Bringing a puppy home: Essential Tips and Advice

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Bringing a puppy home is more than a delightful experience; it’s a journey filled with love, learning, and growth. I remember the day I brought Murphy home, an 8-week old Golden Retriever, into my life. It was a day filled with excitement and a bit of nervousness so I understand the mix of emotions and questions you might have during this time. That’s why I’m here to share my firsthand experience and knowledge to guide you through this incredible journey.

In this guide, I’ll provide you with practical tips and essential advice to ensure your transition is as smooth and joyful as possible. Whether it’s preparing your home, understanding your puppy’s needs, or just knowing what to expect, I’ve got the insights you need.

To make sure you’re fully prepared, don’t forget to check out this comprehensive new puppy checklist for Australia, which will help you gather all the essentials for your new furry friend. 

Lets get started!
Meeting Murphy, Golden Retriever Puppy. Bringing Home a New Puppy in Australia
Meeting Murphy, our Golden Retriever Puppy

Why Choose to Bring a New Puppy into Your Life?

Adding a puppy to your family can bring immense joy, love, and companionship. Dogs are known to be loyal and affectionate creatures, providing emotional support and becoming a beloved members of your household.

The benefits of owning a puppy extend beyond companionship. They can help promote an active lifestyle, reduce stress levels, and even teach responsibility to children.

So, if you’re ready for unconditional love and delightful moments, bringing home a new puppy is a fantastic choice!

Want to know what to do once you have adopted your new puppy? Discover tips for owning a new puppy in Australia. 

Selecting the Perfect Breed for Your Lifestyle

When considering a new puppy, it’s crucial to select a breed that aligns with your lifestyle, living arrangements, and family dynamics. Australia boasts a diverse range of dog breeds, each with unique characteristics and needs.

Some breeds are more energetic and require ample exercise, while others are more laid-back and better suited for apartments or small homes.

Meet Murphy, our new Golden Retriever

We chose Murphy who is a Golden Retriever and was bred by Annador Golden Retrievers. Having grown up with multiple retrievers and falling in love with Murray whom I share with my parents, it was an obvious choice for us to adopt this breed into our home.

Want to watch Murphy grow and follow us on our adventures? Subscribe to Pawtal and you can also follow Murphy on his Instagram page by clicking here.

Some breeds are more energetic and require ample exercise, while others are more laid-back and better suited for apartments or small homes. Golden Retrievers are known for their friendly, outgoing, and gentle temperament. They are intelligent, affectionate, and devoted dogs that are eager to please their owners.

Knowing the right time to adopt a puppy

I shared a post in July 2022 about not getting a Golden Retriever titled, Golden Retriever Puppy, when to adopt. This was due to our lifestyle and not being home for long periods of time throughout the day. Our circumstances have not changed but when the opportunity arose to adopt Murphy, we reviewed our lifestyle and decided we could make it work.

Learning Murphy was an only puppy cleared any doubts and was assured by the breeder he would adapt and be fine.

Need to choose which breeds are best for you? Read our post on choosing the right pet for you and discover pet types and breeds that meet your lifestyle and needs. 

Do thorough research on various breeds, considering factors such as size, temperament, exercise requirements, and compatibility with children or other pets.

Finding a Reputable Breeder

Finding a reputable breeder is essential to ensure the health and well-being of your new puppy. A responsible breeder prioritises the health of their dogs, conducts necessary health checks, and provides proper socialisation for the puppies.

Look for breeders who are registered with reputable kennel clubs, have good references, and are transparent about the breeding process. Visiting the breeder’s facilities and meeting the puppy’s parents can give you insights into their environment and temperament.

I was fortunate to be invited to meet the mum (Fugee) and dad (Scout) prior to collecting Murphy and I knew immediately that he was from a respected and reputable breeder. We were given detailed information to take home and clear instructions on what to feed and how to care for him.

Remember, responsible breeders care deeply about their dogs and want to ensure they go to loving homes.

