Getting a dog is exciting! You’re about to gain a new best friend, but you’ll also gain additional responsibilities. Prepare for the upcoming changes to your life by reading about these need-to-know tips for first-time dog owners. You’ll feel more than ready to take care of your pup, no matter their age or health needs.
1. Consider Your Budget
Doublechecking your budget is the best thing first-time dog owners can do before their pup comes home. Think about how you’ll get your dog and their age to determine how much money you should have in savings.
Puppies come home at eight weeks old, so you’ll need to pay for monthly vet visits and vaccinations for their first few months at home. Adult dogs will also visit the vet, but that will only be for annual checkups if they don’t have any ongoing health complications.
Besides going to the vet, you’ll also need to afford monthly or bi-monthly grooming appointments. Monthly flea, tick and heartworm medications are also necessary to prevent diseases.
2. Find A Veterinarian
It’s always a good idea to find a local vet before your dog comes homes. You’ll likely need to take your pup for a checkup to become an official patient, even if they don’t need vaccinations.
There are a few things you can do to narrow down your options, like:
- Checking online reviews
- Visiting the vet for an office tour
- Asking where your loved ones take their pets
- Inquire if the office is an animal hospital or clinic
If you end up with a vet you don’t like, they can always transfer your dog’s records to another veterinarian. Your choice doesn’t have to be final, but you should know where your dog can get medical treatment while becoming an official family member.
3. Prepare For Potential Nibbling
The vast majority of dogs won’t ever bite people out of meanness. Still, learning how to respond to biting is one of the essential need-to-know tips for first-time dog owners.
Puppies have sharp baby teeth that will puncture your skin as they playfully nip or teethe. Dogs from animal shelters may snap if they come from abusive households or don’t feel comfortable with people yet.
When bites happen, clean the wound and bandage it before keeping an eye on it for the next few days. If your dog nips at the neighbor, they have the right to file a report with animal control and even take you to court. Keep an eye on your dog and train them never to bite to avoid uncomfortable situations like these.
4. Cover Dirt Patches
Take a close look at your yard. Are there dirt patches where grass struggles to grow? Exposed dirt will turn into mud that your dog could track into your house. Lay sod to prevent that problem or install synthetic grass to guarantee coverage if the soil doesn’t support plant life. Your dog will be much happier while running around and you won’t have to worry about mud in your home.
5. Fit Bathroom Breaks Into Your Schedule
You wouldn’t want to wait 12 hours to go to the bathroom, so your furry best friend shouldn’t either. There are a few different factors that change how often dogs should pee, like:
- Their age
- If a previous owner housetrained them
- How often they’re drinking water
- How active they are
Talk with your dog’s vet if you’re unsure how long your pup can hold their pee. Eight-week-old puppies should go out once an hour or two, but adult dogs may be perfectly fine with four-hour breaks between bathroom trips. Ensure that your schedule accommodates those breaks or hire someone to take them outside if necessary.
6. Pick Healthy Food
There are many dog food varieties and brands to consider. Some are organic with whole food ingredients, while others are budget-friendly and maximize the use of ingredients like chicken or beef meal. Call your veterinarian to narrow down your choices.
Depending on your pet’s medical history or age, they may recommend a specific type of food for your dog. They’ll also know which brands experienced recent recalls and may not make the healthiest products.
Learn The Best Tips For Dog Owners
These are the most crucial need-to-know tips for first-time dog owners who are ready to bring their new best friend home. Read through them to adjust to your dog’s needs without trial and error. Everyone will have a great time with your pup and your dog will feel immediately at home with your family.
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