Buying a puppy isn’t as simple as picking out a loaf of bread. Read this pet lover’s guide on how to buy a new puppy.
Dogs are one of the most common pets in the world. As a matter of fact, there are almost 90 million dogs that are kept as pets today in the USA and millions more being loved in other countries.
If you’re looking to add a dog to your home, specifically a puppy, you probably have a lot going through your mind.
You might be thinking about what kind of puppy to get, how to care for a puppy and above all else, how to buy a puppy.
Buying a puppy isn’t as easy as walking into your local grocery store and picking one out. It’s a lot more difficult and getting harder every day thanks to crackdowns on puppy mills (which is a good thing).
Below, we walk you through everything that you need to know before, during and after the puppy buying process in our ultimate guide.
Are You Really Ready for a Puppy?
The very first thing that you’re going to want to do as you figure out how to buy a puppy is to stop thinking for a moment about how cute puppies are and to start thinking about if you’re really ready for one.
Puppies, in many ways, are like babies.
They poop and wet themselves. They cry. They don’t sleep through the night… The list goes on.
Many people that don’t prepare themselves for that reality end up surrendering their dogs or worse, end up keeping them in crates all day. Don’t be the kind of dog owner that needs to give their family member up or hinder their quality of life because you didn’t do your research.
Be sure that you’re fully aware of what a puppy entails.
Think About Getting an Older Dog
Not sure if taking care of a puppy is what you need in your life right now? No problem!
Dogs that are 4, 5, 6+ years old will give you all of the companionship you’re looking for while being a lot more low-maintenance. Also, many older dogs can be found at animal shelters and may only have weeks to live if you don’t adopt them.
With that in mind, if you’re looking for a more auto-pilot dog owning experience, forgo the puppy and adopt a dog that’s mature.
Let’s Talk About Breed
Still sold on the idea of getting a puppy? Alright!
Our next how to buy a puppy step is to think about which kind of puppy you want.
You may have ideas swirling around in your head about getting a Saint Bernard because it’s cute or a Chihuahua because you love those old Taco Bell commercials. Our advice is to resist those urges.
Cuteness is not how you should select dog breeds.
Each dog breed has been brought up over the course of hundreds if not thousands of years to possess certain character traits. If those deeply ingrained traits are not in line with your sensibilities, you’re going to have a bad time.
How can you know then which dog’s personality is in line with your own? There are a few strategies that you can leverage.
Lean on Past Experience
Have you owned a dog breed before that you already know you enjoyed having? Buying a puppy that’s of the same breed will give you a great chance of having a very similar experience.
Even if you haven’t owned a certain breed of dog, experience with breeds via frequent visits to a family member’s houses and similar things can give you a good idea of what to expect.
Take a Test
The American Kennel Club (AKC) offers a nifty dog breed test. By taking it, the organization will be able to suggest breeds that seem to align well with your lifestyle and living situation.
To top it off, once you’ve been matched with a breed, the test will point you in the direction of dog breeders in your area that you can purchase a dog from.
Talk to Local Experts
Having conversations with local dog trainers, pet store clerks and friends can also be a helpful means of moving forward your how to buy a puppy ambitions. So get out there and get social to start narrowing your dog possibilities!
Where Can You Actually Get a Puppy?
Now to our core question… In order to know how to buy a puppy, you have to know where to buy a puppy.
On this front, you have a few options.
Pet adopting is when you go to your local animal shelter or animal foster home and take in a dog for a nominal fee that helps to support other animals in the shelter system. We love adopting because, in many areas, dogs that don’t get adopted get put down due to space considerations.
While finding a puppy in the shelter system is difficult, it’s certainly not impossible. To see what adoption options exist in your area, consider using a service like petfinder.com.
Buying from a Responsible Breeder
If you’re looking for a purebred or a chic-mixed dog (a Labradoodle for example) you’re going to want to find a responsible breeder in your area.
We can’t emphasize the word responsible enough. There are many irresponsible breeders that over-breed their animals and are running what many would consider to be a puppy mill.
Never buy from these places as it gives them continued incentive to stay in business.
Finding a breeder can be done through websites like the AKC or in local ads that advertise puppies for sale.
A Pet Store
Most pet stores don’t carry dogs given the maintenance that they require. Those that do are either partaking in an adoption event or may be non-concerned with their animal’s well being.
In any case, our recommendation is that you only adopt dogs from pet stores. Any mom and pop shop that’s selling puppies 24/7 out of a large cage is likely not to be trusted.
Puppies can’t come home with you until they’re around 8-weeks old. Between when you put down a deposit on your dog and when you pick it up, there are some things that you’ll want to get in order.
Puppy Proof Your Home
If there’s anything dangerous around your house that could harm your puppy, it is going to harm your puppy. You’ll be absolutely shocked by how quickly your dog sniffs out trouble.
Be proactive and, as you would with a child, do what you can to ensure the safety of your dog.
Buy the Basics
Things like a dog bowl, dish, puppy food, toys, a crate for bedding and other essentials should be bought before your puppy comes home.
If you’re not sure which essentials are actually “essential” talk to your local pet store clerk or dog trainer to see what they recommend.
Pick a Vet
Your puppy will be stopping into the vet quite a lot over the first few months that you have them. The reason for that is that there are a number of vaccinations that puppies need to get in order to prevent their contracting deadly diseases.
The sooner you have a vet selected and price out how much those vaccinations are going to cost you, the better.
Post Pick Up Considerations
At this point, your how to buy a puppy questions have been answered! You’ve picked up your dog, you’ve puppy-proofed your home and now, it’s time to start your life together.
To make sure that your first year together starts off on the right foot, remember the following:
Monitor Your Puppy’s Health
Young dogs are prone to illness. If you notice something odd going on with your puppy, get it to a vet.
Register Your Pup
Your county likely has laws that require you to get your dog registered. Your nominal registration fee will go towards keeping local shelters running.
Don’t Let Your Love Die
When you first bring a puppy home, you can’t get enough of it. After a few weeks of your puppy having accidents, ripping things up and causing trouble, it can be easy to become disillusioned with them.
Don’t let your love die for your pup amidst adversity. Your pup definitely won’t let their love die for you.
Expect ups and downs and you’ll be able to deal with anything that comes your way.
Wrapping Up the Pet Lover’s Guide on How to Buy a Puppy
We hope that by this point, you not only have a solid understanding of how to buy a puppy but you also understand everything that goes into getting a puppy before and after making the purchase.
Remember, your dog deserves the best life that you can give it.
Be a good owner and if you can’t be, get your dog into a home where it will thrive, no matter how much giving it up hurts.
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