Fugee and Scout from Annador Golden Retrievers
Fugee and Scout, Murphys mum and dad. Photo courtesy of Annador Golden Retrievers

Preparing Your Home for the Arrival of Your New Puppy

Preparing your home for the arrival of your new puppy is a crucial step in ensuring their safety and comfort. Puppies are naturally curious and can easily get into mischief if not properly supervised. Here are some steps to puppy-proof your home:

Puppy Proofing:

Before your puppy arrives, it’s a good idea to get down on your dog’s eye level and take a look around from their perspective. Remember, anything on the floor or within their reach is a potential object of curiosity.

Consider the room where your puppy will spend most of their time, especially when you’re not home. Many pet owners find it helpful to set up a ‘puppy cam’ to keep an eye on their little one.

Here’s a list of some common household items and areas that may intrigue your puppy;

  • Rubbish bins
  • Cords, chargers, cables
  • Batteries, cleaning products, fragrances, poisons
  • Pest animal baits (rodenticides, snail bait, etc.)
  • Personal items (clothes, sanitary products, etc.)
  • Houseplants (some are toxic to dogs)
  • Foods, drowning hazards, doors and windows, window dressing cords, fireplace
  • Stairs (consider a baby/portable gate)
  • Outside areas (fence, gates, pool, tools, garden sprays, paint, plants, etc.)
Puppy Pen, puppy proofing our home
Puppy proofing our home to ensure Murphy is safe and has his own space (plant has now been moved)

By taking these precautions, you’ll create a safe environment for your puppy to explore and thrive in.

Essential Puppy Supplies You’ll Need

To ensure a smooth transition for your new puppy, it’s essential to have the necessary supplies on hand. Here’s a checklist of items you’ll need;

Puppy EssentialsWhy you need for your new puppy

Crate or Puppy Playpen

Having a crate or playpen for your puppy serves multiple purposes. It provides them with a secure and cozy space where they can retreat and feel safe.

It also aids in potty training and prevents destructive behaviours when you can’t directly supervise your puppy.

Food and Water Bowls

Stainless steel bowls are the preferred choice for your puppy’s food and water. They are durable, easy to clean, and do not harbor bacteria like plastic bowls can.

This helps to maintain a hygienic eating environment for your puppy.

High-Quality Puppy Food

Feeding your puppy high-quality and age-appropriate food is essential for their growth and development. Premium puppy food contains the necessary nutrients and balanced ingredients to support their overall health, immune system, and energy levels.

To discover how much you should feed your puppy, use our FREE dog feeding guide calculator by clicking here.

Collar, Leash, and ID Tag

A collar, leash, and ID tag are vital for your puppy’s safety and identification. The collar provides a place to attach the leash for walks and outings, while the ID tag contains important information, such as your contact details, in case your puppy gets lost.

Toys and Chewables

Toys and chewables are not just for entertainment; they also serve important purposes for your puppy. To keep your puppy mentally stimulated, toys can prevent boredom, and redirect their chewing instincts away from your belongings.

Chewable toys promote healthy dental hygiene by helping to clean their teeth and gums.

Puppy Pads or Outdoor Potty Supplies

If you’re house-training your puppy, having puppy pads or outdoor potty supplies is crucial. Puppy pads provide a designated area for them to relieve themselves indoors.

We have had greater success with a pet loo. Murphy immediately knew that was where he could pee and so far we have not had any accidents inside.

Purchase the PetSafe Toilet which you can purchase here.

Grooming Supplies

Regular grooming is essential for your puppy’s hygiene and overall well-being.

Having the necessary grooming supplies, such as a brush or comb, shampoo, nail clippers, and ear cleaning solution, allows you to maintain their coat, nails, and ears in a clean and healthy condition.

Pet Insurance

Considering pet insurance for your puppy is a proactive measure to protect their health and manage unexpected veterinary costs.

Pet insurance can provide coverage for accidents, illnesses, and even routine preventive care, giving you peace of mind knowing that your puppy’s health needs are financially supported.

By gathering these essential supplies, you’ll be well-prepared to welcome your new furry family member. Download our FREE new puppy checklist for Australia, which will help you gather all the essentials for your new furry friend. 

Bringing Home Your New Puppy

The day has finally arrived to bring home your new puppy! This is an exciting time, but it’s important to make the transition as smooth as possible for your new furry friend.

