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Welcoming a furry new family member is always exciting. But impulse buying a dog is a big mistake. Puppies are a long-term commitment, so before you let those puppy dog eyes convince you to bring one home, ask the following seven questions.

1. Which Breed Is Right for Your Family?

Make sure you know what you’re getting into before choosing a breed. That little ball of fluff could someday turn into an 80-pound pooch. Do research before visiting a shelter to find the best breed for you. Smaller dogs, like Yorkshire terriers, can make great couch buddies. Border collies are lovely companions but require a lot of stimulation and exercise. Find a breed that fits your personality and your lifestyle needs, and you’ll both be happy.

2. Is There a Veterinarian Nearby?

Make sure your puppy can get all the care it needs. Find a reputable veterinarian in your town who can care for your new buddy. Many animal doctors have waiting lists for new patients, so never assume someone can take you on as a client. Call ahead to check their status before bringing home an animal, so you have a vet on standby if your puppy gets sick.

3. Do You Need Pet Insurance?

A dog’s medical costs can add up fast. Regular visits, vaccines and surgery to spay or neuter your pet are expenses you’ll incur in the first year of pet ownership. That doesn’t include emergencies like parvovirus or ingestion accidents. You could be in trouble if you don’t have money to cover these expenses. Pet insurance offers a solution for dog owners, paying a minimal monthly fee to cover sudden costs. Other types of insurance, like commercial umbrella insurance, could protect you if your canine causes harm to someone. Look into options to find the best program for your needs.

4. Do You Have All of the Essentials?

Puppies are like babies; they are small but need a lot of stuff. You will want everything ready the day you bring your new best friend home for a smooth transition. A small crate, large enough only for the animal to stand up and turn around, is essential. Talk to the shelter or breeder to find out what food your pet has been eating so you can have it on hand. Some items, like toys, can be purchased based on the size, breed and age of the dog.  For instance there are puppy specific toys designed to help with teething.

5. How Soon Should You Train Your Puppy?

Endless play sessions with your pup are great, but remember, they are still newborns. Puppies need lots of breaks and naps throughout the day. Rather than tiring them out physically, mentally stimulate your puppy with training and brain games. Learning new things will keep them busy and tire them out fast. Work on house training your dog from day one. Take Fido outside after playing, napping and eating and praise them when they do their business.

6. Does Your Dog Need To Socialize?

Early socialization helps dogs adapt better to their new surroundings. You want to ensure they are comfortable meeting new people and other animals. Start small with a few human visitors here and there, then move on to other animals. Enrolling your dog in obedience classes will not only help them with their training, but they’ll have the opportunity to be around other dogs.

7. Should You Get Two Puppies?

Think twice about bringing home more than one dog from the same litter. Littermates living together doesn’t equal socialization; in fact, it can lead to significant problems. Littermates often become codependent and wary of anyone outside of their pack. Not only are these animals standoffish, but they can become a physical danger to others. If you must bring home more than one dog, do not bring home siblings.

Dogs are a huge responsibility but offer years of love and devotion. Your dog will feel at home in their new family when you’ve prepared for their medical care, bought all the essentials, and offered proper training and socializing.

photo cred: https://unsplash.com/photos/uc3JhSWITMo

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