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20 things you need to know before you buy a puppy

20 things you need to know before you buy a puppy, with Money Bites
A puppy is basically like a child with fur. Before you adopt your new best friend, here’s what you need to know.

Bite-Size Read:

  • Puppies look adorable in your social media feed.
  • However, taking care of a young animal is a long-term commitment.
  • Before you buy a puppy, you need to be ready for expensive vet bills and ongoing costs like pet food and grooming.


Most social media feeds are filled with cute puppies.

Some pets even have their own social media accounts that are more popular than human celebrity accounts! However, owning a puppy is very different to liking images of puppies on social media. 

Owning a puppy is a huge commitment. 

A dog lives on average for 12 years or longer. Those 12 years of puppy and dog ownership can cost you money and time, and restrict your lifestyle choices. It’s important to consider this before you take the plunge and buy a puppy.




Here’s 20 things you need to know before you buy a puppy:




1. Buying a puppy is expensive

The average price of puppies reached over USD $2,500 in 2020, during the COVID-19 lockdown when everyone wanted a dog to cuddle. If you are going to buy a dog, make sure it’s from a registered breeder, so you’re investing in a healthy puppy.




2. Consider pet adoption to save money

By adopting a pet from an animal shelter, not only will you be giving a home to a puppy in need, but you’ll also only pay around USD $150 to $600. That’s a huge upfront saving compared to the average cost of buying a puppy from a breeder.




3. Budget for ongoing costs

Each year, you can expect to pay nearly USD $700 include food, toys, grooming, flea treatments, and vet bills.




4. Prepare for unexpected vet bills

Life happens and throws up unexpected emergencies, which is why you need an emergency fund. Puppies can get sick without warning so you need to budget for emergency vet bills.




5. Consider pet insurance

Pet insurance can be a great way to cover the costs of vet bills as these can run into the thousands. Look at the different types of cover available, including lifetime cover or annual options to see what coverage would best suit your puppy.




6. Ensure a puppy suits your lifestyle

Dogs need roughly 30 minutes to two hours of exercise every day. You need to make sure you have the time in your lifestyle to look after a puppy, including daily dog walks.




7. Say goodbye to last-minute holidays

If you’re planning on taking holidays, you’ll need to factor the puppy into your plans. This includes taking it with you or paying for a dog sitter while you’re away.




8. Pick the right puppy for your household

The best registered dog breeders match a puppy to a household. Think about your personality and lifestyle and select a puppy who matches this.




9. Make space for a puppy in your home

A new puppy needs a safe and warm place to sleep and a specific place for their food and water bowls in the house.




10. Puppy proof your home

Before you bring a puppy home, you need to remove health hazards. That includes removing hazardous plants like tulips, toxins like insecticides, and chewable laundry detergent pods.




11. Know what foods your puppy can’t eat

Specific everyday foods including avocado, grapes, chocolate, and garlic are harmful to puppies. You need to be careful what you feed them, even if they beg at the table.




12. Puppies are toddlers

Puppies will sleep heavily, experience toddler teething, and chew on everything, including your favourite shoes. They will also get up in the night so be prepared to be disturbed.




13. Training a puppy is non-negotiable 

Puppies need to be trained on behaviours like coming when their name is called. Your job is to train them so that you raise a puppy you can live with.




14. Puppies need to be socialised

A puppy must be socialised in order to feel comfortable walking around different surroundings. This includes meeting a diversity of people when they’ve had their vaccinations.




15. Make your puppy identifiable

Identifying your puppy means that they are more likely to find their way back to you if they get lost. Provide them with a collar that fits, an identification tag and consider microchipping them as it’s increasing mandatory.




16. Don’t leave puppies alone

Puppies have lots of energy and need mental stimulation so make sure they are supervised and entertained while you’re at work.




17. Vaccinations are not negotiable 

Vets are seeing more people not vaccinating their dogs. If you are not prepared to vaccinate your dog to ensure they will have a good quality of life, do not buy a puppy.




18. You’ll need to pay for ongoing health checks 

You’ll need to check the health of your puppy regularly. This includes checking them for eye and ear infections and brushing their teeth to ensure dental hygiene.




19. Dog grooming is essential

Puppies need to bathed every three months and have their nails trimmed. You need to either commit to this or hire a professional dog groomer to do it for you.




20. Remember that puppies feel the heat and cold

On hot days, puppies should be left inside the house with plenty of water to avoid overheating. On cold days, you might want to consider getting them a winter coat for dog walks outside. These costs do add up but are worth it to keep your puppy comfortable and safe.

If we’ve made you think twice before you buy a puppy, that’s a great thing. 

Way too many people end up buying a puppy on a whim. Consider these 20 things when choosing to get a puppy so that you make an informed choice. That way you and your gorgeous new puppy can commit to each other long-term.

Written by Kate Crowhurst

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