Beagle puppy has its photo taken for an adoption site

How to be a Pro Puppy Parent: Choosing, Buying and Planning


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Do you find yourself browsing puppies for sale and/or puppies for adoption on your phone when you should be working, shopping etc.? You’re not alone. How can you resist?! Especially if you’ve been thinking about it for a while. But wait – before you make that big leap, there are a few things to consider…

You might think we’re referring to understanding puppy poop etiquette or puppy proofing your house, which we are. But we’re also talking higher level considerations. Like avoiding puppy mills and buying from a reputable breeder. As well as how to choose a dog breed that suits you and how to prepare for that breed’s health needs.

From A and B to C, PD Insurance has you covered with the ins and outs of getting a new puppy. In this article, we share top notch tips for welcoming a puppy into your home successfully. It’s about clever prep so you can enjoy those cuddles without worry.

Of course, you’ll still need to contend with puppy zoomies but that’s kinda cute.

Now let’s dig a little deeper into what else you need to know about getting a new pooch.

woman plays with new puppy she has recently bought

Which is the best site to buy puppies?

If you’re googling puppies for sale, you’ll no doubt wonder which is the best site to buy puppies from. The reality is you should never buy a puppy online. Although online purchases have revolutionised our buying culture, puppies aren’t objects for short term fun, they’re our family for their lifetime.

Puppy scammers rely on people attempting to buy a puppy online. You’ll transfer your money and get no puppy or you could get a puppy that’s bred unethically at a puppy mill. Worse still, you might be the recipient of a stolen dog and be propping up a new wave of puppy theft that began with COVID.

Try working with a registered dog breeder that you can contact and always visit in person. Check both puppy and parents are healthy and happy dogs to make sure you’re getting a healthy pup who’ll have the best chance of growing into a healthy dog.

What is the cheapest puppy I can buy?

The most affordable way to buy a puppy is often dog adoption. There are still adoption fees that help to cover some basic health care costs the shelter has shouldered. Generally though, these are likely to be far cheaper than buying a purebred or pedigreed dog.

  • Reasons to adopt. In Australia, countless surrendered and stray animals lose their lives each year to euthanasia, which is a great reason to adopt. Many of these furry guys are still young and some of them may even be purebred (although it’s unlikely they’ll have dog papers).
  • Reasons to buy. In terms of buying a puppy at an affordable price, don’t only think about the upfront costs. Sometimes, spending more in your initial purchase on a very healthy puppy can save you plenty on healthcare costs in the long run.

If you decide to buy a purebred dog, make sure you’re working with an ethical dog breeder.

cute sheep dog is one of a litter of puppies for adoption

Ethical dog breeding

Ethical dog breeders do a range of health screening tests on their dogs to root out dog breed health problems. If they find any genetic illnesses they can avoid breeding these dogs to prevent these conditions from being passed on to new generations.

Tests often include dog DNA tests as well as tests that check for conditions like hip dysplasia in dogs.

Planning for breed health needs

Like with humans, many health conditions are carried in our DNA. This means your dog may be more prone to specific health conditions based on what breed it is. Medical science has identified many of these, meaning you can plan what level of pet insurance cover to choose in advance.

For example, IVDD in Dachshunds is common, while the biggest dog breeds are prone to joint conditions like dysplasia. Dogs (and cats) with flatter snouts are brachycephalic breeds and are likelier to face breathing problems. Then you get breeds that seem more prone to epilepsy, like Beagles.

When it comes to breed health needs, buying from a registered breeder is the best bet. By health screening mum and dad dog they can ensure they’re only breeding from healthy dogs. If you’re buying a flat faced dog like a French Bulldog this is crucial, because as Australian small animal specialist surgeon, Abbie Tipler, says, “they are bred for the cute squishy faces and not for health.”

By choosing to buy from a breeder that’s registered with the national kennel club and does the health checks, we can help reduce crisis levels of Brachycephalic Obstructive Airways Syndrome.

Besides browsing puppies for adoption or sale, spend some time understanding breed health needs and get to know the difference between hereditary and congenital conditions in dogs.

a litter of puppies for sale

Buying or adopting a puppy by breed or personality

When it comes to choosing the right dog breed or personality you want a match for your temperament and lifestyle. For example, there are seven dog breed groups, including toys, terriers, and working dogs.

  • Breed match. You can tell just by the name that these groups hold a lot of significance. Toys, for example are often smaller, doll-like dogs that enjoy spending time on laps while terriers – although they may be small – have a lot of go. Working dogs are prized for intelligence and stamina, and they too, need high levels of daily exercise.
  • Lifestyle and personality match. If you buy a puppy, consider how these broad needs slot into your lifestyle and gel with your personality. Do you enjoy long hikes and runs? Do you spend all day at a computer? Do you have lots or little spare time to enjoy bonding and training with pooch or, if not, will other household members share your pet care responsibilities? Also read these tips for combining a new dog with full time work.
  • Environment match. Ask yourself whether your home environment suits. For example, do you live in an apartment and are there lots of parks nearby? If you have a big garden to rove in does it have any plants that are poisonous to pets you’ll need to be aware of?

You should take all this into consideration and try to visit dog shows or meet with dog clubs to find out more about different breeds’ needs.

Or if you plan to adopt, try to spend some time with your potential partner in crime getting to know them well beforehand. This will also make bringing home an adopted dog easier because pup will be more confident and happy having you as a bestie before they enter a new environment.

women plays with her adopted Husky at the harbourside

What is the best age to adopt or buy a puppy?

Whether you choose your furever friend from a litter of puppies for sale or puppies for adoption, make sure it’s eight weeks or older. Then know that it’s natural for your little bub to poop everywhere, cry out at night for their mumma dog and possibly eat your favourite shoes.

Not to worry, we’ve rounded up a top selection of need-to-knows to help you get by:

Puppy training

You might also be interested to know that the approach to dog training has changed and evolved through the years. We now know fear-free positive reinforcement dog training gets better results.

women holds her new fur baby close to her chest to keep it calm in the dog park

Protecting your puppy

Whether you’re considering puppies for sale or adoption, setting them up for life should be part of your game plan. Pet health insurance is fast becoming as much a necessity as it is for humans. Surgery, medication and quality vet health care all come at a cost. And that cost continues to rise.

When you have a pet plan you can give your pet the vital health care they need for all kinds of illnesses and injuries – when they need it, without worrying about the $$$.

PD Insurance offers you award winning dog insurance that’s easy to use and affordable. Plus, you’ll get one or more months of pet insurance free when you purchase online. Click below to get a quote.

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