Adopting a Dog? Here’s How to Prepare Your Home for the New Addition
Guest post by Jessica Brody of Our Best Friends
Congrats! You’re adopting your first dog and joining the wonderful world of pet ownership. But what the heck comes next? If you want a harmonious life with your new pooch, here’s everything you need to do before bringing your pet home.
Shopping for Pet Supplies
Having the right pet supplies can make dog ownership so much easier. These are the essentials every dog owner should have at their fingertips.
Collar with ID tags: Collars provide a place to hang ID tags and give your dog some personal style. Flat collars are standard, but Martingale collars are a better option for dogs with slender necks.
Harness: Harnesses offer more control and comfort on walks than collars. They’re also harder for your dog to escape.
Leash: Most parks and public areas require dogs to be on a six-foot leash. If you want a longer leash for training purposes or to give your pup freedom on walks, opt for a long-line lead or an adjustable leash — but stay away from retractable leashes.
Food and water bowls: Affordable and easy to clean, ceramic and stainless steel bowls are an easy choice for first-time dog owners.
Dog bed: The right dog bed depends on your dog’s size and your home’s aesthetic. Check out this rundown of the options so you can choose the best bed for your pet.
Brush: Grooming needs vary by breed, but all dogs benefit from regular brushing.
Poop scooper and bags: Not cleaning up after your dog is a quick way to make enemies of your neighbors and ruin your landscaping at the same time. Attach a roll of bags to your dog’s leash and buy a scooper for the backyard.
Toys: Toys keep your dog stimulated while you’re away and give you a fun way to bond with your pet. Buy a selection of popular toys to discover which types your dog prefers.
Food and treats: Rather than shopping for food at random, find out what your dog is accustomed to eating. Sudden dietary switches can cause stomach upset. If you want to change your dog’s food, follow Eukanuba’s advice for a gradual transition.
If you spend long hours away from home, there are a few more items to add to your list. In addition to a great dog walker for your pup’s midday exercise, buy an automatic dog feeder to ensure your dog eats on schedule and look into an electronic dog door so your pup can go outside for bathroom breaks without risking your home security.
Creating a Dog-Friendly Home
Buying the right supplies isn’t all that’s required to get your house ready for a dog. You also need to puppy-proof to keep your dog and your home safe. Start inside the house and secure anything your dog could eat, chew on, or break. Then, head outdoors and make sure your fence is secure, household chemicals are put away, and there are no poisonous plants in the landscaping. VetWest has a thorough puppy-proofing checklist so you don’t miss anything.
Even after these safety measures, your pet may be nervous in its new home. You can make the transition to a forever home less scary by setting up a quiet area where your dog can settle in. Allowing a few days of quiet with limited, positive interaction helps your dog feel safe and confident in his new home. However, don’t worry if your dog is still unsure after a few days — it takes three months for most dogs to feel 100 percent comfortable in a new home.
Once you’ve knocked these tasks off your list, there’s just one thing left to do: decide who will be responsible for pet care tasks, such as feeding the dog, going on walks, and cleaning up the backyard. Owning a dog is a lot of hard work, but a solid game plan ensures it’s a great experience for everyone — your dog included!
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