Dog parenting can sometimes be quite intimidating, especially if you are a first-timer. However, this should not be the case if you organize your home and reschedule your daily routine to accommodate the new guest. The new guest may be labradoodles ,dachshund mix,chihuahua meme, rottweiler mix , pitbull, labrador.
Before you welcome a dog to your home, whether an adult or a puppy, there are a lot of things you should consider. Lack of planning could lead to frustrations, and you might end up hating your new pet when, in reality, you were not ready for the changes. A dog can be part of your family and your best friend, but you will need a lot of patience before everything falls into place. In this article, we will give you all the necessary information you need as a first-time dog owner to make your initial experience as enjoyable as possible.
It does not matter whether the dog is a juvenile or a home-trained pet; you will still need the same preparation as it is a new environment for the new family member. We advise you to make some adjustments to your home for the safety of the dog and your properties.
Some beginners have given up on dog parenting because of the first-time experience they had. To avoid such frustrations, here are some changes you should consider before making that important step in your life.
Put Away Fragile and Precious Items
The first thing you should do is rearrange your rooms by putting all the breakables far from the dog’s reach. These pets, especially puppies, are very playful and curious. They will want to sniff and try everything they find interesting in your home.
Therefore, do a thorough evaluation of your home to determine the things that need to be kept safe. Light glass items, electronics, and other objects with similar characteristics are some of the things you should consider putting away. As such, you save yourself from unnecessary frustrations and your dog from any kind of harm.
After a few weeks, you and your dog will eventually build an understanding. Most dogs are quick learners, and it will take them a little time to know the dos and the don’ts. At this point, you can then slowly reintroduce the fragile objects to their original positions without any fear. However, it is not a guarantee that your items will be safe. Therefore, it is recommended to keep on training your dog for a few more weeks while observing their actions.
Get Rid of Toxic Plants
A dog is like a child and will put anything in their mouth regardless of their toxicity. One way of making sure this doesn’t happen is by closely monitoring their every move. However, we both know that this is not possible, and any second they are out of your sight could mean danger. As such, the best way to deal with this is by getting rid of plants that could end up harming your dog’s health.
Such plants are more common in our compounds than we may think. Make sure to check whether plants around you have any systemic effects on animals. Some common plants with such characteristics include the African wonder tree, alocasia, and aloe. You should check the full list of these plants and ensure that non of them is within the dog’s reach; otherwise, they could lead to tragedy.
Plan The Dog’s Potty
Just like a human being, one of the most important requirements for any dog is a toilet. Decide on where their potty will be before bringing them in to avoid cleaning their mess every time. However, this is not to say that all will be well from the get-go. For the first few days or weeks, you might have to do a lot of cleaning before your pet learns where to do their thing.
There are a variety of options to choose from, depending on where you live and your daily duties. If your plans allow you to take your dog on morning and evening walks, you can teach them to go potty during these rounds. Otherwise, if that’s not possible, you could settle for potty pads. As stated before, regardless of the option you choose, you will have to be ready to clean up a lot of messes for the first few weeks before your dog learns what you are teaching them.
Things to Buy For Your Home
You have prepared your home in readiness for the newest introduction to your family. Everything is set! But like a newborn baby, you will need to buy them a thing or two to make them comfortable. So, what will you need to pick from the store?
The first item to buy is a dog crate. This will be your dog’s home during their stay at your house. It will be their personal space, and you can pick the best crate depending on the size of your new pet. This will also help you lock up your dog once in a while for their safety.
Another thing is a bed and a blanket. The moment you welcome a dog to your home, it becomes part of your family, and it should also feel the same way. Therefore, it is up to you to make them comfortable by providing the necessary requirements. The dog’s bed can be placed in their crate or somewhere else, and a blanket will help keep them warm throughout.
You will also need to arm yourself with potty items to keep the area clean and healthy. If you are house-training your pet indoors, you might also need to consider buying some potty pads and potty sprays. Hygiene should be your priority; hence buying some cleaning essentials is a must. Dogs might decide to make your living room their permanent toilet regardless of your training, and you should always be ready for the cleaning.
Lastly, do not forget about your dog’s stomach. A food dish and water bowl are a must for any pet. Find the best bowl and dish at your store for your puppy. If your dog is big, you might need some elevators to raise the height of the dishes.
