Buying a new puppy: what you need to know


03 November 2016

Are you actually ready for a dog?

Dogs can take up a lot of your time and energy.

If you live alone, work long hours or are scarcely at home for other reasons, then you seriously need to consider whether you should be getting a puppy at all - it's simply not fair to leave a dog alone for huge amounts of time.

However, even if you're only working a standard nine to five job, then hiring a professional dog walker can help provide companionship and exercise, which will keep your dog healthy and fit.

This brings us on to another important consideration - cost.

You need to ask yourself if you can afford the ongoing expenses such as food, veterinary bills and other essentials.

At least investing in puppy or dog insurance from Petplan will give you peace of mind, knowing they will be covered for a wide range of medical costs, whether they fall ill or have an accident.

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How do I decide on the right breed?

When deciding on breed, you need to consider a dog that is not only suited to your lifestyle, but also to your surroundings.

If you live in a small apartment, then it could be better to choose a smaller dog. Dogs need enough space to be able to thrive, and you don't want your dog to become bored, develop health issues or destroy your possessions due to a lack of living and playing space.

There are a host of other questions you also need to be asking yourself.

Do you have a young family? If so, you need to consider your children and what the best breed for them will be. Do you have time to provide your dog with the exercise they need to stop them becoming restless?

As always, consult with a local vet and do as much research as possible before committing to a new puppy.

Where should I buy my puppy?

Finding your perfect companion isn't always easy. You can either purchase a puppy from a breeder or adopt a rescue puppy.

Adopting a rescue puppy or older dog is always a rewarding experience, but if you're looking for a specific breed you may need to locate a breeder.

Ensure they are a fully registered breeder who is committed to responsible breeding and maintains the highest of standards.

Some questions you need to ask any potential breeder include:

  • How old are the puppies?
  • Did they breed the puppies?
  • Are the puppies with their mother?
  • Have the puppies or their parents had any health problems?
  • Have the puppies been dewormed?
  • Have the puppies had any vaccinations?
  • Will the breeder provide you with initial insurance cover?

What should I expect when I get my puppy home?

Bringing your new puppy home for the first time can be a nervous time for your new addition as they are taken away from the comfort of their mother and littermates.

To make the first hours at home as stress-free as possible for your puppy, here's what to do:

  • When you get home, take your new addition outdoors and let them go to the toilet. Do this before you go into the house to begin toilet training straight away and ensure the first few moments with your new dog aren't spent clearing up a puddle!
  • Let your new puppy explore and sniff their new surroundings but restrict them to one or two rooms so they don't get over-stimulated. Let them go at their own pace but be sure to keep them supervised at all times.
  • Try and keep noise to a minimum and not pass your new puppy around too much – you should be keeping things as relaxed as possible for them.
  • Bring a blanket that smells like their old home to give them some comfort and help them settle in as quickly as possible.
  • Check what your puppy has been eating with the breeder or shelter you got them from and try to keep their diet similar in the first few weeks to help avoid tummy upsets.
  • Let your puppy sleep whenever they want and, once they have nodded off, don't disturb them – puppies need a lot of sleep during their first few weeks.
  • Get your new puppy into a routine quickly by always keeping food and water bowls in the same place and ensuring you take your puppy to the ‘potty spot' outside when they need the toilet.

Not sure how to handle puppy's first night? Visit the Petplan Blog for more in-depth advice.

There will be many hurdles beyond these first few days but getting that period right will lay solid foundations for the fun times to follow with the newest member of your family.