Follow these steps to ensure a positive experience:

Bringing Home a New Puppy in Australia
Meet Murphy, our new Golden Retriever Puppy. 8-weeks of age
  1. Create a Comfortable Space: Set up a designated area with their crate, bedding, and toys where your puppy can feel secure and calm.
  2. Introduce Gradually: Allow your puppy to explore their new surroundings at their own pace. Give them time to sniff and become familiar with their new home.
  3. Establish a Routine: Start implementing a consistent routine for feeding, potty breaks, playtime, and rest. This will help your puppy adjust and feel secure.
  4. Limit Visitors: While it’s tempting to introduce your puppy to everyone right away, it’s best to limit visitors initially to prevent overwhelming your new furry friend.
  5. Supervise and Bond: Spend quality time with your puppy, engaging in gentle play and cuddling. This will help strengthen the bond between you and ease any separation anxiety.

Remember, patience and understanding are key during this adjustment period. Your new puppy will soon feel at home and become an integral part of your family.

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Introducing Your Puppy to Their New Home

Once your puppy has settled into their new space, it’s time to introduce them to the different areas of your home. Gradually introduce your puppy to one room at a time, allowing them to explore under your supervision.

Use positive reinforcement, such as treats and praise, to encourage them to investigate new spaces. As your puppy becomes more comfortable, gradually expand their access to other areas of the house.

This gradual introduction will help prevent accidents and create a sense of familiarity and security within your home.

Establishing a Routine for Your Puppy

Puppies thrive on routine and predictability. Establishing a consistent daily routine will help your puppy feel secure and understand what is expected of them.

Consider the following aspects when creating a routine;

  1. Feeding Schedule: Puppies typically require three to four small meals a day. Determine a feeding schedule that works best for your puppy and stick to it.
  2. Potty Breaks: Take your puppy outside frequently, especially after meals, naps, and playtime. Use positive reinforcement when they eliminate outdoors.
  3. Exercise and Playtime: Puppies have plenty of energy to burn. Provide regular exercise and play sessions to keep them mentally and physically stimulated.
  4. Training Sessions: Allocate time each day for training sessions to teach your puppy basic commands and establish good behaviour.
  5. Sleeping Arrangements for Your Puppy: Puppies often sleep 18-20 hours a day, which is vital for their growth and development. Ensure they have a quiet, comfortable place to sleep and try not to disturb them while they’re resting.
    Murphy sleeps in the Snooza Buddy Bed, click for my 5-star review.
Snooza Buddy Bed Chinchilla
Snooza Buddy Bed, click for my 5-star review

Choosing the Right Vet and Healthcare

  • Microchipping: Your puppy should come microchipped. Make sure to keep the microchip details up to date with your current contact information.
  • Choosing a Vet: Consider what’s important for you and your pet in a vet. You might prefer someone local or a vet recommended for your breed.
    You can also consider a Holistic Vet for preventative and natural treatments. Find a Holistic Vet by clicking here. It’s also wise to familiarise yourself with local pet emergency centres and house call vets in your area.

Registration and Insurance for Your Puppy

  • Registration: Check pet registration laws with your local council and be aware of any associated fees.
  • Pet Insurance: Vet bills can be expensive, and pet insurance is a way to protect yourself from some unexpected costs. Compare options to find the best fit for you and your dog.

Consistency and positive reinforcement are essential for successful routine establishment. Over time, your puppy will learn what to expect and will be more likely to exhibit good behaviour.

Family Rules

Establishing clear family rules regarding the responsibilities of feeding, walking, and training your pets is crucial for ensuring their well-being and creating a harmonious environment for everyone in the household.

Additionally, involving young children in these tasks can prepare them for the arrival of a new pet and teach them how to properly care for and interact with them. Here are some guidelines to consider:

Feeding:

  • Assign specific family members responsible for feeding the pet at designated times.
  • Create a feeding schedule to ensure consistency and prevent overfeeding.
  • Teach children about appropriate portion sizes and types of food suitable for the pet’s dietary needs.
  • Supervise young children while they feed the pet to ensure safety and proper handling.

Walking and Exercise:

  • Determine who will be responsible for walking the pet and how often.
  • Establish a regular exercise routine to keep your pet healthy and active.
  • Teach children how to properly walk the pet using a leash and encourage them to participate under adult supervision.
  • Emphasise the importance of picking up after the pet during walks to maintain cleanliness in the community.

