Where & How to Find a Puppy!
Are you thinking about bringing a new family member home? If you’re considering a puppy, you may be wondering where you can find the perfect one! Here’s how to select the right pup for your family.
What Adopting a Puppy Means
If you’re still in the early stages of considering adding a puppy to your family, there are a few things you should consider, especially if this will be your first dog or pet. Ask yourself these questions:
- Do you have time to care for and entertain a dog?
- Will he be home alone a lot?
- Do you have the time and patience needed to train a puppy?
- Do you have the finances to support a new family member?
- Who will take care of your dog if you go on vacation?
- Are you prepared to care for your puppy for its entire life? (Some dogs can live up to 18 years!)
- Is your whole family on board? (It’s often not advisable to give a puppy or another pet as a present. Find out why here.)
- Are you prepared for all the challenges that come with owning a dog? (Bathroom accidents, medical emergencies in the middle of the night, old age, and more)
Consider This Before Adopting a Puppy
Selecting the right dog for your family is a process. Your living situation could affect the type of dog you bring home. Here are some things to ask yourself before finding a puppy:
Where Do You Live?
While you may not consider it important at first, where you live can absolutely affect your adoption decisions. Apartments, for example, may not be best for a more active dog, and they may not be big enough for larger breeds. If you want a puppy that needs a lot of exercise, like a border collie, a yard with room to run around is best!
Apartment complexes and home insurance companies may also restrict the breeds you can bring home. Some dog breeds that are generally prohibited include:
- German shepherds
- Pit bull terriers
There may be others that are blacklisted.
Do You Have Kids?
Some dogs can be great with children; others not so much. It’s important to pick a dog that gets along with the whole family. Labrador retrievers, golden retrievers, and beagles are three great examples of puppies that are generally wonderful with kids due to their laid-back natures.
Other breeds are fantastic in other family situations, but may not be happiest with children around. Dalmatians, for example, can be jumpy and need calm. Chow chows can have a quick temper and may to bite when upset or riled up.
On the other hand, it’s important to note your kids’ ages and personalities. Younger children may not understand completely how to care for a young dog, especially smaller breeds like the chihuahua, and could accidentally hurt your new puppy.
Do You Have Other Pets?
You may already have furry family members. Don’t forget about them when choosing a dog! If you have a cat, basset hounds, beagles, and papillons are great examples of breeds that get along with others. Bluetick coonhounds and whippets, though, have a strong prey drive and can pose a risk to cats, kittens, and other small animals.
Some dog breeds also get along with dogs better than others. Golden retrievers, Corgis, and Irish setters generally make wonderful companions for dogs.
How Much Attention Can You Give Your Dog?
Your new puppy will need—and demand—your attention. If you work a full-time job, you’ll want a dog that is okay being alone most of the day. When you get home, how much patience or energy will you have to spend with your new family member?
Consider these things when it comes to your spare time:
- How much grooming will the puppy need? – Some dogs, especially with longer fur, need more grooming than others. You’ll need to dedicate time each week to this task.
- How much energy does the dog have? – Adopt a dog that matches your energy level. If you like sitting around doing nothing, find a pup that shares this interest.
- How much time do you have for training? – A well-trained puppy grows into a well-trained dog, and remember: Some dogs learn faster than others!
How to Find a Puppy
Now that you’ve asked yourself those questions and have an idea what you’re looking for, it’s time to find your puppy! Here are some places you can look for your newest family member:
Local Shelters and Animal Rescues
One of the best places to find your new puppy is at a local rescue or shelter. They always have dogs that are looking for homes and often have puppies. And don’t think you can’t find purebred dog at a shelter. You’ll be surprised! Often, you can also put in a request for a particular dog, and the shelter will call you when one arrives.
If you’re not sure which dog is right for you, ask the workers. They spend so much time with the animals that they usually get to know their personalities inside and out! They will likely be able to help you find a great fit if you tell them about your:
- Living situation
- Needs and wants
Many pet stores carry puppies, but it’s important to do your research into selecting a store. Some buy from puppy mills, which may mean health problems for your new pet and is potentially supporting unethical breeding practices.
If you find the pet store gets their dogs and other pets from reputable sources, you may just find your new family member there!
There are hundreds of professional dog breeders. From goldendoodles to German shepherds, it’s possible to find the exact breed to fit your lifestyle, family, home, and needs.
Much like pet stores, the key is finding a reputable and professional breeder. Do research into the breeds that pique your interest, and check official websites regarding those dogs. They will often supply the contact information of established and trustworthy breeders to ensure you bring a well-bred and healthy puppy home. The American Kennel Club, for instance, has its Breeder Referral Search here.
There are several red flags to keep an eye out for when searching for a dog from a breeder:
You’re not allowed to see his parents – This could mean the dog is being sold secondhand, the parents have health issues, or the mother is constantly pregnant.
The breeder won’t meet you at their home – This could mean they’re from a puppy mill and not a reputable breeder.
They offer three or more breeds – Many breeders only focus on one or two breeds. If the breeder you’re looking into focuses on several, it could point to a puppy mill.
There’s no contract – Generally, breeders care about what happens to their puppies when they leave their care. A contract includes paperwork that states the new owner will spay or neuter their new family member, care for the puppy, and return the dog if they decide he is not for them.
The breeder promises the dog is “perfect” – There is no way to tell for sure that a puppy is absolutely free from genetic issues or will have a specific temperament. If a breeder makes extreme or excessive promises, it could point to problems.
Finding your puppy is an exciting and wonderful time. Knowing what to look for and how to find it makes the start of this new relationship even better! Ask yourself the important questions to narrow down the right breed for you and your family. Once you know what will fit your needs, it’s time to start your search. Whether you’re getting your puppy from a shelter, a breeder, or a pet store, the time you take now will help ensure you select a healthy and well-cared-for dog.
If you’re bringing home a new puppy, a check-up is always recommended—and we’d love to meet him! To schedule your pup’s first appointments and get him on a vaccination schedule, give Cinco Ranch Veterinary Hospital a call at 281-693-7387.