Written by pet expert Melissa Kauffman. Melissa has spent 25 years following her passion for animals as a writer and editor in the pet publishing industry. Prior to starting her career in publishing, Melissa spent eight years working in veterinary hospitals where she assisted veterinarians as they treated dogs, cats, rabbits, pocket pets, reptiles, birds and one memorable lion cub.
Adopting a dog is a lifetime commitment. With the lockdown in hand, many families are considering adopting a furry friend. However, adoption of a new dog may involve a lot of research and actions, especially if you are adding to an already present herd back at home.
As we bring home dogs, we must be committed to keeping them with us forever. The average life of a dog is around 13 years, and a dog parent should be with them for a lifetime. While you commit to being a loving and caring parent for your new pooch, you would require to do a little planning in advance to make the process stress-free for you as well as your pet.
Here are the 8 essential steps to consider while bringing a new dog into your home
Be it a first-time dog owner, or adding a new one to your loved furry friends at home, the excitement of owning a new dog remains the same. But your judgment before you make the final call will make a difference in your lives.
- Ask yourself why you want a dog. Owning a dog should be a collective decision of your family. Many dog lovers could never own a dog due to a lack of family support. So, before you consider owning a pet, ask your family and yourself why you want a dog.
- Consider the cost of owning a dog for a lifetime. While you adopt a pet, you are committed to take care of them and provide them good food and shelter. Often, the cost increases due to unforeseen vet visits. Special dog food, medicine, vaccines, and accessories make up most of the cost. However, there are other costly affairs of owning pet dogs such as hiring a dog trainer, arranging for a dog home while you are not around, etc. In the below graph you can see the average cost of owning a pet in the USA.
- Decide upon the breed. You may know just a few dog breeds while there are hundreds of others to consider. Look at your reason to buy a dog and decide upon a breed which suits your lifestyle, space, surrounding, and of course the budget. You may consider adopting cute munchkins to cuddle them or buy a Saint Bernard if you fancy the size. Therefore, you need to do your dog breed research.
- Child-friendliness and other family requirements. Dogs of different breeds show various temperaments and adaptability towards a family. While you decide on the dog breed you want to own, make sure to consider whether you have children at home and match the dog’s tolerance to children before you bring them home. On the other hand, some dog owners consider owning a dog due to certain disabilities, therefore, taking note of such points will help you choose the best match for you.
- Consider the health of the already present dog at your home. While you decide to own a particular dog, it is essential to look for diseases, if any, present in the dog. Your new pet can carry health issues such as STDs, rabies, and other transferable diseases. This will impact other pets at your home and may also transfer among humans. Consult your vet to know more about such diseases and cures.
- Find a dog trainer. Training your dog is essential to lead a peaceful and disciplined life. Search for a dog trainer near you if you are a first-time dog owner or stick to your old trainer. Consider positive reinforcement training methods such as the use of reward to recognize appropriate behavior in dogs and teaching alternative behaviors to replace inappropriate behavior. You can consider training your puppy at a dog school or training them at home.
- Prepare your home for the new puppy. Your home will be transformed forever once you bring home a puppy. Starting from buying accessories, foods, and other essentials for your pet, you have to pet-proof your home by removing all toxic materials from the ground level, securing furniture, taking care of your important belongings, etc.
- Find a good veterinarian around you. While you own life, emergencies are ought to happen. There will be days when your dog will return hurt or injured. You may have to visit a vet for sudden illness or prescribed vaccination of your pet. Therefore, having an experienced veterinarian nearby is a boon for dog owners. However, to cover up an emergency medical bill for your dog, consider buying health insurance.
Things you should consider buying while bringing a new dog into your home are:
- Buying age-appropriate dog food and treats
- Arranging for dog bed and toiletries
- Buying dog collars and clothing
- Installing puppy crates, playpen, and safety gates
- Buying an identity tag for your dog
- Arranging car harness and travel create for the new puppy
- Dog grooming equipment
- Toys for your little furry friend
While you adopt a dog it becomes your family member. Treat your dog as such and give them the love and care they deserve and they will return the same in ten folds.