Regardless the age, marital status or income, becoming a first-time dog owner is always a momentous and exciting experience. But with all the fun and excitement come also responsibilities. One must keep in mind that pet ownership is a long-term commitment, that at times can get labor and cost intensive.
These 6 pointers will help you begin a life-changing journey as a first-time dog owner and provide the best care possible for your pet.
1. Puppies vs. adult dogs. Just because it’s your first dog, it doesn’t mean it has to be a puppy. Puppies are adorable little beings. They are funny and cute and full of promise. But puppies, like babies, require a lot of care and attention if they are to fulfill that promise. There are many adult or even senior dogs out there looking for loving homes, and who could be as loyal, lovable and fun as “brand new” pooches. Not to mention that majority of adult dogs are much easier to care for!
Take the time to consider your lifestyle, housing situation, amount of traveling, activity level and patience before getting a dog of any age. Research different breeds and choose ones that would match your personality and lifestyle best. Remember, the decision to get a dog should never be impulsive.
2. Pet-proof your house. Dogs, especially puppies, looooove to chew on things. Make sure that you pet can’t get a hold of any wires, remotes or poisonous plants. Tuck and tape loose electrical cords and wires; be sure that household cleaners and plants are stored on high shelves; remove small rugs and pack up your breakables; and put away your shoes or other objects your dog could potentially chew (or even swallow!) These household items could cause potential threats to your pet’s health (and could be costly to remove).
3. Training from Day One. You shouldn’t wait until your puppy is six-month-old to teach him or her how to sit, stay or come. The earlier you start establishing communication with your new furry friend, the easier and faster the training process will go. Use clear voice commands and visual cues and be sure to be consistent and firm with your orders. Remember, bad habits are easy to start but difficult to break. Make sure to discourage any type of misbehavior such as eating from the table, jumping on other people or biting in the early stages of growth. Likewise, invest some time in training new-to-you adult dogs, too.
4. Stay on top of your pet physical health. Make sure your pet gets the exercise he or she needs by taking regular walks or playing in the park or backyard. Keep your pooch groomed and well-nourished. Feed your dog pet food that is designed for his or her age, size and breed; And allow continual access to plenty of water. Dogs with longer hair need to be brushed more often. And all pets need to be regularly checked for pests, such as fleas and ticks. Find a veterinarian that you like and trust, and be sure to take your four-legged friend on regular vet visits as needed to ensure your pet remains healthy throughout his or her life.
5. Socializing, socializing, socializing. The mental health of our pets is as important as their physical health. Be sure to provide regular socializing for your dog whether it’s playing with another dog or taking him or her to the beach. Expose your pooch to other animals, people and environments early in their lives, so he or she is less afraid of new people and situations in the future.
6. Be ready at the time of emergency. Dogs are no different from humans when it comes to emergency medical expenses. Unforeseen illnesses and accidents can happen to dogs of any age, and that can mean unplanned expenses as well. Even silly things like swallowing grapes or a piece of chocolate can inevitably harm your pet’s health and cost you thousands of dollars in care for your four-legged kid. Don’t wait until an emergency happens and plan ahead of time to be sure your pooch gets proper care when she or he needs at a reasonable cost. Join the caring community of like-minded pet lovers on Eusoh and provide your pooch with the best veterinarian care possible without emptying your life savings. Learn how to become Eusoh member here.