Paws Up for Puppies: celebrating National Puppy Day

Posted by Dr. Kim Smyth on Mar 23 2012

National Puppy Day is March 23rd! Few things are cuter than puppies (kittens being the exception, of course!), and I always look forward to puppy appointments, especially if it’s been a hard day. Nothing can bring a smile to my face or make a bad day brighter quicker than puppy kisses. So dedicating a day to all things puppy certainly makes sense to me!

However, as anyone who has had one knows, when considering adopting a new puppy, it’s best to think carefully before making an emotional decision – cuteness isn’t all you’ll get! Puppies are both a huge time commitment – starting with the early days of training and continuing throughout their lives, which could last up to two decades for some breeds – and a substantial financial commitment (which is why protecting your new family addition with Petplan pet insurance can be helpful). It’s a good thing they are so adorable, because by the time they go potty on your floor or chew your favorite shoes for the millionth time, you’ll be at your wits’ end! So before you bring a puppy home, make sure you’re prepared.

I always recommend rescuing a puppy from your local shelter or rescue organization. Every day around the country, thousands of pets arrive at shelters, many of them pregnant. The sad reality is that five out of 10 dogs in shelters nationwide are euthanized simply because there is no one to adopt them. So, before you head off to the breeder, please consider making one of the shelter dogs your family pet.

If you have your heart set on a particular breed, you can still get lucky at the shelter! Many shelters have full-breed pets for adoption, or you can look for breed-specific rescue organizations. If you decide to buy a puppy from a breeder, do your research - unfortunately, there are many disreputable breeders out there. Pet stores can be tricky, as well. Many pet stores get their pets from puppy mills, notorious for their inhumane housing and treatment of both moms and pups.

Make sure your home is prepared for the homecoming of your new puppy. Puppy-proofing your home is imperative, so get down on all fours and survey the scene from his point of view to make sure there’s nothing that can get your pup into trouble. Have food, toys, a leash and collar, food and water bowls, and a crate for crate training ready and set up before you bring your puppy home.

Now, for one of the most important parts – naming your new puppy! This is a very important part of the adoption process, and can be tricky. Remember, this is the name you will be using for the next decade or more, so it is important to pick one that you love and that will stand the test of time.

Human-sounding names are “pup-ular” right now, with the top names being Max, Bella, Buddy and Daisy. Try saying potential names out loud, and make sure they don’t sound too much like a command or another family member’s name. Training will be much easier for everyone if your pup isn’t constantly confused!