Getting a New Dog? 6 Tips for All First-Time Pet Parents

Getting a New Dog? 6 Tips for All First-Time Pet Parents

Not sure about where to start when you're getting a new dog? First of all, congrats! Dogs are amazing companions that will undoubtedly make your life happier and better, Whether you're adopting or buying, we've got some tips for your preparation to welcome the new family member.

Make a shopping checklist. 

Sometimes it might be a good idea to wait until you're sure what size and age your new dog will be before shopping for certain essentials, like collars and harnesses, or water and food bowls. However, we'll leave a list of necessary items for your pet:

  • A comfortable bed.
  • Food and water bowls.
  • Collar and ID tag with your phone number.
  • 4-to-6-foot leash.
  • Shampoo, conditioner, and soap for dogs.
  • Nail clippers.
  • Doggy toothbrush and toothpaste.
  • Brush or comb (depending on your new best friend’s fur).
  • Paper towels and pee absorbent pads.
  • Plastic poop bags or a poop scooper (try to find biodegradable bags).
  • Toys (for play, for keeping calm, and for puppies teething toys).
  • Crate (depending on your dog’s size).

If you live in a place with cold weather, remember to get some protective clothing according to your pet's fur. If you're welcoming a small dog to your family you must to know that they have a harder time retaining body heat, so they might need extra help, like a sweater or a coat for when you go outside for extended periods of time.

If you’re getting a dog with a lot of fur don’t actually need any coats, this applies for breeds like Pomeranian, Chow Chow, Great Pyrenees, and Husky.

Remember that it all depends on the temperature and the length of time you’ll have your dog outside. Typically, in temperatures higher than 45 degrees dogs won't need protective clothing; if they will be outside for 10 minutes or less, they won't need it either, unless in extreme weather cases.

Finally, don’t have them wear protective clothing indoors because they are animals that can overheat easily, this is a way of preventing skin irritation and chafing.

Find a vet. 

Do your research and find a veterinarian that you can develop a trustworthy relationship with. This way you can find someone that will clear all your doubts, where you can follow the vaccination schedule all dogs need, and of course, information about the best options for flea/tick and heatworm prevention.

Do some research and choose the right food. 

Once you’ve found a vet you trust, ask them to recommend the right food for your new doggy. It all depends on their history and health. High-quality food isn't exactly cheap, but it is worth it. When choosing food for your dog, it is important to look at the ingredients that will fit their needs. 

Some dogs may be allergic to certain ingredients, and there are foods that can cause these allergies or even other health issues. 

There are different kinds of diets for dogs! Do some research to see which one will adjust better to your puppy and to your lifestyle, as well. Tell your vet about your dogs' activity levels, age, size, and lifestyle!

Be ready for training (and setbacks). 

Dogs are creatures of habit (like us); however, it does take some time for them to adjust to routines. When training your dog, there will be trying times with obstacles. Peeing and pooping inside, chewed up things, trash all over the place... but it's a process.

Find common ground to communicate.  

It takes patience. Learning how to decipher your dog’s body language is the way you will find out how they feel. Whether they are happy, sad, or even stressed out, your pup will let you know. You only need to be attentive of any significant changes in your dog's behavior and go to the vet if necessary.

Take into consideration a Microchip. 

A microchip is no bigger than a rice grain, says the American Kennel Club. It is inserted under the loose skin between a dog's shoulder blades. It helps us by keeping track of our dog's unique ID number that can be scanned by a veterinarian or a shelter. It's a way of protecting our new family member in case they get lost, especially when they're puppies and are adjusting to a new environment. 

Be responsible! 

It is a life-time commitment! When getting a four-legged friend, it is a responsibility. You are now in charge of taking care of another living being. That includes the right nutrition, loving interactions, exercise, training, and health care.

See if your home is an adequate space for a dog to live in, and if it is, make sure it's puppy-proofed!

Remember to research your local regulations and laws when it comes to owning dogs.

But most of all, have fun and enjoy spending time with the new family member!