Dog Identification and Tag
Before taking any step towards tagging your pet, consider asking the previous owner if it is microchipped. If so, let them give all the necessary steps you need to change the information to your liking without interfering with its functionality. Microchips can be very helpful in tracking your dog whenever they go missing. However, if they are not microchipped, you are at liberty to decide whether that is something you would like to do. This step is, of course, dependent on many economic and social factors like your financial allowance and the norms of your community.
Microchipping is an effective way of tracking your pet, but what happens if the technology malfunctions? It is advisable to put a tag on its collar so community members can also identify it. An ideal tag should contain the name of the dog, your cellphone number (or any other way to contact you), and your hometown. As such, it becomes a lot easier to find your dog if it gets lost, which is a normal occurrence.
Feeding Your New Pet
Remember we said earlier you should not forget your dog’s stomach. Like you, your new family member requires a balanced diet meal to keep it strong and healthy. The type of meal required will depend on many factors, including the age of your pet.
If your puppy is younger than six months, they must be fed thrice per day (in the morning, midday, and evening). But if they are older than six months, they are strong enough only to eat twice a day. Therefore, you can feed them in the morning and in the evening.
Is your dog older than one year? Such dogs can be fed once per day, but this will require you to feed them one heavy meal. This is, however, not advisable, and you might want to continue feeding them lighter meals twice per day. This will help avoid digestion issues, which could lead to health complications.
If you are not sure about the dog’s preferred feeding schedule, it is important to ask the previous owner about it. As such, you can decide to adjust the schedule gradually without harming the dog’s health. Also, ask about the type of food they are using before starting the feeding process.
Always remember that every dog food is manufactured differently. Therefore, do not make your decisions based on the price tags as they might mislead you. Cheaper is expensive, but not all expensive products are ideal for your intended purpose.
After gathering all the information from the previous owner, consider buying the same type of food provided they are of high quality. Cheap kibble will force you to buy a lot of them within a short period leading to overspending.
Each food comes with a weight-based table that will help you decide on the portions. As you feed your pet, closely observe their response in terms of weight and behavior. This way, you will be able to adjust the amounts accordingly.
Dog Clothes and Accessories
Fashion is not for humans alone. Let your dog look fashionable by covering it with some cool clothes. Dog hoodies, for instance, do not only enhance the appearance but also give your pet some warmth.
There are many benefits that come with clothing your dog. Clothes make your dog more comfortable, provided you select the right size and designs. Some dogs have very thin coating making them sensitive to cold. It is also the same scenario for young puppies which can even fall sick during cold seasons. Therefore, warm clothes will keep your dog happy all the time, regardless of the weather.
Another reason why you should cloth your pets is to prevent their fur from falling all over the place. Some dogs shed their fur quite easily, and these clothes will help keep them from getting into your important stuff.
A perfect dog harness is another accessory you might consider buying. It is important to have it around because it gives you enough control and security during evening or morning walks. There is a variety of harnesses created with different designs that will fit your preference.
Your Pet’s Health and Medical Needs
A dog can be a very useful member of the family to have around. They make your life interesting and help relieve pressure after a stressful day at work. However, they are also prone to health issues caused by many factors, including food and weather. As such, they require occasional medical attention to ensure their well-being.
As a first-timer, you might not be sure about what to do regarding your new friend’s health. If there is an obvious issue bothering your dog, please visit the nearest specialist as soon as possible. However, some issues might not be alarming since your pet is adjusting to the new environment. Even so, let an expert check them out a week later to make sure they are alright. This will give them enough time to catch up with the new family with additional stress.
As you adopt or buy your pet, make sure to ask for its medical records. As such, you will be aware of the vaccines that your puppy still needs and whether they have had any health complications before. Whether healthy or not, every dog must take certain vaccinations.
Necessary Dog Vaccinations
- Canine Parvovirus
This one of the most dangerous and highly contagious dog diseases. It is a viral disease that kills the victim within 72 hours. Parvo does not have a specific anti-viral treatment; therefore, you must vaccinate your dog to reduce the chances of contracting it.
This is another fatal viral disease that often kills dogs within a few days. It is characterized by coughing, lethargy, anorexia, and vomiting. It does not have any specific treatment either, and the only way to improve your pet’s health after contracting it is through supportive measures such as IV fluids and antibiotics.
