Whether you are getting a puppy for the first time, or adopting an older aged dog hoping to give them another shot at life, we wanted to outline 10 helpful tips for having a dog for the first time. Listed in no specific order, here are our top tips for first time dog parents.
Tip 1: Prepare for an adjustment period for both you and your new friend.
No matter what age Dog you are preparing to bring home, an adjustment period is going to happen. If you are looking to adopt an older dog who has been through multiple homes, they will need more time than a puppy to adjust. While on the flip side, a puppy will require more training such as learning to go to the bathroom outside versus on the carpet or wood floors, and other things such as interacting with other people and dogs, begging for food, and going for a walk without pulling and choking themselves or dragging you. Regardless of what you choose, you can’t go wrong as ultimately you are giving a loving home to a new puppy or another shot at a home with a loving family to an older dog. Take time to understand the adjustment period and work with your pup. It will be worth it.
Tip 2: Find a great Veterinarian nearby.
We can’t stress enough how important it is for you to get your furry friend into a Vet as soon as you can to ensure your new friend is healthy and happy. Making sure they are up to date on immunizations and worm free as well as scheduling routine follow up visits are as important to the overall health of your new friend as the food they eat and exercise they get. Finding a great local Veterinarian is going to help ease your transition and better understand your pups health conditions as they age.
Tip 3: Stock up on supplies.
Having plenty of toys and blankets is key to your pup getting comfortable in their new environment. Don’t forget to skip on food dishes, water bowl, training pads if needed for puppies in environments who can’t routinely get outside during the day, dog bed, a collar or two and a nice durable leash. There are obviously much more you could look to purchase, but try to decipher what is a need versus a want can get murky. Think of the basic necessities they would need to adjust and be comfortable as well as spoil them a little bit, because……. All Dogs deserve to be spoiled. So stock up on supplies and be prepared to change out supplies as they age and grow or destroy the ones you got them.
Tip 4: Consider pet insurance.
One thing that has gotten extremely popular in recent years and with younger generations is pet insurance. We would recommend looking into pet insurance for your new buddy. This is generally inexpensive and can cover very expensive vet visits and procedure among other incidents that could potentially occur. While we cannot recommend one specifically, we definitely suggest looking into this with your current insurance providers and check with your Vet as well as local dog groups on social media for advice.
Tip 5: Join a Social Media group for dog parents.
Do you remember the phrase not too long ago that said “There’s an app for that”. Well, when it comes to having your first dog. There is a Facebook group for that. Whether it is a Great Dane page, Bassett Hound, Golden Retriever, etc there is a group on Facebook for your breed of pup. We would recommend joining a breed specific group to get to meet folks with pups similar to yours as well as joining a group that consists of all breeds of dog owners. In Cincinnati, there is a group for Cincinnati Pet Parents and it is an incredible group full of people from all over the Cincinnati area with Cats, Dogs, etc and you get to see and share experiences, questions, meet ups at parks and so much more. These groups can be very informative as you venture in being a pet parent for the first time.
Tip 6: Picking the right dog food.
Not all dog foods are made the same, or with the same quality or ingredients for that matter. Having a breed and size specific food is going to be best for getting your new friend the proper nutrition and food they need. If you just brought home a new Great Dane Puppy, you wouldn’t get them Large breed adult dog food when they are 8 weeks old. Getting the appropriate and proper food is key to your pup’s nutrition and definitely worth having the conversation with your Veterinarian if you aren’t too sure which food to get.
Tip 7: Be ready for behavioral concerns.
While you may have professional training lined up, it is key to continue working with your pup even after training. Sometimes you may see your new friend show behavioral issues. This could stem from a variety of reasons. Maybe it is a new puppy that doesn’t know anything yet, or maybe it is an older dog that you adopted and they have had a rough go at life thus far and not sure what a loving home truly is. Whatever the reason, just understand you will see behavioral problems at some point and it is key to work with your pup no matter the age (all dogs are puppies) and if they need additional training, work with them on it or bring in a professional who can help. No matter the situation, just prepare for it and be patient with your new friend. They are learning just as much as you are at this point.
Tip 8: Prepare for health concerns.
All of the preparation in the world still can’t stop health problems as they come up. Whether it is a fatty tumor, loss of mobility, skin infections, etc, chances are you will have this happen at some point. The key here is to be prepared to handle them and keep your Veterinarian updated with routine visits to ensure they catch anything serious early on. If you are looking to add a supplement to your pets diet, then we have a variety of Veterinarian recommended products readily available on our site that can help with joint health, skin irritations, healthy teeth, digestive support and so much more.
Tip 9: Where to sleep?
Make sure to set up sleeping arrangements for your new friend. Will they be allowed on the couches or the bed? Will they be Crate trained initially? It is important to set up the arrangements and adjust as needed as you and your new friend adjust. This is entirely what you want to do and what you are ok with. Crate training might be best for new puppies, while an older dog that is house broken and adjusted easily may be better suited to have their own area to sleep at night, or maybe even your bed. Whatever the case, make sure to have a plan in place and give your pup time to adjust to their new arrangements before making any changes.
Tip 10: Be Patient, Responsible and Give your new friend the best life possible!
Whatever your situation is, and whatever age pup you are looking at brining home, just make sure to be patient with them and act as a responsible dog parent. With everything we have outlined thus far, it is very easy to lose patience over a dog going to the bathroom in the house after weeks of training, or tearing up shoes and objects that aren’t their toys, or maybe even destroying their own bed or toys. Just be patient with them and give them time. As long as you work with your pup, act as a responsible pet parent and work to give them the best life possible, we can assure you this will be a commitment that will last for many many years and you will be thankful you decided to become a Dog Dad or Dog Mom.
Those are our ten tips for first time dog parents and we would love to hear more tips in the comments. These aren’t in any specific order, but they are ten tips that we felt were important to share with someone who may be new to having a dog and looking for some basic advice.
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