Co Tyrone Animal Charity’s top tips to make sure a puppy isn’t just for Christmas


A Co Tyrone animal shelter shared their top tips for those who might have a new pet in the home this year.

Janice Porter of the Grovehill Animal Trust in Omagh says that honeymoons for pets and their new owners can often last well into spring, but there are times when some families find it difficult to maintain that relationship with their animals.

When that happens, Janice says, it’s important that people seek help before they resort to last resort to accommodate their pet.

“We have people who have never had a puppy and it’s a learning experience,” Janice told MyTyrone

“As a pet owner, it is really important to know that there are no stupid questions. If there is something you don’t understand or don’t know, give a shelter or your local veterinarian a call and get an answer.

“There are people who call and chat and they find something really helpful and that prevents the dog from being taken to the shelter.”

For Janice, patience is one of the most important things when getting a new pet.

“Obviously, a puppy leaving his mother or a shelter is a big change in his lifestyle and routine. So often we hear at the shelter that people say they had the puppy for two or three days and he is not settling in.

“Of course it’s not – you have to allow days, weeks to get the puppy into the routine.

“People who have a kitten or puppy at Christmas time need to realize that it’s a commitment of around 14 or 15 years of age.

“In order to get something out of anything in life, you have to make a little effort.”

Speaking of puppies, Janice added that they shouldn’t run more than they can handle at a young age, or doing so could create problems across the board.

“For every month starting at 8 weeks, a dog should walk for five minutes. So a two month old puppy should run for a maximum of ten minutes.

“It doesn’t depend on the size of the dog, but has to do with bone structure and growth.

“Veterinarians used to tell me that many puppies have been injured or their growth has been impaired from taking too long walks.”

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Socialization issues are one of the main reasons dogs are brought to shelters, she added, pleading with families not to get their dogs to interact with other dogs and people to avoid this.

“Socialization is really very important, it was difficult throughout the lockdown, but things have opened up again so take them to the dog park, introduce them to other family members so they don’t fully bond with one family member.

“It’s hard work, but it’s just so rewarding. Nothing beats opening the back door at night and your little pet will jump out excitedly to see you. “

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