- Canine Hepatitis
You also must vaccinate your dog against Canine Hepatitis. It is an acute liver infection that is characterized by mucous congestion, fever, leukopenia, and also depression. Canine Hepatitis is a worldwide contagious disease and can attack your puppy any time.
Finally, a vaccination against Rabies is essential to any dog. It is a viral disease that is mostly spread through animal bites. Rabies can also attack a human being after a bite from an infected animal. Therefore, you must take the necessary precautions for your own safety and that of your pet.
The vaccines mentioned above are a must for any dog regardless of their origin. There are, however, some additional vaccines recommended by vets but are optional. These are meant to protect your dog against some region-dependent diseases. Therefore, it is up to you and your trusted vet to decide whether they are necessary.
One of these infections is Bordetella bronchiseptica, which is a bacteria that attacks the respiratory system. It is the main cause of “kennel cough,” which is a common illness that affects pets. Another bacteria that is region-dependent is borellia burgdorferi, which leads to Lyme disease in puppies and older dogs. It is often transmitted by ticks. The last in this list of optional vaccinations is one against leptospira bacteria which 9is usually transmitted via contaminated water.
The timing of each vaccination will depend on the evaluation of your vet with regards to the environment and the dog’s medical history. You should also follow the frequency prescribed for your pet.
As stated earlier, you should visit a vet after one week of your puppy’s adjustment to the new environment. At this time, there will be no much stress on the dog, which would have otherwise interfered with the process.
Some of the tests carried out include physical examination on different body parts of the puppy. The vet may also use a stethoscope to gauge your puppy’s breathing rate and heartbeat. Finally, they will have a look at the ears, eyes, teeth, and genitals to make sure that everything appears as they should.
After the check-up is complete, your vet will recommend a suitable care procedure for your puppy based on the results. Some of the things that must be covered in the recommendation list include the general health of the puppy, oral hygiene, parasite preventives, and some grooming tips.
Bathing and Grooming Your Dog
Grooming requirements and procedures are dependent on the type of dog you have. Poodles, for instance, do not have the same requirements as Pugs or French Bulldogs. Therefore, before you embark on buying various grooming and bathing items, make sure that you know the perfect choice for your pet.
The main difference between these dogs is the texture of the coat. Some have thick, while others have a thin and sensitive coat. Also, other dogs shed fur quite easily, which could be an issue during their cleaning.
Again, the frequency of bathing is quite subjective and will depend on a variety of factors. Some of the aspects you should put into consideration include your dog’s health and their overall lifestyle. Nonetheless, most dogs do not require frequent baths, as you may think. Some could go even as long as three months, and they will still be perfectly okay.
If your dog is suffering from a skin disease or spends a lot of time outside the house, then it is essential that you give them more frequent cleaning. If you are not sure about the schedule, you can always consult your vet.
Regardless of the schedule, you decide on, always make sure to use to right shampoo for your dog. Using any cleaning agent could have extensive repercussions on the skin of your puppy, and that is something no one wants. For instance, some human shampoos have chemicals that might irritate your dog and could even lead to health complications.
Finally, drying is a very important step when cleaning your pet. Make sure every part is as dry as possible because any moisture could lead to infections that could have otherwise been prevented. Ears and folds are some of the areas on which you should pay special attention.
This is one simple task, but it goes a long way in ensuring your dog’s coat remains healthy. By brushing, you help spread natural oils throughout the coat and keep its hair in good condition. It is also a good way of checking for ticks and fleas that might be hiding in the fur. Doing this regularly also strengthens the bond between you and your new friend.
Similar to bathing, the frequency of brushing is dependent on the dog. Your vet’s input, in this case, will also come in handy. Alternatively, the general guide below could help you in making the right decision.
Short and smooth Coat: Do it at least once per week using a rubber brush followed by a bristle brush.
Short and dense coat: Carry out the process once every week using a slicker brush then rubber, and finally a bristle brush.
Long and silky coat: Daily brushing is recommended using a normal comb, slicker brush, and bristle brush in that order.
Thick and tangle-prone coat: Brush your dog twice per day by starting with a comb then a slicker brush.
