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You’ve decided you want to adopt a puppy but aren’t quite sure if its a good idea for your lifestyle or you’re not sure exactly how to prepare.
As a new puppy parent, I decided to put together this helpful guide that will help you determine if adopting a puppy is a good fit for you and it’ll help you make the adoption process go as smoothly as possible.
Let’s get started.
Research Breeds that are a Good Fit for Your Lifestyle
All puppies are not the same.
Every breed has its own set of separate quirks you have to take into account. Certain breeds should be avoided if you’re a first-time owner as they may require more time, more patience, and specialized training.
Before adopting a puppy it’s important that you spend some time researching different breeds to see which breed is going to be the best fit for your lifestyle.
Additionally, it’s also recommended that you steer clear of trendy dog breeds.
Questions to Ask Yourself Before Deciding on a Dog Breed
Before deciding on a certain dog breed, you should ask yourself a number of questions. Your answers will determine what the best breed is going to be for you.
For the purposes of this section, we’re going to focus on good dog breeds for first-time owners.
How Much Time Do You Have to Train Your Puppy?
If you’re hard-pressed for time, you need to think about a puppy that responds to training quickly and is able to be content for long periods alone.
Although a Labrador retriever can act out when left alone for too long, these are some of the easiest dog breeds to train. They always respond well to positive reinforcement. Other good dog breeds that don’t require extensive amounts of attention include husky dogs, English bulldogs, and poodles.
What is Your Noise Tolerance for Barking?
Some dogs are just louder than others. If you live in an area where noise tolerance is low, such as in an apartment building, you may need to select your dog breed based on this. Thankfully, even puppies can be relatively quiet.
The bulldog, both the English and French varieties, is one type of breed known for its calm and quiet demeanor. A similar option could include the Bernese mountain dog. These dogs typically only bark when there’s a situation they’ve been trained to bark at.
Finally, the basenji is the ultimate barkless dog. This is Africa’s barkless dog and makes a sound somewhere between a yodel and a chortle.
How Do You Feel About Shedding?
Shedding can be something owners want to avoid because either they have lots of soft furnishings at home or they’re allergic to hair. But just because you’re allergic to dog hair doesn’t mean that you can’t have a dog.
The Tibetan Terrier is a breed of dog that proves that a hypoallergenic breed doesn’t have to be hairless. Another type of dog you might want to consider is the Bichon Frise. This dog is known as the French lapdog and never sheds its hair. It does, however, require you to clip its hair every so often.
How Active Would You Like to Be with Your Dog?
Again, this is an essential part of owning a puppy. If you don’t have the time to exercise with your puppy, the last thing you want to do is adopt a puppy that requires a lot of exercise.
A dog like the Labrador Retriever does respond well to training, but it’s an active breed and puppies can act out if you don’t give them the time they need.
Some popular low energy breeds include the bulldog, bull mastiff, Cavalier King Charles spaniel, and the basset hound.
In our case, we opted to go with a beagle. They typically don’t like being alone, are very affectionate, love to exercise, are playful, and tend to do a lot of howling.
However, being that I am a very active runner, work from home full time, and have three very active boys, beagles are a perfect match for our already very active lifestyle.
Research Different Pet Insurance Plans
Veterinarian bills can run into thousands of dollars. This can leave families with a heartbreaking decision to accept a lower quality treatment or, worse of all, not being able to afford the procedure at all.
This is where pet insurance comes into play. Pet insurance can cover up to 90% of the total bill and depending on the company the deductible can be as low as $100.
What’s the Difference Between Pet Insurance and Pet Wellness Plans?
For first-time owners, it’s easy to get confused between pet insurance and pet wellness plans. They may sound like two different names for the same thing, but that couldn’t be further from the truth.
Pet insurance is designed for the big-ticket trips to the vet, such as when your puppy sustains an injury, contracts a serious disease, or develops a significant medical condition.
Pet wellness plans will cover planned costs, such as vaccinations and neutering. Many families have purchased pet wellness plans only to discover that when their puppy needs surgery their plan doesn’t cover it.
Recommended Pet Insurance Plans
I spent numerous hours deciding on a pet insurance plan for our puppy Hoss. I researched on Reddit, Facebook, pet blogs, and anywhere else I could find personal feedback from other dog owners about pet insurance plans.
The majority of the options I came across that turned out to be legit required you to pay for the bill first and then file a claim. After hours of research, I was able to narrow down my choices to Nationwide and Pets Best.
Both of these pet insurance plans have built up a solid reputation and have an add on for wellness care to be included.
