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Responsible Puppy Ownership: A Modern Guide for New Pet Owners

Getting a puppy is a big decision, but it can also be one of the most rewarding experiences of your life. Before bringing your new furry friend home, here’s everything you need to know.

Getting a puppy is a big decision, and it's important to be prepared.

Puppy ownership guide. Everyone has heard this phrase in diverse contexts, from workplaces to the most informal.

An exclamation that today, more than ever, has to be analysed with the utmost care in the light of numerous factors related to animal welfare, lifestyles and the role of modern owners.

Ancient roots and a growing future

The bond between man and dog has very ancient roots, dated by some authors to 23,000 years ago. A relationship was initially created, in all likelihood, so that both species could gain their advantage. They were then continued over the following millennia with the selection of both working and, later, companion breeds.

Today, there is an indissoluble link between the dog and our species, as demonstrated by PSDA 2023 data compiled with the contribution of YouGov. That photographs an English dog population estimated at around 11 million.

The proportion of UK adults owning a cat is lower than that of a dog despite similar population sizes due to a higher number of cats per cat owner than dogs per dog owner. 40% of cat owners own more than one cat, whilst only 27% of dog owners own more than one dog.
Credit: PSDA

Surveys show how pets have become full-fledged family members in the last 15 years. Survey data show that 96% of the owners interviewed consider their pets family members. 85% of respondents report that their pet participates in everything that happens in the family, and 89% that their pets spend more time with their owners outside the home.

Owners are proving to be increasingly sensitive and attentive. They, therefore, need correct information and training on the subject through the support of professional figures, first and foremost that of the veterinary doctor, a reference point for animal health and welfare.

The grass I want…

An old, now somewhat disused proverb reminds us, “The grass I want does not even grow in the king’s garden!“. While this phrase contains a direct message, it should not inhibit the desire to live with a pet. Specifically, a puppy should be analysed in a modern key instead as a cue to empower the future owner. It is preventing the latter from giving in to ill-considered choices.

A pet, albeit with different peculiarities and characteristics between species and genetic selections, is an excellent enrichment for one’s life. But at the same time, it represents a responsibility that lasts over time. This is why all family members, albeit with different roles, ensure the puppy’s well-being.

Information and training, the veterinary doctor as a reference

It is obvious that future owners, even more so if they are newcomers, must at least possess basic knowledge about the pet they want to take in. The dog is not a human being in miniature, as every animal species has its ethogram. That is the complex set of behaviours and activities the species implements. It characterises it and must be translated into actions and behaviours to ensure the individual specimen’s health and well-being.

Sharing one’s life with a dog is an incredible enrichment, but it includes the willingness to devote time, effort and resources to ensure its health. Therefore, veterinary medical advice is essential before taking in a puppy. To better understand all the pet’s needs and the critical points for being a modern owner.

This guide will teach you everything you need to know about responsible puppy ownership, from choosing the right breed to training and socializing your new furry friend.
Socialise your puppy early on. This will help it learn to interact positively with other dogs and people.

The veterinary surgeon can provide a great deal of information. Both when one wishes to house a mixed breed and when the choice is made for specimens belonging to one or more species. Notions that start from the individual specificities and peculiarities, among the many examples, think of the higher incidence of certain diseases related to specific anatomical conformations (e.g. brachycephalic syndrome) or those breeds that are more at risk of orthopaedic conditions, the occurrence of which is also linked to genetics.

It is, therefore, important that the owner does not give in to so-called trends of the moment, which periodically see certain breeds more in the limelight than others. When adopting mixed breeds of puppies, it should also not be forgotten that the facilities and shelters that take in these specimens also assess the potential adopter.

Whatever the final choice for getting a puppy, the first veterinary visit must be early and is also the moment to address numerous issues and plan, for example, the diet, the selection of components and the educational path that must see the entire family involved in following rules to ensure the dog’s correct socialisation, both in the home and outdoor context.

Information can be provided by your veterinary surgeon and by veterinary doctors who are experts in animal behaviour. In turn, the veterinarian may also recommend the advice of professionals with specific technical training to support the educational process. The modern responsible pet owner also becomes an integral part of the One Health system, thanks to implementing the correct behaviour and actions where the pet is at the centre, at home, and outdoors.

