If you’ve never owned a dog before, you’re in for a real treat. Caring for your first dog is an exciting life moment, but it also comes with a lot responsibility. Depending on your previous experience with doggos, it may require a lot of preparation. Preparing for your first dog is similar to preparing for a child; you’ll need to buy food, toys, a bed, and the house will require dog proofing. A few easy steps will ensure your dog is happy and healthy and can smooth the transition of becoming a first-time dog owner.
Home & Life Organization
Dog proofing the house before bringing your new friend home is one of the most important steps you can take to ensure the dog will be safe upon arrival. Depending on where you live, you’ll want to make sure your house and yard area are secure, with fencing around exit areas and deep water. This can help keep your pet from getting into potentially dangerous situations, although you should always keep an eye on your dog no matter where he is.
Once you’ve removed risky scenarios from your home, double-check to make sure all of your plants are safe for dogs to be around. Investigate your decor and any products within the dog’s reach to ensure they aren’t harmful to animals. Once you’ve removed these items, get rid of any additional clutter around your home or find a good place to store belongings you don’t often use so that you and your dog have enough space to be comfortable. Dogs create their own clutter during the day, so it’s important to keep your space tidy to avoid extra messes.
Create a space for your dog’s belongings so that you don’t misplace dog gear around your home. Having a dedicated doggy station for leashes and toys lets your dog know that he’s a member of the family with belongings just like everyone else. Purchase some pet stain cleaner and look up some carpet cleaning basics to prepare for doggy accidents, as they are often unavoidable and not being prepared to clean up after them can cause frustrating situations.
Keeping a Healthy Dog
To ensure your dog stays healthy and avoids unnecessary vet trips, develop a walking schedule so he can expect at least two walks a day. This can help keep him from getting rowdy on slower days because he’ll know there’s a walk waiting for him. Exercise can be helpful in regulating your dog’s sleeping pattern and keeping his body strong and his mind relaxed. Making sure he gets some walks in can also keep his appetite in check, which can help you avoid expensive trips to the vet if he’s having problems with his diet.
Although you’ll likely want to take your new pal out for nature adventures in parks and mountain trails, be aware of dangers posed by those surroundings. If you’re not certain how your dog will react around other dogs, keep a safe distance from any other dog you see. Taking your dog to the mountains can also be dangerous if you run into wildlife, because some animals will become aggressive if your dog gets too close or barks.
It’s part of being a good dog owner to steer clear of these potentially dangerous situations until you know your dog is trained enough to handle them. While wildlife can be risky to run into, a more prevalent risk may be coming into contact with disease-carrying ticks. Warmer winters can lead to an increased tick population, so make sure to check your dog for ticks regularly, especially after hikes in tall grass and in the mountains, as they can lead to serious illness.
Bringing a dog into your life can be an amazing experience made even better by being as prepared as possible for the inevitable ups and downs. Take steps to give your dog a comfortable space in your home and provide him with enough exercise to keep him happy and healthy. Perform safety measures to avoid risky situations, and always check your dog to ensure he’s free of dangerous pests. Caring for your dog in these ways welcomes him into a loving home and a warm, devoted family—and proves that you are ready for your first dog.