National Puppy Day

This month has gone to the dogs: National Puppy Day is the 23rd! This ‘pawesome’ occasion was started to not only celebrate little Fido, but also to encourage responsible adoption practices. A local Bel Air, MD vet puts puppies in the spotlight in this piece.

When Did National Puppy Day Start?

This adorable holiday began back in 2006. It was started by pet lifestyle expert Colleen Paige. While this is certainly a perfect time to share some adorable puppy pics, there is a deeper meaning. Paige wanted to draw attention to puppy mills and some of the horrific practices they follow. As you may know, this is a huge animal welfare concern. 

We are happy to say that there has been progress in this area in recent years. Many pet stores now refuse to take puppies from mills. There are also more laws cracking down on the practices than there were back in 2006. However, there’s still a long way to go.

How To Celebrate National Puppy Day

You don’t have to go too crazy to get into the spirit and help spread the word. Just sharing pictures and infographics about puppies and puppy adoption will help. 

Another great option is to share the word about adoptable puppies on social media. Of course, if you have a puppy of your own, you can also treat little Fido by giving him a new toy or a special treat.

How Do I Help Fight Puppy Mills?

Puppy mills are particularly nefarious, because, at the end of the day, they really take advantage of people’s good will and love of puppies, but often show little or no concern for the pups. While some of their puppies might end up in loving homes, the breeding dogs they use are often kept in deplorable conditions. Many do not get proper care. It’s also, sadly, not uncommon for the pups to be abandoned or abused once they can no longer have babies.

But how do you spot them?

Here are a few pointers:

Never Buy A Dog Online. You may very well want to start your search for a dog online. For instance, if you’re looking for a puppy of a specific breed, Googling for local breeders makes sense. However, you should be able to visit the breeder and kennel in person. Be very wary of ads on marketplaces like Craigslist.

Adopt, Don’t Shop: As public opinion turns against puppy mills, this slogan is really taking root. Start your search at a local shelter. They often get puppies as well!

Support Animal Welfare Legislation: If you love animals, you’ll find lots of causes and legislature to support. Keep an eye out for those that involve puppy mills and breeders. 

Support School Programs: The Human Society has a great program that is geared toward elementary schools; the Nose-to-Tail program. If you are a teacher and/or have a child in grade school, you can recommend incorporating it into the curriculum. Or, go through it with your child at home. You can find more information on that here.

How Do I Tell A Breeder From A Puppy Mill?

This can be a tricky one. There are some wonderful breeders out there. Puppy mills may share adorable photos of their dogs, and the pooches may very well seem happy and healthy. There are a few things to remember, though.

Transparency is key. You should be able to visit the puppies and see where they are housed. The area should be clean, comfy, and spacious. While not all places do puppy cams, this could also be a green flag. Generally, the breeder should not only allow you to see where their dogs are kept, but should actually encourage it.

Specialties are another hallmark. Responsible breeders usually breed because they have a special affinity, expertise, or love for a certain breed. Therefore, most breeders focus on just a few select breeds. Often, it’s just one. A breeder that has a whole roster of different breeds may be more focused on turning a profit than breeding responsibly.

Another green flag would be if they vet you. Good breeders are very selective about who they let their puppies go to. You may need to fill out an application, and possibly even do a sort of meet and greet or interview.

Finally, check the paperwork. The sort of paperwork you get with little Fido can also be telling. A good breeder will include pedigree papers, vaccination records, breed information, and possibly some care tips. You may also be required to prove that you’ve had your canine buddy fixed, or, in some cases, pay a higher fee for the ability to breed your own pet. Good breeders also often offer return options should the puppy develop certain congenital health issues.

How Do I Choose My Puppy?

Picking the right dog can be tricky. Puppies are absolutely adorable, and it can be really hard to resist that cute furry face. However, this is also a lifelong commitment, so there are some things you’ll want to consider, aside from simply how cute little Fido is. While there are no bad dogs, there are definitely bad matches between dogs and their owners.

Here are a few things to look over:

  •  Expected Adult Size
  •  Grooming Needs
  •  Trainability
  •  Activity Needs
  •  Good With Kids
  •  Good With Pets
  •  Common Health Concerns

Reading some breed information can help a lot as far as giving you a general idea of what to expect. If you’re adopting a mutt, you may want to get a doggy DNA test done. Of course, being able to raise Fido yourself gives you a lot of room for training and shaping your pet’s personality. 

For example, a dog that has grown up with kids and cats is often going to be more tolerant than one who has no experience with them, and a pup that was properly socialized is less likely to develop certain behavioral problems.

That all said, there’s still plenty of room to open your heart. You may just fall in love with a specific pooch. That’s okay, too! 

Getting Ready For Your New Puppy

Adopting a puppy is a very big deal, and one that can have a huge impact on both your life and your pet’s. You will need to make some preparations before the big day.


You’ll need to pick up (or order) quite a few things for your new pet. Little Fido will need food, treats, dishes, grooming supplies, bedding, paw care supplies, a harness and a leash or collar, ID tags, and a crate or carrier. GPS tags aren’t a bad idea, either!


Little Fido is both very curious and very playful. This can make for a dangerous combination! Baby dogs are all at high risk of ingesting or choking on unsafe items. 

You’ll need to be even more careful once your pet gets into his teething stage. This usually happens when a pup is around six months or so. Teething can make for pretty sore gums. Your canine pal will try to ease the pain by chewing. That can be very dangerous, as many common household items are dangerous to dogs.

That list includes:

  •  Toxic plans
  •  Certain foods
  •  Small/sharp objects
  •  Ropes and Cords
  •  Plastic bags and ties
  •  Lawn/Garden products, such as fertilizers and slug bait
  •  Wires And Cords
  •  Medicine
  •  Vitamins
  •  Garbage
  • Personal Items
  • Small pieces of clothing

Ask your  Bel Air, MD veterinarians for specific advice on helping your pup get through that crazy chewing stage. 

Contact Your  Bel Air, MD Veterinary Clinic

Speaking of your veterinarian, one of the first things you’ll want to do is call us to make an appointment. Your canine friend will need a full exam. Vaccinations, parasite control, microchipping, and spay/neuter surgery should all go on the agenda for that first year. While you’re there, don’t be afraid to ask for tips on things like grooming, diet, exercise, and training. We love seeing puppies go from rambunctious youngsters to happy, healthy adult dogs.  

You’ll also want to check your yard for things like toxic plants. If you have a fence, make sure it’s nice and steady. Ask your Bel Air, MD veterinarian for more information.

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