Thursday, June 16, 2016

Top 7 Tips for Caring for Your New Dog

Even if you fall in love with a dog at first sight, it can take anywhere from two days to two months for the two of you to adjust to each other once you take him home. Some dogs may fit right into the family as if they were always there, while others may need some coaxing and extra care. Regardless of your new dog’s overall personality, you can make great strides with your new dog with the following tips.

Get the Gear
Most of the items you need for your new dog can be purchased in advance. You’ll need a leash, toys, collar and identification tag, water bowl, food bowl, and the food itself. Spend the extra money on a high-quality dog food, as your pooch’s overall health is definitely worth it.

Look for food labels that include a statement from the AAFCO, or the Association of American Feed Control Officers. Seek out toys designed for your new dog’s size and breed.

Get a Training Crate

A training crate lined with comfy bedding serves as an immediate refuge for your new pet. Pick one that’s big enough for your dog to be able to comfortably sit, stand up and turn around. Dogs instinctively tend to den, and the training crate will become his safe space – where he can also be kept when needed until he’s properly house-trained.

Expect to House-Train
While you would expect to house-train puppies, you may also need to house-train an adult dog that has never learned the proper place to go. Read up on the art of house-training, keep a keen eye on your dog for signs of needing to go out, and establish a routine where you regularly take him outside. Outside trips should happen at least five times a day:

  • First thing in the morning

  • Last thing before bed

  • Right after eating or drinking lots of water

  • Upon waking from a nap

  • During and after any exercise or play

Set the Ground Rules
Make sure the entire household is aware of the rules regarding your new pooch. Like who’s expected to walk him, to feed him or otherwise tend to the dog’s needs. Figure out where your dog will sleep, if he’s allowed on beds and other furniture and if there are certain rooms that are off limits.

Schedule a Welcome Period

Schedule an ideal time to introduce your new dog to the household, which is not going to be a Monday morning when you’re on your way to work. Pick a weekend when everyone’s home and able to spend time getting acquainted with the new pooch. This time should also include other pets in the household, as well, so none get jealous over the attention lavished on the new addition.

Schedule Your First Vet Visit

Another meeting you want to schedule is with your new dog’s vet. An early checkup can help ensure your new dog is healthy, free of any serious health issues and serves as the foundation of a regular preventive care routine.

Your first vet visit is the ideal time to ask questions about feeding, exercise, parasite control, vaccinations and other health-related inquiries.

Enrolling in pet insurance is a wise health-related option to explore, one that can ensure you always have the means to pay for unexpected emergencies, illnesses or costly medical issues.

Establish a Training Routine
Whether you take your new dog to training classes or use books and videos at home, teaching your dog basic obedience is a must for safety and sanity’s sake. Basic commands include sit, stay, come, and down, and all help ensure you can keep your dog under your control.

Positive reinforcement training is recommended, with rewards given each time your dog obeys a command during the learning stages. Training not only helps your dog learn good manners, but it also strengthens the bond between you.

One more way to strengthen the bond is with plenty of playtime. Playtime not only provides your dog with necessary exercise, but it can help remind you why you may have adopted a new dog in the first place: dogs can be tons of fun.

About the Author:
Dr. Pippa Elliott BVMS, MRCVS, is a veterinarian with over two decades of experience treating cats and dogs. She is also a research contributor to Pet Insurance U. When she’s not working, she’s relaxing at home in London with a house full of her own beloved pets.

Paws: I was compensated to share this post with you.

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