Training and Socialisation:

  • Assign one or more family members to take the lead in training the pet.
  • Create a consistent training plan to address obedience and behavioral issues.
  • Encourage children to participate in training sessions and teach them basic commands to use with the pet.
  • Arrange supervised playdates with other pets or socialisation opportunities to help your pet develop positive behaviour and social skills.

Hygiene and Grooming:

  • Establish a grooming routine for your pet, including bathing, brushing, and nail trimming.
  • Determine who will be responsible for carrying out these tasks.

Safety and Boundaries:

  • Set clear boundaries within the home to establish areas where the pet is allowed and areas that are off-limits.
  • Teach children to respect the pet’s personal space, especially during meal times or when the pet is resting.
  • Educate family members about potential hazards for pets within the household, such as toxic plants or harmful foods, and establish rules to prevent accidents.

Remember, these family rules should be adaptable to the age and abilities of your children. As they grow older, they can take on more responsibilities and develop a deeper understanding of pet care.

By involving the entire family in the care of your pets, you not only ensure their well-being but also foster a sense of responsibility and empathy among family members.

Puppy Development Timeline

This timeline provides a comprehensive overview of the key milestones and care tips for your puppy’s first 19 months, ensuring a healthy and happy start to their life.

AgeMilestones and Care Tips

1 Month

  • Teething begins.
  • Weaning can begin. The breeder may wean the puppy with raw mince for a smoother transition to Big Dog.

1½ Months

  • Nipping, play fighting, chewing.
  • Learning from littermates and mother.
  • First vaccinations (6-8 weeks).

2 Months

  • Adoption is usually between 2-3 months.
  • Legal requirement in Australia for release at 8 weeks.
  • A vet visit is recommended after long journeys.
  • Eating 3 daily meals. Transitioning to new food.
  • Discuss ongoing care with a veterinarian.
  • Puppy preschool may begin (vaccination certificates required).
  • Invest in age-appropriate chew toys.
  • Chasing thrown objects and playing with other dogs.

3-4 Months

  • Booster vaccinations (10-12 weeks).
  • Final vaccinations (14-16 weeks).
  • Recognizes own name.
  • About 90% of adult brain mass is present.
  • Responds to “come” when trained.
  • Include soft bones in diet (e.g., chicken wings and necks).

5-6 Months

  • Small breeds nearing adult height.
  • Monitor feeding and weight.
  • Daily ‘puppy paced’ walks.
  • Possible decrease to 2 meals a day from 6 months.

12 Months

  • Most breeds near adult height and weight.
  • Continue monitoring feeding and weight.
  • Transition from puppy to adult food.
  • Yearly vaccination boosters or titer testing.

18 Months

  • Approaching social maturity, adult behavior.
  • Ready for running, depending on breed and vet advice.

19 Months

  • Milk teeth lost, adult teeth present.
  • Include larger bones in diet.
  • Puppy can hold elimination for about 8 hours.
Puppy Development Timeline
Puppy Development Timeline

Remember to always provide fresh water and avoid feeding your puppy human food or foods that may be toxic to dogs. Regularly consult your veterinarian for any specific dietary recommendations or concerns.

Feeding and Nutrition for Your Growing Pup

Proper nutrition is vital for the healthy growth and development of your puppy. Consult your veterinarian to determine the best diet for your specific breed and age of puppy. They will recommend high-quality puppy food that meets the necessary nutritional requirements.

Follow these guidelines for feeding your puppy:

  1. Age-Appropriate Food: Choose a puppy food that is specifically formulated for their age and breed size. Our breeders have recommended Heart and Soul, Lamb and Rice to feed Murphy. As this is hard to find, she also recommends Royal Canin Larador Retriever dog food (which Murray eats). 
    Breeders Tip: Avoid feeding puppy food to your new pup to avoid weight too much gain as they grow.
  2. Portion Control: Follow the feeding guidelines provided on the food packaging and adjust portions as your puppy grows.
  3. Scheduled Meals: Establish regular mealtimes to promote a consistent routine.
  4. Avoid Overfeeding: Overfeeding can lead to obesity and health problems. Monitor your puppy’s weight and body condition to ensure they are growing at a healthy rate.

