Written for Daily Hive by Ali Omelaniec, Marketing & Community Development Officer with the BC SPCA. She is a non-profit marketing/communications professional and bona fide dog mom based in Vancouver.
There is no doubt about it – getting a new puppy is a very exciting time. But, in the flurry of excitement, and with all the differing information out there, it can be tough to figure out what needs to be done to set your puppy up for success.
The BC SPCA has five of the first steps you should take to get your puppy prepared for our big world.
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Stock up on supplies
Get your puppy those creature comforts! Start with planning what you will need and what your pup will need when they come home. Supplies include: food, a harness, a collar and an ID tag, a leash, toys (chew toys, fun toys, and feeding toys), water and food bowls, a bed, and a crate.
Along with these necessary supplies, puppies also require patience, time, and supervision. Be sure to puppy-proof your home so your puppy doesn’t get into things she shouldn’t!
Provide your pup with permanent ID
Pets are often lost without their collars and tags, which makes permanent ID – like a microchip – so important. Microchips are considered one of the most effective forms of ID for pets. Unlike collars and tags, microchips are with your puppy every step of the way to ensure she has a way back home to you and your family.
Don’t forget to register your puppy’s microchip after their appointment! Microchips must be registered with a database such as the BC Pet Registry to link it to your contact information. After registering your pet’s microchip with the BC Pet Registry, her chip will be internationally traceable and you can access your online account 24/7 to make updates to your contact information.
Sign up for puppy classes
If your puppy is under 12 weeks, she’s at an important time in her life. Puppy classes can be a great way to socialize your puppy and provide her with good experiences so she learns the world is a fun and safe place.
The BC SPCA has made it easy to find a qualified dog trainer with the AnimalKind program. All AnimalKind accredited trainers use reward-based training methods that are scientifically proven to be more effective and better for your dog’s well-being. AnimalKind accredited companies do not use pain, fear, intimidation, or any training technique, tool or device that causes physical or emotional discomfort to your pet.
Sign up for classes with an AnimalKind accredited dog trainer and create a healthy, trusting bond between you and your puppy!
Book an appointment with a veterinarian to make sure your new friend is healthy and has the necessary vaccines. Vaccines protect your pet from getting diseases that are contagious and possibly fatal – some of which puppies are particularly vulnerable to. Puppies should start their vaccines at six to eight weeks of age. To keep your puppy in optimum health, find a veterinarian who will work with you to determine which vaccines are necessary and the best schedule for vaccinating based on your pet’s lifestyle and age.
Spay or neuter your pet
Spaying or neutering your dog, cat or rabbit doesn’t just help prevent accidental litters. It also has health and behavioural benefits for your pet. Studies show that spayed/neutered pets, on average, live longer. Spaying and neutering eliminates the risk of ovarian, uterine, and testicular cancer, decreases aggressive behaviours in pets, and helps your community.
If you are concerned about the risks of spaying and neutering, don’t just consult the internet. Talk to your veterinarian about what is best for your pet.