If the thought of puppy breath makes you weak in the knees, then I have the perfect holiday for you – National Puppy Day!
Yes, you read that right. There’s a whole day – March 23rd, to be exact – set aside to celebrate those adorable little bundles of four-legged joy.
I’m a sucker for puppies. So much so that my husband and I adopted three of our dogs between the ages of 8 and 16 weeks old. But I’m also the first to admit that, as cute as they are, they are a lot of work!
That’s why it’s so important to make sure you’re ready before you add a puppy to your family. Before you take that first whiff of puppy breath, here are a few things to think about.
Ask Yourself Why You Want a Puppy
Sometimes, people get swept up in the “cute factor” of a puppy. Or the kids have been begging for one for months. Or they see someone selling puppies outside a retail store. Bringing home a puppy on impulse can be a recipe for disaster! Instead, set everyone up for success by taking some time to examine your home situation, lifestyle, and the reasons why you want a puppy in the first place.
Review Your Budget
Did you know that, according the ASPCA, the first-year cost of having a dog can range from $700 to $2,000? And that’s just for necessities like food, treats, leashes, bowls and crates. Add in dog walking, grooming, pet sitting, boarding and training, and the cost goes even higher!
Make sure your budget can accommodate a little extra each month for recurring pet expenses. Also, look into purchasing a pet insurance plan from a company like Petplan. Locking in a premium when your pup is young and healthy can save you a good deal of money down the road.
How Much Time Do You Have?
Here’s the good and bad news: puppies don’t stay puppies forever. All too soon, they’re replaced by a (hopefully) wonderful, well-behaved, well-adjusted dog.
It doesn’t happen by magic, though. Just like with a human child, it’s up to us to teach our puppies, well – everything! You will ultimately get back from your adult dog whatever you invest into him – emotionally, physically and mentally – as a puppy. So take an honest look and ask yourself if you have the time and resources to devote to housebreaking, training, socializing, and caring for your new little friend.
Do Your Research
Once you’ve decided that a puppy is right for you, it’s time to figure out the type of puppy that would be the best fit for your lifestyle. What type of personality do you have? What’s your activity level? How busy is your household? What kinds of things you like to do? After you’ve answered these questions, do some research on different breeds or breed mixes that might fit the bill. For example, if you’re a runner or interested in dog sports, a high-energy collie or terrier mix might be a good choice. If you prefer to chill on the couch, look for a companion breed or mix instead.
Adopt, Don’t Shop
Many people still think that only adult dogs end up in the shelter. But sadly, that’s not true. Unwanted and unplanned litters of perfectly happy, healthy puppies are surrendered every day. Even purebred pups often make their way into shelters and breed-specific rescues.
Adopting your puppy from a shelter or rescue not only saves a life, it’s quite a bargain. For an average adoption fee of $25 – $300, you’ll likely be getting a puppy that’s spayed/neutered, fully vetted, vaccinated and even microchipped. This can save you hundreds of dollars over buying from a breeder or even getting a “free” puppy and having to do it all yourself.
Have you ever adopted a puppy? What tips would you give for first-time puppy parents? Share in the comments below.