Here are some things to think about if you are considering adopting a puppy!

No matter what the breed or size of the dog, they are the cutest when they are puppies. Who can resist the big brown eyes, the playful demeanor and the sweet look of a puppy? However, if you are considering adopting a puppy, please keep in mind the following important facts:

1. Puppies are babies. They cannot control their bowels and bladder until they are five weeks old. They have special nutritional needs until they are one to one and a half years old. They must be properly trained and socialized to their new families and learn how to be a mannerly member of the family when they grow up. They grow up very fast, achieving full sexual maturity at approximately one year old (depending on breed).

2. Puppies should not be removed from their litter until they are at least six weeks old and preferably not until they are seven to eight weeks of age.

3. Adopting a puppy means making a commitment to spend the time and effort (and sometimes sleepless nights) to help the new baby adjust to his or her new home.

4. Please, never adopt a puppy in the hope of teaching your child responsibility or having them “grow up together”. Remember, the puppy will be a mature adult in about a year and your child will still be at nearly the same level of maturity he or she is at now. The child may want the puppy, but the adults have to accept the responsibility for its care and nurture.

5. That care includes proper veterinary care and immunizations as well as heartworm prevention. There are initial and ongoing health care expenses that must be anticipated and planned for. All animals adopted from Animal Control Facilities or Humane Societies in Georgia must be spayed or neutered. If your puppy is too young for this procedure when you take him or her home you must, by law, commit to bring him or her back for the procedure or provide proof that it was done by a licensed veterinarian.

6. You are just about guaranteed to spend a lot of time laughing and smiling at your puppy playing and just learning about the world.

7. Adopting a puppy will assure that the adult dog will be a well socialized and trained member of your family.

8. Children who grow up with puppies and dogs in the family do learn respect, caring and affection, even if they don’t do a good job of feeding and walking the dog.

9. A puppy who grows up in your family will establish a special bond with all the members of the family that will last a lifetime.

10. Adopting a puppy is a lifetime commitment that will bring your family a great deal of joy and happiness. However, it is just like adopting a child,there will be bumps along the way, but nothing that cannot be overcome with love and attention.

Thank you Roy Scarborough, our animal behaviorist at the Humane Society of South Coastal Georgia, for your helpful tips! Find a certified animal behaviorist of the Association of Pet Dog Trainers in your area: