March 23rd is International Puppy Day! It’s a day not only to celebrate all the wonderful ways puppies bring joy to our lives, but a day to encourage adoption. Because really, is there any better love than puppy love?
But before you bring a puppy into your heart and home, however, there are some important points to consider. Giving some thought to making your home safe, as well as making sure you are prepared to care for a puppy, are just what you need to get off on the right foot. Doing things right, right from the start, sets everyone up for success – and happiness!
Preparing for adoption
When thinking about adopting a new puppy, consider the following to be best prepared:
- Sitting down with everyone in your home to determine who will be responsible for care such as feeding and walking, cleaning up, and training. Create a schedule so everyone knows when feeding times and walks should happen daily.
- Outlining some basic rules concerning the new pup, so everyone is on the same page about what is expected.
- Picking up essentials such as food and water dishes, leash, collar and/or harness, crate, and some toys. Once you get to know your new puppy and learn about their preferences, you can add to and refine your puppy’s belongings.
There are many household items that can pose a threat to your excited new puppy. Puppies are naturally inquisitive, so exploring their new home will be a top priority. As puppies explore their world with their mouths, they are inclined to chew on just about anything. They are also predisposed to the ‘zoomies’— times when they run madly around the house or yard with little regard for anything in their path. Thoroughly puppy-proofing your home will make the transition easier for everyone. Here are some helpful tips:
- Put away anything at puppy-level that you don’t want to be rummaged through or chewed up, i.e. shoes by the door, toys, gloves, etc. Be thorough – you never know what may look like a good chew to a puppy!
- Remove breakable items that could get knocked over, such as vases on tables. Secure any furniture that may fall over when run into, such as bookshelves. Conceal or tape down any electrical cords that may pique a puppy’s desire to chew.
- Secure any cupboards or closets that contain harmful-to-puppy materials, such as garbage, cleaning supplies, craft supplies, and even food. Many substances can make a puppy sick, cause them to choke, and even be toxic. Make sure closet and cupboard doors close securely and are not easily opened by a curious nose or paw. Consider investing in child-proof latches.
- Check the outside of your property for potential dangers. Ensure that there are no weak spots in fencing that a puppy could escape from. Block access to sheds or garages that may contain harmful substances like antifreeze or pesticides, and make sure those items are placed high out of reach. Be aware of the wildlife in your area to know what may pose a threat and supervise your puppy while outdoors accordingly.
Routine visits to the veterinarian are part of responsible pet ownership. When thinking about adoption, learn about what type of visits will be needed and when, and the costs associated. With health care awareness, you will be better equipped to fully care for a new puppy.
A veterinarian will be able to provide advice on:
- Vaccination schedules, to provide the best defense against diseases and comply with local laws
- Preventive care, to identify issues early on and ensure your puppy remains happy and healthy
- Diet and feeding, so your puppy receives optimal nutrition
- Training, often able to recommend resources in your area if needed, so you can teach your puppy proper behaviour and obedience.
Bringing a puppy into your heart and home should be a joyous occasion. While this is not an exhaustive list of things to do in preparation, a little forethought will help to get things off on the right foot – or paw!