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Preparing for a Puppy

Preparing for a Puppy

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.

Questions to ask yourself

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:

Can I afford a dog?

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.

Do I have time to look after a dog?

It takes a lot of time to properly feed, train, walk, play with and care for a new puppy.

Is my home suitable for a dog?

This is particularly important if you are considering a larger breed that needs a lot of outdoor space.

Other things you need to take into account

Legal obligations such as:

  • taking care of any damage or problems the puppy may cause
  • making sure the puppy doesn't hurt anyone or disturb people living around you
  • keeping private places and public walkways clean.

Health obligations such as:

  • keeping your puppy healthy and safe: This includes any suitable foods, water, shelter in a safe environment, preventative treatments against certain parasites and infectious diseases and any other necessary veterinary care.
  • Keeping your puppy healthy is also necessary for the health of your children, family, and other people who come into contact with the puppy.

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.

Which Breed?

Choosing the right breed of dog

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:

  • size
  • personality
  • physical characteristics
  • exercise needs
  • amounts of hair they shed
  • allergies they get
  • whether they live indoors or outside
  • whether you want a playful, protective or gentle friend
  • were you live and the size of your backyard (if any)
  • if you are planning a human family
  • how often you're away.
  • Your other children

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.

Preparing The Home

Puppy proofing your home

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:

Keep poisonous items out of reach

Place all household cleaners, insecticides, fertilizers, insect poisons, rat poisons and other items in cabinets or on high shelves.

Check your plants

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.

Remove dangerous objects

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.

Put the toilet lid down

Puppies like toilet bowl water and toilet cleaner could harm them if swallowed.

Beware of long drops

Keep pup off balconies, upper levels and high decks where they could slip through openings and fall.

Hide sharp objects

Keep buttons, string, sewing needles, pins and other sharp objects out of reach.

Puppy equipment

Now you've hidden all the potential harmful things around your home, it's time to deck out the place with puppy essentials including:

A bed

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.

A dog kennel

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.

Chewing toys

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.

Food and water bowl

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.

Puppy Food

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

Additional Information

To download a fact sheet about preparing for a puppy, click here.

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