March 23rd is national puppy day, and this couldn’t be more fitting this year. Dr. Hartman recently got a new springer spaniel puppy named Afton!
Puppies bring a lot of joy to the family, but are also work as well! A puppy should never be a spur of the moment decision, breeds and breeders should be researched, and lifestyle should be evaluated before bringing home a new pet. Different breeds have different energy levels, grooming requirements, and personalities. Care should be used to avoid adopting from a puppy mill and rescues should be considered. Many states also keep records of breeding facilities that they inspect.
Puppies usually can only hold their bladder for about 1-2 hours when they first come home. It gradually increases as they get bigger (a rule of thumb is 1 hour per month of age), but some dogs are not able to go 8 hours until adulthood! It is important to consider your lifestyle and schedule for this reason.
Puppies also require frequent visits to the vet in the first year for a number of reasons including to get booster vaccines, check weights, to make sure they are growing appropriately, and to be spayed or neutered. Adopting from a shelter may alter some of these visits, but there is still more upkeep for puppies than for adult pets.
Puppies also should be well socialized. Puppy classes are recommended for all dogs, even if you’ve been through a class with a previous dog. It is a good interaction for the dogs to meet other dogs and people, and it’s always good to use the latest, proven training methods such as positive reinforcement. Outside of class, puppies need to be introduced to a variety of things-car rides, people of various ages and appearances, stores, other dogs, water, grooming, etc. A rule of thumb is to introduce the puppy to something new every day! One option for puppy classes is held right here at Heritage Animal Hospital by Julie Humiston of Puppy Love Dog Training.
Lastly, puppies tend to chew and bite a lot. This is a normal behavior, but must be trained to be appropriate. Teaching the puppy what is acceptable to chew on, which toys are theirs, and how not to bite/nip at humans is your responsibility. In the meantime, the house must be “puppy proofed”, removing items that are potentially dangerous to the pet if they chew on them such as electric cords, toxic plants, and potential foreign objects that could be ingested and cause an obstruction.
Despite a few inevitable relatively sleepless nights, a few accidents in the house, and maybe even a shoe or two being destroyed, puppies are a source of unconditional love and are a great joy. If you have questions prior to adopting a puppy, please contact us, we are happy to help!