to Prepare for Puppy Season



By: Tracey Zysk – April 2013

Puppy season, puppy season, puppy season – everyone loves puppy season! How can you not? These cute, adorable, fluff balls that snuggle up with you, are just so precious.

But there is a lot more to being an owner to one of these cuties. That’s something we all have to remember. As innocent as they are at 12 weeks old, they do eventually grow into toddlers, teens and adults. As an owner, this is something to remember when bringing a pet into your home.

People call me all the time telling me they are thinking about getting a puppy and then ask what breed I recommend. I always say the same thing.

1. Think of your family’s lifestyle and the time you have to dedicate to your dog. Of course, I always remind my clients I am PRO rescue and to consider that as an option. Different breeds have different temperaments, grow to different sizes and some have different dietary requirements. Do your research and decide what breed is the best fit for your family.

2. Before you take that cute “puppy in the window” home, take a good long look at your finances. Dogs are not cheap … visits to the vets, going to the groomers, hiring a pet care provider, dog trainer, and your every day expenses of food, toys and treats can become quite costly. Don’t let emotion get the best of you, a pet is not an impulse item; it is a lifelong commitment.

3. Once you have that pooch, the first thing to do is make an appointment with your local veterinarian. Take the time to have a puppy consultation. Building a personal relationship with a vet is very important. This will be your puppy’s doctor for the course of his life. The vet will invite you in to discuss a health and wellness plan for your dog and start him on all the required vaccinations needed.

4. Don’t forget to ask your vet to microchip your dog. As puppies grow they do like to explore and chances are AT LEAST once he will sneak away from your home. It happens all the time, it is their nature to take a stroll around your neighborhood to build their sense of independence. No, it doesn’t mean you are a bad puppy parent. It just means you need to be prepared by having a microchip that contains all your contact information. Also, please register your dog with your town and obtain a town license.

5. Grooming is personal hygiene for your dog. Dogs need to have baths, toe nail trims and their teeth brushed too. The sooner you can start a dog with a groomer the easier it will be for your puppy to get use to water, tubs and dryers. You can start a dog as soon as 12 weeks old for his first groom. Besides, who wants a stinky dog?

6. Training is a must! Unless you want your dog to rule your house. NO no no … do you want to wake up every morning to all your shoes eaten or bathroom accidents all over your home? Probably not. There are several reputable trainers and training programs available. Whether you want to go to a training facility or have a trainer come to your home, please start puppy school as soon as you get your loved one. Believe me, a trained dog is a happy dog … and you will be a VERY happy pet owner.

7. Pet sitting and dog walking is also something to consider. As you leave for your eight-to-10 hour work day, who is going to check on your dog? There is no possible way that a 16-week old puppy can go that long without a puppy break. Also, leaving a dog alone for long periods of time creates anxiety and behavior issues. Hire a dog walker to come in midday to check on your pooch and to take him for a walk. This will help your dog learn to trust other people, create an exercise routine, and to keep your home from being destroyed by a lonely and bored puppy. When looking for a pet sitter please make sure they are insured and bonded and have taken a pet CPR and first aid class.

You are trusting this person to take care of your new baby and you want to make sure they know what to do in case of an emergency.

Now … go to your local rescue or reputable breeder and pick out the pooch that will be the new love of your life. And … ENJOY PUPPY SEASON!!

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. Tracey may be reached at Become a fan on facebook at Wiggles & Jiggles Pet Care.