Remember to always provide fresh water and avoid feeding your puppy human food or foods that may be toxic to dogs. Regularly consult your veterinarian for any specific dietary recommendations or concerns.

Puppy Training Basics

Training your puppy is an essential part of their development and ensures they grow into well-behaved and obedient dogs. Start with the basics, such as house-training, crate training, and basic commands.

Here are some training tips;

  1. Positive Reinforcement: Use rewards, such as treats and praise, to reinforce desired behaviors. Avoid punishment-based methods, as they can create fear and anxiety in your puppy.
  2. Consistency: Be consistent with your training methods and expectations. Use the same commands and rewards consistently to avoid confusion.
  3. Short and Engaging Sessions: Keep training sessions short and fun to hold your puppy’s attention. Gradually increase the duration as they progress.
  4. Socialisation: Expose your puppy to various people, animals, and environments from an early age to promote socialisation skills and reduce fear or aggression.
A group of people with their dogs in an indoor training class, with two dogs in the center greeting each other, on a smooth floor with a warehouse-like setting in the background
Murphy attending Puppy Training from 10 weeks of age

Consider enrolling your puppy in a puppy training class or working with a professional trainer for more structured and comprehensive training.

Transform ordinary note-taking into a journey of love, joy, and inspiration with a new pet affirmation at every turn.
Perfect for pet lovers of all ages!

Socialising Your Puppy

Socialisation is crucial for your puppy to become well-adjusted and confident in various situations. Expose them to a wide range of experiences, people, animals, and environments.

Here are some tips for socialising your puppy:

  1. Puppy Playdates: Organise playdates with other friends who have friendly and vaccinated puppies to promote positive interactions and playful behavior.
  2. Meet New People: Introduce your puppy to different people, including children, men, women, and other individuals whom you cross in your day-to-day life.
  3. Exposure to New Environments: Take your puppy on outings to parks, pet-friendly stores, and busy areas to expose them to different sights, sounds, and smells.
  4. Positive Reinforcement: Use treats and praise to reward your puppy for calm and friendly behavior during socialisation experiences.

Always socilaise your puppy but early and consistent efforts will lay a strong foundation for your puppy’s future behavior.

Transform your puppy’s behaviour with expert tips on housebreaking, kennel training, and more. Purchase eBook for a happy, well-behaved pup!

Join the Pawtal family and get our puppy training guide for just $4.95!

Grooming Your Puppy

Regular grooming sessions will help keep your puppy’s coat clean, healthy, and free from matting. The grooming routine will vary depending on the breed, but here are some general tips:

  1. Brushing: Brush your puppy’s coat regularly to remove loose hair and prevent matting. Use a brush or comb suitable for their coat type.
  2. Bathing: Bathe your puppy using a mild, dog-specific shampoo when necessary. Be cautious not to over-bathe, as it can strip their coat of natural oils.
  3. Nail Trimming: Trim your puppy’s nails regularly using proper dog nail clippers to prevent overgrowth and discomfort.
  4. Ear Cleaning: Clean your puppy’s ears regularly with a gentle ear-cleaning solution to prevent infections.
  5. Dental Care: Introduce teeth brushing early on to maintain good dental hygiene. Use a dog-specific toothbrush and toothpaste.

If you’re unsure about specific grooming needs for your puppy’s breed, consult a professional groomer for guidance.

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Healthcare for Your New Puppy

Ensuring your puppy’s health is a top priority. Here are some important aspects of healthcare for your new furry friend:

  1. Vaccinations: Consult your veterinarian to establish a vaccination schedule for your puppy. Core vaccines, such as distemper and parvovirus, are crucial for their protection.
  2. Parasite Prevention: Regularly administer flea and tick preventatives and use heartworm prevention medication as recommended by your veterinarian.
  3. Regular Veterinary Check-ups: Schedule regular wellness visits with your veterinarian to monitor your puppy’s overall health and address any concerns.
  4. Spaying or Neutering: Discuss spaying or neutering your puppy with your veterinarian. This procedure helps prevent unwanted litters and offers various health benefits. We have decided that Murphy will be our pet therefore he will be neutered at 18 months of age..

Stay vigilant for any signs of illness or unusual behavior in your puppy. If you notice anything concerning, contact your veterinarian promptly.

