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Thinking about getting a dog or cat?

Learn what to expect, how to select the best companion animal for your home and lifestyle,what items to buy, what to do during those exciting first few weeks. Find simple, gentle training techniques that will last a lifetime.

Bringing home a new puppy, kitten, dog, cat, or any companion animal, is an exciting time, as you envision a lifetime of fun together with your new family member. Getting an animal is a lifelong commitment, so you’ll want to make sure that you find the animal that is perfect for you. Open Paw is here to help you find the perfect furry friend, and to help you both to live happily ever after.

Your first step should be education. If you’re thinking about getting a dog, purchase a hard copy, or download, Dr. Ian Dunbar’s BEFORE You Get Your Puppy, and follow up with AFTER You Get Your Puppy (available in hard copy only) to learn what to expect from and how to prepare for your new dog. A summary is available here. If you are preparing for a feline, read the sections on cats here.

You should also think carefully about what kind of animal will be perfect for you and your family. The following questions should help you.

Your Perfect Companion: When you think about a dog or cat, what is your dream picture?
Ask yourself these questions about your lifestyle and expectations.
Your Needs: It is also important to consider your needs when choosing a companion animal.
Your Preferences: Only after you have considered the above questions, you should think about your preferences for a companion animal.
Evaluating Your Pet: Once you have a good idea of what your perfect companion should be like, you can begin to evaluate the dogs and cats you meet, at the breeder's or in a shelter.
Pet Basics: Be sure to check out the basic information you will need to know, once you have your new dog or cat at home.

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