Around 1.6 million dogs are adopted from American shelters every year.
While adopting a dog or bringing a new puppy into your home is a wonderful experience, there are also lots of considerations to make.
A dog is a huge commitment. As such, it’s important that the whole family is on board and you’re clear about who’ll be the primary caretaker.
To avoid confusing your new dog, you’ll need to straighten out all the household rules ahead of time. That means deciding whether the dog will be allowed on the couch or not, where they’ll sleep and if any rooms will be off-limits.
Then, with all that worked out, you’ll need to start preparations for welcoming your new furry friend into the family. Here are 10 things you should do when getting a new dog.
1. Stock Up On Supplies
First up on your new dog checklist are the supplies you’ll need to make your dog feel safe and comfortable in their new home.
As well as basics like food and water bowls, dog food, a collar and a leash, a dog bed, treats, toys, grooming tools and a crate. (if you plan to use one.) You may also need specialized cleaning products for any accidents that may occur during house-training.
Also, if you’re going to make some areas of the house off limits, pet gates are a good idea.
2. Prepare Your Place
Before welcoming your dog into the family, walk through your home and store away any items that could be harmful to a curious canine, as well as anything you don’t want chewed.
If you have any cats at home, designate a dog-free area for them to retreat to. This will help keep all your pets safe while giving them the necessary space to ease into the transition period.
Whether you have other pets or not, it’s also a good idea to create a personal space for your dog within your home. This could be a dog crate or a gated-off room just for them. Having their own space to retreat to will help your dog feel safe while they adjust.
And if you’re welcoming a new puppy into your home, a central room with easy-to-clean floors like the kitchen is ideal.
3. Plan the Trip Home
When you go to pick up your dog, if possible, ask someone else to drive you. That way you can ride with your dog and help comfort them on the journey home. Remember to take the collar and leash with you, and head straight home so as to avoid any distracting stops.
If possible, arrange to pick up your dog at the weekend or take a couple of days off to get them settled in. But what you shouldn’t do is pick up your dog at the start of a long vacation. If they get too used to you being at home all day, your dog may develop separation anxiety when you have to return to work.
4. Show Your Dog Around
Once you arrive home, keep your dog on the leash at first while you let them explore their new surroundings. Show your dog their bed, toys and food bowl, and make sure you give short and firm commands to make it clear what’s off limits.
Introduce other members of the family to your dog one by one, making sure to keep things low-key and calm. Excitable kids, or indeed excitable adults, might unnerve your dog, so keep introductions to a sniff and a quick pet.
5. Get a Dog License
It’s crucial, as well as a legal requirement, to get your dog tagged and licensed. This will help the authorities trace your dog back to you if they ever get loose.
You may also consider getting your dog microchipped if they haven’t already got one. If they have, remember to update their account information with your details.
6. Arrange Pet Insurance
Pet insurance is another essential to help keep your dog safe and healthy, and to provide you with peace of mind. Insuring your pet means that you’ll be able to take care of your dog no matter what happens. Check out this website to learn more.
7. Find a Vet
You’ll need to take your dog to the vet within a week of bringing them home for a general health check, and to ensure all your dog’s vaccinations are up to date.
If you’ve got a new puppy, it’s crucial that the first vet’s visit is a positive experience. Ask friends and relatives for referrals to find a friendly, highly-recommended local vet you can trust.
8. Set Up a Routine
It’s vital to get off to a good start with a routine that you can stick to. That means a strict schedule for walks and meals, as well as a clear plan of who’ll do what and when.
Although unexpected things can crop up from time to time, as few changes as possible in the routine helps reassure your dog, and makes the settling-in process much easier and faster.
9. Introduce Your Dog to New Food
Although you might be dead set on giving your dog fresh dog food or food from a certain brand, at first you should stick to the food they were eating before. Then gradually introduce your dog to their new food. This will avoid digestion issues from a sudden change in their diet.
10. Start Training Straight Away
The sooner you start training your dog, the faster and easier it will be to get your rules to stick. First up on the list are house training and teaching your dog to be comfortable around people and other dogs.
Puppies will need more training but even adult dogs who are already housebroken will need some house training to avoid you coming home to any surprises.
How to Prepare for Your New Dog
The first few weeks of getting a new dog will be a period of huge adjustment, for both you and your dog.
But getting your home prepared and everything arranged beforehand will make the transition process a lot easier.
Then, once you’ve got your new dog settled in with everything they need, you can focus on giving your new furry friend the best life ever!
Photo credit: Mike Tinnion