Welcoming a new dog into your home is an exciting, but often stressful, time. Whether you choose to adopt a rescue dog or invest in the puppy of your dreams is up to you, but there are a few essential rules to follow when you bring them home. Introducing a new dog into your house demands extra effort from the person who’s responsible for the dog. This is doubly important if you have children in the home or another family member who has little experience with canines.
After all, getting a dog isn’t for everyone. When you’re thinking about welcoming a new dog into your home, consider these essential tips to ensure the health of your pup and your family.
Go to the vet
Before you do anything, you need to ensure that the dog you are adopting is in good health. There’s nothing worse than adopting an adorable puppy only to find out that it never got its parvo vaccination when you bring it home. Be sure to ask the breeder or adoption organization if they are up-to-date on their shots and that they have a clean bill of health. If they need any immediate medical attention, you might be able to work out a deal with the agency to get their health in tip-top shape before adopting.
Even if you’re willing to pay for these medical expenses, visiting the vet sooner than later is key. In the first week that you have the pup, bring them to the vet for a veterinary risk assessment. Here, the vet will be able to check up on the dog’s vaccinations, note any issues the dog might have, and give you tips to ensure the dog’s health for the long run.
Even though taking your dog to the vet is essential in your early days of dog ownership, you have to ensure your pet’s health for the long-term, too. As such, it’s recommended that you take your pet to a once-yearly check-up. You should also bring your dog into the vet whenever an issue with their health arises. Many dogs are prone to overheating issues in the summer so be on the lookout for hot spots and other skin issues that might crop up.
Going to the vet isn’t always going to be a short journey. Sometimes, you’ll have to have your pet stay overnight, like when they get neutered or spayed. Other times, the cost of going to the vet might exceed your expectations when you have to buy flea medication and more. While you can always rely on flea pest control services, your dog can get fleas from a variety of sources, including other dogs or from the grass on your daily walk. Keep in mind that owning a pet is expensive before welcoming a new dog into your home.
Prepare your home
Welcoming a new dog into your home cannot happen until you make some lifestyle changes. After all, a house full of dangerous tools, unfinished floors, or no green space might cause issues while you raise a pet.
Here are some of the best ways to prepare your home for a new dog, whether it’s a puppy or a fully grown beast of a dog.
- Get the necessary supplies: Your new dog will need a food and water bowl (along with food, of course), a dog brush, a leash, a harness, some toys, and a crate to get you started. No matter how good wholesale Mexican food might be, your dog still needs healthy kibble to keep their skin and bones healthy. Once you have those essential items, you can also consider investing in dog beds, cute clothing for your pooch, and anything else that strikes your fancy. If you think you can simply bring a dog home without the essentials though, you’re sorely mistaken.
- Tie up any cords or cables: Lose cords from the television, strings on your blinds, and hanging pieces of jewelry are all the perfect playthings for a nervous pooch. Dogs love to chew so keeping these items tied up and out of sight will prevent any accidents from occurring.
- Check out your HVAC system: Even if you’re comfortable in 80-degree heat, that doesn’t mean your new dog will be. Invest in HVAC repair to ensure that your dog will be comfortable during the hot months of summer and the frigid winter months. Small dogs are particularly susceptible to temperature changes since regulating their own body temperature might be difficult. On the other hand, some dogs might be built for different weather conditions. For example, “winterized” dogs that are built for the cold, like huskies and malamutes, will need plenty of AC in the summer. They’ll also need to get groomed regularly, whether you do it yourself or invest in the skill of a groomer.
- Fix any longstanding issues: If you have been putting off any home repairs, now is the time to get them fixed. Dogs can sniff out issues and get themselves into trouble, even if the affected area is blocked off. If your home is in need of water damage repair, a new roof, or any other fixes, invest in them sooner than later.
- Consider your floors: Some types of flooring don’t bode well with claws. If you have a softwood floor, like pine, you might want to consider laying down an area rug or another form of protectant. Soft floors can be easily damaged by claws. Unless you want to repair your floors frequently, keep this in mind before welcoming a new dog home.
