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Homework for the Prospective New Pet Owner

April 23, 2014

A tiny ball of fluff – a new puppy or kitten. What could be more endearing? What could be more fun? Everybody loves puppies and kittens! But remember – there will be many things to think about and prepare before you choose and bring your new family member home.  Peterborough West Animal Hospital’s team members love to see the new puppies and kittens and we are here to help you with your decision and the subsequent care of your new family member! We want to make sure that you make the best decision based on your family lifestyle.

First and foremost is to research the type of dog or cat that will suit your family – purebred or crossbred; big dog or small dog; long-haired or short-haired. Your decision will depend on whether or not you have children and what ages they are. What is your lifestyle? How much time will you bespending at home? Good breeders of purebred dogs and cats should interview you and help you determine if that breed is suitable to your family and your lifestyle. If you are interested in a non-purebred, one of the shelters in the surrounding areas will be able to help you choose a pet. Veterinarians and their health care team members are also an invaluable source of information. In fact, a visit to a veterinary hospital should always be part of your pre-purchase research. At Peterborough West Animal Hospital we are happy to answer questions on topics such as breed information as well as what your pet’s veterinary costs will be during his or her first year with you. As with children, you will need to bring your new puppy or kitten to the veterinary hospital for several visits in the first few months for vaccinations and examinations, as well as for spaying or neutering. Generally, the first year of a pet’s life is a little more costly than the following few years – at least until your pet becomes a senior. As cute as a puppy or kitten may be, remember that an adult pet may be more suited to your lifestyle and budget. You are still able to purchase purebred animals from shelters as well as breeders that are retiring their breeding adults.

Once you have made your decision, make an appointment for your new pet. At Peterborough West Animal Hospital both Dr. Sargent and Dr. Giffen are available for post-purchase examinations to be performed within a few days of bringing them home. Only the veterinarian and their health care team can determine whether there are any health problems and advise you on proper care for your new family member. For those of you who have children – you may remember all the advise that you received from everyone and anyone on how to do things – there will be many well-meaning people out there willing to give you their advice on how to look after your new pet – but remember the veterinary health care team at Peterborough West Animal Hospital are well educated and devoted to helping you make good decisions for your pet so your new pet will live a long and healthy life.

It is imperative that new owners recognize that having a new puppy or kitten, especially a new puppy, is not too different from having a new baby in the home. There are going to be good times and very frustrating times, but in the end, everything will turn out well. Puppies need to be housebroken. They need to be taught not to chew and not to jump up.

Depending on the puppy, some of these things will not come easily but every puppy is capable of learning everything they need to know to be a great pet. Count on taking your puppy, whether a tiny poodle or a St. Bernard, to obedience classes after 12 weeks of age. Animal shelters report that more dogs are relinquished for behaviour problems than for any other reason. The majority of these problems could have been avoided had their owners spent the time in the beginning training their puppy basic obedience.

Hopefully this article has helped those prospective new puppy or kitten owners know where to start on their quest to find the perfect pet for their family. Having a new pet can be a most enjoyable and rewarding experience for a family or it can be a disaster if you haven’t done your homework! The team at Peterborough West Animal Hospital is here to help! Remember anything worth doing is worth doing right!

Contact us, your local animal clinic in Peterborough, ON!