How to combat puppy regret after the holidays

GRIFTON, N.C. (WITN) - Those who received a puppy as a gift over the holidays perhaps didn't realize the responsibility that comes along with getting the new dog. This is sometimes called puppy regret.

Faithful Friends Veterinary Hospital in Grifton is offering advice to help reduce the stress that comes along with getting a new puppy. Dr. Ivy Heath is the owner and sole vet of the hospital. She says behavior is the main cause of puppy regret.

Heath said, "That cuteness stage is over. And now, because that effort wasn't put in at the beginning—the behavior part—now we have an older puppy or young adult dog that's now at the shelter that nobody wants."

Heath says the hospital often sees a surge of puppy patients after the holidays, and the owners are often stressed out. ECU student Karli Garvin went through a similar situation with her six-month-old dog Harley. Garvin got her when she was two months old and, in the beginning, there was a struggle.

"She tore up my carpet. I learned that the hard way; leaving her in the room," Garvin said.

Garvin learned that taking her beagle mix out to burn some energy helps make bad behavior less of a problem. She often brings Harley to the off-leash dog park in Greenville to play.

Garvin said, "She's very energetic. She needs to go outside and play and have fun, or she will be up all night."

Garvin says she also struggled with potty-training and training her to do tricks.

Heath explained that there's so much that goes into raising a new puppy that owners should be aware of and prepared for beforehand. For one, puppies are expensive. Not only do you have to worry about buying what the puppy needs, but there are also medical costs. Heath suggests puppy insurance.

Just know that if you're having any puppy regret, the best years have yet to come.

"Just enjoy the little things. When I first got her, I was stressing like, oh maybe I made a mistake. I shouldn't have one this. I'm in school,'" Garvin said, "It's totally worth it at the end."

She suggests putting the dog on a regimen and sticking to the schedule, and don't let the dog run the house.

Heath said, "What you invest now in this baby; those years are coming. Those great years of walking side by side; those years of the bond are coming."