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Is there anything more exciting than bringing a new furry family member home? Whether you’ve been waiting 10 weeks or 10 years to get a new doggie friend, the day they come home is super exciting for all involved.
However, as exciting as the day maybe, it can also be quite overwhelming for your new pooch. No matter if your dog is a puppy or an older dog, it can be pretty scary changing environments and getting to know lots of people they’ve likely never met before.
With this in mind, it’s important to do everything you can to make sure they feel as comfortable as possible when you first bring them home. Here’s a checklist of the essential items you’ll need to make sure your pup settles into life with you at home right from the get-go.
Food bowls and a bed
Let’s start with the basic dog essentials 101 - your dog is going to need somewhere to eat from and somewhere to sleep! Make sure your dog is kept warm and comfortable by providing them with soft bedding. If they’re an older dog, choose a bed with plenty of padding to help support their older bones and joints. If they’re a puppy, don’t go for a super expensive bed right off the bat, as it may end up just getting chewed to pieces!.
Already have a dog and adding a second? The more the merrier! It’s important to remember in this situation that each dog needs to have its own bed and food bowls to avoid competition and aggression. This is especially true when they’re first getting to know each other, but later down the track, you may find them snuggled up in the same bed!
The first few days of your dog being at home can be quite stressful for them, as they get used to their new surroundings and get to know their new human (and maybe furry) family members. It’s important to use positive reinforcement consistently in the first few days to make sure your dog associates your home with positive and happy feelings.
Positive reinforcement with treats is especially necessary when introducing your dog to other dogs in the home; if tails are wagging and everyone is being nice, then make sure to reward both dogs with treats to demonstrate to them that this is the way you’d like them to behave.
A lead and harness
Getting your dog acquainted with their new local neighborhood through walks and visits to the dog park can be a fun adventure! Be sure to have a lead and harness ready for your pooch before they come home. Your vet or local pet store should be able to advise you on what kind of lead and what size of the harness will be best for your dog based on their breed and age.
If your new furry friend is a puppy, you won’t be able to take them outside until they’ve had all their vaccinations for parvovirus, so be sure to check this before heading out. For older dogs, go easy on them with the exercise - offer regular activities like gentle walking and swimming, and if they’re not keen - don’t force them!
One of the biggest responsibilities when it comes to pet ownership is taking care of your dog’s health. To make sure you keep them well and comfortable for the remainder of their life, it’s important to be aware of any pre-existing health conditions and ongoing management they might require, as well as regularly checking them for signs of illness and taking them for consistent check-ups at the vet.
A good thing to remember is that taking your dog for a routine vet check-up once a year is equivalent to a human visiting the doctor once every three years! Taking out pet insurance is a great way to effectively manage any health issues that may arise while making sure that you’re protecting your back pocket against potentially huge vet bills.
Getting prepared for your new pooch
On top of these essentials, you’ll need to get your home ready for your new dog’s arrival by maybe making a few small changes. Puppy pens, playpens, and baby gates are fantastic methods for confining puppies and older dogs to areas where they can be controlled and avoid getting into mischief.
It can be a good idea to let your new dog settle into a smaller space for a few days before giving them an opportunity to explore your entire house. Other than that, welcome your pooch to your home with lots of respect, patience, treats, and cuddles, and they’re sure to love you for a lifetime!