Infectious diseases: a bridge between past and present

Few people know the story of the Oberkassel find; in this German locality from an ancient burial site 14,000 years ago, the skeleton of a man and a woman, along with that of a dog with lesions attributable to distemper, emerged.

Further investigations into the age revealed that the ancient owners had probably tried to take care of the ancestral pet. Today, thanks to scientific research, the primary tool for combating infectious diseases in puppies is carrying out a precise basic vaccination protocol that only the veterinary surgeon can define and implement. It will be up to the owner to respect all the timetables correctly for the following recalls.

Vaccination is a medical act and should not only be considered in the executive act of inoculation.

This moment results from a previous careful investigation centred on the specimen brought in for examination immediately after arrival at the home. The WSAVA (World Small Animals Veterinary Association) recognises two significant groups of vaccines; the first is the core (recommended) ones that should be given to all dogs, as they aim to combat fatal and globally widespread diseases.

These are canine parvovirus type 2 (and variants), distemper and canine adenovirus types 1 and 2. Then there are the so-called non-core vaccines, for which the veterinary surgeon will advise whether or not to administer them concerning epidemiological peculiarities, the territorial spread of specific pathologies and other parameters referring to the individual animal. Rabies is found worldwide, but it’s sporadic in the UK.

Although the risk of getting it while travelling is small, rabies is more common in parts of:

  • Asia
  • Africa
  • Central and South America

Of equally crucial importance, from a young age, in compliance with anti-parasite prophylaxis aimed at combating internal parasites and ectoparasites. It is, therefore, also aimed at preventing specific parasitic diseases. Targeted prophylaxis must follow veterinary indications regarding the choice of the individual molecule to be used, the timing of administration, and the formulation to be selected.

Getting a puppy Don’t forget the legislation.

Consultation with one’s veterinary reference facility and enquiries at the territorial veterinary services enable future owners to obtain necessary information. It also relates to all those aspects of current legislation about pet ownership, from the owner’s duties to the timing and behaviour to be observed. Concerning dogs, many provisions in force refer to national and territorial legislation, reaching as far as municipal regulations. It is, therefore, advisable to have an accurate picture of this issue even before the puppy’s arrival.

Do your research before getting a puppy. Learn about the different breeds and their needs to choose a dog that is a good fit for your lifestyle.
Be prepared for a long-term commitment. Dogs can live for 10-15 years, so be sure you are willing to provide them with a loving home for their entire life.

Among the national cornerstones are compulsory microchipping and registration with the Canine Registry Office—regulations concerning the pet passport with specificities also with the journey’s destination. Transfers, buying and selling, notification of death, the prohibition of caudotomy and conchectomy, and correct behaviour and conduct in public places are part of the many regulated topics.

Through play, you can entertain your dog and find lots of fun games on ETSY made entirely by hand for your four-legged friend.

Some opportunities are sometimes little known, at least by some owners.
One example is the possibility of obtaining a licence through participation in courses organised by the veterinary services of local health authorities. The Councils avail themselves of the collaboration of the Professional Associations of Veterinary Doctors, Veterinary Medicine Departments, and Veterinary and Animal Protection Associations.

Employing thematic lessons, it is possible to understand the dog’s ethogram better and the recommended behaviour to implement. There are also specific territorial regulations on this subject. In some municipalities, for example, a ‘special dog licence’ is in force, which is compulsory and aimed at owners and handlers of specific dog breeds which are present in local regulations.

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The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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Written by Frenchie Breed

The "Frenchie Breed" website is a blog aimed at dog owners. We regularly publish articles about our four-legged furry friends. Among the contents of our blog, you will find ample space on the latest news in the sector, with information and in-depth analysis dedicated to the world of dogs in all its forms, the latest trends and news of the moment, curious facts, events devoted to dogs, product reviews, as well as an intense activity of information regarding the health and well-being of pets.

Please Note: The articles in the 'Frenchie Breed Blog' are for information purposes only; nothing published can or should be construed as an attempt to offer professional advice or consultation with a physician, veterinary surgeon or another health professional.

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