Pro Tip: Download First Aid for Pets Australia. This app will provide you with comprehensive first-aid information specifically tailored for pets. Have the knowledge and skills to provide immediate care to your pet before seeking professional help.

Frequently Asked Questions

Q: What age can I bring a puppy home in Australia?

A: Puppies can generally be brought home between 8 to 12 weeks of age. This timeframe allows them to be properly weaned and learn important social skills from their littermates and mother.

Q: How can I help my puppy adjust to their new home?

A: Providing a comfortable space, establishing a routine, and giving them time to explore gradually can help your puppy adjust to their new home. Offering lots of love, patience, and positive reinforcement will also aid in their transition.

Q: Should I crate-train my puppy?

A: Crate training can be beneficial for both you and your puppy. It provides them with a safe space and aids in potty training and preventing destructive behavior when unsupervised. Proper crate training methods involve positive reinforcement and gradual acclimation.

Q: When should I start training my puppy?

A: You can start training your puppy as early as 8 weeks of age. Begin with basic commands and house training. Puppy training classes or working with a professional trainer can provide additional guidance.

Q: How often should I groom my puppy?

A: The frequency of grooming depends on the breed and coat type. Some puppies may require daily brushing, while others may need grooming sessions every few weeks. Regular grooming is essential for maintaining a healthy coat and skin.

Q: When should I schedule my puppy’s first veterinary visit?

A: It’s recommended to schedule your puppy’s first veterinary visit within a few days of bringing them home.

This allows the veterinarian to thoroughly examine, administer necessary vaccinations, and discuss healthcare and preventive measures.

Know what to do when bringing Home a New Puppy in Australia

Bringing home a new puppy in Australia is an exciting and rewarding experience. By carefully selecting the right breed, preparing your home, establishing routines, and providing proper care, you can ensure a smooth transition for your new furry friend.

Enjoy the journey of raising your new puppy and cherish the lifelong bond you’ll develop together!

Want to know how to choose the best travel crate for your new puppy, click here.

Looking for more puppy guides?

About to adopt a new puppy? Here are a few other posts you may enjoy;

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How Pawtal can help you

Pawtal can help you find a wide range of other pet-friendly services. Whether you need pet sitting, grooming, or something else, we can connect you with the best providers in your area. Request a pet service today and let us help you take care of your furry friend.

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Questions? Join our FREE Facebook group, Pet Travel Adventures. Receive advice about pet care, dog training tips, and anything else to help you to travel with pets.

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Recommended Products and Pet Resources

Want help planning a pet adventure or need assistance finding a pet service? Request a pet service and we will reach out to our pet community to find you suitable options that meet your pet’s needs.

Growing up in Australia alongside dogs and cats has equipped me with valuable insights into resources for pet travel. I want to help simplify your experience and recommend some of the tools I use when planning either an afternoon walk or a weekend road trip. 

Not travelling? Have fun at home with Pawtal’s pet product guides and products we love on Pet Hub. I am adding new products which I am loving as my puppy Murphy grows. Or start planning your next adventure with our pet travel guides.

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Vet Care and pet supplies

Pet Chemist: Your #1 resource for pet products including Parasite Control, Prescription Diets, and health care. Save Up to 50% Compared to Your Vet. Lowest Price Online with an Aussie Support Team. Click here to browse their products now

Vet Supply: My recommended source for cheap Pet Supplies & Food. Genuine Products, Affordable Prices. Brands include Hill’s Prescription Diet, Hill’s Ideal Balance, Hill’s Science Diet, Royal Canin, Pedigree, Black Hawk, Applaws, Optimum, Nutro Natural, SavourLife. Free Fast Delivery on all orders! Click here to shop now

Pet Circle: My go-to source for online pet shopping as they offer low prices on 8000+ Dog, Cat, Bird, Fish, and pet Products. Price Match Guarantee. Subscription options are available and Free Fast Metro Shipping Over $49. Click here to grab a bargain!

Pet Grooming

Pet Cloud Grooming: I recommend Pet Cloud as they understand the importance of pet grooming, and work with only the most experienced and skilled groomers to provide top-quality grooming services to your furry friend. Use code MAKEPAWMEMORIES and get $10.00 off your 1st booking. Find out more by clicking here

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