One of the greatest pleasures in life is becoming a dog parent. You may be aware of how having a dog can bring numerous benefits to your life. Dogs are perceived to be faithful to their owners, not to mention they’re showy with their affection and energetic spirit. Some dog breeds also tend to be protective of their owners as they automatically bark and growl at strangers who try to step into their premises without permission. But as amazing as having a dog can be, some people may find it overwhelming and intimidating, especially if they’ve never owned one before
Here are 10 things you can do wen adopting your first dog to make your experience with your new furry friend full of loving memories and close friendship:
- Do Your Research
Becoming a dog parent is more than just petting them and spoiling them with toys and treats. It means being responsible for all the dog’s needs in terms of health, nutrition, grooming, and human relationships. This may sound like a big job to do, but with the right guide and tips, you’re on your route to becoming the best fur parent your dog could ever have. If you’ve just recently adopted a dog, here are ten ways you can be a good fur parent for your first dog.
Before even thinking about adopting your first dog, make sure you’re ready to fully commit as a dog parent. You need to understand what a dog requires physically and mentally and ask yourself if you’re ready for the job. Your dog would fully rely on you. You may have a family, kids, friends, or work, but your dog would have no one else but you.
To prepare yourself, do some research about dog breeds and know their different needs and lifestyles. From there, you’d have a better concept of which dog breed would best fit your lifestyle and which dog to adopt. Then talk this out with a dog adoption staff, and they’d help you find your best match.
- Know Your Budget
Being a fur parent also means you need to be financially prepared. Think of it as taking care of your own child. You’d need to set aside a monthly and annual budget for your dog’s expenses. This usually covers their food expenses, checkups, vaccines, grooming, and flea/heartworm preventatives.
To help you out, it’s best to find a veterinarian who can help you establish a more accurate budget for your pet. You’d need to ask your vet for tips about the best food for your dog. They may recommend some reputable dog stores out there like Barkwash and Treat Shoppe and other high-quality dog food shops. This would help you create your dog’s monthly budget without wasting your money from buying low-quality or the wrong dog products.
- Find A Trusted Veterinarian
It’s better to stick with one veterinarian with whom you and your dog could create a good relationship bound by trust and respect. This way, if you have questions regarding your dog’s food, health, or grooming, you can quickly call or approach your dog’s vet anytime.
Your vet would also help you provide the right vaccines and preventative medications for your pet. With your trusted vet, you could take your dog for monthly or annual checkups. This would allow your vet to spot any potential health issues before they become worse. It’s also recommended that you give your dog some vitamins and supplements for optimal health.
- Prepare Your House
The moment you adopted a dog is the same moment your house also becomes their home. Since your dog would be sharing the house with you, make sure you prepare your house days before their arrival. You don’t have to worry as preparing your home for your dog isn’t as intense as baby-proofing.
Preparing your house simply means designating a particular space for your dog’s sleeping area, blankets, food bowls, collars, and toys. You also need to get rid of any indoor plants that could be poisonous to them.
Also, don’t forget to keep electric wires and plugs hidden and tucked away to prevent your dog from chewing or getting tangled on them. Moreover, keep those medicines, disinfectants, and cleaning detergents locked in cupboards as your dog might unknowingly drink them, which could be dangerous for them.
- Feed Them With The Right Nutrition
High-quality dog food won’t be cheap. That’s why financial preparedness is essential when adopting your first dog. Before you head to the dog food shop, you need to understand that every dog breed has different nutritional needs. If you want your dog to live a healthy and long life, feeding them proper nutrition is the best way to boost their life expectancy and provide them a healthy life. Besides, it’s only right to give them the best food after the dedication and loyalty they show you as their fur parent.
Aside from their breed, other factors affecting their nutritional requirements would include age, activity levels, lifestyle, allergies, and weight. So talk to your vet about creating a customized diet plan for your pet. Feeding your dog with the right food equates to healthy skin and coat, higher energy levels, healthy weight, and better moods.
- Be Patient In Training Your Dog
After adoption, the first few days or weeks would be challenging, especially for your dog. A new environment could be stressful for them, especially if you’ve adopted a dog that has survived a previous abuse or trauma. So don’t expect your newly adopted dog to be affectionate and clingy with you right away. There’d be days when they’d be distant and have a low appetite. The best thing to do is to be patient, stay calm, and slowly establish a routine for them.
Avoid scolding them for not behaving the way you want them to do. Otherwise, you’d only make them more distant. Instead, be consistent with your positive interaction and still apply their daily routine until they slowly become more comfortable with their new home.
- Give Them Regular Exercise
Like humans, dogs also require daily exercise to achieve optimal health. However, not all dogs may require the same intensity of exercise because some dogs may need more activity than other breeds. One of the easiest ways you could provide physical exercise for your dog is by playing with them. You can give them a ball or stick and play catch, or take them to the beach with you for a good swim. If you’re only starting to get to know each other, a simple walk in the park would do.
Some of the benefits of regular playtime for dogs may include the following:
- Relieving their stress
- Boosting their energy
- Improving their heart’s health, balance, and muscle coordination
- Keeping their bones and joints healthy
- Boosting their mood
Aside from the physical and emotional benefits your dog could get from regular playtime, this would also strengthen your connection and relationship with your pet. You won’t know how a short time with your dog could mean so much for them. Besides, you’re also getting your own exercise. So take a few minutes each to play with your dog because happy dogs equate to healthy dogs.
- Let Your Dog Socialize
Letting your pet socialize and interact with other dogs and humans is good for their health. Dogs who are unsocialized or barely exposed to people other than their owner are more likely to be aggressive, defensive, and fearful when placed in unfamiliar situations. If they’re not adequately introduced to different environments, people, and situations, this may cause them to feel emotional and have mental stress.
Animals like dogs are social by nature and accustomed to living in packs. Keeping them isolated could adversely affect their mood, confidence, and overall health. So make time to take your dog outside your home and let them meet your friends and neighbors as well as their furry friends. The more active their social life is, the happier they’d grow to be.
- Keep Up With Their Grooming Needs
Another way to keep your dog happy and healthy is keeping up with their grooming needs. A well-groomed dog is a happy pet. So make it a habit to brush their coat or hair daily, give them a bath when needed, and trim their nails. Brushing their hair regularly would prevent their hair from getting tangled, especially if they have naturally long hair. For dog shampoo recommendations, it’s best to consult your vet.
Still another factor to look out for is your dog’s dental hygiene. You can have your vet professionally clean your dog’s teeth to keep their teeth strong and healthy.
- Be Ready For Any Emergencies
As much as you don’t want your dog to experience any injury, pain, or sickness, your preparedness is still essential. At some point, your dog may likely experience minor injuries while playing. Or they may eat something they’re not allowed to eat. So it’s your responsibility to know the basic steps in doing first-aid treatments when your dog is injured or poisoned.
It’s also helpful if you have your own dog first-aid kit filled with the necessary medications, as well as past records of their medicines and vaccines. Most importantly, always have the number of the emergency vet ready on your phone for easier contact.
May these ten tips guide you toward becoming the best fur parent you can be for your dog. But don’t limit yourself with these tips as the list can still go on. Becoming a dog parent could be a big responsibility and commitment. But at the end of the day, having a dog in your life is perhaps one of the best and worthy decisions you’d ever have.