However, ultimately, I decided to go with Pets Best as their plan appears to provide the best bang for the buck and there’s no delay with the start date of wellness care coverage (3 days for illnesses and 14 days for accident coverage to go into effect though).
Research Local Vets
The obvious options for vets when it comes to first-time puppy owners are Banfield and Petco. These are major brands offering veterinary services, however, at least in my experience, due to COVID-19 it can be hard to get a quick appointment as a new customer.
Originally, I was going to go through them for Hoss’s wellness checkup, but they were only accepting appointments 2 weeks out. However, I’m kind of glad it worked out like this though, as it forced me to research other local vets.
While Banfield and Petco are both great veterinarian providers, they may not offer the same personalized experience for your puppy. The best vets know you and your puppy, thus they can offer superior treatments.
By opting for a local, private vet, you have a better chance of getting a last-minute appointment and building a relationship with your vet.
Research Food Brands
A growing puppy needs the right vitamins and minerals to ensure they stay healthy. You should research different food brands to ensure your puppy is getting what they need. Investing a little extra in their food will give them everything they need to grow through the puppy stage without any problems.
Blue Diamond is our recommended puppy food for a few reasons:
- It contains an optimal balance of omega 3/6 fatty acids. This will give them both healthy skin and a shiny coat.
- It supports your puppy’s growth with the right mix of essential vitamins and minerals.
- It ensures your puppy has a strong immune system with the combination of beneficial antioxidants found in the food.
Stock Up on Puppy Essentials Beforehand
Puppies require a lot of care. Before you get your puppy, you should make sure you have all the necessary essentials beforehand.
If you want to wait until your puppy adoption day to get personalized items, consider purchasing a puppy starter kit, at first. These starter kits will contain practically everything you need to tend to your puppy’s needs.
Puppy Essentials to Have Before Your Puppy Arrives Home
To make sure your puppy has everything it needs, here’s a checklist for you to follow:
- Food (we recommend Blue Diamond).
- A high-quality collar, and with some breeds, you may want to consider a harness.
- A puppy bed.
- Puppy pads.
- Treats for training your puppy.
Of course, you may have to try out different brands to find one which ones your puppy likes. Some puppies may not like their bed, for example, and may prefer something else. They may respond better to specific types of treats, for instance.
Be prepared to experiment with different brands.
Puppy Proof Your Home
Puppy proofing your home means protecting your puppy from its own curiosity. An inquisitive puppy may end up inadvertently injuring itself because it wants to explore.
Here are some tips for puppy-proofing your home:
Trash – Puppies with growing teeth may bite into bags and spread your trash everywhere. This is a particular problem when your puppy is left alone and it gets bored. If possible, use a trashcan that has a lid. Additionally, make sure the trash is emptied completed each day.
Cover All Cords – Wires and cords act as the perfect temptation for puppies to start chewing. When they start chewing they could electrocute you, themselves, or destroy the wiring in your home.
Beware of House Plants – House plants that are completely innocuous to us can be poisonous to the puppies. Their systems are different and something that may make a human sick could kill a puppy. Do some research on your plants before you allow your puppy into your home.
Give them the Right Amount of Space – You want a puppy to have enough space to roam. But at the same time, you want to set limits. Make sure you map out their living space and put up puppy gates to ensure they don’t creep into areas they shouldn’t be in.
Make Sure a Puppy Adoption Makes Sense For You Financially
It is one of the best feelings to become a fur parent. However, puppies aren’t cheap.
When they are young especially, it’s common to spend a couple of hundred per month on them, assuming that they don’t become sick or have an accident (then it turns into thousands).
Even if no surprises pop up you have to think about whether you can afford to commit to a pet insurance/wellness plan (approximately $50 per month) and food and treats (approximately $100 per month), which means with just their basic necessities you’re already spending approximately $150 per month without adding in any amenities such as toys, grooming visits, dark park fees, etc.
Of course, it’s impossible to see the future, but you should be reasonably certain that your puppy isn’t going to suffer because you can’t give them what they need.
Give some serious thought to your financial situation so you can give the new member of your family the best.
Closing Thoughts: You’re Now Ready For Puppy Adoption Day
A puppy requires serious work and you must put serious thought into what your puppy needs and whether you can give them that.
Hopefully, this guide has helped you determine whether a puppy adoption is a good idea for you right now, and if so, it has helped you prepare for your adoption day.
Even though it’s a lot of effort to keep your puppy healthy and strong, it’s one of the most rewarding feelings in the world.
Any additional tips for preparing for a puppy adoption? For puppy cuteness make sure to follow @HossTheBeagle