Being a new dog owner is an exciting but often scary world.
If you’re a little nervous to become a pet owner, you’re not alone. Even though there are an estimated 70 million pet dogs throughout the United States, each person takes care of their beloved pooch differently. And if you have never had the opportunity to raise a dog in the past, delving into this new stage of life can be fraught with uncertainty.
It’s natural to be worried, and honestly, this makes you a better dog owner. The folks who are overconfident usually don’t have the wherewithal to look up dog care tips in the first place. At the end of the day, they might have a poorly trained dog or have to give it up when they realize they aren’t able to take care of it properly. They might even end up having to call a dog bite attorney when they aren’t able to take care of their beloved pet.
You won’t be one of those people as long as you follow these dog care tips. Sit back, relax, and read on to become the best dog owner you can be.
Realize that owning a dog is a committment
Many people love dogs, but they might not be the best pet owner. Dogs are great for late-night snuggles and Instagram pics, but many newfound dog owners are startled to find that raising a dog takes work. And not only do they take up a lot of time, but they also eat away at your savings account.
New puppies are especially hard to raise for first-time pet owners. Training them, taking them to the vet, and getting the right supplies (and new supplies as they get bigger) all take a financial toll that many aren’t prepared for. Even the first couple of rounds of vaccinations can cost more than the average person would expect.
Raising a puppy is hard but so is investing in a rescue pup, too. It’s a great choice to adopt from a shelter, but dogs with previously bad owners might take some time adjusting to a new, safe life. In fact, many rescue dogs are only allowed to be adopted or fostered by people with experience raising dogs. When you choose your first pup, ask the shelter if there are any friendly dogs from good homes that you can adopt as a first-time pet owner.
There are also check-ups that need to be paid for, health emergencies that pop up, and other issues that will force you to dig deeper into your pockets. On average, raising a dog will cost as much as $3,000 in the first year, according to the AKC. It might be a little more or a little less depending on the size and breed of the pup, but you should be prepared to spend a little more just in case.
Dog care tips start with recognizing your pet is a life-long commitment. If you want to just pet a cute dog all day without putting in the work, you’re better off getting a friend with a dog.
Is your dog going to be an emotional support animal or therapy dog?
Emotional support animals and therapy dogs are ideal companions for people with disabilities. However, you might want to register your dog with a respectable organization sooner than later. Some landlords don’t allow dogs without the proper licensing, even if it’s for the betterment of your health. Rely on disability claims lawyers to get the most up to date information regarding emotional support animals and therapy dogs in your area.
This is important. If you still try to live in an apartment or complex without the proper credentials, you might be evicted or arrested for violating orders. Relying on a bail bond agent might help get you out of jail, but it might also result in getting your dog taken away. Going through the correct legal channels might be exhausting at the time, but it will save you a lot of headaches later.
Prepare your home
Is your home ready for a dog?
If you have never had a pet before, the answer is probably no. But welcoming a new dog into your home is kind of like welcoming a new baby; not only do you have to buy plenty of supplies, but you also need to ensure that your home is safe.
Adopting a dog is the perfect opportunity to fix those problem areas that you’ve been putting off. After all, home fixes are expensive but they’re nothing compared to the guilt you would feel if your dog gets sick from your air conditioner not working.
Here are some of the best ways to update your home with dog care tips in mind:
- Fix your air conditioner: This summer has been one of the hottest on record. If your HVAC is broken, now is the best time to invest in AC repairs. Some dog breeds can withstand higher temperatures for a little while but others, like Huskies and Malamutes, can’t take the heat. Let them “get out of the kitchen” by making sure your AC works. On top of that, you should also ensure that they have fresh water at all times.
- Repair your roof: Is your roof working properly? If you have a leak or roofing issue, you might not even notice. But because your dog will be home all day, they will often be the first to suffer from mold and mildew health issues. Roofing contractors can patch up the holes in your roof to ensure the health and safety of your whole family.
- Dog-proof your home: Do you have extension cords, blind strings, or hanging jewelry? No matter how much you might like to present your beautiful collection of beaded necklaces, these will only look like a toy for a playful dog. Anything that hangs makes the perfect chew toy for a teething pup or a bored adult dog with nothing else to do. Either tie these items up to a place where your dog can’t reach or invest in alternative options, like cordless blinds or a jewelry box.
