How to take care of your puppy: Some alternatives

Your puppy is almost an adult dog and, due to his prior training, is better able to spend longer stretches of time alone. Many puppies stay home during the day while their owner is at work. Dog walkers may visit some of these puppies while other puppies may visit a doggy daycare. There is no "right" choice - there are many different care options that can meet the needs of your puppy. Discuss these and other options with your veterinarian before making a decision. Which one you choose should depend on your preferences and your puppy's temperament.

Stay-at-home puppy

Most puppies remain at home while their owner is at work for the day. Your puppy will be healthy and happy when spending the day alone as long as he is exercised in the morning and evening. As well, he should be given toys to play with while you're away, access to fresh water, and your home should be puppy-proofed.

Doggy daycare
In daycare puppies get used to interacting with other dogs and new people which helps with their socialization. A daycare environment also gives them the opportunity to exercise while you're at work. Whether or not your puppy thrives in a daycare setting depends on his temperament so, again, it's important to discuss this with your veterinarian before making a decision.

Dog walker
Professional dog walkers come to your home when you're out to pick up your pup for a walk. Depending on your arrangements with your dog walker this may happen once or twice a day, and may involve other dogs.

Pet sitters
Sitters drop into your home once or twice a day to feed and play with your pet. This person can be a friend or neighbor. If you've asked a child in your neighborhood to pet sit make sure a parent or guardian is prepared to step in and ensure your puppy will be cared for. Some veterinary technicians pet sit on the side, so ask about this at your veterinary clinic or hospital.

Trading care with others
Some owners arrange to take turns caring for each other's puppies. For instance, a neighboring dog owner would agree to bring your puppy over to play while you're away for the day and vice versa. Puppies who know each other are probably best suited for this arrangement, and then you can feel comfortable knowing that your puppy is among friends. Be sure expectations are spelled out and emergency contact information exchanged.

Checklist

If you will be using dog walkers or doggy daycare be sure to ask for references.Protect your puppy. He should have up-to-date ID tags and a microchip.Leave your daytime contact information with your puppy's caregiver so you and/or a friend or family member can be contacted in case of an emergency.When selecting a daycare or dog walker make sure they require proof of immunization, screen dogs for good temperament and put only compatible dogs together.If you plan to use a daycare ensure that your puppy will be walked during the day. Check that the facility enclosures and play areas are secure so your puppy can't escape or be stolen.If your puppy will be staying at home he should be walked just before you leave for the day and as soon as you get home.

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