Prepare your house, your wallet, and your mind with our easy to follow puppy acquisition guide:
STEP 1: Research
There are many breeds to choose from given the globalization of dog trade. There are Manila – based kennels who import rare breeds from the western hemisphere to our shores. But, which is the right one for you?
You need to consider your space. If you have a big house and a lot, you may accommodate a large to medium breed. Having a small house or apartment should limit you to a small breed only. Space requirement is important because your dog will need space to move around for exercise and leisure. Forcing five huskies in a small apartment will create space insecurities among the dogs, and give you and your neighbours a headache for the next decade.
Do you have time? If you have little time to be home, you need to delegate a person to watch over your puppy. Puppies require more attention and support than adult dogs, and are more prone to destructive behaviour if left unsupervised during their rapid growth phase.
Do you have the funds? Like family planning, you can’t just start a family without even considering if you can afford one. A small breed dog may cost you from PHP 10,000 to 30,000.00 per year with its food, vet bills, dog training, and pet supplies. Multiply this to 10 to 15 years, because that’s how long it will be with you. Do you have that enough money? Or if not, how do you plan to obtain that money in the future without compromising your life goals?
Do you have the commitment? The problem with giving someone a puppy as a gift is that you basically handed someone a baby without even giving them the plan ahead. Imagine being in a relationship and working only on its first year, and leaving the other behind to fend on its own. This is the sad reality with some of my patients, whose parents have been so busy that they had neglected the very basic welfare of their pet-child. This means that they did not prioritize their obligation to be the loving guardian of their pet.
Think of the long term commitments and demands of pet parenthood that you need to fulfil, and not the short term happiness your pet will give you.
STEP 2: Visit
After visiting websites, Facebook ads and groups, Instagram accounts, and asking around, you should narrow down your breeders list to your top three.
The breeder should allow you to visit the puppies and the parents to show you how confident he or she is with how they take care of their dogs.
Interact with the parents and puppies, noting its temperament, housing cleanliness, and other small details that could tell you they are well taken cared off. Visiting at least twice to make interactions with the puppy before making the purchase is recommended.
It will help if you also ask the breeder what medical problems the parents, grandparents and great-grandparents had to have a medical picture of the possible diseases and conditions the puppy will face in the future.
As a vet, I do not recommend buying from pet shops and stores. There are many responsible breeders in Manila that will refuse to sell their beloved puppies to pet shops, because they see them as family members and not just some commodity.
Whether your breeder raises puppies as their bread and butter, or simply as a passionate hobby, it’s up to you to decide if investing your hard earned money to this puppy with this particular quality of care is worth it.
STEP 3: Prepare your household and home
Puppy proof your home days before the arrival of the puppy. This involves selecting areas the puppy will stay at day time and night time. All electrical wiring and hazardous materials must be away from its reach. To test if your arrangement is puppy proof, try to be on the floor on all fours and look which items you could snatch easily. Bring these objects away.
Installing a collapsible crate is also helpful if the puppy will be left unsupervised for some time. Never leave your puppy alone while it is teething.
Inform everyone on your home that you plan to acquire a puppy and that it will become everyone’s responsibility.
You need to make a rough daily routine or schedule that is tailored to everyone living in your house. This includes:
- Time and person responsible to feed the puppy
- Time and person responsible for the puppy’s potty business
- Time and person responsible for the puppy’s play time
- Time and person responsible for cleaning the puppy’s environment
- Day, time and persons bringing the puppy to the vet every 2 weeks until the shots are completed
- Day, time and persons replenishing pet supplies such as food, shampoo, soap, toys
These are the items you need to buy:
- Pet bed and crate
- Pet food (ask breeder)
- Collapsible crate
- A few toys
- First aid kit
- Pet shampoo and soap
- Pet dental hygiene kit
STEP 4: First Day
Before picking up the puppy, be sure the breeder gives you its vaccination card, pedigree certificates (PCCI or AKCUPI), and dog food ration for 1 week. You should also have settled with a return or refund agreement should the puppy be proven ill even before you acquired it.
If you feel that the puppy you brought was raised by a good breeder, you may delay your first vet visit for up to one week. However if you feel otherwise, do not hesitate to bring the puppy first to the vet before heading home.
Use a travel crate when picking up your puppy from the breeder and driving it to your house. You may also delegate someone to handheld the puppy during the drive.
Do not overwhelm the puppy on its first day. Everyone in your family will surely manhandle the puppy which can traumatize it. Allow it to explore on its own and approach you only when it feels like it. Give it some time. Respect its feelings.
If you have other dogs at home, your new puppy must be isolated first for 7 to 14 days just to be sure that if it carries diseases, it won’t infect your other dogs. Your other dogs should have no access to the puppy. Wash hands before and after touching the puppy.
STEP 5: Adjustment
Your puppy will learn to adjust on the next few days. It may even cry on its first few nights because it misses its littermates and parents. Just bring the puppy near you and let it sleep on your lap. Transfer it to its bed once it is deeply asleep.
Once your puppy is accustomed to your household members, it should greet and play with everyone.
Do not change the dog food on the first week.
STEP 6: First vet visit
After 1 week of observing your puppy, it must be well adjusted to its new family. You can bring it to your vet for updating its vaccination and deworming status.
As vets, we don’t usually vaccinate your newly bought puppy because of “adjustment.” When your puppy gets in to your new home, it is a very stressful experience. Introducing vaccination or deworming in to its body may aggravate stress and lead to illness. However if you experience an urgent or emergency situation involving your puppy, you must immediately bring it to the vet.
You must inform your vet that this is your puppy’s first visit for him or her to make some adjustments and recommendations to you. Do not forget to bring the vaccination card. We don’t actually have any use with your pet’s pedigree certificate, unless you want us to count the “red marks” which you can do so at the comfort of your living room.
To learn more on how to maximize your visit to the vet, tap here.