You might also want to consider updating your home in preparation for a dog, not just fixing problem areas. Hardwood flooring, for example, is easier to clean than carpeting but it might get prone to scratches from their nails. You might also want to invest in furniture covers to protect the fabric, a steam cleaner to wash away any messes, and baby locks to keep your pets away from chemicals. Weigh the pros and the cons of each of your updates with dog care tips in mind.
And prepare your garden
The best dog care tips revolve around the backyard. While most dog owners love giving their pooch a big space to play in, it isn’t always ready for a new addition to the family. More often than not, new pet owners will fail to realize that certain flowers or shrubs can be bad for their pet. If you live on an older property, there might even be evidence of well drilling that you should get filled or revamped by a professional well driller. The last thing you want is for your pet to get injured in a place that is supposed to be safe.
One of the first things you should do is perform an audit of your backyard. Note the types of plants you have along with any problem areas, like holes in the fence. These will need to be corrected before you invite your dog to romp around in the backyard safely.
On top of that, you should also install a fence around your pool. Even if your dog can swim, the chlorine in pools can be bad for their health, especially their skin, eyes, and genitals. If you have a saltwater pool, ask your veterinarian about the best advice to keep your dog healthy.
You should also store your tools properly. This is especially important if you work with any particularly sharp tools, like shears, or heavy tools, like shovels. Even if you train your dog to avoid that part of the yard, accidents can always happen. Invest in a shed or garage to store your gardening (or any other) tools properly.
Are you ready for grooming?
You can always choose to take your dog into a groomer, but it might be easier to groom your dog at home. Contrary to popular belief but all dogs need to get washed and groomed at one point or another. While some dogs might need regular grooming more than others, the rule of thumb is to bathe your dog at least a couple of times a month and to brush them a couple of times each week. You should also have a pair of doggy nail clippers on hand to prevent discomfort during walks.
Hypoallergenic dogs, however, will need a little more tender loving care. These dogs typically have hair, which means that it needs to be cut every so often. This differs from dogs with fur whose follicles will only allow it to grow to a certain length. Shih Tzus, poodles, schnauzers, and cairn terriers will all need to get hair cuts regularly. Even if you choose to grow their hair long (which will demand more grooming care on your part), it must still be maintained and honed with scissors and clippers. You can do it yourself, but you might experience some clogged drains during the process. The easiest option is to save money each month to invest in an experienced groomer.
After all, you don’t cut your own hair and many dogs are uncomfortable when they get groomed. Bringing your dog to a groomer will give you the look that you want and help local businesses in your community. There are even safe dog color options to consider if you want to add a pop of personality. While dog coloring options differ from human hair color, they’re still fun ways to express the attitude of your pooch.
Your groomer will also be able to offer you dog care tips that you might have never thought of before. Whether it’s getting a shiny coat or simply identifying the best brush online for your friendly pooch, consider your groomer your ally.
Emphasize the importance of safety
Are you willing to keep your dog safe?
This seems like an obvious answer but many dog owners unknowingly put their dog at risk all the time. Here are some of the best dog care tips when it comes to keeping your dog out of harm’s way:
- Never leave your dog in a hot car: The average car, whether it’s a new car or a used car, can drastically increase in temperature when it’s out in the sun. Even if you go into the store for five minutes, this could be enough time to put your dog’s health in jeopardy. IF you know you have to go to the store, leave your dog at home in the air conditioning to be safe.
- Always keep your dog on a leash: Even the best-trained dogs could get into an accident if they aren’t on a leash. Not only is keeping your dog on a leash the law, but it’s also the best way to keep your dog safe. After all, it’s not just about how friendly your dog is: it’s about another person’s or dog’s reaction to yours that could result in disaster.
- Prevent fleas and ticks: Dogs are inherently closer to the ground, meaning that they come into more contact with bugs than you’d think. Fleas and ticks are annoying pests that could also put your dog’s health at risk. No matter where you find your dog care tips, investing in flea and tick repellents will always make it on the list.
Dog care tips for the new owner
Being a dog owner is exciting! You have a new friend for life. Unfortunately, with great power comes great responsibility. Rely on these dog care tips to keep your furry friend safe.