Treat your pet the same way you treat your body, and you will have one of the healthiest friends. Failure to clean your pet’s teeth on regular basis bacteria could take advantage of the situation. After a while your dog’s teeth will end up with tartar, which might escalate to severe oral infections. Some of these problems include gingivitis, receding gums, or even tooth loss.
Cleaning your dog’s at least thrice each week is the best way of maintaining high dental health. There are a lot of toothpaste and toothbrushes manufactured specifically for dogs. You can experiment on some of them and find out the ones that are effective for you.
So far, most of the areas we have covered require a particular schedule to ensure your dog’s health remains a top priority. However, nail trimming is something you can just do whenever you deem suitable. The rate at which your puppy’s nails grow is dependent on their lifestyle.
Dogs and puppies that spend more of their time indoors will require frequent trimming because their growth does not face many hindrances. On the other hand, walking on pavements or spending a lot of time outdoors files the nails hence not needing too much attention.
How will I know when to trim? You may ask. You can realize this by physically observing them or sometimes you can hear clicking sounds when they walk on the floor. What you use to trim the nails is your decision as there is no much health risk involved. Electric nail grinders and clippers are some of the options you might consider.
It is not advisable to carry this operation at home since you might end up injuring your pet. However, if in any case there is a need for a little cleaning, you can use a cotton ball and specific ear cleaner liquid. Wipe the dirt gently while ensuring that your dog remains still.
A thorough cleaning can be done by a specialist or your trusted vet. This way, they will also inspect the ears for any possible infections.
Exercising Your Pet
You have fed your dog well; why not give it some ample exercises? Doing so will ensure that it remains active while keeping it healthy. You don’t want them using their energy to destroy your items. How much exercise your dog needs depends on their breed, age, and – most importantly – their health condition.
Generally, a dog’s energy reduces with increase in age. A puppy will be more energetic than its older counterparts, but they might not tolerate excessive exercises. For instance, if your puppy is three months old, they will need about 30 minutes of exercise everyday split into two 15-minute sessions. An older puppy, on the other hand, say six months old, will need two 30-minute sessions every single day.
For adult dogs, the exercise requirements can be met once per day but doing it in sessions is more beneficial. As a dog gets closer to the one year age bracket, it might need more or fewer exercises depending on the breed. The final decision, however, falls on you as you will need to observe how the dog responds.
As a dog owner, there is nothing that beats the feeling of having a dog that can execute the actions you ask them to do. Some dogs are fast learners, while others will require a lot of patience. If you are planning on training your dog, it is recommended that you do so after exercises.
Training your dog can be a very fulfilling activity as you will feel in control. Also, you will be able to learn more about your pet while strengthening the bond between the two of you. Here is a hint; find out exactly what motivates your dog. For instance, food can be a very good motivator, and you can use it as a reward whenever they do the tricks you have taught them. You can also decide to hire a professional trainer for complicated.
There are a variety of toys that your dog could use. They may seem like a luxury, but the truth is, they play a very important role in keeping your dog active. Giving them such tools also ensures that they do not destroy your items while trying to make their selves happy. Chew toys, for instance, keeps your dog away from your important stuff which they could have otherwise been used as toys. Other types of toys that may come handy include playtime, interactive, and playtime toys.
Dogs feel anxious and overwhelmed whenever they are in a new environment. Therefore, it is important to introduce everyone that lives with you so that your new pet can feel safe. The best way to do so is to gather every member and let the dog approach each one of them calmly. Similar to training, it is recommended that you do the introductions after a day’s exercise to make it easier to control the dog.
Remember, do not force your puppy into the situation. Pay attention to their body language as this is how they send their message. If their tail is wagging, it means they are enjoying the moment and are eager to have more fun with the group. However, a stiff tail and folded ears is a signal that they are not comfortable. Therefore, it is up to you to judge the situation and ease your dog into it.
Do you have other pets around? Introduce them to each other and observe how they react to each other. It is normal for residence cats to be unwelcoming at the beginning. As soon as you see any signs of discomfort, separate them, and then repeat the same after a few hours.
Doing so will gradually make them bond together and may finally become friends. Being calm during the process is a very important aspect since animals pick their cues from the owner.
You now have all that you need to bring in your new pet. Note that the information provided in this article is general and may vary from one dog to another. Nonetheless, it is the best place to start. Trust your guts and enjoy your time the new friend.