- Eliminate any pests: Mice, rats, bed bugs, and roaches can all impact your pet’s health, especially if any contaminants get into your new dog’s food. While you should always be on the lookout for pests in your home, it’s particularly important to perform a clean sweep of your house before welcoming a new dog into your home. Invest in a roach removal company to inspect the place. They can also offer preventative services to keep these pests from ever coming back.
Getting your home prepared is one of the most important things you can do as a dog owner. Rely on these tips to ensure your house is in good condition for a new pooch.
Prepare your backyard
Now that your home is ready for a dog, is your backyard? Dogs, especially large dogs, need ample room to run and play. If you’re living in an apartment building, you better have access to a local dog park or another place to let your dog run free. If you have your own backyard, however, there are a few things you can do to make it more friendly for your new dog.
If you don’t know where to begin, you’re in luck. Land surveying companies can help you make the best modifications to your backyard when you’re getting prepared for a new dog. But there are countless ways to make your backyard more dog-friendly. Here are some of the best ways to prep your backyard for a new dog:
- Take stock of your plants: Dogs are known for getting into all sorts of trouble, especially when it comes to your garden. Before you bring your dog home, be sure to identify every type of plant you have in your backyard. There are some common plants that are poisonous to dogs. If you happen to have any of the following plants, you should remove them from your garden asap. This includes: African violets, acorn squash, aloe plants, baby’s breath, lavender, and most lilies. If you simply must keep these plants, consider storing them behind garden fences or along retaining walls to encourage your dog to stay away. For more information, the ASPCA website has an exhaustive list for both dogs and cats.
- Install a fence: Many dogs are just fine running around on a lead, but installing a fence gives you the privacy and security you need to play with your dog all day long. You don’t need to worry about Fido getting loose if you install quality aluminum fences. Make sure they can’t jump over the top or slide under the bottom by calling your local fencing company.
- Is the lighting okay?: Few people want to take their dog outside in the middle of the night, but puppies need to use the bathroom more often than not. Instead of stumbling around in the dark, utilizing outdoor lighting can make a world of a difference. Install some solar powered lights along your fence or invest in a motion detecting light. It will make it much easier to see when your dog uses the bathroom and you will have no problem picking up its poop in the dark. This will also serve a dual purpose of keeping burglars and other thieves at bay.
- Get rid of pests here, too: Pests reside both inside and outside of the home. Though dogs don’t have the reputation for getting bit as often as humans, mosquitos will look for any warm body if it means a blood meal. Invest in mosquito control services every summer to ensure that your dog is healthy. In fact, mosquitos are one of the leading causes of heartworm in dogs.
Your yard is your haven, and it will be the same for your dog. Make sure your backyard is prepared for a new dog with these tips.
Introduce children gradually
Children have two typical reactions to dogs: they either love them or they’re scared of them.
Kids that love their dog might be over-affectionate. This is cute, but it can be stressful for the dog, especially if they’re a rescue. Kids lack the bodily control necessary to control their strength and affections. It’s not uncommon for kids to grab a dog’s tail too roughly or step on their paws when they’re playing. If a dog is suffering from an injury, children might also not realize that the dog needs space to heal. You know your kids best: if you think they’re ready for a dog, then go for it. But if they’re too young, you might want to hold off on welcoming a new dog into your home. Very small children can always be put into an infant day care when you first bring the dog home so that they can get comfortable with the new space without putting your baby in danger.
But scared kids might need help, too. Ask your child about their preferences of a dog. Some children might dislike large dogs because of their intimidating size, but they might adore a small dog. Even though adopting a dog is often a great thing for your family, you need to put the needs of your children first. In the event that your child isn’t comfortable with a pet, you might need to forgo welcoming a new dog into your home until they’re more comfortable with pets.
If you’re interested in adopting a rescue dog, you might also want to wait until your children are older before welcoming a new dog into your home. Older kids will be better
Welcoming a new dog into your life
Welcoming a new dog into your home isn’t always fun and games. There’s a lot of work associated with becoming a dog owner. Rely on these tips to ensure that your new pooch is as comfortable as possible as they begin to adjust to their new life.