Friday, April 22, 2011

The Price of a Puppy

IF YOU ARE THINKING ABOUT GETTING A PUPPY, THEN THERE ARE SEVERAL THINGS THAT YOU HAVE TO TAKE INTO ACCOUNT. The first is time; do you have enough time? When they are young they have to go out several times during the night. They need to be played with and taught what is theirs and what isn’t. Do you work during the day? Do you plan on taking trips? Who will care for your puppy while you are away? Do you have a garden where they can run free or do you have to take them out for exercise? What size dog do you choose? As far as the cost of keeping a puppy, you can figure on about 60 euros every time you go to the vet. They need a series of puppy shots, worming, plus prevention against ticks, fleas and mosquitoes. This prevention comes in the form of drops on the neck, but needs to be applied every month; the amount depends on the weight of the dog and can become very expensive. Next you have the puppy food. Dog food is expensive. It is important to keep them on a regular diet or they will tend to get the runs. A good supplement to give your puppy is plain yogurt with a few tablespoons of olive oil and brewer’s yeast; this helps keep their skin and coat in good condition and the yogurt provides extra calcium and keeps the stomach healthy. An alternative to ready-made kibble is to make rice or lentils. This takes time and you need to add some sort of meat and vegetable to keep their diet healthy.

Another big consideration is what are you willing to lose? Puppies love to eat furniture, shoes, and clothes plus garbage. It takes a while, while they are teething, for them to learn what is theirs and what isn’t. You must have toys for them to substitute when you remove something they aren’t supposed to have. You don’t have to buy expensive toys; a rag with a knot in it, a plastic water bottle will suffice, but they do tend to love those soft squeaky toys. Every time they chew on something that they shouldn’t you must tell them no and give them something that they can chew on. Depending on the size of the dog, you have to be careful of the size of their toys. It is easy for them to swallow a tennis ball or little rubber duck.

During the first six months, they should be learning vocabulary and basic behaviour. At six months they are ready to start obedience training, which should be relatively easy if they learned the basics during play-time. Socialization is very important; the more things and situations that you can expose them to the better. Is you puppy going to be a guard dog or a companion? A lot of this depends on the breed and temperament but also on the way it is raised.

Getting a puppy is a big decision, you must be sure that you are ready for the investment of both time and money, but the rewards you receive have no price tag; they are unending and without prejudice.

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