Finding a Veterinarian
Now that you are a dog owner, one of the most crucial items on your to-do list is finding a responsible, trustworthy veterinarian. It’s smart to have your veterinarian selected before even buying or adopting your dog, as they may be able to help answer any questions you have before making such a big commitment.
The first thing to do when searching for a veterinarian is to determine what criteria is important to you, such as you would when selecting a physician for yourself. For example, office hours, location and range of services are all important aspects to consider before making your selection. It’s okay to have more than one veterinarian in mind after sorting through your criteria. If you don’t feel like you will establish a long-term, comfortable relationship with one veterinarian after meeting them, you can try your other options.
Criteria to consider when selecting a veterinarian
There are plenty of places to look when searching for a veterinarian, but often the best recommendations come from your pet-owning friends and family. Ask around your local network about which veterinarian is trusted and liked before turning to the internet. You can also ask the breeder or shelter you got your dog from which veterinarians they recommend.
Once you pay a visit to your vet, take note of how you feel after leaving. Your dog’s veterinarian will be your best adviser throughout your dog’s life, and will maintain an ongoing history of your pet, including health records that detail preventive care, as well as illnesses, surgical procedures and reactions to medications. Be sure that you feel you can trust your veterinarian and rely on their advice for all your dog’s needs.
Prepping Your Home for Your Dog’s Arrival
You’ve officially taken the leap into dog ownership! Before you bring your new furry friend home, it’s important to puppy-proof your house to ensure he stays safe, as do your belongings. Remember, puppies are very curious, so follow the steps below to ensure a safe, happy home for your new furry friend.
Hide your cords
Electrical cords are one of the most dangerous hazards to dogs because they are likely to chew on them, which can cause electrical burns, or worse, an electric shock. Be sure that your cords are hidden out of sight so your puppy is not tempted or opt for cord concealers that will guard them from your puppy.
Cover your trash
Puppies can’t help but to explore a trash can filled with interesting smells, so be sure to keep yours covered to not only avoid a mess, but your new pup from getting into something he shouldn’t. While sniffing through the trash, puppies could consume something poisonous, swallow an object that causes chocking, or even get their head or nose caught in something that puts them at risk of suffocation.
Keep your plants up high
If you have a green thumb, be sure the plants you are growing in your home or around your house aren’t a risk factor for your new puppy. Plants can cause major issues for dogs if consumed, from mild irritation to major organ failure.
Keep doors and windows closed
This one may seem obvious, but for new pet-parents, making sure that a door didn’t stay open behind you is more tedious than one would expect! Puppies can be sneaky, and it’s all too easy for them to sprint out a half-open door or window. Stay alert!
Make a drug-free zone
If you are used to storing human medications on your nightstand or countertop, it’s best to move those bottles to a drawer or cabinet that can close. One of the most common sources of poisoning for dogs is human medications, so take notice of where you are keeping yours.
Store away your cleaning supplies
Not too out of reach, because you’ll likely need them for puppy accidents, but high enough that your new dog can’t get into them. If you are storing them in a cabinet low enough for the puppy to get into, be sure it latches when shut. When using the cleaning products, keep your dog in a different room so the chemicals won’t affect him.
Find his safe spot
Before brining your new dog home, determine where he will be when you aren’t home. Whether that’s in a gated room, a crate or pen, or a dog bed in your bedroom, your dog will appreciate having a “safe space” he can go when left alone at the house. Consider having this spot in an area with easy to clean floors in case there is an accident.
Be aware of the small hazards
Batteries, loose change, paperclips, refrigerator magnets, etc. are all items that should be put away, so your dog isn’t tempted to chew on these, and possibly choke. Also be sure to store any expensive or meaningful items away, as your puppy won’t see it as valuable, just another chew toy!
What To Buy Before Bringing Your Dog Home
1. Dog Crate
Dogs enjoy having a “safe space” they can retreat to, and a crate provides an area that is secure, comfortable and their own. Be sure that you buy a crate that is appropriately sized for your dog, knowing that as he grows, you’ll likely have to invest in a larger one. Crates should be just big enough for the dog to stand up, turn around and lie back down. If you get too large of a crate, your puppy is more likely to have an accident in it.
2. Wire Playpen Or Baby Gates
Puppies are curious and they love to wander. Be sure you are keeping your puppy in a safe, puppy-proofed area by blocking off restricted rooms with baby gates or wire pens. A wire pen can serve two purposes, as it can be configured to different sizes and serve as a playpen when needed.
3. Dog Food And Bowls
When bringing home your first dog, it’s important to consult your veterinarian on the best type of food. Puppies require a certain type of food, and your vet should be able to recommend a high-quality food no matter the age of your dog. Be sure to also invest in a new food and water bowl for your dog. Try to stay away from plastic, as it collects bacteria quicker than stainless steel or glass.
4. Leash And Adjustable Collar
It’s best to introduce a collar and leash or harness to your dog as soon as you bring him home, so he starts gaining familiarity with the objects. You can allow your dog to wear the items around the house where he feels safe so he can become accustom before going on walks outside.
5. Chew Toys
It’s best to be prepared with at least five chew toys before your dog comes home, as they can be rotated out and should last for some time. Plus, it’s handy to have plenty around for when your dog starts chewing your shoe, and you need to offer him another option.
6. Bitter Dog Spray
Even after puppy-proofing your home, there are bound to still be items on the ground that your dog is tempted to chew such as furniture, rugs, baskets, etc. Bitter dog spray is harmless to dogs but also extremely unappealing, making them stay away from the household items where it is applied. It’s also harmless to humans and can’t be smelled by us!
7. Grooming Supplies
Items like gentle shampoo, a metal comb and a quality nail trimmer will start getting use as soon as you bring your dog home. It’s best to have these items in advance and start getting your dog used to them from an early age.
8. House Training Pads And An Enzyme Cleaner
If your new dog isn’t house trained, these two items are a must. Absorbent, washable house-training pads will make your clean up so much easier as you are training your dog. Even if your dog is house trained, it’s smart to have an enzyme cleaner on hand, as all dogs will have an accident at some point. Unlike regular cleaners, enzyme cleaner will eliminate odors that only your dog can smell, reducing any reminder the he’s gone in a particular spot before.