What Does It Mean To Be a Responsible Pet Owner?
Responsible pet ownership will come in many forms. Whether you own a dog, cat, bird, reptile, or other type of pet, you will need to research all that is needed for your specific situation to properly care for your pet. In this article, we will be referring only to puppies/dogs as we at Curious Puppies know primarily dog related tips and information!
Before buying your new dog, you will need to look into a number of things such as characteristics of the breeds, allergies, time you have to spend with your pet, locate a recommended vet, talk to your city/landlord about having a dog in your home and in cases, what the limit is, etc. You will need to research breeders/foster families to see where the puppies have been, find out about parents and any health related information, and verify the puppy has had all the care required before going home. Another important thing: NEVER bring home a puppy before 8 weeks of age, no matter what the owner says! That is part of the owners’ responsibility prior to releasing puppies to new homes, however you will find in many cases the owner is more anxious to sell the puppy than to do what is best for him and his new family. Do your research and make sure the puppy has been well loved, socialized and cared for before he leaves his siblings.
Once you bring your puppy home, spaying/neutering your dog is something you should think about early on. There are a number of vets that have long waiting lists for puppies to be spayed/neutered for a low price, because they really want to encourage this part of being a responsible pet owner. At Curious Puppies, it is our requirement that female dogs be spayed by 5 months of age and males be neutered by 6 months of age.
We require our females to be spayed by 5 months because we are expecting it will be done before they come into their first heat. This will make sure they are not accidentally, or purposely bred before they reach adulthood. Having an early pregnancy can cause many problems, including death, for your female. That is not even the worst case scenario! The fact that early pregnancy can lead to the death of the dam is one part, but it could also lead to early delivery, deformity or even death for the puppies. We hope no one would ever want to risk their dog or the puppies over an early pregnancy! Also, the female will not be fully grown at this young age, and by having a litter of puppies, she will be shifting the bone structure, and other internal problems can possibly ensue. Our goal is to have all our females spayed before any male can possibly make them pregnant for the health and safety of all our females. To the general public, the many changes happening around a female in heat are a mystery, and if you are not completely on the ball, you will miss the signals and may not understand the whole situation with dogs and this can lead to accidental pregnancy for your female.
We also encourage our males to be neutered by the age of 6 months as we know males can begin their reproduction cycle as early as this age, and we also want to prevent unplanned fatherhood by young males, especially if they are mixes or untested for potential heath issues as a purebred. You can’t stop a male if he smells a female in heat! Too late is TOO LATE! Be responsible and have your males neutered!
All dog breeding should be done by responsible breeders, and not just out of your home with a dog you think will look cute. This is NOT a reason to breed your dog! Dogs need to be properly checked, cared for, vaccinated up to date, and carefully matched with ideal dam/sire. If you are breeding for some extra money or because you think it would be fun, please be advised this is not a recommeded way to do things, and if you are not properly able to financially guarantee the health and well being of your litter for 1 year or more, please do not breed your dog! If there is a health issue down the road, you owe the family who bought your dog financial reimbursement of some sort, and not force the family to give the dog back to you if this is not in the best interest of the dog.
Part of being a responsible pet owner is to make sure your puppy has been properly vaccinated and dewormed before leaving his breeder. Some questions that must be asked are:
-Has the puppy seen the vet for a well puppy checkup?
-Has the puppy received his first vaccination, and if necessary, followup needles to keep him up to date?
-Has the puppy had a minimum of 3 dewormings and are they listed with names/date for your vet?
-Do you receive written proof provided by the breeder?
-Is there a 10-14 day health guarantee against life threatening communicable viruses?
-Does the breeder back that up financially if necessary?
-Are you provided with a contact phone number, email, and address of the breeder to stay in touch?
These are just a few health related questions you must ask before bringing the puppy home. If you are unsure about any of these, please do your research and make sure the breeder is reputable. If your answer is “no” to any of these questions, chances are you need to look further for your new family member.
What Should My New Puppy Have Done Before Leaving His Siblings?
In summary, there are a few things you need to know and have done before your puppy goes home with you. Make sure the puppy is minimum 8 weeks old before he leaves his siblings. Leaving mom before this is acceptable as they should be well weaned by 8 weeks, however the socialization between 6-8 weeks is key. They must also have had a first vet check, be vaccinated with first needle minimum, and have been dewormed at least 3 times. They must have also seen the vet for these things, and written proof must be provided to accompany the puppy home. Your breeder should be educating you as much as possible about potty training and the different methods to use. They should educate you about the health of your puppy, safety around the house, what your puppy is eating, some basic training ideas, and allow you to keep in touch with them. These are basic requirements of a good breeder! A breeder should not be sending a puppy to any person who walks through their door. While filling out an application form is not necessary, they should spend as much time as needed to find out about the home the puppy would go to, who lives their, what type of place it is, if there are allergies, how much time will be spent with the puppy and what knowledge you have about dogs/puppies in general. It is not necessary for someone to have owned a dog in the past to become a great first time owner, but the education must be there.
We wish everyone happy puppy/dog ownership, and remember to be responsible in choosing your new family member!
Best wishes from Curious Puppies!