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Introducing a new kitten to a home

Selecting a new puppy

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When is it time?

 
 
 
 

Making the decision to purchase a puppy is a 10-15 year commitment to that pet, not a decision to be taken lightly. Dogs make wonderful companions and add much joy to your life, however they require a great deal of patience and hard work to ensure that they integrate into the family and become healthy, well behaved adult pets. There are several steps to consider.

 

Choosing the right breed

 

Some of you may already know which breed you would like but remember that your current circumstances may not allow for that breed. For instance you may want a large breed dog but live in a townhouse which makes that breed unsuitable. When considering the breed of puppy, take the following into consideration:

- Size of property
- Available time with the puppy ie some dogs require daily grooming and brushing
- Lifestyle ie active or sedentary
- Baby/Young Children (or children planned in the foreseeable future)
- Costs of care ie some dogs require regular grooming or the breed may have a higher rate of certain health issues (check with your vet)
- Other existing pets ie cats or other dogs

There are over 400 breeds of dogs to choose from so it is worth it to do some research before making a final selection. This ensures that you choose the right dog for your family. The internet is a great place to do this, as there are many sites which are dedicated to specific breeds. As part of your research you could chat to people who already own the breed of dog you are looking for – try a local park if you are looking for owners of specific breeds to quiz. Your vet is an excellent source of information – they will be able to advise you on specific inherit conditions pertaining to certain breeds. They will also be able to give you advice on what health screening tests should have been carried out by the breeder. The breed clubs are also a good for additional information on the breed and can also guide you where to find a reputable breeder.

All puppies are going to need regular vaccinations, spaying/neutering at six months (unless you plan to breed or show with your puppy), tick and flea control, deworming, a good quality diet eg Eukanuba, Hills, Royal Canin or Vtes Choice. Budgeting for this is essential on a monthly basis. To protect against unexpected medical expenses it is a good idea to look at paying monthly medical insurance for your new pup – we recommend Medipet (www.medipetsa.co.za).

If you are considering two puppies it is advisable not to get two puppies together. Two pups together are double trouble, additionally the pups bond extremely closely together, instead of bonding with their human owners. The ideal would be to purchase one puppy and when that puppy is six months old, housetrained and obedient, to bring in the second puppy. Your first puppy will help you with training the second puppy ie the new puppy will see the older dog going outside to do his/her business and follow the example thus ensuring faster housetraining. Sometimes it is necessary to purchase two pups together – this would be in circumstances where you work long hours and the puppy is going to be left on its own – in this situation it may be kinder to the puppy to provide it with a companion. However, it will take a greater effort on your part to effectively train both puppies.

 

Where to get the puppy from

 

Breeders
Where ever possible a reputable breeder should be selected. Your vet , the breed specific club or the Kennel union of South Africa should be able to guide you as to whom to approach. The ideal would be to view the dam (mother) and sire (father) with the litter. This allows you to assess the temperament of the parents of your prospective puppy. The breeder should be able to show you results of any screening tests done eg all large dogs should have hip and elbow xray certificates indicating that they are hip and elbow dysplasia free. The breeder should be able to give you details on the pup’s veterinary vaccination and deworming history and what they are being fed. As all external factors have an impact on the puppy as it develops, it is important that the pup has grown up in an safe, secure and clean environment with plenty of human interaction and exposure to the sights and sounds of everyday life. The puppy should only be allowed to go to its new home from 8 weeks of age.
Avoid purchasing your puppy from a petshop or from a puppy broker (ie someone who meets you at a garage somewhere and hands over the puppy, where you have no knowledge of the breeder, the conditions the puppy grew up in or who the parents were). Remember the experiences a dog has in the first weeks of its life are extremely impactful for the rest of their lives. Reputable breeders are unlikely to sell their puppies through a petshop as they have no idea who the pups are going to. Reputable breeders may well put prospective owners through a vigorous “interview” process – this is a good thing as you know the breeder takes their breeding seriously and are genuinely concerned and care about their puppies’ welfare.

Welfare organisations
There are a number of welfare organisations that re-home puppies as well as adult dogs. Some are very well run, clean and focussed on the dogs’ wellbeing, with healthy puppies and dogs for you to choose from. These organisations are usually also concerned with the quality of home the dog goes to. We recommend you speak to your veterinarian who will most likely be able to recommend such an organisation in your area.
Unfortunately there are also others, occasionally even run by well-meaning people who through ignorance or lack of funding, or both, keep dogs and puppies under poor conditions. Not only is the chance great of your new dog contracting a host of diseases that you will unwittingly bring home to your own dogs and have to have treated at additional expense, the squalid environment can have a lasting negative effect on the dog’s nature.

 
     

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