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Find out more about your dogs
Choosing a puppy as an addition to the family is one of life's absolute joys. But that little fluffy bundle also brings major responsibility. With some thoughtful preparation and well laid out planning, you can give your dog a great head start to life, and ensure yours is filled with more fun than frustration.
Before you bring a puppy into your home, you and your family not only gain a new friend, but take on many responsibilities. The first questions you should ask yourself are:
Throughout their life dogs need food, grooming and healthcare.
The Ontario Veterinary Medical Association published in 2012 the average yearly cost of pet ownership. Click here for more details.
It takes a lot of time to properly feed, train, walk, play with and care for a new puppy.
This is particularly important if you are considering a larger breed that needs a lot of outdoor space.
Legal obligations such as:
Health obligations such as:
But more than anything, you are taking over the role of your puppy's mother, the maternal role of care giver and teacher. This means providing your new puppy a stable home, where he or she feels comfortable, safe and happy.
A new puppy is going to become part your family for many years. So you need to think about which kind of dog you will be able to live with – and can live with you.
Some of the things you need to consider are:
If you have kids, or are planning on human additions to the clan, the size and personality of your dog are very important considerations. A large dog can be intimidating for young children. Dogs can also get jealous - it's often easier to introduce a puppy to a family with children, than to introduce a baby to a family with a dog.
So you thought cats were curious? Wait until you see a puppy in action. They love to explore every corner of your house, and put everything in their mouths. Here are a few tips for preparing your home for your mini adventurer:
Place all household cleaners, insecticides, fertilizers, insect poisons, rat poisons and other items in cabinets or on high shelves.
Some plants in and around your house can be harmful or even fatal to your pup. Learn about foods that are harmful to dogs or consult your veterinarian to find out which plants are harmful to dogs.
Get down on the ground and look for any dangling electric cords, loose nails, plastic bags or other objects that will be in puppy's reach. Unplug, remove or cover any electrical cords in your puppy's confinement area. And cover electrical outlets when you are not using them.
Puppies like toilet bowl water and toilet cleaner could harm them if swallowed.
Keep pup off balconies, upper levels and high decks where they could slip through openings and fall.
Keep buttons, string, sewing needles, pins and other sharp objects out of reach.
Now you've hidden all the potential harmful things around your home, it's time to deck out the place with puppy essentials including:
You should go for a cushion style bed with a water-proof, removable and machine washable cover. Don't get anything too fancy. Remember, puppies have bathroom accidents, upset tummies, love to chew and get food everywhere, so make it easy on yourself. Once teething stage is over you can upgrade to something a little more posh.
Kennels are like a dog's cave, a safe zone, a place where they can comfortably sleep, eat and rest. They can also help with housebreaking your puppy. You'll want a good quality one so that if your dog is ever outside during a storm they are safe and dry.
Soft, cute, cuddly stuffed toys sound cute in theory, but resist the temptation, because those poor creatures will cost you a fortune to replace once teething begins. Plus, the swallowed fabric can cause intestinal problems.
You are better going for hard rubber chewing toys that can stand up to gnawing sharp puppy teeth. And because many of them are hollow, you can put a treat inside. Then of course there are old favourites such as balls and stick-shaped toys that never fail to entertain.
Plastic dog bowls are less expensive, but they develop tiny scratches that can house bacteria, cause infections and trigger puppy acne. So you are better off buying stainless steel or ceramic bowls.
If your puppy is a small dog breed, a large bowl is fine for water. But if they are going to sprout into a large or giant dog, you could consider something bigger that constantly fills.
A high-quality puppy food is essential for your dog's health, development and growth. Learn all about what, when and how much to feed your dog in our diet and nutrition section
To download a fact sheet about preparing for a puppy, click here.