For first-time dog owners, the responsibility that comes with taking care of a new animal can be a bit overwhelming. It’s important to be prepared from the very beginning, starting before you even choose your pup, so you’ll be able to give the best care possible. This means making informed decisions about which breed is right for you, making sure your home and yard are big enough, and ensuring that you’re mentally, emotionally and physically prepared for an animal to live with you.
Pets can be costly, and they require lots of attention and care throughout the various stages of their lives. You’ll need to be well informed on how best to care for the breed you choose; for instance, dogs with pushed-in faces, such as pugs, aren’t advised to travel by plane because they can have breathing problems at high altitudes. Knowing what to expect can help you make good decisions and will keep your dog safe and healthy throughout your time together.
Here are a few tips on how to be the best pet parent you can be.
Figure out which breed is best
Some animal-lovers are bound and determined to get a certain type of pet even before they know the specifics of the breed. It’s important to do some research first, to make sure the dog you choose is right for you and your family. For instance, certain types of dogs do better with young children than others. Not only that, you’ll want to make sure you have enough space for a big dog, or that you can give a high-energy pup the attention it needs.
Being prepared for a new pet can mean any number of things. You might want to start a savings account just for them so that any medical procedures or emergencies won’t be a burden to you financially. You’ll also need to make sure you have a bed, leash and collar, food and water dishes, and toys all ready to go. These items are important because they’ll make your dog feel at home and give them a sense of security.
It’s also a good idea to prepare your home for a new pet. This means making sure there are no trip hazards, no exposed wires they might chew on, and no food items left out that might be toxic should your pup get curious.
Help them get acclimated
Many animals are wary of new places and people, so help your new pet get acclimated to your home by only introducing them to your immediate family at first. Don’t overwhelm them by taking them everywhere you go—at least for the first few weeks. Let them get used to the new sights, sounds, and smells surrounding them and try to keep to the same schedule every day to help them get used to a routine.
Bond with them
Spend some time with your new dog by taking a few days off work the first week they’re home with you. Snuggles, playtime, and outdoor time can help the two of you bond and will show your pet that they’re loved and cared for. This is especially important if they’re a rescue animal, as they may be fearful or distrustful at first.
Being a first-time pet owner is a big job, and it’s important to remember that your new dog is looking to you for every one of their needs, just like a child would. Take the time to make sure they’re healthy by finding a nearby veterinarian and don’t forget to ask questions about how you can help your new pet thrive.