Few can resist the warm and wriggly charm of a puppy.

Few can resist the warm and wriggly charm of a puppy. This Monday was National Puppy Day, the perfect occasion for thoughtful consideration of dog ownership and the responsibilities that go with it.
Established in 2006, National Puppy Day’s main mission is to educate the public about unethical dog breeding practices and to encourage adoption of dogs from local animal shelters. The Better Business Bureau seeks to also shed light on some of the scams that are prevalent around the issue of pet ownership.

Breed selection
Dogs come in as wide an assortment as do families. It is vital that you spend some time researching the various breeds, their temperament, activity level and all the other characteristics that distinguish one breed from another.
Weigh all their traits against your own household’s lifestyle and give careful consideration to whether your home can provide for the needs of the breed you are considering.

Precautions for homes with children
Adopting a puppy as a gift for a child is discouraged. Dogs are not toys, even though some breeds may have “toy” in their name. A household pet is a family member and requires the same love, respect and patience that any other member would. Children should be taught not to pull on the puppy’s tail or ears, which can be sensitive and lead to bonding issues between the child and the dog.
Young, teething puppies can be hyper at times, potentially scratching and chewing anything, including a child’s sensitive fingers, hands and legs.
Puppies less than 8 or 10 weeks old should not be taken from their mothers and littermates. Twelve weeks or older is the preferred age for adoption, since that gives them time to learn socialization from their mother.

Expense considerations
Remember that the puppy will soon be an adult animal. Food will be a necessity, as will vet bills. Boarding can be expensive while your family is away. Unfenced yards will have to be fenced. Some breeds require frequent grooming. It all adds up to financial pressures that must be part of your considerations as you weigh dog ownership. An emergency fund can help, especially when those unplanned-for vet bills arrive.

Pet flipping
There continue to be reports from around the country of those who either steal or falsely claim ownership of dogs, reselling them for a profit. The dogs may have been taken from an unattended fenced yard, or they may have been acquired by answering Craigslist ads stating a dog has been found. Purebred dogs are especially targeted in such scams. The scammer may then run an ad for the dog, making up elaborate stories for why they must sell it.
The best way to acquire a dog is by adopting from a shelter. Any dog purchased elsewhere should be thoroughly checked out by a veterinarian and scanned for a microchip. Observe how the dog interacts with the seller, especially if it is full grown, by visiting them. Ask to see paperwork and get an official bill of sale from the seller.
Remember that adoption from a local shelter is the best way to find your new canine family member. If you have questions or concerns about adding a dog to your family, contact your BBB at (800) 856-2417, or visit www.bbbinc.org.