Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Angela T. Roberts

Welcome author Angela T. Roberts!

This is Angela's third installment on caring for your pet! This month, Angela talks about the importance of ADOPTION:

FAQ’s, Part 1

How old should my puppy be when I bring him home?  Are you ADOPTING a puppy from the humane society, a responsible breeder or even from a pet owner that responsibly raised an accidental litter?  If so, your puppy should be around 8 weeks old. The smaller the breed, the longer puppies need to stay with mamma dog, in my opinion. Even with larger breed dogs, puppies should not be taken away from mamma until they are eating and drinking independently, no longer nursing on mamma, have been wormed on a regular schedule since age 2 weeks, have had a veterinarian check-up and a clear/negative stool check within adoption week.  Your puppy should also have received his first set of vaccines, which normally happens at age 6 weeks.  By leaving pups with mamma dog for a while after receiving their first vaccines, the breeder will have time to watch for adverse reactions from the vaccine, and puppies will continue to socialize and develop personalities until adoption day.

Am I financially prepared for a dog?  The expenses in this paragraph do not include emergency doctor visits for the occasional accident or illness encountered while owning a dog.  I suggest that you obtain an “estimate” from your veterinarian regarding the cost to properly immunize and protect your dog.  Some vets offer a wellness plan that covers all basic vaccines, stool checks, heartworm testing, spay/neuter and more, for a low-cost monthly payment.  I recommend researching what is included in these unique plans compared to paying “per visit” with a new puppy.  Vaccines are normally administered 3 to 4 weeks apart and most veterinarians require at least 3 to 4 sets of immunizations plus the rabies vaccine in order for your puppy to be protected against fatal diseases common to this area.  Regardless of who you adopt from, you are still looking at several trips to the veterinarian within the first year of pup’s life in order to keep him healthy, along with purchasing heartworm prevention and flea/tick control as “monthly” health maintenance.  There are many products available – some are all-in-one pills or topical liquids that prevent heartworms, fleas and ticks, making life much easier on the pet owner.  Another expense to consider is spay/neuter surgery while your dog is young; please consult with your veterinarian on the proper age for your dog.  If you already own dogs and you do not have a trusted veterinarian, please consider a spay/neuter clinic.  Most clinics keep surgical fees as low as possible and offer rabies vaccines and a few other immunizations at reasonable prices.  In addition to health maintenance, don’t forget about general supplies!  The “basics” include a crate, food/water bowls, containment options (fencing, tie-out lines, leash/collar/leads for walking), and a continuous supply of high quality dog food; nutrition is the key to raising a healthy dog.

Am I physically prepared for a dog?  If your dog is an inside pet, he will need potty breaks quite often.  Unless you have a fenced yard with no gaps that allow for “escape,” you should be prepared to leash-train and walk your dog frequently throughout the day for potty breaks.  If you plan on training your dog with puppy pads in the house, this may save you some steps, but you will be doing much more clean-up and odor control.  If you crate-train, you still have puppy pads or newspaper to deal with several times per day; this involves bending down or sitting in the floor to maintain a clean crate.  New puppies scream through the night unless you master the art of making them feel completely safe in their kennel/crate (see my book, Chapters 3 & 12), so be ready for sleepless nights.  If a pup stresses out from crying, I can guarantee a trip to the vet’s office to control stomach and bowel issues resulting from stress.  Housetraining is physically demanding on the dog owner, requiring much supervision, constant bending, clean-up, and walk-time outside.

If you have questions that are not answered in my book or through my website, I welcome your calls and/or emails.

Angela T. Roberts, Author
Raising Dogs With Common Sense

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