Author: Victoria Smith
You’ve fallen in love with a four-legged friend. It’s time to bring home your first dog. While you may have grown up with dogs in your childhood home, you may not have been aware of all the work that goes into pet ownership. It isn’t a decision that should be made on a whim. Plan ahead to set the stage for success. Try five ways you can prepare for getting your first dog.
1. Ensure Your Home is Puppy-proof
Puppies love to chew. It’s in their nature. They’ll also want to explore every nook and cranny of their new surroundings. Begin by going through every room of your home to remove any items that could be a temptation for a puppy. Slippers, socks, and shoes are a dog’s favorite chew toy. Place shoes and slippers in a closet. Don’t leave anything on the floor, including children’s toys, that could end up in a dog’s mouth. Other measures you can take include closing doors to protect your belongings, putting special belongings in high places, and using a baby gate to confine your pet to a designated area. Dogs love to greet their owners when they get home. They will often grab the first thing they can find, such as a shoe. Place a bin of dog toys by the door to keep your pooch out of trouble.
Be sure your backyard is puppy-proof as well. The backyard is most likely where you’ll be spending a lot of time with your pup, so make sure there are no holes in the fence for them to escape through. Check your yard for mushrooms, trash, or any other small things your puppy might try to eat that could be harmful to them. If you have a pool, consider putting up some pool fencing to keep the pup safely away from the water. Once your backyard is secure, you can purchase some outdoor puppy toys such as a small puppy pool, a sprinkler, frisbees, etc. You and your new best friend will have so much fun playing together outside.
2. Make Sure Everyone in the Family is on Board
Getting a puppy is a big responsibility. It’s going to take teamwork to take care of a dog. Talk with all of the members of your household about pet care and what it will involve. Everyone should take turns when it comes to training the puppy to go outside. Regular walking will also be an important job. Let the whole family feel important as they share in grooming, feeding, and playing with your newest addition.
3. Pay a visit to the Pet Supply Store
A new puppy needs more than love. Visit your local pet supply store or go to the pet section of your grocery store to stock up on everything you need. Don’t forget puppy food, pet bowls, a collar, a leash, and toys. A pet bed will be another wise choice when you want to train your dog to sleep in a certain place. Consider getting a dog crate for the early months. Crate training will help you to avoid messes in the house while you are gone during the day. A dog will not want to make a mess in its own space. You’ll also avoid any damage in the house during the puppy teething phase.
4. Find a Reputable Vet in Your Area
Your new puppy will need a visit to the vet soon after it gets home. From that point on, you should plan on annual visits for checkups and vaccinations. Talk to family members, your neighbors, co-workers, and friends to learn about top picks for a veterinarian. Feel free to pay a visit to various providers before making your final decision. Ask the vet if emergency services are available. You need to be prepared for unexpected incidents. Once you choose a vet, consider getting a pet insurance policy. While routine vet bills may be reasonable, more involved visits can come with a high price tag.
5. Give Your New Puppy a Chance to Become Acclimated to a New Home
The day your puppy comes home will be a time of discovery. It will be overwhelming to travel, meet new people, and arrive at a new place. Once you get home, begin with a walk outside. Let your puppy stretch its legs and relieve itself. Make introductions to everyone in the family. Bring the puppy inside and let it roam through the house, ensuring any rooms are closed that could pose risks for your pet or your belongings. Be prepared to take your new puppy out often to get on track for house training. You can also put newspapers or pads on the floor to catch accidents in the beginning.
Having a new puppy will bring great excitement to your home. You will also need to have patience. It takes time to train a puppy to go outside, make sure it only chews toys, and deal with a bundle of energy. Regular exercise, love, and teamwork can help you to truly embrace your furry member of the family.