Becoming a dog parent is one of the greatest joys in the world. If you’re a newly minted dog mom or dad, there are some essential things you should know about welcoming a furry friend into your home for the first time. Luckily, we’ve got your back! We’re here to guide you through some key tips for fresh dog parents to make life with your new fur baby the best it can be.
Before you pick up your new dog from the adoption center, be sure to do your research to know what responsibilities you’re taking on. This means learning about your dog’s breed, and what kind of needs they’ll have – for instance, a teeny tiny chihuahua will have a very different diet and lifestyle than a big German shepherd. It’s also important to know your dog’s history: if they’re a puppy, find out where they were born or rescued, or if you’re adopting an older dog, ask if they have any important behavioral or health issues you need to be aware of. If adopting a senior dog, it’s also paramount to know of any medical needs they may have, or medications they require.
Just as we need our primary care doctors for our yearly checkups, so will your new pup! Once you welcome your dog to your home, it’s important to have a vet appointment set up soon after so they can make sure your dog is in tip top shape, and has any important vaccinations they may need. If you have a young dog who has yet to be spayed or neutered, you’ll likely want to talk to your doctor about scheduling that procedure as well.
While you might have been able to leave snacks out on your coffee table before your dog came home, you’ve realized your pup has a knack for trying to steal a bite of anything and everything it can. Dogs have quite sensitive stomachs, and certain foods can be dangerous for them to intake. It’s important to make your home dog friendly: that means putting away any food or drinks that might upset their system and lead to a trip to the emergency vet. Additionally, it’s a good idea to secure all wires and charging cables so your dog doesn’t think they’re toys. Basically, anything that’s chewable, be prepared to elevate it to a non-dog reachable spot.
It’s also important to set up a space for your dog so they feel comfortable. Designate an area in your home that’s just for them: whether they sleep in a bed or a crate, they’ll be happy to have a corner that they know is their cozy spot.
While being a dog parent comes with many walks in the park, it doesn’t mean it’s easy! Be ready for potential rough (or “ruff”) moments while your new pup adjusts to living with you. Patience is key in training your dog as well. Have puppy pads at the ready for any nervous bathroom accidents, and treats on hand if they take a bit of time to warm up to new people. The few difficult moments are worth all the great joys that being a dog parent brings.
Your dog might not be constantly checking its daily planner like you are, but it definitely will appreciate living life on a schedule! Try to walk and feed your dog around the same time each day, so your dog can acclimate to a stable routine. Having a schedule will help to regulate your dog’s day, and it’ll make it easier for you to incorporate your new dog parent responsibilities into your existing routine as well.
Dogs require a healthy amount of socialization to stay happy. This means taking your pup out to the dog park to make some other doggo friends! If you have a busy work schedule that makes it hard to get your dog to the park during the week, you can drop your pup off at a doggy daycare, so they can meet new puppy pals, and get some good training as well. Plus, any other furry friends that your pup makes will have owners – meaning more friends for you too!
Becoming a dog parent is a huge responsibility. You’ve got to be prepared for the time and energy it takes to raise a dog, and be aware of your pup’s own individual needs. On top of that, you’ll need to make time for vet appointments and pup training sessions, so having a schedule is key. But, with all that responsibility comes the immense joy of having a dog as your furry companion. What do you think is the most important thing that new dog parents need to know?