Five Tips For New Dog Owners
We are a nation of dog lovers and the Benyfit Natural offices are testament to that. We adore our woofs and they are firmly part of our home and office life. The 2020 lockdown saw many people wanting to add a furry friend to their family, and internet searches for puppies went up by more than 150%. But getting a puppy (or any age dog) isn’t a decision to take lightly. Here are our top tips if you are thinking about getting a puppy.
1. Always buy from a reputable breeder or rehoming centre
The very first thing to do before buying a pup is to make sure it is coming from a good quality home. Since 6th April 2020, “anyone wanting to get a new puppy or kitten in England must now buy direct from a breeder, or consider adopting from a rescue centre instead. Licensed dog breeders are required to show puppies interacting with their mothers in their place of birth.” This legislation, known as Lucy’s Law, is to eradicate puppy farming and the sale of pups from unlicensed parties. The internet is awash with ads for puppies but please exercise caution before buying. Here’s some additional handy advice from Defra to help you too.
2. Make sure you have the time for a puppy
Puppies need lots of care, especially in the first few weeks after you bring them home (anytime after around 8 weeks old). Be sure you have the time now for a puppy and in the future for a dog. Lockdown and working from home might have lulled you into a false sense of how much time you have but remember that if and when you do go back to work, your pup will still need looking after. And that will be tough on them if they’re used to having you around 24/7. Puppies need lots of interaction and socialisation with people and other dogs so consider carefully how your pup will be cared for.
3. Sort out vaccinations
Before getting your puppy, locate your local vet, somewhere that you can get to easily as puppies sometimes need several visits. Your new puppy’s breeder or rehoming centre should arrange the first set of vaccinations (at around eight weeks old) before you take your pup home. Make sure you have the vaccination record to take to your own vet so they know when to give the second set - usually two to four weeks after the first round. Keeping your pet protected is one of the most important aspects of being a pawrent. You are looking after your own pet as well as those they come into contact with.
4. Stock up on puppy equipment
Preparing for the arrival of a puppy is a bit like awaiting the birth of a baby – there is so much paraphernalia you could buy and fill the house with, but actually only need a small percentage of.
- Somewhere to sleep: you will definitely need to provide a designated bed for your pup, somewhere out of the way where they can be safe and undisturbed. Lots of dogs sleep in crates which can be covered over, some prefer open beds.
- Toys: puppies need stimulus, which includes play time. Choose some puppy-appropriate toys (specially made to be gentle on their teeth) and remember they may destroy some and chew through others so don’t be too precious about what you buy.
- Toilet training: your pup may have been introduced to toilet training but there may be a transition period when they toilet indoors. Puppy pads are available to help absorb the mess, or use lots of newspaper. And lots of anti-bac cleaner!
- Feeding area: provide special bowls for food and water and have a specific area for mealtimes.
- Food: check which type of food your pup has been weaned on and continue this, at least for the short term so their tummies don’t get upset. We would always advise transitioning to Benyfit Natural Raw Puppy food, which is gentle on tiny tums and comes with added Verm-X, a natural and gentle herbal formulation to help maintain your pup’s intestinal hygiene. If you are transitioning your puppy to a raw diet, check out this handy blog on what changes you can expect.
Other items, like a lead and harness, can wait till your pup has finished their vaccinations and can go outdoors.
5. Puppy-proof your house and garden
Puppies can be destructive – they explore textures and test the limits of their boundaries (and are simply young mischievous dogs) so it’s worth removing any soft furnishings you don’t want to be damaged – and it’s good practice to get the family to put clothes and toys away so the puppy knows what is theirs to play with and doesn’t wreck a beloved teddy. Puppy fences and gates are available so you can section off areas of the house that you want to keep puppy-free.
It’s also worth a quick check in your garden (and house) for plants that are toxic to dogs. Some breeds will eat anything so take a look at this handy list to see how your house and garden shapes up. Talking about toxic substances, familiarise yourself with foods that are also toxic to dogs – some can be fatal if ingested so make sure the whole family knows too.
Getting a puppy is hugely exciting and they bring so much happiness and love into a home. Being prepared from the outset means you’re a bit more in control which will ease the first few weeks for all of you. The important thing is not to buy a puppy on a whim – make sure you and everyone in your family is in agreement so you enjoy your new pup from the very first day.